Looking for an adorable tea spot (not afternoon tea) in New York City that delivers on great tea, delectable sweets, friendly service, and comfortable seating? Here are my favorites.
Right in the middle of the block in Koreatown is Grace Street, a spacious cafe specializing in Asian desserts.
They make a lovely matcha latte that’s sweetened with honey, but isn’t overly sweet.
They are known for their hodduk (Korean doughnut) but the real draw for me is their shaved snow. The snow isn’t shaved ice, but rather more like shaved ice cream. It’s creamy and served with a scoop of red bean ice cream, sweet red beans, and mochi balls.
It’s a good spot for dessert and tea in the afternoon or after dinner.
INFO: Grace Street | 17 West 32nd Street | New York, NY 10001
I love Hi-Collar, a cute little Japanese cafe in the East Village where I usually go for lunch or an afternoon bite.
During the day they’re a tearoom serving savories, sweets, coffee, and tea. At night, it becomes a sake bar.
I’ve only gone during the day for food and tea and it never disappoints.
I usually get the super fluffy hot cakes or the omurice with tea.
The cafe is small, with only 11 seats, all at the bar. It’s a nice quiet spot in the middle of the afternoon.
Get there before 4PM if you want food.
INFO: Hi-Collar | 214 East 10th Street | New York, NY 10003 | 212. 777.7018
There are a few locations of Lady M in NYC and they’re my go-to for when I want a slice of cake.
My favorite is the Banana Mille-Feuille but the love affair with Lady M started with their Green Tea Mille Crepes (in the photo above). I loved it so much a mini mille crepe version was made.
Get a pot of tea with your slice of cake and it’s the perfect afternoon tea break.
Note: They add an 18% gratuity to all table service so no need to tip extra.
INFO: Lady M
Instead of crowded and noisy cafes with tables that are too close to each other, I much prefer the quiet and luxurious setting of hotel bars for tea breaks in the middle of the afternoon.
Tea isn’t on the bar menu, but it can be requested at this cozy lounge with comfy seating at The Surrey hotel’s Bar Pleiades on the Upper East Side.
The main reason to go is for their perfect madeleines, the same ones served at the restaurant Daniel. They’re served warm nestled in an origami napkin.
They’re best when eaten as soon as they land on the table. With tea, of course.
Go in the early afternoon for a quiet, relaxed tea break.
INFO: Bar Pleiades | 20 east 76th Street | New York, NY, 10021 | 212.772.2600
HARBS (all caps) is a Japanese cafe and bakery in Chelsea on the corner of 22nd and 9th Ave.
HARBS does cakes. That’s all you’ll find in the glass cases at the front of the shop. They do a lot of cream cakes, so if you love cream, you’ll love HARBS.
Cakes are made fresh daily, and once they’re sold out, they’re sold out. You can really see and taste the freshness with each cake.
The bakery is looks unassuming but once you head to the back you see exactly how big the space actually is.
There’s lots of comfortable seating and the service is very friendly — definitely a great spot to spend an afternoon chatting with friends over tea and cake.
INFO: HARBS | 198 Ninth Ave. | New York, NY 10011 | 646.336.6888
Chalait is a cafe that makes excellent matcha-based drinks. With a few locations in NYC, they have a lot of healthy food options on the menu.
The staff is very friendly and helpful so it’s a delightful place for lunch or an afternoon tea break.
Their biggest location with the most seating is their Hudson Street location where I sometimes partner with them to host matcha workshops.
Hungry for an early afternoon snack? This is what you need to do. Go to 220 Church Street.
Arcade Bakery is inside the lobby of an office building and it can be easy to miss.
Once inside, walk all the way down the hallway and you’ll see the bakery with very friendly people working behind the counter.
There isn’t a huge variety of baked goods but everything is very good.
Get as many of their glorious bread as you can. (The breads are excellent, and they bake baguettes three times a day.)
Iced tea is brewed every morning and it’s tasty and refreshing.
Instead of regular tables and chairs, seating here is at these ingenious fold down slats. There aren’t any chairs since the floor is sloped. Sit and fully enjoy every bite and sip.
