Afternoon Tea at The Palm Court at The Plaza in New York City
Fairytales do come true. Ok, well maybe you won’t meet your Prince Charming or Snow White, but you will be treated like a King and Queen if you attend Afternoon Tea at The Plaza in the famed Palm Court in New York City.
If you’re traveling to The Big Apple, there’s nothing more iconic than doing Tea at The Plaza Hotel, situated across from beautiful Central Park.
Especially if you spent the morning enjoying a scenic walk around legendary Central Park, you’re sure to have worked up quite an appetite.
The Plaza is the granddaddy of them all. In fact, there’s a reason most agree Afternoon Tea here is still the number one place in America for this experience. Seeing that The Palm Court opened in 1907, and they have been doing the traditional English High Tea for 115 years, you can see why it still holds the test of time.
It truly is the epitome of tradition, service, and of course delicious fare. Not to mention thee most grand and stunning setting.
The Plaza originally opened in 1912, and through a few name changes over the century, it became a Fairmont Hotel in 1996. Then, in 2013, renowned architect Thierry Despont renovated The Palm Court to its vintage look; including, a soaring stained-glass dome, reminiscent of the original built back in 1907.
The room is filled with lush potted palms, and ceiling-high palm trees, thus where it got its name. Along with fragrant orchids, and many other pretty flowers, marble columns, and of course a magnificent chandelier. It really is an amazing room.
But let me talk about the fare. This is more than just sandwiches, snacks, and desserts. These are carefully prepared delicacies, skillfully and meticulously made by an award-winning kitchen. Those desserts are an array of treats filled with sophistication and charm, with a little playfulness thrown in by Executive Pastry Chef, Matthew Lambie.
The food is fantastic but let’s not forget the star, after all, the tea. A 25-variety collection of teas by Palais des Thés tea and the true masters serving it. Yes, of course, the service here is something special, but their knowledge of the teas and the infusions they create just add to the experience.
There are three “Teas” to choose from. The Manhattan Tea, the Signature Tea which is often a Seasonal Special, and the Grand Imperial Tea.
I was fortunate to Savor the “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Tea celebrating the hit Amazon show’s Season 4 premiere, which was offered for a very limited time. It included two Reuben Sandwiches: Hot pastrami with Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing on marble rye. Deviled Egg: Red beet egg salad with micro greens. Cucumber Sandwich: Pickled cucumbers with green goddess mayo on white bread. Braised Shredded Chicken Sandwich with herb mayo and scallions on rye.
Freshly baked warm Scones with Devonshire cream, yuzu & lemon curd, and house-made preserves. And those Pastries & Sweets… Black & White Macaron Cookie, “Lekach” Honey Spice Cake, Pink Choux Hat (a la crème), Chocolate Nutella Babka Cheesecake and Yuza & Lemon Meringue Pie.
My wife Nicole enjoyed their vegetarian option. They simply swapped out my meat sandwiches for all vegetarian ones. Including Cucumber Sandwiches, and a Honey Ricotta with pesto, baby kale & walnut on rye.
Her Pastries & Sweets consisted of a Lavender Macaron: Lavender white chocolate ganache, with blackcurrant pearls. Strawberry & Cream Delice: Strawberry & Fromage blanc mousseline, strawberry & rhubarb compote, and pistachio dacquoise cake. Lemon Verbena Egg Custard: Rooibos des Vahines tea jelly, almond pain de gene cake, and preserved apricot. Chocolate Manjari Clack Forest Sable: Dark chocolate cherry custard, preserved sour cherry, and Tahitian vanilla cream. Passion Fruit & Banana Cremeux: Banana & passion fruit cream, green tea coconut shortbread, and passion fruit pearls.
They even have a gluten-free option available as well. Which normally we would choose, but come on, this was the place to cheat a bit, ok, a lot. At least, they have everyone covered these days if you choose.
For our tea, thanks to our incredible server Kazi, who by the way helped make this the phenomenal experience that it was, we went with an infused tea blend, thanks to his suggestion. Which featured the Tropical Garden. There’s something so special about a high-quality, wonderful tea while eating scones covered in Devonshire cream.
What really made this even more special, is my social media pictures and a description of our visit had close family friends book reservations for a few weeks later as they too were coming to Manhattan.
Gina and Angelina also had the pleasure to have Kazi serve them. Along with runner Kayin. I’m not sure if it was my heads up to The Plaza, but chances are it was just what they do as you would expect, taking their service to another level.
Kazi really adored them both, as they received a little present of cotton candy and a glass of Duval-Leroy Rose Prestige Champagne. We didn’t even get that extra treat. They both really impressed the girls so very much.
Those weren’t the only two that impressed them. The management team also did. Sugar who was recently promoted went above and beyond, as did Caitlyn. So impressed by all, both Gina and Angelina returned the next morning to do an early breakfast. Also, we’ve had many friends, and many of my followers even go now.
Afternoon Tea for all of us was simply a phenomenal experience. As you can see, you couldn’t take the smiles off any of our faces the entire time at The Plaza. Yes, the food, the ambiance, but the top-notch and genuine staff of Palm Court.
It’s not just a meal or lunch. It’s an opportunity to step back in time, to be a part of history in ways. That feeling of being a New York socialite over a hundred years ago. It’s like playing the part that so many have in movies and television. Except it’s for real.
Lastly, I heard people tell us it’s expensive, and yes, to many it is. However, there are times when you need to splurge, to treat yourself. For Nicole and me, it was our Wedding Anniversary, for Gina and Angelina, it was a special Mother-Daughter trip. Yet, we all will return “just because.” I can’t stress enough; that you should do the same. It is an Experience that will last a lifetime… one you deserve to have.
Hopefully next visit, we’ll have the opportunity to stay at The Plaza and I’ll get the chance to share with you all the experience of being a hotel guest there.
Afternoon Tea is served from 10:30am until 4:00pm daily.
The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel
Fifth Avenue at Central Park South
New York, NY 10019