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Best afternoon tea places in Toronto

Best afternoon tea places in Toronto

In Toronto, afternoon tea is steeped in diversity. Our guide tours elegant hotels, quaint cafes, charming tea rooms, and stylish lounges for this refined ritual. Find tips on bringing nobility and grace to your afternoon, whether classic English or modern fusion.

Afternoon tea is a long-held tradition that originated in England but has expanded in popularity across the globe. Particularly in multicultural hubs like Toronto, afternoon tea services have grown increasingly diverse and creative while still holding to the customary components like fine teas, finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries. More than just a light meal, afternoon tea is an immersive experience centered around relaxation and social connection.

Toronto offers no shortage of destinations for an indulgent and memorable afternoon tea service. From historic hotels to quirky cafes, and rooftop patios to whimsical garden enclaves, there are settings to suit every style and budget. Visitors and locals alike will discover an expansive array of teas ranging from traditional English breakfast to artisanal fruit blends. Sweet and savory bites showcase baked goods along with seasonal ingredients. The backdrop may vary from a skyline view to Alice in Wonderland garden but the focus remains on providing a serene oasis to restore both body and mind. 

This article will highlight some of the top spots across Toronto to enjoy the enduring tradition of afternoon tea. We’ll explore everything from elegant old-world tearooms to themed venues to value-priced cafes. Read on for recommendations showcasing the breadth of exceptional afternoon tea services available in one of the world’s most dynamic and welcoming cities for this cherished ritual.

Best Historic Tea Rooms

The Old Mill

The Old Mill has been serving delightful afternoon tea in Toronto since 1914. Housed within a picturesque three-story historic building featuring exposed brick and beautifully preserved architecture, the tea room exudes old-world charm. The high ceilings, natural light, crackling fireplaces and live piano music provide a graceful ambiance.

The Old Mill

The afternoon tea includes a selection of fine loose-leaf teas along with traditional delicacies like freshly baked fruit scones served with lemon curd, strawberry jam, and whipped cream. Signature tea sandwiches feature ingredients like cucumber, egg salad, roasted chicken, baked ham, smoked salmon, and lemon zest cream cheese on a choice of artisanal breads. Sweet offerings include delicate French pastries, lemon tarts, chocolate truffles, crème brûlée, and fruit macarons, along with classics like carrot cake and lemon pound cake. The elegant setting and scrumptious menu make the Old Mill tearoom a favorite way to experience Toronto’s historic tea heritage.

Garden Court Tea Room

Nestled inside the arcade in the historic Queen’s Park district in Toronto, the enchanting Garden Court Tea Room has been charming guests since 1926. The sunken tea room features an indoor garden motif with hanging plants, floral upholstered chairs, and natural lighting. Tea is served promptly at 2 pm weekdays on white linen-clothed tables with a cozy atmosphere echoing that of European tearooms of the past.

Garden Court Tea Room

Delectable raisin and plain scones arrive fresh from the oven, served with lemon curd preserves, clotted cream, and strawberry jam from France. Tea sandwiches like cucumber and minted goat cheese, roasted beef tenderloin with horseradish, and smoked salmon with dill and cream cheese on artisan breads pair nicely with the delicate teas. Sweet bites include German apple streusel, cream puffs, and decadent chocolate cake. The serene hideaway ambiance makes the Garden Court Tea Room an ideal historic Toronto venue for a bit of afternoon serenity.

Afternoon Tea at Luxury Hotels

The King Edward Hotel

The tea service at the prestigious King Edward Hotel brings old-world nobility and refinement. Housed in an elegantly appointed room featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, chandeliers, and antique furnishings, guests are transported to Britain’s finest estates.

The King Edward Hotel

The menu boasts a selection of fine loose-leaf teas, traditional finger sandwiches featuring ingredients like cucumber, smoked salmon, and chicken, as well as the hotel’s signature freshly baked scones. With delicacies ranging from French macarons to lemon tarts and chocolate truffles, the King Edward Hotel’s afternoon tea experience is the pinnacle of luxury blended with Toronto charm.

The Shangri-La Hotel

The moment one steps into the opulent Lobby Lounge of the Shangri-La Hotel, sleek marble columns, golden chandeliers, and a dazzling sculpture set the stage for a modern luxury tea experience incorporating Asian inspiration.

The Shangri-La Hotel

The menu features green tea-infused scones, yuzu tartlets, sesame cakes, and flowering teas alongside elevated finger sandwiches with ingredients like Peking duck, shiitake mushrooms, and smoked salmon. By blending contemporary elegance with Far East influences using the finest quality ingredients, the Shangri-La’s afternoon tea envelops guests in sophisticated tastes and aromas for an elevated Toronto teatime.

