Scattered around the loudest and busiest neighborhoods of the concrete jungle, are cozy and quaint story book tea houses that have the power to instantly transport you to far away places; not just with a comforting brew but with the aromas and smell of fresh scones, pastries, and delectable finger sandwiches. Yes, these places exist in the Big Apple, and they happen to be one of my favorites.
When I first moved to the Upper East Side, I casually came across the cutest little shop and fell in love with all the bright colors and pretty cakes in the window. I decided to pop in for a look, and well, the rest is history! Alice’s Tea Cup holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. One, as many of you know, I’m an avid tea drinker- green jasmine to be exact- so I’m always on the hunt for tea spots that have a selection of green tea based, or even white tea based jasmine tea. Secondly, I had my baby shower at Alice’s Tea Cup and it was a beautiful afternoon of celebration, tea, mimosas, and lots and lots of finger sandwiches! Lastly, it was my neighborhood go-to spot. When anyone asks me if I have a favorite restaurant or place in NYC, I always say- ‘Alice’s.’
The space and decor at Alice’s Tea Cup is Victorian and plush in nature, paying homage to the wonders and magic of Alice and Wonderland. The walls are adorned with paintings and portraits of Alice, the Mad Hatter, and Rabbit. You’ll find quotes from the classic book on the walls, and there are even playful fairy wings for kids to play dress up (hey, adults welcome too). What’s even better than fairy wings? Fairy dust! When you wear your magical fairy wins, you’ll be sprinkled with some fairy dust by one of the sweet servers.
Make sure to close your eyes and make a wish!
Many people assume that Alice’s Tea Cup is just a spot for tea. Au contraire. Did you know it’s also a bakery? It also happens to be one of the best brunches in the city. They offer a delicious lunch and Afternoon Tea options with a selection of finger sandwiches (the cucumber and watercress is my fave) and pastries at any time during the day. ‘The Nibble’ offers a tea for one experience, or if you’re coming with a friend or two, try ‘The Mad Hatter’ for a selection of scones, sandwiches, mini cookies, and unlimited tea.
Alice’s Tea Cup has even launched a cocktail list that specializes in tea infused libations like The White Queen (Indian Chai tea, vanilla vodka, Disaronno, hazelnut liqueur, and chai milk) or my favorite, The Mango Mate Mimosa (Mango Maté tea with fresh orange juice and Villa Sandi Prosecco).
I was recently invited to Alice’s Tea Cup to sample some of their popular brunch items, and who am I to say no?! This wasn’t my first dining at Alice’s. Going to the Alice’s Tea Cup UES location was a weekly thing for me. Whether to pick up tea or to get a scone, I would pop in there any chance I could because I felt it was a little bit mine; a little piece of my New York. I was also a sucker for their grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries! Sometimes being basic can be SO good!
If I would go for brunch, I would normally order the Omelet with Cheese with a Pot of Tea or The Mad Morning- a three-tiered stand of Alice’s favorite breakfast foods, served with coffee or a pot of tea, choice of one scone (with preserves and cream), eggs any style, and granola with Greek yogurt. Don’t even get me started on the jelly and cream for the scones! I could eat them solo because they are THAT good.
This time around I wanted to sample something different so I ordered the Scones Benedict (Poached eggs over a ham and cheese scone, topped with rosemary hollandaise sauce and served with a side of potato-chicken hash). Oh My taste buds! Hearty, rich, and so much flavor, the scone made the dish! You can actually use any of the shop’s scones as your Benedict base.
We need to talk about the crepes. I can’t believe I had never ordered one of the crepes at Alice’s! They’re life-changing! I had the mixed berries crepe that came drizzled with that oh-so-amazing creme anglaise that’ll have you falling out of your chair. It was deliciously sweet and sinful, and topped off with whipped cream!
For those with little ones, there’s a kid’s menu available. Think chicken fingers, PB&J on banana bread, cookies and milk, and ‘The Wee Tea’ experience which includes a small pot of herbal tea or fruit tea, their choice of scone, an item from the children’s menu, and the white rabbit chocolate mousse.
I can’t wrap up my experience without mentioning the array of tea flavors available at Alice’s! Yes, the freshly baked goods like scones, oatmeal raisin cookies, massive chocolate chip cookies, biscotti, and brownies are to die for, but the tea list is also exceptional. There are herbal teas, black teas, green teas, white teas, matcha teas, rooibos, and so much more. I alternate between Fine jasmine pearls and jasmine monkey king, depending on how strong I want it. You can also purchase the loose leaf to make at home, or in my case, I fly it back to Miami with me.
Next time you’re in New York or if you’re a local and you’ve never been, make sure to put it on your list ( it’s especially extra special during the holiday)! Alice’s Tea Cup is whimsical, fun, and enchanting for ages big and small. So don those fairy wings and sprinkle a dash of fairy dust and let your imagination take you on a beau-TEA-ful dining experience!