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Act like royalty: Sip afternoon tea at these 2 Toronto landmark hotels

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If you’re tired of Toronto’s bacon-and-egg weekend brunch lineup scene, a fancier way to “do” weekend mornings is the British tradition of afternoon tea.

The tradition is a social one traditionally for the wealthy class, where people gather for tea, sandwiches, sweets, and scones. It’s sometimes confused with high tea, which is traditionally a different meal, served in the evening and associated with the working class.

Marking the occasion of a straight 72 hours off your hectic job is easy when you live in the downtown core, with two historic Toronto hotels offering afternoon tea just steps away.

Here’s what they offer.

The Library Bar at the Fairmont Royal York
100 Front Street W

Photo courtesy | Fairmont Royal York website

The dress code is casual here, but we’d recommend dressing up a bit and pretending you’re living in another era.

The hotel has been serving delicate sandwiches, scrumptious pastries and (obviously) tea, all on fine china, since 1929, fit for a queen or a king. And right now, you’re both.

Highlights of the $50 menu include sandwiches such as lobster profiterole and chicken with curry, apples, and raisins. And of course, there are those fancy English cucumber sandwiches that are a mandatory part of high tea.

The tea selection is vast, suiting everyone’s tastes. Common players such as Earl Grey, Chamomile, and Orange Pekoe are available, but then there are flavours such as Bubblegum, Cherry and chocolate chip banana bread!

And if you don’t drink tea, not to worry — the menu has more than ten sparkly numbers – champagne and otherwise.

Afternoon tea served both Saturdays and Sundays, with seatings at noon, 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Omni King Edward Hotel
37 King St E

Photo courtesy | Omni Hotels & Resorts website

The King Eddie is a gorgeous venue to spend some time over a luxurious afternoon tea, and the options are plenty.

Some stand-out finger sandwiches on the $49 menu are foraged mushroom leek and corn rillette on cornbread blini and roasted squash, and the kale and lentil with cider vinaigrette.

The sweets are nothing to scoff at either … the sounds-mouthwatering pumpkin chai cheesecake with pumpkin seed brittle is calling our name.

The tea selections include the hotel’s very own exclusive King Edward blend as well as peaches and cream, Marrakesh mint, and chocolate truffle.

Speaking of chocolate, there’s a limited-time chocolate tea menu, offered between November 3 to November 26.

Chocolate truffle tea is on the menu of course, but so is mint chocolate and cocoa chai chai.

Pastries, all starring chocolate, are also featured, such as chocolate ganache tart with chestnut chantilly and beet red chilli spiced chocolate madeleine.

If you have little ones, the hotel offers a tea menu for kids 12 and younger. The Jester’s Tea menu offers a grilled cheese sandwich and several sweets, with the Nutella tidbits jelly roll lollipop sounding a little unreal.

After all that eating, there is the option to spend a night at the hotel. There is a package including afternoon tea and a stay between Friday and Sunday, starting at around $300/night.

Afternoon tea served Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, between 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.


Diana Pereira

Diana Pereira is a journalist, a university journalism teacher, a world traveller, a fair-weather kayaker, and a frequent bruncher. She's working on her mermaid status, travelling to as many countries as she can that include a body of water and when she's home in Toronto, you can find her in a kayak on Lake Ontario.