Quest for the Best Afternoon Tea: Star Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton New York

This fall and winter I have been on a quest to find the best Afternoon Tea that New York City has to offer. Here is a look at what I found when I visited the Ritz-Carlton’s Star Lounge at the Central Park location. Spoiler alert? It was lovely! I know, not surprising since the Ritz-Carlton pretty much does everything in style.

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Location:

The Ritz-Carlton Central Park is (shockingly) across the street from Central Park. It’s located on 59th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. If you don’t know Manhattan, that’s Central Park South–quite a posh address indeed! Right around the corner from The Plaza where I also recently experienced the iconic tea time at the Palm Court.

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Afternoon Tea is served in Star Lounge, which is right across from the main entrance in the lobby. Its world famous Afternoon Tea is served daily from 2:00 PM- 4:00 PM. Reservations are required.

The Ambience

As you can see, the lounge is dimly lit and very cozy. I visited during the holiday season so it’s extra special with such a gorgeous tree! There aren’t any windows and you can’t see Central Park–just something I know many people wonder. But it’s absolutely lovely. Very posh, warm and the perfect place to spend an afternoon. I’s calm and soothing and they were playing lots of Frank Sinatra music. Absolutely lovely. Oh and the Wedgewood china in my opinion is gorgeous!

The Tea

There is an excellent selection of custom-blended teas though I did miss a Rooibos (my personal favorite). I tasted the Nutcracker, which was a vanilla and hazelnut black tea. It was delicious.

Afternoon Tea Ritz-Carlton

The Food

Now to the good stuff! The Afternoon Tea menu at the Ritz-Carlton changes seasonally. It offers special seasonal teas, sandwiches and sweets that reflect the changing times of the year. It costs $65 per person. If you want to add a glass of champagne that’s a la carte.

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The first course of tea sandwiches were delicious. Each person got five sandwiches.

Bottom: Slow roasted beef filet with a beet and horseradish slaw on a cheddar biscuit and Pear, Roquefort aioli and micro watercress on brioche.

Middle: Pretzel Roll with uncured ham, emmental cheese and spiced mustard and then Salmon pastrami with fine herb cream on Black Bread.

Top: Grilled chicken, arugula, semi dried tomato and feta pesto in a pie-like shell.

The Scone

This is easily the best scone I have ever tasted. It was perfectly crusted with a dusting of sugar on top for the perfect crunch. Served with clotted cream, lemon curd and an assortment of jam. The scones change seasonally as well. For the holiday tea they offered a dried fruit scone, which is a way more delicious take on a fruit cake. Scrumptious! I could have eaten 2 but each person gets just one. Though the service is so great, I suspect if you bat your eyelashes you may get another.

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The Sweets

I mean look at this tower…

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Clockwise: Rhubarb crumble, banana ├ęclair, pomegranate opera cake, apple spice cupcake, lemon fruit tart and orange almond cake.

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As you can see, the desserts were gorgeous. Truth be told I’m more of a chocolate person and even I was happy with them.

Ritz-Carlton Star Lounge

The Presentation

As I mentioned briefly above, I loved the Wedgewood china. I also loved the miniature tiered trays.

The Service

Our waiter and everyone else who helped was extremely friendly. It’s the Ritz–they know how to do service. They also pour your tea for you as soon as it looks like you need a refill!

Final Thoughts

I would come back in a heartbeat. Definitely a lovely place to come if you’re visiting New York or even if you’re a local New Yorker. Nothing feels touristy about Afternoon Tea in Star Lounge.

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