Toronto spots that host casual high tea

Downton Abbey may have made having high tea all the rage, but you don’t have to dress like Countess Violet to tuck in for some creamy Earl Grey. There are plenty of cafés, shops, and restaurants across Toronto that are offering casual high tea experiences that are just as scrumptious as their fancier counterparts. Here are some places you can sip without having to put your pinkie up!

Kitten and the Bear

1574 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6R 1A6

This shop may be tiny, with room for only two parties at a time, but that just means that it has instant insider appeal. Their high tea comes with clotted cream and the two victuals that really make this place stand out: butter scones made with naturally cultured buttermilk from Quebec and homemade artisanal jams. Check out their sweet orange and honeyed whiskey marmalade for a truly unique teatime.

Hy-Tea Teahouse and Restaurant by the Lake

44-1295 Wharf St, Pickering, ON L1W 1A2

This teahouse is on the beautiful shores of Frenchman’s Bay in Pickering, with a bright and cozy maritime aesthetic. Come in for their high tea with scones, fruit, Devonshire cream, and finger sandwiches. But do stay for the rest of the menu, which features a Caribbean twist with items like jerk chicken, curry, and crab cakes. Don’t forget to try out their tea-infused cocktails like the Catalina Coconut, a mix of coconut rum, coconut tea, and homemade lemonade.

T-Buds Uptown Tea Lounge and Creperie

3343 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4N 2M6

T-Buds is the place to go if you want the full tea experience – here, you can get afternoon tea catered with a wide variety of dishes from wraps to salad to quiche, plus a chocolate-themed tea service. However, don’t forget to take advantage of the depth of tea knowledge on offer from their tea sommeliers. Try out a full tea tasting session with them, where you can learn more about the intricacies of this ancient beverage.

Old Mill Toronto

21 Old Mill Rd, Etobicoke, ON M8X 1G5

The Old Mill has been in the tea service game for over a century but don’t take that as a sign that they’re stuffy and stodgy. Afternoon tea guests not only get to savour special teas during their meal, but also get a box of Centennial Tea, their special house blend, as a gift to take home. Plus, they donate part of the money from their afternoon teas to Women’s Habitat, a local women’s shelter. You can sip some stellar blends with the knowledge that you’re also helping others build new lives.

The Victorian Garden Tea Room

313 Burnhamthorpe Rd, Etobicoke, ON M9B 2A2

At the Victorian Garden Tea Room, you can have high tea for yourself, with a partner, or with the whole family – this tea room offers both “regular” high tea and a special high tea option for children. The traditional fixings are all here, like scones, clotted cream and jam, but the kid-friendly options stand out, like “Bubblegum Blast” tea and gourmet hot chocolate.

The Old Curiosity Tea Shop

91 Main St N, Markham, ON L3P 1X7

You’ll need to make reservations when getting afternoon tea at the Old Curiosity Tea Shop, but the traditional English meals here sound like they’re worth it. Round out your tea, scones, cream, and cakes with a hearty serving of steak and kidney pie, welsh rarebit, or sticky toffee pudding. Considering that this shop has been voted Markham’s #1 tea room for three years in a row, you’ll win no matter which dish you pick.

Nicol's Pastry Shop

8633 Weston Rd, Vaughan, ON L4L 1A6

This family-run shop may be a wee trip out of the city, but its selection of made-daily pastries make it well worth the trip to Woodbridge. In addition to the usual cakes and pies, though, Nicol (daughter of the founder of Fabian’s Café in Scarborough) also bakes cannoli, rugelach, strudels, and more. The sweet sensations are on offer with their tea service as well, which includes finger sandwiches and mini pastries.

The 4th annual Toronto Tea Festival is coming up this weekend at the Toronto Reference Library. Whether you’re an aficionado who wants to learn more about authentic tea ceremonies or a new convert looking for ways to get your caffeine buzz on, this event is all about tea leaf love. Check out these vendors from across the GTA who will have their blissful brews on offer.
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