If you find yourself getting hungry during your afternoon exploring the mother city, it might be time for high tea. High teas in Cape Town are becoming increasingly popular in recent years. They are a quaint dining experience that shows the British influence on South Africa’s culture.

What is high tea?

High tea is a traditionally British affair, which was served late in the afternoon or early in the evening, between 16:00 and 19:00. This served as a substantial meal for factory workers as they returned home. Served at dinner tables with high-back chairs which is how it got the name. High tea would traditionally include heavy foods like meat pies, pickled fish, vegetables, and even casseroles. There would also be lighter foods and treats like cold meats, sandwiches, cakes, pastries, fruits, and even cookies.

High tea is not to be confused with afternoon tea which is usually tea accompanied by lighter foods. Afternoon tea was also traditionally served earlier in the day, between 13:00 and 15:30. While they began as two separate events today many people use the terms interchangeably but if you are truly hungry afternoon tea just won’t cut it.

Now that we have a better understanding of what high tea is. We can look at our picks for the best high teas in Cape Town. So you can find the right one to satisfy your hunger and preferences.

The 5 best places for high teas in Cape Town

1. One&Only

One&Only is one of the top high teas in Cape Town.

The One&Only resort located on the V&A Waterfront hosts a fantastic high tea in their Vista bar and Lounge. The lounge has a grand décor, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing stunning views of both Table Mountain and the Ocean. This is a glamorous venue that puts the high class into high tea.

They offer a wide selection of 25 different flavoured teas, with foods served on O&O stands. Their foods include freshly baked scones with chantilly cream and local preserves, chicken pot pie, and cucumber sandwiches. Treats like blueberry cheesecake, fruit tarts, and decadent gold-leafed caramel-popcorn éclairs will satisfy any sweet tooth. They also offer a vegetarian menu. With such a wide variety of foods, this high tea is guaranteed to satisfy your hunger cravings.

The One&Only offers high tea from Monday to Sunday from 14:00-17:00. This dining experience costs R425 per person, and R395 for children under 12. This is one of the best high teas in Cape Town and provides an air of luxury befitting a British noble.

2. The Bailey

The Bailey is a top high tea destination in Cape Town.

The Bailey is a street-level café located on Bree street. This classic European-style café has a luxurious interior with velvet booths and a breathtaking chandelier. With marble-topped tables and bentwood chairs, you will be forgiven for thinking you’re in a street café in Paris. The Bailey is an intimate setting for a delightful high tea.

The Bailey serves a number of tea varieties including Irish breakfast tea, mango rosehip rooibos, Lady grey and more. Their gourmet foods include savoury options like salmon blinis, lobster rolls, and duck-liver parfait, they do also have a vegetarian option. There are also cakes and pastries on offer. They also have a high tea that is accompanied by sparkling wines.

High tea at The Bailey is served Monday to Sunday from 15:00-17:00. This gourmet experience costs R400 per person or R480 with MCC(sparkling wine), booking is essential. This is the most gourmet of the high teas in Cape Town, which is sure to leave your tastebuds speechless.

3. The Silo Hotel

High teas in Cape Town on a new level at The Silo Hotel. Here it is called royal tea.

The Silo hotel located on the V&A Waterfront offers one of the more contemporary high teas in Cape Town. Hosted in their Granary Café on the sixth floor, which has a modern aesthetic with leather couches, copper-topped tables, contemporary art, and geometric panel glass windows. This venue’s elevated position provides stunning views of the Waterfront while putting the high in high tea.

They offer a variety of teas served in picturesque glass teapots, which arrives on three-tiered circular stands called étagère. This étagère is packed with petit gateaux (cakes) and other teatime treats like scones, finger sandwiches, macarons, and a number of savoury treats.

High tea at the Granary Café is served Thursday to Sunday from 14:30-17:00, with the last seating at 15:30. This contemporary experience costs R375 per person, and bookings must be made 24 hours in advance, or 48 hours for large groups, or special occasions. The Granary Café has truly helped to bring high teas in Cape town, into the 21st century with their modern offerings.

4. Shakespeare’s

A person holding chocolates in Shakespeare’s Durbanville, one of the top high teas in Cape Town.

Of all the high teas in Cape Town, Shakespeare’s provides a traditionally lavish British setting that would make its namesake proud. A sense of drama is provided by the over-the-top decor with velvet curtains, chandeliers, and golden framed pictures that are bound to make you chuckle. This is a vintage high tea experience you won’t want to miss.

Their high tea includes bottomless tea or filter coffee, accompanied by five sweets and four savoury items. The savoury items include lamb bobotie spring rolls and salmon roulade, and the sweet items include berry frangipane tart and dark chocolate crémeux. There is also a chocolate trolley offering delightful treats made by the in-house chocolatier, at R20 per item.

Shakespeare’s high tea is offered Tuesday and Wednesday from 12:00-17:00, and Thursday to Saturday from 09:00-17:00. The high tea selection is baked to order so bookings must be made in advance, and it costs R300 per person. This high tea experience will transport you to Victorian England, making it one of the most traditional high teas in Cape Town.

5. High Tea

A High Tea in Cape Town.

If you are looking to enjoy an outdoor high tea in Cape Town, then High Tea may be the place for you. This restaurant and cakeshop on Constantia road have café-style seating in a quiet shaded courtyard. With a fountain that adds a natural ambience to this beautiful garden setting.

They have two curated high tea experiences available. The classic option has four savoury items, four sweet items, and one drink. These food items include mini quiches, finger sandwiches, macarons, cupcakes, and scones with jam and cream. While the premium option has five savoury items, five sweet items, and one drink per person, with more premium drink options than the classic. The premium option includes cannoli, cream pasties, and salmon and avo bruschetta.

Bookings for these high tea experiences must be made in advance, they are offered Monday to Saturday from 08:00-17:00, and Sunday from 08:00-14:30. The classic high tea costs R150, and the premium high tea costs R200. This is the perfect high tea experience for a sunny day in Cape Town.

These are our picks for the 5 best high teas in Cape Town. So if you’re exploring Cape Town and start to feel your stomach rumbling in the afternoon. Why not stop by one of these locations for a traditional British high tea, that is guaranteed to satisfy?

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