Jan 31, 2024 - Food and Drink

Best afternoon tea spots in the D.C. area

A woman sits at a white tablecloth table at the St. Regis with afternoon tea

Tea at the St. Regis. Photo: courtesy of the St. Regis

Sun's out, pinkies up— it's afternoon tea season in Washington.

Why it matters: British-style tea service is trending in D.C. and we can't get enough scones, finger sandwiches, and bite-size sweets.

Between the lines: There are a bunch of fancy hotel teas with high prices to match, though more casual places are steeping it up.

Be smart: Teas can book out a month in advance. Reserve ahead! Especially as cherry blossom tea season starts soon.

What's brewing: Teas, ranked from lovely to over-the-top.

🌷 Zinnia (Silver Spring): A welcomed, more wallet-friendly newcomer to the tea scene, this restaurant —housed in a century-old dining space—serves an inviting set of tea sandwiches and sweets.

  • Weekends only. Reservations, $60 adults ($70 with Champagne), $40 kids.

🥮 Ladurée (Georgetown, Union Market, Bethesda): The chic French bakery of macaron fame serves a regular "tea time" menu for adults and kids with finger sandwiches and sweets, plus macaron gift boxes.

  • Daily. $60 for adults, $35 kids

🖼️ Hillwood Estate (Upper Northwest): Tea for twelve? Groups (10+) can arrange family-style tea service at the former home of art collector and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post.

  • Call for reservations, $38 per person plus upcharges.

💤 Art and Soul (Capitol Hill): CBD teas from Elevated Tea Co. are just one modern twist on the service, with optional add-ons like tea cocktails and wagyu tartare.

Tea service with cherry blossoms at The Waldorf Astoria DC
Tea under the clock tower. Photo: courtesy Waldorf Astoria

🦚 The Willard (Downtown): "Peacock Alley" tea at the classic hotel feels genteel — cue the live harp music — though optional bourbon pours liven things up.

  • Friday through Sunday. Reservations, $90 per adult, $65 kids.

💃 Kingbird at the Watergate (Foggy Bottom): The storied hotel serves a "swinging sixties" tea with retro eats and treats.

💎 Quadrant at the Ritz Carlton (West End): The whimsical Seven Reasons Group runs the Ritz's luxe lounge and its tea, so expect premium pours and chef-y twists.

🌸 The St. Regis (Downtown): Ultra-elegant and White House-adjacent, St. Regis serves fun themed teas like the current First Ladies service and a popular springtime cherry blossom tea — all with bites and Dammann Frères blends.

🕰️ Waldorf Astoria (Downtown): "Clocktower Tea" nods to the hotel's elegant lobby and its luxe tea service which is filled with fancy little sandwiches, scones, sweets, Rishi Teas, and optional Champagne add-ons. Cherry blossom tea starts soon.

  • Weekends only. Reservations (24 hours in advance), $90 per person.

👑 The Four Seasons (Georgetown): The queen of the scene specializes in artisanal Ikaati teas and legit royal sweets and savories like Battenberg cake and scones à la Buckingham Palace, courtesy of pastry chef AJ Thalakkat (previously of British Columbia's Empress Hotel).

  • Saturdays only. Reservations, $100 per person including a glass of bubbly.
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