Destination Tea: LondonHouse Chicago

Where: Chicago, Illinois
Style:  Modern lounge
Tea Selection:  12+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Daily, 11 to 3
Reservations: Reservations required
Contact: Reserve here
Cost: $85 Holiday Tea; $75 Afternoon Tea; $35 Child’s Afternoon Tea
Destination Tea Tips: This riverside hotel is across the street from the docks where several architectural cruises depart. We wished we had timed our afternoon to have been able to take a boat tour of the city’s history after our teatime. Also, we understand if locals insist on revisiting throughout the year to experience the seasonally changing menus (fabulous!).

Prices and teatimes are subject to change. Please see our Illinois Afternoon Tea Directory for the latest details.

exterior LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea

Destination Tea Notes: From a culinary and scenic perspective, we saved the best for last on our Chicago trip. Tea hats off to LondonHouse Chicago’s Pastry Chef Thomas Gorczyca and Executive Chef Liz Sweeney: their creations are outstanding. This is a high-end afternoon tea worth every penny, so plan to spoil yourself and add LondonHouse Chicago to your destination tea wishlist. Originally a historic landmark called the London Guarantee & Accident Building, the site is known as one of four 1920s anchors of the Michigan Avenue Bridge (alongside the Wrigley Building, Chicago Tribune Tower and 333 North Michigan Avenue). In 2013, the property was transformed into a luxury hotel featuring the addition of a modernist all-glass tower, where afternoon tea is served in the second-floor lobby, allowing guests to gaze out over the blue-green Chicago river and striking architecture of the surrounding historical buildings. It feels like you’ve walked on to a movie set, with the added pleasure of spectating the bustle of city folks and tourists passing by while you are tucked into a leisurely (and so amazingly delicious) afternoon tea.

exterior LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
Is there something of Gringotts Wizarding Bank in the facade of the original London Guarantee & Accident Building entrance, at the corner of East Wacker and Michigan Avenue?
lounge overlooking Chicago river at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
The modern addition to the building features floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Chicago river, and thoughtful low-backed round armchairs and slender chandeliers for an unobstructed view. We know we cannot be the first to say that the “corn cob” buildings across the way look straight out of The Jetsons. A bit of research turns up that it’s not a far-fetched connection to make: the Marina City buildings were completed in 1967, and The Jetsons first aired in 1962.
afternoon tea table at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
Metallic accents on table and curved armchairs (showing some wear) at our tea table

Tea Selection

teapot at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
Each guest is invited to choose a pot of tea, with loose tea leaves in a removable infuser basket (second infusions welcome).
green tea at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
The Italian Green Almondine is a tasty green tea blended with almond oil and Seville orange.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

scones and pastries at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
The scone course arrives first, with large Hazelnut Praline Croissants, Molasses Ginger Cookies, Apple Crumb Scones and Pumpkin Cranberry Scones, each as scrumptious, warm and soft as the one before.
spreads and clotted cream at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
To accompany the basket of baked treats, ramekins of apple butter, maple curd and clotted cream add another layer of sweetness to the course.
3 tiered tray at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
So much artistry goes into the multicultural savory course: Sushi Crepe (beet cured salmon, spinach, roasted tomato, everything spiced cheese, tobiko); Butternut Squash Tart with Fennel; Purple Potato Tart with Citrus Goat Cheese and Fried Sage; Egg Mole with Grueyere; Vegan Crabcake with Candied Meyer Lemon and Duck Finger Sandwich.
at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
First time seeing donuts hanging off of a 3-tiered tray at afternoon tea, but certainly not complaining
at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
As if the scone course wasn’t a full dessert serving on its own, the final course includes Apple Cider Donut, Cranberry Almond Petit Four, Caramel Apple Dome, Pumpkin Pecan Tart and Cookie Butter Macaron. It’s a heavenly array of autumnal sweet dreams!
finger sandwiches and desserts at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
Plan to take home what you cannot finish. And hello to the Chicago double-decker bus!
pumpkin pecan tart at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
Special spotlight on our favorite dessert: the Pumpkin Pecan Tart, because surprise, that pumpkin may look solid, but it is actually made of melt-in-your-mouth Pumpkin Cremeux. What can this pastry chef not do?
river vista at LondonHouse Chicago afternoon tea
So many stunning pics to take in this area, the Chicago river to the west (pictured here), and Lake Michigan to the east
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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