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EATING OUT; AFTERNOON TEA

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by CG News Desk

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Afternoon tea is $16 and includes tea, assorted finger sandwiches, scones and dessert (cookies are called biscuits here). The dinner menu includes such kid:friendly fare as macaroni and cheese and shepherd's pie, in a beef or vegetarian version. And the "Heinz tomato soup" appeals to the kid in everyone. My children loved reading the menu, with such offerings as tweed kettle pie; bangers and mash; bangers, bacon and beans; bangers, mash and beans, and more. (Note to Teletubbies fans: the "carry on" shop next door sells Teletubby splat mats). Address: 108 Greenwich Avenue Telephone: (212) 807:8329 Tea time: Begins 11:30am weekdays, 1pm weekends, until 6pm daily Prices: Entrees $8.50:10.95; tea is $16 Credit cards: No Strollers: Yes High chair: Yes Booster seats: No Coloring books and crayons: No Wheelchair accessible: No Reservations: No

Payard Patisserie & Bistro Payard offers their Le Thé menu, which includes a limited selection of sandwiches, a small pizza and a most impressive array of sweets. Afternoon tea includes a couple of minuscule brioche with creamy fillings, a scone, tarts and a madeleine. One of the pastries is soaked in rum, so be sure to keep it off your child's plate. The hot chocolate is exceptionally rich.

Though Payard's gets very crowded, the banquettes are fairly roomy, and the balcony offers kids an interesting perspective. Address: 1032 Lexington Avenue Telephone: (212) 717:5252 Tea time: 3:30:5pm, Monday:Saturday Prices: Tea is $16 Credit cards: Yes Strollers: Yes High chair: No Booster seats: No Coloring books and crayons: No Wheelchair accessible: Yes Reservations: No

The Palm Court at the Plaza This is the Rolls Royce of New York City teas, and a must for fans of beloved Eloise. It's loud, large, expensive - and the place my kids most want to revisit. Tea includes a selection of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and an overabundance of mini pastries. The over:the:top setting includes a violinist and pianist; indulgent parents or grandparents may approve a visit to the Plaza gift shop. On the way hangs a portrait of Eloise. Address: 768 Fifth Avenue Telephone: (212) 759:3000 Tea time: Monday:Saturday, 3:45:6pm; Sunday, 4:6pm Prices: Tea is $27 Credit cards: Yes Strollers: Yes High chair: Yes Booster seats: No Coloring books and crayons: No Wheelchair accessible: Yes Reservations: No

Anglers & Writers This casual restaurant has an appealing decor, with large fish on the walls, and tons of old books - even a few for children. Unlike the other spots mentioned, this cozy place is appropriate for the tiniest diners, even babies because it's calm and has room for a stroller. Tea includes sandwiches, a scone (or substitute) and a dessert, or you can order off the menu and, good news if you want to eat a meal and the kids just want dessert: afternoon tea is available throughout the evening.

A couple of caveats: This is a great place for brunch, but the tea service was disappointing when we went. This was partly because they were out of their wonderful scones and two of the sandwich selections. (On Sunday, the brunch crowd often polishes off the scone supply; this is somewhat offset by the weekend:only availability of whitefish chowder). And while the restaurant has recently added a high chair, the friendly staff is not yet attuned to children's needs. My five:year:old was served very hot steamed milk in a glass, with a straw. Address: 420 Hudson Street Telephone: (212) 675:0810 Tea time: 3:7pm daily Prices: $12.50 before 4:30pm; $13.50 after. Credit cards: No Strollers: Yes High chair: Yes Booster seats: No Coloring books and crayons: No Wheelchair accessible: No Reservations: No


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