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The best afternoon tea in Boston

Take a luxurious break with hot tea, tiny sandwiches, and sweet treats at the best spots for afternoon tea in Boston

By Linda Laban and Time Out Boston Staff |
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Afternoon tea
Photograph: Pixabay Afternoon tea

When you want to get your Downton Abbey on, or just have a fancy celebration, there are several options for a formal afternoon tea in Boston. Think hot tea, delicate sandwiches, and mini pastries served on tiered silver trays. For something less formal, there are casual spots offering an excellent cup of tea and pastry too. After a lovely tea service, be sure to take a stroll around one of the best parks in Boston, visit one of the best places to see art in Boston. If you prefer coffee over tea though, the best coffeeshops in Boston are sure to satisfy.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best afternoon tea in Boston

1
Mandarin Oriental, Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Maggie W.
Hotels

Mandarin Oriental, Boston

icon-location-pin Back Bay

Afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental is taken at tables in the lobby lounge by the fireplace, with windows looking onto bustling Boylston Street. The assortment of teas and bites changes seasonally; for instance, the autumn Harvest Tea includes cranberry scones and pumpkin spice cupcakes. Celebratory types can supplement with wine or bubbles.

2
Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
Restaurants, Tea rooms

Rowes Wharf Sea Grille

icon-location-pin Waterfront

This afternoon tea comes with one of the best views anywhere: Rowes Wharf Sea Grille is set on the harbor, overlooking the water. Seasonal sweet and savory offerings include the likes of vanilla bean scones and Boston Cream profiteroles. Tea selections complement the weather as well. Take it up a notch with "Tea-Tails" like the Green Tea Sparkler, which pairs green tea with peach liqueur, peach purée, and prosecco.

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3
Abigail’s Tea Room
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Beril E.
Museums, History

Abigail’s Tea Room

icon-location-pin Seaport District

After learning about the historic event at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, stick around for afternoon tea. You can try the actual tea blends that were thrown overboard during The Boston Tea Party. Named after Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams, the tearoom has beautiful waterside views. You don’t have to buy a museum ticket in order to enjoy tea. There’s an assortment of pastries and baked goods. Abigail’s Tea Platter includes a pot of Abigail’s blended tea and scones.

4
Courtyard at BPL
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Grace L.
Restaurants, Cafés

The Courtyard Restaurant at the Boston Public Library

icon-location-pin Back Bay

Take a pause for a peaceful afternoon tea retreat right in the heart of busy Boylston Street. The Boston Public Library’s 19th-century original building has an interior garden overlooked by its Courtyard Restaurant. Afternoon tea includes pots of fine loose-leaf teas, and the cake stand’s three tiers are delightfully laden with tiny tea sandwiches, fruit scones with thick whipped cream and lemon curd, and pretty tarts and cakes. Holiday tea is popular, requiring reservations.

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5
Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Dannie W.
Restaurants, Chinese

Sumiao Hunan Kitchen

icon-location-pin East Cambridge

This Hunanese restaurant in Kendall Square features a China-meets-Massachusetts tea program that includes locally blended Tea Forté teas plus Numi organic Yunan black or jasmine green teas. Add something sweet, such as the sweetened rice cakes or the snow fungus and pear soup, and you have a truly exotic tea experience.

6
L.A. Burdick Chocolates
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Cindy L.
Restaurants, Bakeries

L.A. Burdick Chocolates

icon-location-pin Back Bay

While this chocolate shop and café is known for its gorgeous cocoa products, fine pots of tea are given just as much attention as the superior hot chocolate. Choose from green, white, or black selections and pair with one of the pretty pastries—like the heady chocolate Harvard Square or the fragrant hazelnut-orange cake—all of which are made daily.

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7
Trident Booksellers & Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Tiffany L.
Restaurants, Coffee shops

Trident Booksellers & Café

icon-location-pin Back Bay

Few things are more delicious than a good book paired with a steaming pot of tea. Trident has both. Or perhaps you fancy picking up a real magazine to give your phone a rest? Hang out in this Back Bay bookseller’s café and choose from its excellent, extensive tea selection: treat yourself to the Iron Goddess oolong or Blueflower Earl Grey. Pair with a sandwich or something sweet, or don’t—tea is something to savor by itself sometimes.

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