Cha-An Tea House – Strawberry Spring High Tea (NYC)

Serenade the arrival of spring at a hidden Japanese tea house.


Our experience

High tea is not a NYC forte β€” after quite a number of high tea experiences in NYC, we have yet to come across a venue that offers the lavish dessert spreads seen in Asia and Australia, or the cultivated creativity of desserts seen in London.  To wipe away the memory of two largely forgettable high teas in recent months (see here and here), we squinted through various internet searches in a quest to hunt down a cherry blossom high tea in NYC.  And we found that one of our most favourite dessert spots, Cha-An Tea House in the East Village, was offering a spring afternoon tea for the months of April and May.


Long-time readers of this NYC dessert blog will remember our review of Cha-An Tea House some years ago.  See that past review here.  Back then, it was an under-the-radar secret, and it was relatively easy to find a seat at during the weekend afternoons. Fast forward to 2023, and it is no longer a secret. 😦  There are lines any time of the day. 😦  Thankfully, a high tea reservation will allow you to bypass those lines! πŸ˜› 


High tea takes place a floor above the tea house, and there are sittings on Friday and Sunday available throughout April and May.  The tea on offer was a lightly-scented strawberry green tea, and the food service commenced with a tiered tower of savoury nibbles.  These bites included open-faced sandwiches topped with coils of salmon and another smeared with sweet cream and embellished with strawberries.  There were also inari sushi pillows jewelled with sliced tomatoes.  The high tea stayed through to its Japanese roots in bypassing English scones, and with the dessert portion being presented in three beautifully-lacquered boxes.  The desserts included sponge cakes layered with sakura paste, cream and strawberry slices, a puffy choux pastry, mochi desserts in the form of a ball, as well as skewered as dango, and a selection of butter biscuits.


Our verdict

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost eight years since we were last in Japan – where did time go?  We still remember all the elegant wagashi we sampled in Kyoto, Arashiyama, and elsewhere.  And when we came to NYC, we fell in love with Cha An Tea House in equal measure for reminding us so much about those dessert travel adventures.  Although it has become more and more difficult to visit Cha An due to the long lines as each year passes, its spring afternoon tea cements why it will always be one of our favourite, and one of the most memorable dessert spots, in NYC. Happy Spring, all!

Dessert adventure checklist

  1. β˜‘ Dessert destination: Cha An Tea House, 230 East 9th Street, 2nd Floor, East Village, Manhattan.
  2. β˜‘ Budget: $$$ ($58 pp + tax/tip). 
  3. β˜‘  Sweet irresistibles: High tea.
  4. β˜‘  Must-eat: Japanese desserts.
  5. β˜‘  The short and sweet story:  Serenade the arrival of spring at this hidden Japanese tea house.


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