A modest exterior reveals a comforting interior, blue and white tableclothes, white and blue china, a small but well-equipped tea shop located just east of the heart of the Beaches. As its name implies, La Tea Da specializes in tea. The shop sells tea in bulk... but what it really specialized in is variations on cream teas. Their menu includes three major options: a "cream tea" (scone, toppings, tea); an "afternoon tea" (the same, plus finger sandwiches); and a "high tea" (all of the above, plus pastries). Note: the cream tea comes with two scones; the other combinations come with one each.
cwjat, K.C., and J.K. joined me for an afternoon of delightful conversations and tasty treats. Between us, we ordered at least one of each nibble combination. Four fresh finger sandwiches, served on a variety of breads, were soft and tasty. Their numbers included salmon, cucumber-and-cream-cheese, egg salad, and avocado-tomato. Today's scones were flavored with cherry or raspberry. I so slathered mine in clotted cream and jam that, I admit, I neglected to taste my scone on its own; its texture was good though. I was particularly charmed by the garnishing nibbles. Our sandwich selections were divided up by one of the best slices of pickle I've ever had, with a smooth smokey taste, while the scones were ringed in melon balls and juicy fresh pineapple slices, each skewered on toothpicks and ready to eat.
The two of us who opted for the full affair had six different pastries to split between us. Some of them we split quite literally - we split the lemon cake square, the caramel crunch circle, and the chocolate pecan pielet down the middle, leaving us a full chocolate each, and a little chocolate mouse cake all for me.
Service was intelligent and friendly: pots were poured away from the table by our server to avoid drops - not that I had any problem with a drippy tea pot. Then the pre-brewed tea (good for about three or so full cups) was kept on its own tea lamp brazier to keep warm, a thoughtful touch. Citrus teas arrived with reminders not to add milk.
La Tea Da provides a good balance between quality and price. If you want full linens and silver serving ware, go to the city's top hotels and pay $5-10 more for the elegance and frills. If you want good food in pleasant and less formal circumstances, unrushed and nicely presented, La Tea Da would make an excellent choice.