INFO: Arcade Bakery | 220 Church Street | New York, NY 10013
Espresso Bar at The Marlton Hotel
Place your order at the counter and find a couple of comfy seats. You can either have them bring your order or you can wait at the counter.
The lounge at the Marlton Hotel has gotten a bit popular but if you can find seats, it’s a nice spot for a tea break.
Get the cheese and kale scone or the olive oil muffin and pick one of the Bellocq teas served in a matching teapot and teacups.
INFO: Espresso Bar at The Marlton Hotel | 5 West 8th Street | New York, NY 10011 | 212 321 0100
Caffe Storico at the New-York Historical Society
This is a secret I almost don’t want to share. Tucked inside the New-York Historical Society museum is the completely adorable Caffe Storico.
With Instagram-worthy decor, the cafe is great for getting a small bite (savory or sweet) and a cup of tea.
If you’re on the Upper East Side and looking for food options by the Museum of Natural History, I would highly recommend leaving that museum and going to this museum next door.
Caffe Storico has a separate entrance so you don’t need to pay the museum admission fee to eat there.
INFO: Caffe Storico | 170 Central Park West | New York, NY 10024 | 212.873.3400
Maman’s first location I went to was in Soho where I had their famous chocolate chip cookie, which is very nutty and uh, chocolatey.
I ordered an Earl Grey tea latte to go with the chocolate chip cookie. The tea latte isn’t on the menu, but I asked them if they can make it for me, and they did with half milk and half tea. It was very good.
Aside from sweets, they also have freshly made savories.
ChikaLicious Dessert Bar
ChikaLicious in the East Village is a fantastic dessert spot, where they serve expertly made and meticulously served sweets.
Best for a party of two, since this place only seats 20.
I usually like to take a seat at the bar so I can watch Chika, the chef and the owner, prepare the desserts.
The menu consists of a prix fixe (there isn’t an a la carte menu) which includes an amuse-bouche, a main dessert dish, and petit fours.
You choose one of the main dessert dishes, which changes daily. The amuse and the petit fours are chef’s choice, so you get what Chika serves you.
I like to order my dessert prix fixe with a personal pot of tea.
I’ve never been disappointed by anything I’ve had here so feel safe knowing anything you order will be delicious.
INFO: ChikaLicious Dessert Bar | 203 East 10th Street btw 1st & 2nd Ave. | New York, NY 10003 | 212.995.9511
You can take a seat in any of the plush chairs and sofas and lean back and relax with a pot of tea and some sweets.
I ordered a Japanese green tea, a Sencha.
And had it with a Sweet Potato Meringue Pie.
INFO: The Salon at the Soho Grand | 310 West Broadway | New York, NY 10013 | 212.965.3000
Lafayette is a restaurant that has a small bakery that’s open all day.
When you walk in, the bakery is off to the right. There’s some seating at the window where you can sit and people-watch as you tear away at your croissant.
Take a seat at the window with your cup of tea and some of their baked goods.
From mini canelés to the perfectly buttery Petis Beurres cookies, you have a few options to choose from.
INFO: Lafayette | 380 Lafayette Street | New York, NY 10003 | 212.533.3000
Spot Dessert Bar
On St. Marks Place, down a flight of stairs, is Spot Dessert Bar where all their desserts have an Asian twist.
It’s a small place, with just a handful of tables and additional seating by the window.
The matcha lattes are a bit on the sweeter side but what I come for are the desserts, like this Golden Toast. It’s crispy, chewy, and a bit crunchy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside.
INFO: Spot Dessert Bar | 13 St. Marks Place | New York, NY 10003 | 212.677.5670
I walked up and down Lexington Avenue looking for the entrance to the Dover Street Market and after making a call to find out where they were, I found the door on 30th Street, not on Lexington Ave. ARG.
After walking in, I turned right and lo and behold — Rose Bakery. There’s only table service so let them know you’re there to get seated. A paper sheet is laid down on the table and an adorable water carafe and tiny water cup is placed on top.
The bakery is very tight and there’s not a lot of space — they really cram you in there.
