I have been to Alice’s Tea Cup probably too many times to count. However, I will never forget my first trip ever to this “every little girl’s fantasy” restaurant. About three years ago, my co-worker at the time, KG, and I spent a morning at a NYC spa because our boss was treating us for working so hard. After our massages and sauna time, we were hungry for some good eating. My friend then suggested “Alice’s Tea Cup”. In fact, she had mentioned them previously to me about this amazing scones place. I have never been a big fan of scones since they usually taste dry and are a bit boring in flavor. However, on this fateful day, I decided to give this place a try.
We walked to the “Chapter III” location. As soon as we entered this enchanting restaurant, I fell in love with the whole Alice in Wonderland theme. There was a counter with all these delicious sweets: cookies, scones, cupcakes, cakes, etc. Also, there were tins of tea. As pleased as I was, there was VERY limited seating. The hostess told us it’d be about an hour wait and that we could leave our number and they’d call us when our table’s ready. We walked around the UES to kill the time. When the call finally came, we rushed back to the restaurant. We sat down at our table and drank water from our goblets. KG suggested that we order the Madhatter. And this began the tradition of ordering only this feast when I’m at Alice’s Tea Cup. This set meal for two comes with two pots of tea (you get to pick from their extensive list of teas), two sandwiches, a dessert (your choice of mocha chip cake, lemon tart, or chocolate mousse with a selection of cookies), and most importantly your choice of THREE delicious scones. Their list of scones changes daily, but they almost always have pumpkin and ham & cheese, which happen to my favorites!
When the food came out, we got our own three tier cake stand. It was a beautiful display. The top plate had three over/American-sized scones, the middle plate had cute tea sandwiches and the bottom plate had our dessert (I don’t recall what we ordered) with cookies. The sandwiches were very tasty, but the highlight of the meal are the scones. I don’t remember what scones we ordered (perhaps pumpkin), but they were all delicious. They were full of flavor and moist (maybe with lots of butter). It was unlike any scone I’ve had before. After gorging myself with both sandwiches and scones, I barely had any of the dessert. Oh yes, I forgot all about the tea! We each got a huge pot of tea of our choice. I probably ordered the the Silver Needle Jasmine tea since I’m pretty much obsessed with Jasmine tea.
A couple years later, I was at a new company and finally made my first “friend” at work after six months (she happens to be MM, my eating buddy). We met up on a weekend and were looking for a brunch place. I mentioned that there is a really cute tea place on West 73rd Street (Chapter I) and that I could take her there. I warned that there would probably be a long wait, but we’d be able to go shopping and most importantly it’d be worth the wait. Even though I love ATC so much, I wasn’t sure if MM would enjoy it even half as much as I do. To my happiness, MM loved this awesome tea place just as much as I do. In fact, she took all her college friends there and is now quite the regular at this location. Just two weekends ago, we went since I haven’t been there in a very long time. The waitress recognized MM and treated her like a celebrity. We then returned last weekend and received the same VIP treatment. We ordered like professionals and received our food ASAP. It was great.
Some words of caution, please don’t expect the typical British Afternoon Tea. I just visited my scientist cousin in London and we were lucky enough to dine at The Dorchester for Afternoon Tea. I had a wonderful dining experience there and the service was impeccable. ATC’s Afternoon’s Tea is like the “younger/hipper” version. Since this place is usually packed on the weekend and there only seems to be two waitresses, service can get a little slow. Also, I’ve been to all three locations and I think Chapter I (UWS) location is the largest. I believe Chapter II (UES as well) has a second floor, so it could have decent seating. The Chapter III is definitely the smallest. Oh, and if you are not interested in getting the Madhatter Special, ATC does offer brunch on the weekend until 3pm and also a regular lunch menu. I honestly have not even bothered ordering anything, but the Madhatter, but I have seen other customers ordering brunch and all the food looks good.
Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter I
102 West 73rd Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues)
New York, NY 10023
Takes Credit Cards