You might think of afternoon tea—tea with a light repast of sandwiches, pastries, scones, and sweets—as a quintessentially elegant British tradition that occurs daily in fine houses like the fictional Downton Abbey or the Ritz in London, miles, and worlds, away from Vancouver, British Columbia. But this old tradition has been enjoying a renaissance in Vancouver over the last several years. The top spots to have a spot of afternoon tea in Vancouver have modeled their service on classic European afternoon teas but add their own unique, regional flavor to this legendary afternoon break, making the experience elegant and hip at the same time.
The best spots for afternoon tea in Vancouver vary in setting and price, but they all share one thing in common: delicious tea and gourmet goodies for two or more people. Share afternoon tea with friends and family or make it part of your special occasion celebrations; it's a great choice for birthdays, special events, and Mother's Day.
Arguably the most elegant afternoon tea in Vancouver, Afternoon Tea at the Castle is a tradition at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and a real treat for traditional "high tea" aficionados and Anglophiles. The tea service includes exclusively blended Fairmont teas, petite sandwiches, pastries, house-made scones, and fresh strawberries with Devonshire cream. It's a wonderful experience, but it's also one of the more expensive Vancouver teas.
Afternoon Tea at the Castle also has a special pedigree when it comes to tea services: The most famous tea service in British Columbia is the afternoon tea at their sister hotel in Victoria, the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
Truffles Cafe has a more modest interior than the other spots on this list, but its location is top-notch: It's located inside the Visitor's Centre at the VanDusen Botanical Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in British Columbia. Have tea overlooking VanDusen's Livingstone Lake with a tea service that includes sandwiches and panini, sweet and savory scones (plus honey farmed from VanDusen's own bees), coconut macaroons, shortbread cookies, French macarons, and petit-fours. Don't miss the VanDusen private-label black tea, which was specially blended for the garden in honor of the visit of HRH Duchess of Cornwall in 2010.
One of the hottest spots for afternoon tea in Vancouver is the Adonia Tea House in Kerrisdale. Patterned on traditional English teas, visitors can choose either the full afternoon tea, which comes with finger sandwiches, scones, and fresh-baked pastries or the mini afternoon tea.
Located in Yaletown in a Queen Anne Victorian heritage home, Patisserie Fur Elise is a tea salon that will appeal to folks who like their tea service ultra-feminine and dainty. Afternoon tea here includes savories and sweets plus housemade conﬁture and local berry honey from British Columbia.
Afternoon tea at TWG Tea Salon has a West (Canadian) Coast twist: It includes such offerings as Japanese miso maple sablefish, sencha-infused scallop tempura roll, lemon bush tea infused mousse tart, and blend of green teas.