As a New Yorker I have had the privilege of going to the Plaza's Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court! While that is an experience of luxury and extravagance one cannot really afford to do it very often. As a special treat while visiting my sister in San Francisco we decided to try a very different west coast tea experience by heading to the famous Japantown district.
We ended up returning to an old favorite, the Crown & Crumpet. While it used to be in Ghirardelli Square it has now since relocated. The new restaurant may seem in an odd location because it is quite frankly in a lobby, but it has not diminished in charm. The stylish room can be described as a mixture of Parisian Rococo, English admiration, and Alice in Wonderland. At first all you see is florals but there are charming details that appear everywhere from the wall decor, the art on the table, down to the quotes on their tea saucers. The large window which makes up one whole wall brings in enough light to add some cheer even on a cloudy day.
Afternoon tea here is not only an experience, but an affordable one! An afternoon tea for one will cost you about $30. Don't be deceived into thinking this is an expensive snack because this is a rather filling meal. With your afternoon tea you'll get a large pot of loose leaf tea and a 3 tiered stand of treats. The base layer is comprised of three assorted tea sandwiches and two savouries. The middle is a warm scone and toasted crumpet complete with jam, lemon curd, and clotted cream. Finally your last layer is a mix of five desserts to top it all off. All of this makes for quite a lot of food in the end. The food at the Crown and Crumpet is changing daily so you'll always be in for a surprise!
While I went for a classic English Breakfast my sister enjoyed the Marie Antoinette tea; a blend of black tea, bergamot, blue mallow, and roses! Their menu is separated by black tea, green tea, white tea, and fruit & herbal teas. There are fascinating combinations and incredibly delicious teas and because they also double as a tea shop you can take home whatever kind of tea you'd like. When I say whatever kind I really mean it because they have an astounding number of teas available.
This meal is more than a quick bite to eat. The entire experience feels like a child's tea party on steroids. Fairy dust covered steroids. If you are going to afternoon tea then you are going to sit for a long time enjoying a large array of treats but more importantly each other's company. As you take your time you'll probably need the restroom. They have bathrooms downstairs for when your large pot of tea has filled you to the brim. Don't panic when you go downstairs and the freaky toilets have warm seats. The fancy Japanese toilets are not only heated but have a control panel on the side to help you get the entire Japanese bathroom experience. Hey, those high tech toilets are enough reason to check this place out.
So enjoy your time at the Crown and Crumpet and make sure you take some amazing Instagram photos!