Go Grandioso or go home. That was our rationalization as my friend MaryBeth and I flexed our pinkies in preparation for afternoon tea at the new Forever Fiore Secret Garden Tea House at Royal Palm Square in Fort Myers.
The Grandioso is one of three levels of traditional afternoon tea offerings. It presents a three-tiered porcelain tray stand prettily arranged with finger sandwiches, croissants, jams, fruit, cheese, macarons and petit fours. The Grandioso also includes unlimited tea and, for us, the clincher: two glasses of prosecco.
Like the cups and saucers, the exquisite trays are scalloped – reminiscent of rose petals – and trimmed in gold. The saucers further the floral connection with a rosy hue that matches the tea pots. Stylized gold-tone flatware and a potted orchid that looked so real we could almost smell it, completes the genteel look of the table settings upon marble slabs.
The orchids and rosy hues are only part of how Forever Fiore buys into its flowery name. Faux flower chandeliers and rose-stuffed vases add cheer and an unmistakable feminine aura. To be sure, there was not a male in sight among the nine filled tables and emerald-napped booths scattered among greenhouse-like windowed walls and the dark wood service counter.
Also absent: You will find no sign of the Austrian-German restaurant that once occupied the space but now does business as the Schnitzel Express food truck.
Here’s a place grandmothers take granddaughters, girlfriends wearing fascinators meet to celebrate special occasions, and ladies who lunch while away the time sipping a wide selection of black, green, white and herbal teas brewed from quality loose-leaf.
House wines, Bellini and spritzes bolster the sipping menu with spirited selections, plus there’s espresso and cappuccino.
In addition to the tea trays, an à la carte menu lists charcuterie, baked eggs in tomato basil sauce, quiche, salads and desserts such as green tea cheesecake and tiramisu. But tea and setting is the forte here.
In all, it’s quite a grandioso enterprise, a hidden oasis of civility with an air exuding fresh, floral and totally girlie.