There's hot tea, iced tea, tea lattes, along with hundreds of herbal, black, white, green, red, and chai teas. And then — of course — there's afternoon tea.
In England, the drinking of tea is not just something you do to welcome the morning or for a late-day pick-me-up. It's a social event for all classes, the bridge between morning and evening meals. Today, even stateside, afternoon tea — also known as high tea — has become a classy way to lunch or brunch, a "mini meal" in its own right.
For tea lovers, South Florida offers a variety of tearooms where you can sit back, sip, and relax. You just need to know where to look. Here, we've compiled a short list of the best spots to enjoy high tea in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
6. Yaxche Tea Room
14 S Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-865-7618.
Walk into the Yaxche Tea Room and positive messages like "manifest your dreams" and "no matter where you are there is always the potential to make it a spot of heaven" will
5. Vienna Cafe & Bistro
5724 S. Flamingo Road, Cooper City. Call 954-680-6599, or visit viennacafeandbistro.com.
If you plan ahead, this bistro establishment in Cooper City offers a traditional high tea that rivals the best of them (but reservations are required), complete with a menu that includes scones served with authentic Devonshire cream and jam. The three-tiered tray that arrives at your table also offers petit fours and fresh fruits. The tea itself is served on fine bone china, and rose petals decorate the white lace tablecloth for a beautiful added touch. High tea starts at $35 per person with a two-person minimum (and two-hour limit). Fancy a mimosa or two? You can make it a "Royal Tea" for $45 per person and receive high-tea service served with a split bottle of Champagne and orange juice.
4. Hidden Tea Secrets
6682 Parkside Drive, Parkland. Call 954-757-6512, or visit hiddenteasecrets.com.
This isn't just another tea lounge. Think of it more like a sanctuary for tea lovers. Located in a beautiful ivy-covered building, it looks like something straight out of the Secret Garden, living up to its name. Inside, the small shop serves up a delightful series of royal tea services set to the sounds of classical music. It starts with the Victorian, a full afternoon tea service served with a slice of quiche, soup, or salad and accompanied by a beautiful tiered tray with homemade buttermilk scones, lemon curd, or a fresh clotted cream as well as an assortment of finger sandwiches, seasonal fruit, and mini tea desserts. The Southern Lady offers a lighter affair, the same tea service minus the soup and quiche. For $29 per person, try them for a more relaxed Sunday brunch. Service includes the shop's full Victorian shebang, as well as a chilled glass of Champagne. Afterward, explore the shop for take-home teas, jellies, jams, and fine china.
3. Serenity Garden Tea House
316 Vallette Way, West Palm Beach. Call 561-655-3911, or visit serenitygardentea.com.
Located six blocks south of the Norton Museum on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach is Serenity Garden Tea House, a tiny wood house with a white picket fence and delightfully quaint interior that whisks you away to the English countryside (if only for a hot cup of tea). The place specializes in offering a formal high tea service, available from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Reservations are not required, but it's good to plan ahead. If you're lucky enough to grab a table without one, the high-tea menu is sure to please, a complete menu of sweet and savory treats presented by a staff that will treat you in a manner fit for royalty. Owner Audrey Farrelly is a native of Dublin, Ireland, and a hospitality veteran who ensures that everything — from the cup of homemade soup to a tiered high-tea tray filled with finger-sized foods like tuna, chicken, and herbed egg salad sandwiches, petit fours, cream puffs, macaroons, brownies, and mini cupcakes — is topnotch. The most authentic (and tasty) part: Farrelly's fresh-baked cranberry and orange scones presented with a small jar of clotted cream.
2. Let's Have Tea & British Marketplace
6923 Stirling Road, Davie. Call 954-584-8888, or visit letshavetearoom.com.
Located at the Shops at Sterling Place plaza in Davie, this authentic English tearoom offers the real-deal English tea experience. Just be sure to call ahead to make a reservation for
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1. Oscar's Tea Room & Gift Shop
1201 NE 26th St., Wilton Manors. Call 954-537-6011.
A pair of English gents, Craig and Kevin Ashdown, opened Oscar's Tea Room — named after their late Labrador retriever — in late 2013. The couple chose the quaint shop in Wilton Manors because it was one of the few spots at the time serving a good cup of tea. Today, they've taken it one step further, offering high tea served in true Brit fashion. Oscar's specializes in delivering an authentic experience served the proper way. Teapots arrive on silver trays with a bowl of sliced lemon. You'll sip tea from fine English china, set on tables draped in linen tablecloths and matching napkins. And that means no phones. There's no Wi-Fi here, as the proprietors prefer you to socialize (quietly, of course) the old-fashioned way. This little shop is stuffed with comfy sofas and shelves lined with tiny trinkets and knickknacks for a big dose of kitsch, which you can enjoy while you sip your tea and nibble homemade eats. Pair your tea service with tiny fresh-made sandwiches, mini quiches, and homemade desserts arranged on a tiered tower. Open until 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Oscar's serves wine and beer too. You won't find any coffee, however, not that you were even thinking about it. The shop has become a popular afternoon lunch spot, so it's best to go early — or make a reservation.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.