Afternoon Tea In Old Town

Two restaurants in Old Town Alexandria help to embrace the wonderful tradition of afternoon tea.

I’m co-hosting a close friend’s bridal shower later this month, centered around an afternoon tea for her friends and family – a social nicety religiously practiced in so many cultures.  But not here. And so, while researching the perfect finger sandwiches and scone recipes, I couldn’t help but wonder why Americans never fully embraced this tradition.

Perhaps it’s our work ethic: taking a leisurely break during the workday is not smiled upon. And Americans drink coffee, not tea – don’t we? In fact, I can recall only one time in my life when a friend invited me for tea. Turns out, it was a lot of fun and something I could easily become accustomed to. I happily recommend it!

I recently discovered that Teaism (the Old Town location opened earlier this year) offers a daily afternoon tea from 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. The price is $20 per person and includes two menu options: Traditional­ – tea sandwiches, ginger scones, cookies, lime curd tartlets, chocolate truffles, and Asian – rice balls with pickle and sesame, tea cured salmon and nori, spicy cucumber salad, mochi (a Japanese sweet bean confection), green tea ice cream, green tea chocolate truffles and a real delight –pickled plums. Both menus come with your choice of tea, and offer plenty of food, so I would recommend a light lunch (as in don’t eat Chipotle like I did!).  

A slightly more formal afternoon tea offering can be found at The Grille at Morrison House, where they’ve revamped their tea menu for the fall, beginning Sept. 15. Tea service takes place each Saturday from 2 – 5:00 p.m. and includes a choice between the Royal Tea ($44 per person) – which includes a specialty Champagne cocktail and salmon tartare cones, in addition to gourmet sandwiches, scones, petit fours, and organic Mighty Leaf Teas, or the Traditional Tea ($38 per person) which includes the traditional spread of tea sandwiches, scones and seasonal house-made jams. 


Do you ever break for afternoon tea? Tell us in the comments. 


Wynne Kelch September 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM
The Pink Bicycle Tea Room in Occoquan has a lovely afternoon tea, too. Their tea selection was vast (even white chocolate rooibos) and the atmosphere fun.
Mary Ann Barton September 10, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Thanks for the scoop Wynne!
Jennifer September 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Hi Wynne, Do you happen to know what day(s) & time the Pink Bicycle Tea Room serves afternoon tea? Thanks!


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