In July 2015, I had the pleasure of having tea at the Ritz in London with my best friend, Jodi, my brother and his fiancee. Tea at the Ritz is a quintessential British experience and it usually has a 2 month wait list. Whenever I dine out, I have the spoiled habit of not paying attention at prices but this time I had to wonder if it is worth paying 68 British pounds or the equivalent of $100 for tea service? To help me answer this question, I will analyze the location, the service and the food I received during Tea at the Ritz.
Tea at the Ritz is served in Palm Court, which boasts with grandeur and British charm. When you sit in front of Palm Court, which is flanked by tall marble columns, your attention is drawn to a large, glamorous floral arrangement in the center of the room only to be upstaged in the background by a serene stone fountain with gilded decorative elements. The walls are lined with mirrors and the ceiling is a showpiece in itself.
The impressive decor is complemented by a luxurious table setting. The tables are covered with white table cloths and the tea service is presented in beautiful china, silver teapots and dainty tea strainers. As you enter Palm Court and the host escorts you to your table, you are transported into an afternoon of pure luxury and Victorian elegance.
The service I’ve received while having tea at the Ritz was outstanding. The wait staff, immaculately dressed, was polite and well-mannered but not stiff and cold. They were attentive to our needs and they quickly refilled any drinks and food.
The food during tea service at the Ritz was good but not exceptional. The menu offers 18 different types of tea and assorted traditional tea sandwiches, baked scones served with butter and strawberry preserves, and a variety of small cakes.
Every bite of food was good but that was all, good. When paying $100 for tea, beyond the lavish location and impeccable service, I was expecting a memorable food experience. Unfortunately the ham finger sandwiches are the same sandwiches I can fix at home and the baked scones reminded me of Pillsbury biscuits I can buy at the grocery store.
So is it worth paying $100 for tea at the Ritz in London? It is not worth it! Yes, the location and the service were remarkable but the food, while good, was nothing special. The entire experience at the Ritz felt rehearsed and touristy, not an experience of great food.
I do not regret having gone there because there is something special able being able to say that “I had tea at the Ritz in London” but I would not go back because London is such an amazing place that I bet there are much better places for afternoon tea. As a matter of fact I know that the Four Seasons hotel on Park Lane, where I stayed, serves afternoon tea in their garden; that sounds like a delight!
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