High Tea in the San Gabriel Valley

High Tea in the San Gabriel Valley
High tea may not seem to fit in this surfing and hiking obsessed burbs of Los Angeles, but great places do exist. In the environs around Pasadena, there are four elegant restaurants, each with the ability to take one back in time. Why not take a break from contemporary life by enjoying a tea service instead of lunch?

Twenty miles east of the downtown core, the sleepy village of Sierra Madre sometimes feels like a Dickensian town – and The Four Seasons Tea Room offers food and drink for those wanting to enjoy a nineteenth century experience. The restaurant is bedecked with flowers, lace, and china; art celebrating these elements decorates the walls. The menu is entirely pre-fixe; diners choose between a cream tea (dessert and scones), a sandwich tea, a salad tea, or larger bills of fare combining the above choices. There are more than a dozen choices for tea, including blends of black, green, oolong, and herb tisanes. Street parking, while not ample, is available, and the setting encourages leisurely chatting while one enjoys the offerings. Prices range from seventeen twenty-eight dollars per person.

In the tony suburb of San Marino, the Huntington Library offers tea at its Rose Garden Tea Room, not far from the house where Henry and Arabella Huntington once lived. The restaurant offers ornate service, again in the pre-fixe style; here, the choices include a glass of wine or champagne as well as scones, sandwiches, quiche, smoked salmon, desserts, and a number of different tea blends. Prices range from thirty-five to fifty-five dollars per person, but keep in mind that one must also pay for admission to the Huntington Library and Gardens if one is not already a member. Make a day of it – have tea, then stroll around to work off the calories!

As befits a part of a noble European chain, the Langham hotel offers teatime in the grand English style. Wedgewood china ensconces the tables, and guests choose from a selection of finger sandwiches, scones, French pastries, and other desserts. Tea selections are somewhat limited compared to other spots, but the list of aperitifs, wine, and champagne, as well as the truly elegant setting, provides an incredible experience. Expect to pay around fifty dollars for the tea service, with alcoholic beverages extra.

Chado Tea Room in downtown Pasadena (with other locations in downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the South Bay) is the place to go for the value conscious. In addition to the twenty-six dollar pre-fixe menu (soup or salad, four half sandwiches, a scone, and dessert), it’s possible to order individual items on an extensive a la carte menu. Chado offers over one hundred different kinds of tea, making one’s meal here a highly individualized experience.

Disclaimer: I am not connected to any of these restaurants and have paid for my meals with my own funds.

Four Seasons Tea Room, 75 N Baldwin, Sierra Madre, CA. (626) 355-0045

Rose Garden Tea Room at the Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA. (626) 405-2236

The Langham, 1401 S Oak Knoll, Pasadena, CA. (626) 568-3900

Chado Tea Room, 49 N. Raymond, Pasadena. (626) 431- 2832

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Highlights of the Huntington Library

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Content copyright © 2023 by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . All rights reserved.
This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.