Ladurée Toronto

The wildly popular French bakery Ladurée brings a touch of Parisian charm to Toronto with its intimate bakery and tea room nestled within Yorkville. Renowned specifically for their melt-in-your-mouth macarons in flavors like rose petal, salted caramel, and pistachio, Ladurée offers an afternoon tea experience focused on pastries both dainty and decadent.

Ladurée Toronto

The tea selection spotlights floral-infused varieties like Marie-Antoinette, along with premium Chinese black teas and herbal blends. Freshly baked madeleines, vanilla eclairs, and raspberry bonbons accompany the pastel-hued macarons, presented beautifully on signature Ladurée fine bone china. For those craving something more substantial to balance the sweet dessers, Ladurée offers a choice of croque monsieurs and creamy mushroom croissant sandwiches. With reasonable prices despite its esteemed reputation, Ladurée brings Parisian-style indulgence to an afternoon tea affair as only this world-renowned pâtisserie can. 

Shopping Center Standouts

Holt’s Cafe at Yorkdale Mall

For those looking to combine an afternoon of shopping with a delightful tea service, Holt’s Café located within Toronto’s high-end Yorkdale Mall offers an ideal respite. The café exudes chic urban elegance with a backlit onyx stone, leather banquettes, and aluminum orb lighting fixtures hung from the ceiling’s wooden waves. The tea menu spans standard breakfast varieties to distinctive infusions like blooming flower teas and Kombucha blends.

Holt's Cafe at Yorkdale Mall

Signature sandwiches speak to Holt Renfrew’s fashion aesthetic with selections like smoked salmon rosette, brie cheese with apricot rose jam, and white truffle egg salad served on posh porcelain plates. Sweet offerings drift towards the cosmopolitan with chocolate espresso opera cake, dulce de leche mousse shots and banana split eclairs. For an affordable luxury tea experience in between trips to the Manolo Blahnik or a Jimmy Choo shoe fittings, Holt’s Café offers an urban oasis amidst Toronto’s premier shopping.

Astore Lounge

Located within the chic decor boutique Aritzia, the Astore Lounge provides a hip downtown venue for afternoon tea in Toronto. Soaring 25-foot ceilings, concrete beams blended with woodgrain marble tables, and lush green living walls cultivate a modern garden tea room aesthetic.

Astore Lounge Toronto

The menu features elevated classics like smoked salmon and strawberry cream cheese on dark rye and lemon blueberry scones along with trendy new additions like golden milk chai pots and beet hummus tea sandwiches. Sweet treats range from chocolate berry tarts and pistachio macarons to a vegan lemon lavender cheesecake. With reasonable prices and inventive options, Astore Lounge creates an effortlessly cool urban backdrop for connecting over tea and light bites in the city. 

Conclusion

With no shortage of exceptional venues offering their own take on tea service, Toronto provides endless options for the perfect afternoon tea experience. From historic hotels to modern bakeries, the classic tearooms to contemporary lounges spotlighted here reveal the breadth of destinations for this refined ritual across the city. Visitors and locals alike can indulge in delicate sandwiches, aromatics teas, fresh scones and decadent pastries against backdrops spanning sleek skyscrapers to Old World charm. Whether one prefers the elegance of orchids and chandeliers or a laid-back urban garden vibe, Toronto’s afternoon tea services offer something to delight every palate. The city’s multicultural fabric and varied neighborhoods ensure an array of flavors, aesthetics and price points suitable for novices and lifelong tea enthusiasts alike.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Where can I find the best/most authentic English-style afternoon tea experience in Toronto?

The Old Mill Toronto is renowned for the most classic and quintessentially English afternoon tea experience in the city. Housed within a historic building since 1914, the charming tearoom offers elevated teas, freshly baked scones, finger sandwiches and delicate pastries served properly on tiered displays echoing time-honored tradition.

2. Which luxury hotel serves the best afternoon tea in a refined setting?

The King Edward Hotel brings nobility and old world elegance to afternoon tea with ornate decor, chandeliers and antique furnishings along with finely curated teas, traditional tea sandwiches and the hotel’s signature scones baked fresh daily.

3. Where can I enjoy afternoon tea with a unique modern or themed twist in Toronto?

Ladurée Toronto provides a romantic, Parisian-inspired experience focused entirely on pastries and sweets like their signature ornate macarons. The Ladurée tea experience encapsulates what this iconic French pâtisserie is most renowned for.

4. Is there an afternoon tea option for shoppers inside one of Toronto’s luxury shopping malls?

Holt’s Café in Yorkdale Shopping Centre offers an upscale afternoon tea service alongside shopping opportunities at Toronto’s premier luxury retail stores.

5. What is the best spot for afternoon tea on a budget in downtown Toronto?

Astore Lounge brings a relaxed urban garden tea vibe to downtown shoppers, with approachable pricing. Their inventive tea menu and living wall backdrop make it a hip oasis for connecting over tea and light fare.

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