Afternoon Tea at El Palace Hotel Barcelona – Review ★★★★☆

Barcelona is considered to be one of the best cities in the world when it comes to good food, and it is indeed in several aspects. Choice of afternoon tea is very limited though, the El Palace Hotel Barcelona is the only venue that serves a proper traditional afternoon tea, which we’ll review below :

Article updated in July 2022

Afternoon Tea at El Palace Hotel, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain  – Review ★★★★★

El Palace Barcelona Afternoon Tea Price: 45€/person
Savoury bites, Scones and Cakes & Sweets with your choice of hot beverages

Tea refills: No (Coffee or Tea),  Food refills: Yes
Extras: Cava Eco Mirgin Alta Alella: +6€; C Champagne R de Ruinart Brut:+22€

Seating time: Every day from 4 pm to 7:30 pm in the Great Hall (advance booking required)

The El Palace Hotel Barcelona Setting ★★★

Located near Plaça de Catalunya, the hotel decoration is stunning, the epitome of classicism and elegance. The lobby is especially sumptuous, featuring classic furniture, mirror panels, plants and fireplaces.

The Ritz Barcelona (now the Hotel El Palace) grand opening was in 1919, hence the splendid classic decoration. It underwent extensive renovations between 2007 and 2009, but still retains the grandeur of a Ritz establishment.

Click here to see the 2016 pictures:

I find this century old style much more fitting to an afternoon tea than modern decorations. In that regard, the El Palace is the polar opposite of the Mandarin Oriental.

I haven’t had the time to sample their breakfast just yet but I will try, as it is served in the most gorgeous setting, albeit a tad too hot in the summer.

The Great Hall ★★★★

Guests can enjoy the afternoon tea in the Great Hall or in the Bar, which are both adjacent to the lobby.

There should have been live music when I visited (supposedly Friday-Sunday) but sadly there wasn’t any… I can’t say for certain whether I was unlucky or not.

The Rooftop ★★★★

After the afternoon tea, I would suggest going to the rooftop terrace to grab a cocktail, the view of Barcelona is well worth it! Too bad the tea is not served up there, it would be smashing.

In the unlikely event that you have enough appetite, it is possible to have dinner there, the view and the restaurant are visible in the first two pictures below.

The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★☆

There is a decent selection of tea from Ronnefelt. Guests may also choose to pay extra to have their afternoon tea with a glass of Cava (+6€) or Ruinart Champagne (+22€).

Infusion: Tea bags, 3 blacks, 2 greens and 5 infusions

Click here to see the 2016 tea selection:

There is a good selection of loose leaf teas from Damann Frères, with several Black, Wulong and Green teas as well as a few infusions such as Rooibos. In total, that’s a total of 13 teas to choose from, quite nice despite the absence of white teas (my favourite kind).

Teas were brewed at the proper temperature and the staff was always making sure we had enough to drink. Guests can also choose to order coffee, the Spanish way!

The Savouries ★★★

The sandwiches are about as run-of-the-mill as you can get: Cucumber, chicken and egg. Decent but unremarkable.

Click here to see the 2016 savouries:

Four savouries : “Citrus scented smoked salmon & cream cheese”, “Egg & watercress with wasabi mayonnaise”, “Roasted chicken with mustard mayonnaise & honey” and “Arugula, tomato, cucumber, pesto & tapenade”.

I appreciate the attempt at making the savouries feel a bit more exotic but I’m afraid some of these may be an acquired taste, such as the egg & watercress sandwich. The flavour of the wasabi mayonnaise, at least in such proportions, is just too strong to be enjoyed with tea.

Still, the “Citrus scented smoked salmon & cream cheese” was a delight, might even be the best salmon sandwich I ever had.

The Scones ★★★

The scones are served with three toppings: clotted cream, and two sorts of jam. I would’ve preferred if they had been brought warm or in a towel.

Click here to see the 2016 scones:

Despite their appearance, these are not muffins but deliciously moist scones coated with brown sugar. It makes the scone taste so good, you may even consider eating it as such, without any jam or cream.

The plain and fruit scones are served with strawberry preserve, orange marmalade and clotted cream. The latter was not as thick as it should have been, but was tasty all the same.

The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★

The cakes were the best part of this afternoon tea:

  • Passion fruit and chocolate canelé
  • Raspberry tartlet
  • 100% chocolate cake ♥
  • Pineapple cake on a sablé base

Click here to see the 2016 cakes:

Coincidentally, the best pastries are the ones with a Southern European touch. The “Gypsy’s arm cake” (a Catalonian light sponge cake shaped like a Swiss roll) and the “Cannoli”, (a cream & pistachio dessert from Sicily) are so tasty that you’ll ask for refills!

The “Macaroon” was delicious as well, crisp, soft and chewy at the same time (as a proper French macaroon should be). However the “Chocolate & cherry cake” was the main disappointment, a bit average compared to the other pastries.

The Service ★★★

The staff is courteous, and efficient and our waiter was even kind enough to offer us a refill of cakes ♥

The hotel policy requires the guests to book  in advance: the procedure is straightforward and the reservation team is highly responsive if you decide to call.

Click here to see the 2016 afternoon tea video:

Below is a video detailing the full contents of the Afternoon Tea, you’ll see that the staff speaks great English:

Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★

As far as I’m aware, this is the best afternoon tea in Barcelona and despite the lack of competition, it does a decent job at it. The hotel is sumptuous, the tea selection is solid and the cakes are very good.

Unfortunately, I cannot give it a full mark due to the unremarkable savouries and slightly underwhelming scones.

+: Beautiful hotel, great location
+: Stunning view from the rooftop terrace
+: Delicious Pastries
+: Efficient service
+: Good value for money 

-: Must be booked 48 hours prior
-: Unremarkable savouries

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About Sam

My name is Samuel, I’m a French-British foodie, teaholic and serial traveller. I especially love afternoon tea as it combines everything I love: lovely venues, plenty of tea and lots of delicious food. In my never-ending quest for perfection, I make sure to try out at least one afternoon tea a day whenever I spend a weekend in London, Paris, Dublin, Hamburg, Vienna... Keep calm and bon appétit!

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