It’s ‘celebrate everything’ season. Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays — and let’s not forget the bridal showers, stags and stagettes, and baby showers that are likely filling up your calendar. Celebrate your special occasions over afternoon or high tea (and maybe a glass of bubbly) at one of Vancouver’s unique tea houses! Tea cakes, anyone?
Going for tea is possibly my favourite thing to do. Not just going for what my British partner would call a ‘cuppa’, but the Victorian tradition his home country created: afternoon tea. It’s a lovely way to be with friends or celebrate special occasions. You get a feast of (for example) savoury scones, crustless cucumber sandwiches, decadent treats, and a pot of whatever lovely tea strikes your fancy — all prettily and creatively displayed on a three tiered tray and in a fine china cup. And not just for omnivores like myself, but also for the vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free eaters out there.
The experience of afternoon or high tea will make you feel sophisticated, elegant and relaxed. Even a little royal. Here are some of my favourite Vancouver tea salons, plus some that I haven’t yet had a chance to try!*
*V = Vegetarian | VG = Vegan | GF = Gluten-free
Kerrisdale’s Adonia Tea House is offering an authentic afternoon tea experience in an elegant setting. With full tea for the hungry and half-tea for the peckish, Adonia also has a Royal option for those looking to enjoy an adult beverage. Modified menu options are available for dietary restrictions (vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free). V / VG / GF
Address: 2057 West 41st Avenue (Kerrisdale)
Top Tea Tip: Make a reservation! Afternoon tea is a popular social activity in Vancouver. Reservations are especially important to make for groups so that the tea salon can best accommodate the number of people attending your just because or special occasions.
With a deconstructed twist on how afternoon tea is served, H Tasting Lounge presents their east-west themed afternoon tea in jewelry boxes and a golden ferris wheel at The Westin Bayshore Hotel in Coal Harbour. Keeping in the theme of decadent indulgence, consider having a cocktail with your tea.
Address: 1601 Bayshore Drive (Coal Harbour)
Located in the luxury haven that is the Parq Vancouver hotel, Honey Salt‘s afternoon tea reflects the restaurant’s contemporary yet warm farm-to-table atmosphere. The Four Points Tier afternoon tea option features the addition of the Honey Salt ‘Mini’ Market for an extra $10. TWG Teas round out the experience.
Address: 39 Smithe Street (Stadium District)
Offering a healthy, scrumptious feast for the senses, Indigo Age Cafe has taken high tea to the next level with its plant-based and gluten-free spin on the Victorian tradition. Pairing organic, blended teas with their decadent raw-food offering, this cafe is opening people’s minds to raw vegan cuisine. V / VG / GF
Address: 436 Richards Street (Gastown)
Top Tea Tip: Arrive with an empty stomach. Afternoon and high tea are essentially a meal; you will not leave hungry!
Experience afternoon tea with some French je ne sais quoi at macaron paradise Ladurée‘s Parisian style tea rooms on Robson Street and in Holt Renfrew. Featuring the classic macarons on the top tier of the serving tray, this experience can be elevated even more by making it a champagne tea. Oui, oui, Paris!
Address: 1141 Robson Street (West End/Coal Harbour) Holt Renfrew (Downtown)
La Petite Cuillère is a unique tea house located in Vancouver’s hip and cozy Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. Their food menu is tea inspired and keeps up with Victorian tradition while incorporating flavours and modifications to accommodate the more contemporary palates and dietary restrictions of locals and visitors. V / VG / GF
Address: 55 Kingsway (Mount Pleasant)
As the name would suggest, Neverland Tea Salon is a place of whimsy, serving up a decadent high tea experience in the heart of Kitsilano. The kids menu is also appropriately named for everyone’s favourite fairy, Tinkerbell. Their full high tea can be modified to accommodate dietary restrictions, and there’s also a Bubbly High Tea for when you’re feeling a little extra. V / VG / GF
Address: 3066 W Broadway
Four words: Chocolate Laboratory Afternoon Tea. This is an offering clearly after my own chocolate-loving heart. Located in the iconic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Notch8 recently launched this cocoa-twist on afternoon tea. The savouries and sweets are all infused with chocolate and look as decadent as they likely taste.
Address: 900 West Georgia Street (Downtown)
Specializing in French pastry, sweet treats, and afternoon tea, Pâtisserie Für Elise is trendy Yaletown‘s place for afternoon tea and macarons. A tea lover’s quiet oasis amidst the busy city, this quaint spot is located in a Queen Anne-style Victorian heritage house that has been in Vancouver since 1893.
Address: 847 Hamilton Street (Yaletown)
Top Tea Tip: Afternoon tea is kid-friendly! When making your reservation, make sure to let the tea salon that you will have xx children with you, and inquire about their kids’ menu.
I have been going for high tea at Secret Garden Tea Company in Kerrisdale for longer than I care to admit. Each teacup and saucer pair is unique, and their scones and chocolate sweets are my kryptonite. They recently launched their vegan high tea to complement the traditional, gluten-free, and vegetarian offerings. V / VG / GF
Address: 2138 W. 40th Avenue (Kerrisdale)
Truffles Kitchen offers its afternoon tea in its ideal location in the Visitor Centre at VanDusen Botanical Garden. Work up an appetite or walk off your savouries and sweets by walking around the gardens. Not a bad way to spend a few hours while exploring the city, hmm?
Address: 5151 Oak Street (Oakridge)
TWG Tea‘s location between the Downtown core and Coal Harbour makes for the ideal way to start or wind down day of exploring the city. With it’s incredible selection of teas, TWG offers tasty afternoon tea in an intimate setting that will make you feel like you’re in England.
Address: 1070 W Georgia St (Downtown/Coal Harbour)
Share your #VeryVancouver afternoon tea experience with us by tagging @inside_vancouver on Instagram!