Destination Tea: Neiman Marcus Cafe

Where:  Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
Style:  Modern cafe
Tea Selection:  8 sacheted loose leaf teas by Dammann Frères
Teatimes:  Monday to Saturday 11-4, and private parties of 15 or more by reservation
Reservations:  48-hour notice
Contact: 404-279-5850
Cost:  $35 Afternoon Tea
Destination Tea Tip:  Circle around to the rear of Lenox Square Mall and follow the signs to the Neiman Marcus valet. The valet is on the top level of the parking deck, or you can park a level below, walk in, and take the elevator to the NM Cafe.

Prices and teatimes are subject to change. Please see our Georgia afternoon tea directory for the latest details.

exterior of Neiman Marcus for NM Cafe afternoon tea in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia

Destination Tea Notes: Did you know that department store tearooms were all the rage in the early 20th century, both abroad and here in the United States? The opulence of that age was understandably diminished through two World Wars and the Great Depression, causing department stores to streamline their operations. By the 1950s, afternoon tea had been removed from most department store tearoom menus, but it was precisely at this time that luxury retailer Neiman Marcus opened its first restaurant, the Zodiac, in its flagship Dallas store, as a sales strategy, to keep customers from leaving for lunch. Today, 39 Neiman Marcus stores across the country have restaurants, and more than a dozen of these serve afternoon tea. Each city and chef has the ability to craft their menu to suit their customers’ demands, but certain Neiman Marcus classics are found nationwide (more on that later).

The exciting news for Atlantans is that until very recently Lenox Square Mall’s Neiman Marcus has only offered private tea parties to large groups. Thanks to the new General Manager, Stacy Holtz, NM Cafe has begun offering a regular teatime at the Atlanta location, no minimum party size. Naturally, as soon as we learned this, we reserved an afternoon tea.

Rather than the ornate department store tea salons of the past, NM Cafe has a modern design and quietly relaxed scene, tucked into the back of the store. If you find the cafe setting a bit casual for an afternoon tea, it’s worth noting that all other neighboring Buckhead teas cost twice as much. Come here for a yummy, scratch-made menu and the chance to treat yourself to an afternoon tea as a respite and social hour during your shopping trip.

Please note, we experienced an early version of their afternoon tea service that didn’t include the full menu, which is coming out now (pictured at the end of this post). Scones will be added to future afternoon teas at NM Cafe, fret not!

afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
We arrived by elevator, that entrance to the left. Here is the store entrance.
afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
A very modern design, with sweeping curves and bright pops of color
afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
Our table is set with white linen to lend some elegance to our afternoon tea.
afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
And the laughter begins, this time in appreciation of Lori’s homemade fascinator.

Tea Service

Angela's tea fascinator at afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
Speaking of fascinators, I cannot get enough of my fabulous piece, made by Angela Kang Cole in Marietta. I feel like a peacock.
dammann freres teas at afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
Each guest is offered a 2-cup pot and selects their tea from a chest of Dammann Frères teas with yummy flavors like Caramel Black and Jardin Bleu. We enjoyed learning that this Parisian tea company was founded in 1692. Stacy had asked for our feedback, and we shared that we would appreciate either a larger pot of tea, or second steeping to last throughout the meal.

Savories and Sweets

chicken consumme to start afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
Surprise! Have you ever begun an afternoon tea with a cup of chicken consommé? A savory immune boost, why not? Actually, longtime patrons of Neiman Marcus’ restaurants know that this signature item is traditionally served as a complimentary starter, as well as…
popovers with strawberry butter at afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
…a warm popover with strawberry butter. Divine! This comfort food has appropriately British origins, known as Yorkshire Pudding in England (but not like we Americans mean “pudding”). Made of flour, salt, eggs, milk, and butter, the original recipe is still a staple element of a meat and gravy dish abroad. The pastry became popular in 19th century New England, where it was dubbed a “popover” for the way it expands up and over the sides of the pan while baking. In fact, Jordan Pond House in Maine’s Acadia National Park still serves popovers with afternoon tea today.
three-tiered savory tray at afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
Tasty finger sandwiches include chicken salad popovers, tuna salad with greens and cucumber with herbed cream cheese. Note that the new menu (below) will include a slightly different variety for this course.
desserts at afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
The chocolate and vanilla macarons are brought in, while the lemon drops and signature chocolate chip cookies are made in house. All are delicious, and perfectly sized for a sweet treat that’s not overbearing.

Afternoon Tea Menu for Parties Great and Small

private tea party room at afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
The NM Cafe party room for parties of 15 or more is a lovely space that offers privacy and feels a bit more formal.
DestinationTea
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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