It’s been quite a few years since I’ve had tea at Alice’s Tea Cup, so when we went to New York a few days ago, I made plans for my boyfriend and I to have breakfast there. It’s a short distance from Mandarin Oriental Hotel, so that made it very convenient for us. I warned my boyfriend beforehand to stock up on his estrogen before entering the premises as, this place is really girlie. I am serious. You may find yourself peeing glitter, and you know the only other place where that may occur is at Disney World. End public service announcement.
This is a charming tea room that is perfect for tea lovers, best friends looking to catch up, and for mothers and daughters. The theme, of course, is Alice in Wonderland. This location is the first Alice’s Tea Cup; they have since opened two other locations on the Upper East Side. The furniture is shabby chic, the tea cups are all mismatched and most likely acquired from a day of thrifting, the drinking glasses are preserve jars. Ambiance is cute and homey.
When you enter Alice’s, the main storefront is a little area that sells tea ware, loose leaf tea by the 2 ounces, fairy wings, glitter, and to-go food items such as cupcakes and scones. If you’ve come for table service, a hostess will seat you in the dining area. There aren’t many tables—I’m estimating it may seat 25-30 people. As this venue is very popular, I would recommend making reservations. Wait times on the weekend can be an hour or more. However, earlier meal times are not as popular and when we visited at nearly noon on a Wednesday, we were seated immediately. As mentioned earlier, this is a popular place for children, so keep that in mind if you are looking for a place to converse—you may have to speak with a raised voice.
Alice’s Tea Cup is famous for their scones. The flavors change daily. When we came here, the offerings included pumpkin, strawberry, lemon, cranberry cornmeal, peanut butter and chocolate, and one other flavor that I can’t recall. They are fairly generous in size. Two scones are $6, but if you order a pot of tea, then it’s $10. They offer soups, salads, and sandwiches, as well as a prix fixe tea menu. It’s very tempting to order the prix fixe but I am telling you, it is entirely too much food.
Here’s what I recommend: a pot of tea, which the server said is about 3 cups, can easily serve two people. Their tea list is fairly extensive, but you can’t go wrong with Alice’s Tea. If you are a chai person, you will be disappointed. It’s made with milk and honey but the spices are fairly weak.
If you are a party of two, order a pot of tea to share, 2 scones, and then a sandwich. This should be enough food, but if not, you can always order more. They also have the “light fare”, which is soup and half sandwich or salad for $13. This is more than enough food for one person without going overboard. When we dined here, we each ordered a pot of tea, a sandwich each, and an order of scones. There was enough tea left over for me to fill my aluminum water bottle and a scone for me to take home. The sandwiches were tasty. I recommend the curry chicken and the lapsang souchong smoked chicken.
For the two of us, the amount came to be under $45 before gratuity. Service was polite and prompt. There was a billing snafu where they overcharged us for our meal to the amount of $450 but after pointing it out to them, the charges were reversed and they apologized for the error. Other than that, I really enjoyed my lunch here and recommend that you stop on by if you’re ever in the city.