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My cousin and I have gone out for afternoon tea a few times to celebrate birthdays. I didn't see a tea thread, so here goes...

Four Seasons: Lovely atmosphere, tasty and creative food (the first time I went, they had a cherry blossom tea theme that included an unreal chocolate cherry mousse at the end), outstanding service. They made it personal and special by bringing out a piece of chocolate cake with my cousin's name written in chocolate on the plate and the pianist played "happy birthday" at the end. It was a bit pricey, of course, $35 per person. Champagne is an extra $10, I believe. But if you really want to give someone the royal treatment, this is it.

Ritz: Very nice food (I don't think I've ever had better chicken salad, and the smoked salmon and dill was so fresh) but the service was lacking! We were the only ones in the tearoom at the time, and visits from our server were few and far between. Not worth $30 per person.

The Jefferson: The scones are unreal, the service is great, and the atmosphere is lovely. No complaints. Only $25 per person and well worth it. This might be a good place to take someone for a more laid-back experience.

Overall, I pick the Four Seasons but was wondering if anyone had been to some of the other places that serve afternoon tea in DC...Willard, etc?

Cheers!

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I did the Four Seasons tea with my parents a couple years back and thought it was very nice. Lovely atmosphere, and a balanced mix of sweet and savory bites. Didn't look like enough food in the beginning but all those little bites do add up. My pear tea was delicious.

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I have done the Four Seasons tea a number of times, most recently a couple weeks ago. The service is unparrelled. They really make an effort to think of what you might want before you even want it.

My feelings on the food, however, are mixed. The dessert bites have all been excellent, but the savories frequently seem like they have been sitting out too long. My gut is that they make all of the food at the very beginning and then serve throughout the afternoon. Unfortunately, tea sandwiches are delicate, and thus do not last a full afternoon. And why no lemon curd? I love lemon curd.

Stale savories and all, I am eagerly awaiting my next visit (which, lucky for me, will be fairly soon).

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It's funny, I was just thinking of asking about afternoon tea places on Tom's chat this week, but didn't get around to it. My mother, who is English, recently had afternoon tea at the Ritz for the first time in several years and was somewhat disappointed--small servings at a high price (I think $35), though the quality was good. What she's really craving now is a tearoom that's more generous and less formal, serving the kind of substantial tea she used to have in England (and which I've enjoyed over there too), with plenty of sandwiches and scones and cake (plainer than the French-inspired pastries that seem to be served more commonly over here). Any advice would be appreciated. We went to the Tea Cosy in Old Town many years ago and were a bit disappointed, but I know there are other places out there. (My apologies if this is too akin to asking for New York pizza rather than enjoying what DC does have to offer.) (Apologies also for all the parentheticals. <_< )

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I witnessed (but did not consume) tea at Cafe Mozu in the Mandarin Oriental. The food offerings were substantial: two types of scones, three types of finger sandwiches, MANY pastries and chocolates. Cannot comment on the taste of the food and I think it is pricey. The atmosphere, though, is more modern.

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allegra said:
It's funny, I was just thinking of asking about afternoon tea places on Tom's chat this week, but didn't get around to it. My mother, who is English, recently had afternoon tea at the Ritz for the first time in several years and was somewhat disappointed--small servings at a high price (I think $35), though the quality was good. What she's really craving now is a tearoom that's more generous and less formal, serving the kind of substantial tea she used to have in England (and which I've enjoyed over there too), with plenty of sandwiches and scones and cake (plainer than the French-inspired pastries that seem to be served more commonly over here). Any advice would be appreciated. We went to the Tea Cosy in Old Town many years ago and were a bit disappointed, but I know there are other places out there. (My apologies if this is too akin to asking for New York pizza rather than enjoying what DC does have to offer.) (Apologies also for all the parentheticals.  <_< )

As someone who uses parentheses all the time, I say "WELCOME"!!!!

You probably understand that Tea Time is not something practiced widely in America. If you want to see a bunch of people looking for tea and goodies at 4 in the afternoon just head over to the World Bank--and, believe me, the cafeterias there don't offer the extended selection you seek. Outside of that, particularly in DC, it just isn't happenin'. Those precious, not to mention expensive, tea offerings are aimed at those who are in a position to partake of them. Which excludes most working stiffs; and, those who don't fall into that category (let's not name any names here, OK?) are generally not into that. Look at it this way, most people (especially those on this board) are looking forward to a drink and something nice to eat somewhat later in the day. Tea Time is reserved (I say GENERALLY) for the "Ladies Who Lunch." And, in this day and age, they are watching their weight too much to eat cake in the afternoon.

I simply can't imagine that such a really civilized practice will ever catch on in this area, for a whole bunch of reasons. I'd be satisfied that some of the "Ritzier" hotels around here offer even a semblence of the English "Tea."

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For those interested, it seems the Park Hyatt (home of Blue Duck Tavern) offers afternoon tea seven days a week, starting at 2 o'clock. Reservations are recommended for weekends or large groups. The tea menu is huge, offering white, green, oolong, black, pu-erh, and herbal teas, and also several combinations for tea tastings. Many are priced in the single digits, some are priced in the double digits, and two of the pu-erhs are in the triple digits. There is also a buffet priced at around twelve dollars.

The setting is lovely - well, it is if you like the look of Blue Duck.

I haven't actually had tea there yet, but will report when I have.

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I stopped into the Mayflower for afternoon tea today, and although the room is lovely, I won't be back. I am fairly certain that everything served was freshly thawed just for us! Not a single good standout, a couple items that were just confusing (ex. stale dinner roll with the top cut off and one - or, in one instance, two - raisins, topped with cream), and at least one really bad item with an unidentifiable, and nasty, aftertaste that was the subject of discussion for some time. And, there is no option of just having tea - each person is forced to eat (or at least pay for) the dry pastries.

But, all in all, a lovely afternoon. I really liked the harpist.

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For those interested, it seems the Park Hyatt (home of Blue Duck Tavern) offers afternoon tea seven days a week, starting at 2 o'clock...There is also a buffet priced at around twelve dollars.

We went to the Park Hyatt for afternoon tea about two months ago. The tea menu is large, but one of my favorite parts of afternoon tea are the tea sandwiches, and the tea buffet only had sweets and condiments (such as scones, cookies, fruit frangipane tarts, chocolate tarts, clotted cream, dulce de leche, peanut butter, and others). There wasn't an option to order any tea sandwiches, though you could order lunch type foods off the menu. I ordered a side of fries. The pastries were good, but I'd go somewhere else next time where there are tea sandwiches.

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Is there any place near Gaithersburg that does afternoon tea? I had planned to take an out of town friend to the Irish Inn at Glen Echo but they only do tea on Wednesdays.

Thanks!!!

Jennifer

Strathmore does tea, but I just checked and it looks like only on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Normandie Farm is only once a month, I think. Many places require reservations. Not sure what day you need, but try searching this link

or this one. (You could zip up 270 to Frederick)

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