For harried workers playing afternoon hooky on a weekday, there’s no anxiety over making choices. “You don’t have to worry about anything,” server Linda Moy joked. “Just select your tea.” On the day we visited, there were five tea sandwich choices on the plate, including a surprising crumbled bacon and tomato. They were, of course, crustless. It was enough to warrant a pinkie salute.
Ryoko Allen and her mother, Mitsuko Yoshizumi, who was visiting from Japan, sat in big plush chairs at the window overlooking the library’s courtyard. “It’s our first time here,” Allen said. “It is spectacular! We have tea rooms at home, but this fancy style is not so common.”
Afternoon tea is a great way to show Boston at its best to visiting friends and relatives. At the Rowes Wharf Sea Grille in the Boston Harbor Hotel, Grace Ramos, 6, was enjoying tea with her mother, Anna Ramos, and her grandmother Mary Karchem, who was visiting from California. “We’re having a girls’ afternoon,” said Anna. It was Grace’s second tea, but, we suspect, not her last.
The Sea Grille serves afternoon tea every day. The hotel’s all-day restaurant makes for a more casual setting than some other teas, but it does have great views of the harbor and rose petals scattered on the tables set for tea lend a slightly decadent touch. The “Delights” tray is also unusually generous in its portions, adding several tea breads to the scones course and including a Boston cream profiterole to give the pastries a local touch. Server Zachary Dillahunty told us that the restaurant frequently serves tea for special occasions. “We recently did a bridal shower tea for 56,” he said.
By the way, there’s a bar at the lobby end of the Sea Grille, complete with a large-screen television. If you need a little Brady, Welker, and Gronkowski to go with the Earl Grey, scones, and clotted cream, the set is usually tuned to sports.
Patricia Harris and David Lyon, authors of the new “Food Lovers’ Guide to Boston,” can be reached at email@example.com.