The Windsor Arms Hotel is beyond compare when it comes to enjoying an English tradition in the heart of downtown Toronto. The hotel is a fine example of Toronto’s best: wonderfully finished, kindly staffed, and extraordinarily well catered. It is well known as a photography venue, as one of the classiest places for vacationers to stay, and, perhaps the highlight of all highlights, for their fantastic high tea.
The Hotel is beautifully decorated with an entrance hall surrounded by black lacquer columns and a large evergreen Christmas tree. Upon entrance, you’re greeted by a friendly concierge who directs you to the stately tea room. A welcoming waiter seats you at one of the many tables and you’re left to choose from the fantastic options on the menu.
A selection of about eleven delicate loose leaf teas such as Earl Grey with Lavender or Roses, the caramel flavoured Tibetan Tiger, or the fruit-infused Eve’s Passion are yours to choose from the menu. Upon your choice of the Cream Tea, Full Tea, or Complete Tea menus (three options that enhance the food portion of the meal, from scones to other delicacies like sandwiches and sherry), the food is presented in a timely manner.
The High Tea experience is one that lends itself to a laid back attitude. Patrons are expected to take their time and chat as they enjoy the buttery scones and rich devon cream. Following this starter are rolled sandwiches featuring flavours like oven roasted tomato and smoked salmon, baby greens, and grilled chicken. A warm goat cheese tart and assorted petit fours are also yours for the eating, in any order you wish.
After a couple hours, your stomach will be fit to burst. Fortunately, restaurant policy allows a ‘takeaway’ as they say in England, so you’re free to enjoy the delicacies at home if you’re too full in the tea room. As you leave the gorgeous tea room, complete with a rack of distinctly British hats, you’ll be sure to make a mental note to return. The food is glorious, the venue incredible, and the service pleasant indeed. The bill is hefty, but it’s well worth the experience. If you’re hankering for a taste of England, there’s no better place to go.
The Windor Arms Hotel offers High Tea all days excluding holidays. Prices vary depending on day of the week, and they increase during the holiday season (December 15-January 2, 2010). The Cream Tea is about $20 a person, the Full Tea about $40 and the Complete Tea about $50. The Hotel is located at 18 St Thomas Street, right in the heart of Yorkville. The nearest subway stop is Bay Station.