Prepare to pour and pick up those pinky fingers and indulge in the refined custom of tea service. While the terms Afternoon Tea and High Tea have become muddled, thanks to Vancouver’s many tea rooms you can enjoy a variety of interpretations of the tradition. Whether you are treating your deserving mother or grandmother, or craving a tower of triangle sandwiches and cream-smothered scones, raise your china cup of Earl Grey to being in one of the nation’s finest cities for high tea. Here’s where you’ll find the best high tea in Vancouver.
The Fairmont’s high tea is truly Her Royal Highness of tea service in Vancouver. Steeped in the English tradition, the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s signature tea includes their fine tea blends, finger sandwiches, and sweet treats. A children’s “Bubblegum” tea will delight the younger set, while those of age may opt for the addition of champagne.
Address: 900 W Georgia Street
Variety and indulgence are the key words for the tea services offered at The Urban Tea Merchant. From a sumptuous Signature three-tier tea that includes “butter poached lobster with saffron pearls and torchon de foie gras with ‘French Earl Grey’ fig compote,” to an even more luxurious champagne and caviar service, tea lovers are sure to find a selection to fit their fancy (and their budget; a more restrained “Petite” tea service is available for a lighter experience).
Address: 1070 West Georgia Street
Breaking with tradition, the tea includes a large croissant split to share.
The restaurant at Vancouver’s iconic VanDusen Gardens came later to the tea party, however their affordable “proper” tea is definitely noteworthy. Tea for two is priced at $28 (what many of the city’s tea rooms charge for just one) and includes all the trimmings, and the incomparable view of VanDusen’s Livingstone Lake and Woodland Garden in a relaxed setting.
Address: 5251 Oak Street
Photo: Rick Chung / Flickr
Though the Shangri-La Hotel’s Xi Shi Lounge focuses on comfort fare with an Asian bent, for tea time they pay homage to all things deliciously Canadian. Their elegant tea includes bites like Montreal Smoked Meat on Rye and Nova Scotia Lobster sandwiches, and sweets such as Maple donuts, Nanaimo Bars, and butter tarts.
Address: 1128 W Georgia Street
One of Vancouver’s most delectable bakeries serves afternoon tea in traditional, light, and children’s options Wednesdays through Sundays at their original Dunbar location. Sip on pours from a pot of their custom blended tea, and nibble on “wee” scones and their quiche tarts. Don’t you dare leave without at least their signature Dunbar for a sweet to-go treat for later.
Address: 4321 Dunbar
Popular among the bride- and mama-to-be set, this Yaletown bakery and tea shop blends elegant afternoon tea with a pinch of classical sensibility and a smidge of Asian influence. (Take note of the servers’ outfits, and the Hello Kitty pink vibe!) Located inside a restored Queen Anne Victorian heritage home, Patisserie Für Elise definitely packs the girly charm into their afternoon tea.
Address: 847 Hamilton Street
Once you’ve decided to experience high tea at the Secret Garden, your next big choice is going to have to be which of the many teas on their extensive list you’re going to sip on. The Kerrisdale tea house’s signature tea service includes all sorts of sweet and savoury items; don’t fear if you can’t finish them all, they will pack them up to go for you to enjoy later at home.
Address: 5559 West Blvd
Featured Image: Rick Chung / Flickr