Serenity Gardens
Anyone who's ever dissed British food has never sat down to an English cream tea, an entity exactly as decadent as it sounds, in a very proper way, of course. Or put it this way: An English cream tea makes you want to plunge your face directly into the dish of clotted cream, strawberry jam, lemon curd, and scones (a biscuity cookie-cake) and sort of, well, roll around in it. But you and the ladies who lunch at Serenity Gardens Tea House will have to keep your lascivious thoughts to yourselves, because the delicate frippery that decorates this old Florida house (the rosebud swags, the tea cozies, the demur, unmatched cups, the upholstered ball-and-claw chairs) would never stand for it. Nor would proprietor Sylvia Price, who has put together a sophisticated luncheon menu that ranges from Waldorf chicken salad and stuffed tomatoes to the full tea service ($17.75 per person, and you have to make a reservation) of petits fours, nibbles, and cucumber sammies. Price's array of teas, including organic greens and Earl Grey, is mind-boggling, but the one to try first is her homemade Chai, a wake-up call of a drink redolent of spices and orange rind.

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