After quite a long time spent eating dinner in our jammies, we can't think of anything more alluring than the thrill of bone china and crisp white napkins. There's nothing more sophisticated than high tea with delicate sandwiches and fantastic finger foods piled high, while bottomless cups of that biscuit-coloured beverage are poured. But it's not just something the Brits do — Toronto is brimming over with options for afternoon tea and high tea lovers.
From Toronto hotels serving quintessential afternoon tea to colourful confections inside Parisian patisseries, there are plenty of places to point your pinkies for occasions big and small. While some serve classic cucumber sandwiches, others take a seasonal approach to their high tea, updating their menus to reflect events like Lunar New Year or TIFF. Or, if you're looking to take this chic tradition up a notch, order oysters and champagne to go with your scones.
Mark your calendars: Whether it's a special Mother's Day treat or just an excuse to spill the tea, we've rounded up the best high tea and afternoon tea in Toronto.
11 spots for afternoon tea and high tea in Toronto
1. EPOCH Bar & Kitchen Terrace
181 Wellington St. W.
The Ritz is always a good idea — that's totally the saying, right? You'd have to try really hard to have a bad time there, especially when you spend the afternoon at the new British-inspired high tea inside EPOCH Bar & Kitchen Terrace on the five-star hotel's main floor. Open Wednesday – Sunday from 2–4 p.m. (mid-week lunch break, anyone?), you can indulge in sweet and savoury delights alongside a steaming hot pot of fragrant and calming loose-leaf tea.
Feel the stress melt away with each sip of organic emperor’s jasmine, vibrant peach flowering tea, or a glass of sparkling wine perhaps? The tiny sandwiches and scones are so perfect, we wanted to take more home in our pockets. EPOCH is excellent at accommodating all dietary needs, just let them know 72 hours in advance. You can book online through OpenTable.
2. Joni Restaurant
4 Avenue Rd.
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This stunning spot is located inside a hotel that's steeped in tradition — so it's no wonder that they recently announced a new luxury tea experience. Guests at the restaurant inside the Park Hyatt can graze (but, classily, obvs) their way through a tasting menu of curated sweets and savouries, paired with tea sommelier-selected teas from Sloane Tea. But don't expect a run-of-the-mill high tea experience: instead, you'll find a modern twist on the well-known tradition. Choose sweet or savoury options (or a combination of the two) with tea or fizz, and don't sleep on the boujie add-ons — hello, oysters and black truffle brie!
3. Kitten and the Bear
1574 Queen St. W.
Head to Parkdale for a more low-key afternoon tea service at Kitten and the Bear. Diners lucky enough to snag one of the two tables (seating just five people in total) in the jam shop’s small tasting room are treated to a sampling of seasonal, small-batch preserves prepared in house. The spread also includes fresh-baked scones, made using Hewitts Dairy buttermilk, along with clotted cream and a choice of Sloane Tea or 49th Parallel Coffee.
Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 3401 Dufferin St.
Straight from France, this luxe patisserie opened its tea salon and boutique in Yorkdale Mall in 2017. Ladurée’s afternoon tea service goes for $50 per person and includes a number of delicate delections, like smoked salmon sandwiches, mini tartlettes and, of course, tea. The bakery is billed as the inventor of the macaron, which was thought up by Ernest Ladurée’s second cousin in the mid-20th century. The recipe for the colourful confection remains unchanged to this day — and three of them are included with the Afternoon Tea service. Add a glass of champagne for $15, and don't forget to grab a box of macarons to take home.
188 University Ave.
Guests can listen to tranquil and serene live music in the Asian-inspired Lobby Lounge while they choose one of 75 premium teas from around the globe. The Shangri-La changes their high tea menu seasonally allowing their in-house sommeliers to explore different menu pairings. Scones here are topped with berry preservatives and Cornish clotted cream. Be sure to book a reservation though, as they fill up fast.
6. CLOCKWORK Champagne & Cocktails
100 Front St. W.
Fairmont Royal York has been providing an afternoon tea service to guests since it opened in 1929. With certified tea sommeliers on hand with information about climate, location and the picking process, aficionados and beginners will feel at home learning about the history of tea drinking from the comfort of CLOCKWORK Champagne & Cocktails, the hotel's swanky lobby bar. Classic finger sandwiches like cucumber and cream cheese are on the menu, but additions like soft slider buns bring a modern update to this quintessential spot.
7. Omni King Edward Hotel
37 King St. E.
The Omni King Edward Hotel has been offering afternoon tea service for over a century. The main floor Victoria Restaurant has an elegant, historic aesthetic that makes it a thoroughly appropriate setting for enjoying the classic English tradition. Served Friday to Sunday, this experience features the requisite scones served with Devonshire cream and house-made strawberry jam, along with savoury finger sandwiches like peppered beef with watercress. Sloane Fine Tea makes a blend specially for the hotel.
8. Windsor Arms
18 St. Thomas St.
Spanning three cozy rooms, tea service at the Windsor Arms offers a more intimate experience complemented by the charm of the building’s long history. A tea service has been served here since 1927 and the offerings retain the traditional charm you’d expect, but the menu mixes classics with updated twists like wasabi sour cream and salmon sandwiches. High tea is $75 pp Friday – Sunday, but if you book Monday – Thursday, you can enjoy a selection of loose leaf teas, handcrafted pastries and English scones for only $55. Now, that's classy.
9. Old Mill Toronto
21 Old Mill Rd., Etobicoke
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A tea room with a view, this Etobicoke gem promises a quaint afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of downtown city living. A luxury event space, historic restaurant and tea garden, Old Mill Toronto is always an elegant option for afternoon tea and other dining delights. From the comfort of their Terrace Room, guests can enjoy a selection of Sloane Tea, before digging into white cheddar scones, quiche and roast beef on a brioche bun — all while gazing out onto a pretty little courtyard.
10. Astor Lounge at The St. Regis Toronto
325 Bay St.
Relaxed coffee shop by day, swanky bar with a sunset sabrage ritual by night: It's fair to say that the Astor Lounge at The St. Regis hotel is a chameleon. And that's not all. Come the weekend, you'll find the lobby-level lounge — named after Caroline Astor, the matriarch of the Astor family who founded St. Regis Hotels in 1904 — transformed into a hub for high tea. The quintessential tea tradition is honoured with a selection of in-house pastries, sandwiches and premium darjeeling, oolong and jasmine tea blends. The Traditional Afternoon Tea Experience ($77 per person) is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. by reservation only on OpenTable.
11. Bampot Bohemian House of Tea
201 Harbord St.
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If you're looking for a less traditional option, Bampot on Harbord offers a great range of vegetarian and vegan (and gluten-free) food options to go with all that tea. While you won't get waiter service, it does boast the "highest concentration of pillows and teapots in all of Toronto" — plus, there are board games to round out your visit. Ownership recently changed hands, and as of November 2021, Alex Moore has been paying his staff a living wage and trying to create a "living room for people who didn’t have living rooms." In addition to tea, salad and sanwiches, Bampot Bohemian House of Tea (open Wednesday to Sundays) will be hosting some community events, with live music and art nights scheduled for April.