Thankfully the food and tea were very good. They have a scone with clotted cream and house-made jam that’s darn tasty.
Have it with a pot of loose leaf tea green tea — there was something magical about the combination of the scone and the Genmaicha. It was delicious and each enhanced the flavor of the other.
INFO: Rose Bakery in Dover Street Market | 160 Lexington Avenue | New York, NY 10016 | 646.837.7754
If you don’t mind a trek to Brooklyn, Patisserie Tomoko would be cute option for a tea break.
This dessert bar serves only prix fixe desserts with two or three-course options both under $20.
The desserts are made right in front of you the desserts are not overly sweet and go well with tea.
INFO: Patisserie Tomoko | 568 Union Ave. | Brooklyn NY 11211 | 718.388.7121
Robert at Museum of Arts and Design
If you’re just going to the cafe from the museum lobby, you don’t have to pay the museum admission.
INFO: Robert at Museum of Arts and Design | 2 Columbus Circle, 9th Floor | New York, NY 10019 | 212.299.7730
Bakeri is a cute but tiny cafe with locations in Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn.
Everything is baked on premise and prepared to order. Pick a baked good from the glass case and make a tea selection and take a seat for a little afternoon treat.
INFO: Bakeri | 150 Wythe Avenue | Brooklyn, NY 11211 | 718.388.8037
Ovenly is a tiny but adorable bakery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Get some tea and some of their tasty sweets. Just a note that they don’t have much in terms of savories, so it’s mostly a dessert place.
They have a giant glass case showcasing all their baked goods.
My absolute favorite was the mustard spice cookie. SO good! It was nice and soft and packed with flavor. I tried to savor it, but ate it in two seconds flat.
INFO: Ovenly | 31 Greenpoint Ave. | Brooklyn, NY 11222 | 347.689.3608
MarieBelle is my go-to place for hot chocolate. It’s so good and it reminds me a bit of the hot chocolate at Angelina’s in Paris.
In a charming little chocolate shop on Broome Street lies a lovely cacao bar and tea salon. Once you walk inside, go straight through the shop to the back. The cafe is usually pretty quiet so getting a table is never a problem. The service is always friendly.
Get a table and order tea and some sweets. Tea is served loose leaf in a small pot. Any visit should definitely include their homemade sweets — pick one from the glass case.
LOCATION: MarieBelle Cacao Bar and Tea Salon | 484 Broome Street | New York, NY 10013 | 212.925.6999
A find! An adorable tea bar greets Miansai customers as soon as they walk into this Soho accessories shop. (This place is just tea, no sweets.)
Menu is on the wall, listing all their teas. It’s getting warm, so it was perfect for something iced.
Sitting on the counter are a wall of copper mugs etched with the name of the teas they serve and sell.
And inside each mug is a sample of the tea so you can take a whiff before making your selection.
I went with an iced pear and green tea which they make to order and it takes about 5 minutes.
There are two small benches lining the front of the store where you can sit and wait, or you can do a little shopping while the tea is being prepared.
INFO: Miansai | 33 Crosby Street | New York, NY 10013 | 212.858.9710
What do you order at MatchaBar? Matcha drinks, of course.
They have a lot of interesting matcha combination beverages and matcha baked goods.
UPDATE: Tine Pinecone has closed.
A pop-up teahouse, Tiny Pinecone has opened on 8th Street. What you’ll find at Tiny Pinecone are tea and sweets so it’s a great little spot for a tea break.
Get the homemade chai and the chiffon cocoa cake with hojicha frosting.
All the baked goods were very flavorful, delicate, and not too sweet. There wasn’t anything I had that I didn’t like.
INFO: Tiny Pinecone
UPDATE: FP Patisserie has closed.
Walk straight to the back, past the pastry display, the little cafe/bar, and to their back room.
I couldn’t decide what pastry to get from looking at the menu, so I went to the display at the front of the shop to take a look. And the mille-feuille looked perfect.
An order of Oolong Créme and the mille-feuille, that had diced poached pears layered inside, made for an excellent tea at three.
INFO: FP Patisserie