Clocking in at $70+ per person, the tea service at The Palm Court in The Plaza hotel is iconic. It’s what most people think of when they think of tea in NYC. You’re not just paying for tea, scones and an assortment of sweets and savories, you’re also paying for the ambiance, for the service, for walking through the carpeted lobby and dining beneath the glass ceiling and hanging potted palms. Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited by fellow blogger and friend, Rosemary from NYC, Style & a little Cannoli to tea here.
The seating is limited, so you’ll definitely want to make a reservation if you go. Close, without being as crowded as some meatpacking locales, the best seating is either at the bar beneath the stained glass ceiling or along the walls where the cushioned seats provide a more relaxing space to observe fellow diners.
The Palm Court offers a wide array of teas without overwhelming you with options. I went for the Big Ben English Breakfast Tea, which was promptly brought out along with our tiered tea tray. You might have already read, but the tea pots seem to be normally sized, but somehow I was able to pour at least five cups of tea out of it. Must be time lord magic. The sheer volume of customers at The Palm Court means that they must run like a well-oiled machine, and they do. Pot after pot is brought out from the kitchen, and never ever is a drop spilled as waiters deftly dodge trays and guests as they snap photos and lean back to gaze at the ceiling.
The New Yorker Tea – which is what we had – features an array of sandwiches and savories, scones, and pastries and sweets. The scones are served with double Devonshire cream, lemon curd, and raspberry preserves. I always rate my tea based on how tasty the scones and cream are, and these were make-a-mess good. It’s worth noting that The Palm Court also offers an Eloise Tea, a Champagne Tea, as well as some gluten free options.
The sandwiches offered include: Deviled Organic Eggs, Turkey, English Cucumber, Roasted Chicken, and Proscuitto Cotto. To be quite honest, I don’t think these were all on the plate – it’s possible that the sandwiches may differ slightly depending on the day but in case you’re curious, I’ve linked the menu here. My favorite was the smoked salmon roll and the roast beef with horseradish, I could just eat a larger sized version of them and be a happy camper.
The sweets were my favorite – a fresh fruit tart, macaroon, eclair, cheesecake, parfait, and chocolate cake were the perfect ending to the tea. We couldn’t even eat them all, we were so full! But I especially loved the fruit tarts, the shell was so light and buttery, I can’t help but wish they sold them separately.
Overall it was such a lovely tea. Normally I would balk at the price, but after experiencing the tea myself I plan on bringing my mother for mother’s day. It out-prices some of the higher end teas in Manhattan, but again, you’re paying for more than just the food – and the food was good – you’re also paying for an experience, a memory. My mom has always wanted to go to tea here, so for me the cost will be well worth it.
The Palm Court
5th Avenue at Central Park South
New York, NY 10019