I don't really need to say too much about this place. It's fantastic. Most importantly, the food and tea was top notch. Both the savoury little sandwiches and the baked goods are ridiculously good at Neverland Tea Salon (on Broadway between Balaclava and Carnarvon). You can see the menu for the high tea pictured. All of the pastries and finger sandwiches are creative, flavourful, and unexpectedly pleasing, and include multiple textures and flavour components to go that extra mile - like the little bit of delightful crunch under the malted chocolate mousse cake. I've been there a couple of times now, and they change the items up a bit, but it's all been delicious. They even let you choose different teas when you finish a pot, and I had their Earl Grey, and their signature Take Me To Neverland chocolate and peppermint scented black tea blend. I love the Neverland theme, and while this may attract clientele with children, everyone seemed well behaved when I visited. The tea cups and flatware are great.
I think service can be somewhat improved, depending on which server you get. Also, they seem to freak out a bit when you arrive an hour before closing which was plenty of time for me personally in that instance, but they basically close the kitchen then, so be prepared for them to sound a bit on edge if you come in just before that time. I also had the servers ignore me for quite a few minutes after I walked in, so it would have really been disappointing had they not let me have afternoon tea. This is where they could do with some improvement, by the way. Some servers are really not that friendly and welcoming (luckily for the first visit, I had a remarkably competent young man with excellent customer service skills that left me with a very positive impression, which led me to wanting to come back). They do stay open quite late for an afternoon tea place, which is quite nice - on weekends, they "close at 7 pm," but really, keep in mind that this means 6 pm. They also have cocktails, which I haven't tried yet.
My favourite high tea place in the past has been The Secret Garden Tea Co. off W. 41st, with warm and friendly service everytime, a prettier and daintier room (less shabby chic) and delicious food and tea, and prettier pastries, but only 3 types of sandwiches. Neverland is a strong contender. You get more variety with five types of finger sandwiches, plus a mega scone. You get more opportunity to have a variety of teas at Neverland too. Pricing is the same for high tea. And perhaps it's due to my foggy memory, but I feel like the flavours are more exciting at Neverland, but I do remember that everything was absolutely delicious at The Secret Garden as well. Anyhow, try both. They're both good. And it's fun to go to different settings.
I've also enjoyed the afternoon tea at Bacchus Restaurant and Lounge at the Wedgewood Hotel, which is only available Saturday and Sunday between 2 - 4 pm. But it did have less creative flavours, and was more expensive, but it came with amazing service and is set in a beautiful richly decorated room filled with cushy velvet covered chairs and dark wood. I only went once, and was very impressed by our very kind, very dignified butler-like server. But I have received much colder service for drinks in the early evening (perhaps because everyone else was in their lawyer suits from the courthouse, and I was dressed very casually) so I can't be sure that the service is consistent for afternoon tea.
For me, high tea makes me feel civilized, pampered, and indulgently girly, and is the perfect antidote to a grubby, "go-go-go" week of work. It's like the meal version of a long meandering stroll versus what sometimes feels like sprinting through a muddy obstacle course. Just a note though, that while high tea can be very girly (I have organized a big bridal shower high tea, for example), men have definitely enjoyed the experience with me too, so it doesn't have to be for just the girls.