There’s nothing better in the world then a cup of tea.
Tea is my favorite beverage and I like finding tea-houses where I can enjoy a cup and some dessert or a meal. I’ve already talked about taking Afternoon Tea at the Empress in Victoria but there are many, lower-key tea rooms in Seattle perfect for a casual outing.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of joining my sister Lori at the Queen Mary, a tearoom up by the University of Washington. It is the oldest operating independent tearoom in the United States, opening its doors in 1988 and it is an absolutely charming establishment.
The tearoom is a small, cozy space—the tables are close together and decorated with mix-and-match teacups and flowers. A cheerful waitress will take your coats for you back into the coatroom and then, as you settle in, you’ll be given the menu. Breakfast is served from 9am until 11am. Lunch is served from 11am until 4pm, when last seating is. On the weekends last seating is at 4:30pm. You can order afternoon tea at any time that you’d like. The tea selection is vast, running the full course from the usual Back, Green and White teas into specialty teas like Oolong and Rooibos. There are many varieties to suit every taste and style.
Lori and I came up for lunch and tea on a quiet rainy afternoon in January. As we settled in to enjoy our meal and drinks we were soon in a very enjoyable conversation with the older ladies next to us. The tables were close enough that conversation could flow easily between table-mates and near-by tables, giving the room a pleasant feeling. The guests were varied—couples on dates, some people enjoying birthdays or another kind of celebration and friends out to have a fun afternoon.
After Lori and I were quite full from our amazing lunch, a salmon salad for her and a vegetable quiche for me with both a fresh vegetable salad and a fruit salad, we were given the dessert menu. After asking we found out that we could take dessert home with us and ended up picking up some macaroons for both ourselves and our family members at home.
We did not get a chance to stop at the Queen Mary Tea Emporium down the street from the tearoom but I plan on stopping by there the next time I come up. That is where they sell the tea and tea dishes. Inside of the tearoom they do have recipe books, some dishes and other items for making tea such as infusers, and toys for children, including tea sets and adorable stuffed corgis, for sale.
While the prices at the tearoom can run rather high for some budgets, they are similar to many other specialty shops in the area. If you wish to get a cup of tea and dessert it will be very reasonably priced and quite delicious (really the raspberry macaroons are mind-blowing and my family gave me good reports on the lemon and mango ones as well). It is the perfect place for a special outing with a few dear friends and you will be guaranteed a very lovely time.