Thursday, May 24, 2012

The hug Tea Tour - Ritz Carlton, Toronto

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!


  1. Krista Schug-RinglandMay 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Yes, tea looks lovely. I did not try it when last there. I have been Tea-ing all about the city and this is getting my taste buds turning. Wonderful Piece!

  2. I think I would like to try high tea at Ritz-Carlton. Their desserts look delicious. I do have to say Windsor Arms is my favorite so far because of their sandwich roll ups.

  3. I think I have to try Ritz-Carlton next then after reading your post!!!
    To be honest, I am a crazy fan for high tea as well. I am also a blogger too and my blog "niche" is about high tea :) I must admit high tea is so hard to resist, especially if your family also enjoy having high tea! Check out my blog and we can share our thoughts

    From your pictures, Ritz-Carlton high tea offer varieties of desserts. they look delicious. I can't wait to try them all. I love the layout of your post too, it scannable for all readers. The pictures and your experience created credibility for reader as well. Thanks for the share

    I have been high tea-ing around Toronto as well and my favourite place for macaroons is actually MoRoCo cafe, Yorkville because I am a chocolate macaroons fan! The macaroons there melt in your mouth, its not too sweet but very rich in chocolate taste. I think you should give it a try and they also offer high tea in the afternoon too


  4. I went to the Ritz for high tea yesterday for the first time. I must say, the ambience of the hotel is really beautiful and classy, however, I was not too impressed with the high tea there or the service. They really skimped on sandwiches - only serving three tiny sandwiches that my girlfriend and I would liked to have eaten more. They also only served one scone each and the desserts were pretty but nothing to rave about. When we first sat down, I told our server that I coud not eat smoked salmon sandwiches (I'm expecting) and asked if the chef can prepare a different sandwich. The server's reply? "We can serve you guacamole and chips". ?!?! For such a high end hotel, is the chef not trained to deal with such simple special requests? I was very surprised at the server's response too. When do you start serving guac and chips at high tea? The 'alternative' sandwich that came out for me was bruschetta which was still a bit odd considering it's not a sandwich. All in all, I would not go back. And by the end of the meal, I was not full. Very disappointing. I've been to many high tea places in Toronto and this by far was the worst experience. Save your money for a better place.