We have been traipsing all over Toronto for a taste of high tea inside some of the best hotels in the city on The hug Tea Tour. Leaving no sandwich unturned or warm scone uneaten, we have sampled our way through the city. We were thrilled to find out that The Ritz Carlton, Toronto had recently begun serving afternoon tea - so we booked ourselves in for a visit.
My sister Amy and I decided to treat our Mom to a fancy afternoon tea and we thought what better place than the Ritz Carlton in Toronto. Tea is served in the Deq Lounge and Terrace near the back at the hotel. I wasn't aware that the Ritz was doing an afternoon tea until I got an email about it for Mother's Day. It seems like it is a regular thing and has been for the past six months or so. They will continue serving it every Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 PM, reservations are recommended. It was quite full for the Saturday before Mother's Day and Sunday itself was already fully booked. I'm sure it's a bit slower any other weekend, but because the window of time is so small - you should call ahead.
Afternoon Tea is $38 per person. Not-So-Classic Tea includes a cocktail to start for $48 per person. We chose The Sparkling Berry Bramble made with blackberries, citrus, sparkling wine and a sprig of mint (left). Our second cocktail was an ice cold Wine Spritzer (right).
The Ritz Carlton uses these pre-packaged bags, which I don't recall being loose leaf as we weren't equipped with a strainer at our table. I do enjoy the taste and experience of loose leaf tea that some of the other hotels provide. Maybe they'll change it in the future and offer an even bigger variety. They did however, have a half-filled thermidor chest for us to smell all the different teas before choosing.
The bar sent over a complimentary and refreshing cranberry spritzer to start in these very pretty stemless flutes
Warm quiche tart with a dollop of sour cream and a nice flaky crust
The assortment of savoury sandwiches (smoked salmon, cucumber, egg salad) plus a raisin scone (above). The ratio of savoury to sweet was definitely tilted towards the latter. The desserts were very well-executed but I did find myself craving a few more fancier sandwiches - but the presentation at The Ritz can't be beat. Everything arrived in a modern round little bookshelf. The sweets included a pistachio macaron, chocolate madeline, a mini red velvet cupcake, white chocolate truffle, chocolate raspberry cake and croquembouche. The pastry chef really outdid herself on this one and deserves a round of high-fives. The strategy here is take a bite out of everything because it's almost impossible to finish it all.
My husband Paul is one of four boys and brought his Mom along for an afternoon with the girls. It was mainly women at afternoon tea, but it's such a gourmet experience that guys should not feel limited from attending too(because you're just depriving yourself!).
So how did The Ritz Carlton compare to other afternoon tea spots in Toronto? Well it's the clear winner for best desserts, best cocktails, best presentation, best quiche. The King Edward Hotel still holds the prize for best scones. Red Tea Box is best for an Asian-inspired bento box tea experience. Best sandwiches go to The Royal York Hotel's Royal Tea Menu (which is an upgrade). Best loose-leaf tea selection and most innovative sushi-roll sandwiches goes to The Windsor Arms Hotel. I can't wait to see what The Four Seasons and Shangri-La come up with later this year...
Afternoon Tea at The Ritz Carlton, Toronto
Saturdays & Sundays 2-4 PM
181 Wellington Street, at The Deq Lounge & Terrace
Looking for a place to go for Afternoon Tea in Toronto? Read more of our reviews from The hug Tea Tour!