The Plaza Hotel

5th Avenue at Central Park South, New York, NY, 10019, USA.

Whether you are a tourist in the Big Apple, there on business, or indeed a local, Afternoon Tea at the Plaza is a grand New York tradition not to be missed.

Built in 1907, the Plaza itself is a majestic old building whose grandeur has well-withstood the test of time. Afternoon Tea is served in the opulent and luminous Palm Court Restaurant under its famous domed skylight and chandeliers amidst the striking marble columns. Live piano music, the hustle and bustle of noise, excitement and chatter greet you before you enter the room in anticipation of what you shall soon experience.Once seated at your table (our party of four opted for a booth) a quick glance across the spacious yet full room revealed it was predominantly filled with ladies of all ages. Throughout the room and at various tables there were seated three generations of women (presumably Grandma, Ma and Granddaughter) indulging in this tradition. Indeed, these little girls were dressed in laced frilly dresses, straw hats and white cotton gloves in what could have well been an Eloise look-a-like contest – adorable!

The Plaza offers its Afternoon Tea patrons a superb menu of assorted Afternoon Teas: The Classic, the New Yorker, Chocolate Tea and Eloise Tea. We ordered The New Yorker (with Tuscan Pear Rooibus Tea), The Chocolate Tea (with Tuscan Pear Rooibus Tea), The New Yorker (with Earl Grey Tea), The Classic (with Earl Grey Tea) and added champagne (brut and rose) and sherries.

Tea was served formally with our own ceramic pots of tea and accompanied with the traditional triple layered cake stands. Each bottom layer comprised of the savoury: Assorted gourmet sandwiches for the Classic, a mixture of gourmet sandwiches and mini buns for the New Yorker, and fruit, pretzels and marshmallows for the Chocolate Tea (to be dipped in the chocolate fondue). The savoury fillings included lavish ingredients such as lobster, caviar, smoked salmon, prosciutto, shaved red grapes and truffled quail egg salad – all scrumptious and delectable.

The middle layer of the cake stand comprised of scones: Served wrapped in napkins to keep them warm, they were fresh, fluffy and delicious as were the accompanying double cream, lemon curd and jam. The Chocolate Tea was also served with a Nutella hazelnut spread. The top layer of the cake stand comprised of various pastries, cakes, chocolates and sweets that would satisfy any connoisseur, each masterfully art-like in looks and taste.

The service by staff was formal and attentive but not intrusive, and despite being a booked-out Afternoon Tea session the staff was punctilious and gracious.

The quintessential afternoon tea experience. Exquisite and exceptional! Miss this experience at your own peril!

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