Shanghai's best afternoon teas: affordable

Enjoy high tea without breaking the bank in Shanghai

Shanghai's never short of afternoon tea options. But where do you go for affordable high tea sets? We've picked the best afternoon teas that won't send you broke, from ElEfante to JE Science Hall

Annvita Tea Room


What Jane Austen Afternoon Tea

When 11am-9pm daily

Price 138RMB per person

What you get A tea or coffee plus a twotiered set of sweets, scones with butter and jam, fruitcake, biscuits, fresh fruit, cucumber sandwiches, savoury scones, and, somewhat abstractly, a ‘Bath Impression’ (apparently).

The food The environment at Annavita Tea Room is a pleasing one in which to eat one’s Jane Austen Afternoon Tea. The warm crumbly scone is a particular highlight, accompanied by a smooth jam and perched on top of what appear to be deliciously fresh raspberries and blackberries, but are in fact deliciously synthetic raspberry and blackberry candies. Also a surprise is the lightly spiced, butter y yo-yo, although the other biscuits are less exciting.

The locale While the selection isn’t the most decadent or plentiful, the afternoon tea in Annvita is very much experiential in that they’ve massively gone to town with the twee Englishness associated with an afternoon tea. In attempting to create their ‘Impression’ of Bath (the city where Austen once lived), Annvita have decked out their dining room with floral wallpaper, British royal memorial plates, and bright velvet chairs. The interiors have an appearance that is par t village gift shop, par t granny’s house. It’s all soundtracked by classical music and is a fair estimation of some of the more touristy spots in Bath itself.

The verdict One to visit for the atmosphere – best for Anglophiles and Austen fans.

Annvita Tea Room is at Bldg 27, 529 Fuxing Zhong Lu, near Sinan Lu. See full address details



What Picnic Afternoon Tea

When 3-5pm Tue-Sun

Price 129RMB per person based on a two person set (258RMB for two)

What you get A highly Instagrammable miniature picnic table decorated with an array of treats. Savoury-wise, you can expect a tomato and chorizo brioche, a mini crab and avocado panini, a vegetable quiche and a savoury scone (which is also joined by a raisin and fennel seed variety). For sweets, there are white chocolate ‘carrots’, an orange and almond madeleine, a strawberry and mango trifle, churros, and to top everything off, a decadent amount of cream and chocolate in the form of a cup of cappuccino and a tiramisu. For drinks, you can choose between tea and coffee, or for an additional charge you can introduce sangria (45RMB), prosecco (58RMB) or Champagne (148RMB) into the mix.

The food Every item on the picnic table is carefully crafted and curated, and very tasty. It’s a generous amount of food that veers to the sweeter side and will please even the most fer vent chocolate lovers.

The locale Whether you enjoy this tea inside ElEfante’s Donghu Lu villa or on the glorious terrace outside, the environment is the perfect setting for a casual afternoon.

The verdict Unique food in idyllic surroundings – best for interesting bites and terrace vibes.

ElEfante is at 20 Donghu Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu. See full address details

JE Science Hall, Building One Restaurant


What Chinese Afternoon Tea Set

When 2-5pm daily

Price 148.35RMB per person based on a two person set (296.70RMB for two including 15 percent service charge).

What you get A pot of Chinese tea and seven types of Chinese sweets per person, including a mango soup, rose and sesame biscuits, green bean cake, mochi roll, yellow bean cake and biscuits.

The food The Chinese set here is one of our favourites. The sweet treats are delicate and not overly sugary, though they are a little small. While all the bites are delicious, the stand out is the rose biscuit, which has a fragrant aroma and layers of delicate pastry encasing a nutty, rose flavoured centre (this speciality is also available to buy separately and take away).

The locale Located off a quiet street parallel to Huaihai Zhong Lu, the Science Hall looks like an expensive private residence and the restaurant located in Building One is ornate and decorated in a decisively French-style. There are plush armchairs, coffee tables and bookshelves decorating the low-lit space. Outside, there’s a tranquil garden to stroll in after you’ve indulged.

The verdict Excellent food plus glamorous surrounds make for a luxury afternoon tea experience – best for reclining deeply and sampling Chinese sweets.

JE Science Hall, Building One Restaurant is at 47 Nanchang Lu, near Sinan Lu. See full address details