Best Tea and Scones

Rotunda at Neiman Marcus

At least half of the high tea experience has to do with the surrounding mood and milieu, and you can't get much more white-glove proper than the Rotunda atop the Neiman Marcus department store. Starched linens and polished silver gleam in the afternoon sunshine. The dazzling stained-glass dome above the dining room was installed in 1909 when the building was erected; in 1981 its 26,000 panes were dismantled, cleaned, and meticulously restored. Seated in one of the luxurious booths or at a window-side table looking out over Union Square, the wannabe Brit can't help but feel positively pedigreed. The meal itself is dainty and delicious in the classic tradition: miniature tarts, soft finger sandwiches, crumbly raisin scones with lemon curd, and clotted cream and a variety of house-made confections, impeccably served on a two-tiered silver tray. The selection of loose-leaf teas includes old favorites like Earl Grey and English Breakfast, as well as the more intriguing jasmine pearl and mint chrysanthemum. Offered daily from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

 
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