by Whitney Moore - 40 Reviews - 3 List
Afternoon tea is no longer reserved for stuffy old ladies or once-a-year occasions. That's because L.A. is turning over a new (tea) leaf and there's something for everyone. From modern takes at cool downtown haunts to tried-and-true renditions at haute hotels and cozy cottages, it's high time for tea.
Updated: September 07, 2008
Decked in lavish antique furniture (there's even a classical harpist), this afternoon tea exudes both refinement and comfort. Take in the ambiance over tea with scones and pastries ($19) or indulge in complete regality with the full set including champagne and caviar cakes ($49). Reservations recommended.
Held in the hotel's historic Rendezvous Court, this relaxing tea offers a variety of sets ranging from light Princess tea with elegant desserts ($22) to the grandiose Victorian tea with Laurent Perrier champagne ($45). Reservations required.
Just a block from the beach, this Long Beach favorite embodies every girl's tea party dream with handpicked china, velveteen chairs and vintage dress-up hats. Enjoy one of the tiered afternoon teas or enjoy a lighter salad or soup luncheon with seasonal scones. You can even put on a feather boa or princess crown for an ultra-frou frou touch. Reservations recommended, $11-$30.
Just a few blocks from the Beverly Center bustle, this 3rd Street cafe is where shoppers go for a calm, casual reprieve from the crazy consumer crawl. Choose from the shop's collection of hundreds of teas and enjoy the traditional afternoon tea of toasted sandwiches, scones and cream, pastries and cookies. Better still, if you can't make it to this Westside spot, check out the other locales in Old Town Pasadena and downtown at the Japanese American National Museum. No reservations required, $18.
This Old Town Pasadena tea parlor is a classic with white linen-clad tables, crystal chandeliers and draping red velvet curtains. Afternoon tea offers the Scarlet signature sorbet and strawberries romanoff in addition to scones, cream, petite desserts and gourmet sandwiches like brie, walnut and watercress or prosciutto with roasted red peppers. Prefer something after hours? There's also a dinner tea with almond champagne and fresh berries. Reservations recommended, $29-$38.
**EDITOR PICK** Looking for the quintessential afternoon tea experience in L.A.? Formerly housed within a cozy cottage just down the street, this sublime teahouse is now located in an enchanting mansion. Exuding British authenticity at every turn, owner Edmund (a London native) and his wife Mary, overlook no detail in making sure guests have the most pleasant and traditional tea encounter in the city. Even the Duchess of York and Prince Charles himself (!) have visited the pair throughout their more than 30 years in business. Reservations required, $32.
**EDITOR PICK** This elegant cottage hidden along a Topanga Canyon side street makes for a special afternoon with a far-away feel. The space brims with refined touches (all meals are served on the owner's personal china), yet there aren't any distracting frills and whistles. Choose from one of the afternoon British teas, or take advantage of the owner's intercontinental travels and try the Australian or French versions instead. Hint: Ask to sit on the secluded patio enclosed by an ivy-draped wall for a real afternoon getaway. Reservations recommended, $24-$39.
Angelenos have been coming to this swanky 24-hour eatery for juicy steaks and 2am breakfasts for over 80 years, but how about tea? This downtown staple does a fine afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches, scones, petits fours and complimentary sherry ($19.95). Daily 3pm-5:30pm, reservations recommended.
**EDITOR PICK** This one-of-a-kind tea house will transport you far from the familiarity of a Starbucks chai soy latte and into a new tea adventure. Choose an exotic flavor like the sweet and creamy walnut tea or light and floral lover's tea accompanied with an intriguing Korean snack plate filled with persimmon rolls, fried walnut balls and rice cookies. There's also a traditional tea ceremony for reservations of groups of 10 or more for just $10-$12 per person.
Known for its artsy Asian-inspired pastries and fine chocolates, this Zen-like garden also offers a petite afternoon tea throughout the day complete with egg salad sandwiches, homemade scones, butter cake and a miniature sampling of desserts. Reservations not necessary, $19.
**EDITOR PICK** A local favorite, this laidback neighborhood cafe happens to do one of L.A.'s best afternoon teas. Assigned tables are decked in white linens, awaiting tea-goers with pristine china. It all comes together when guests delve into perfectly selected finger sandwiches, melt-in-your-mouth scones with homemade cream and lemon curd, gourmet desserts and truffles. Thursdays 3pm-5pm, $19, reservations required.
Think high tea and sushi have nothing in common? Think again. At this tranquil garden escape, guests can relax under the shade of the Blue Moon tea house while sipping Japanese teas accompanied by miso soup, teriyaki chicken sandwiches and a selection of sushi rolls and Asian desserts. Daily seatings at 1pm and 3pm. Reservations required, $19.50.
Proving that the British aren't the only ones who know how to tea, this romantic French cafe offers a Parisian take on the afternoon ritual ($10-$30). Although similar to the British version, this tea provides additions like cinnamon tea croissants and tasty tea cakes. Monday through Saturday from 3pm-5pm, reservations recommended.
**EDITOR PICK** Unlike other chain stores touting the latest teas, this Fairfax Village hideout is where you'll likely be greeted by the owner Nira herself, welcoming you into her warm African-inspired sanctuary. While personally mixing you a signature roobios tea drink, she'll describe the healing powers of the exotic African root--you will leave feeling rejuvenated, relaxed and likely with a handful of exquisite rooibos tea, snacks and beauty products.
It may be right in the middle of the Melrose bustle, but this hidden find offers a surprisingly spacious Zen garden and lots of tea refreshments. Sample one of the brewed teas or tonics in the calm and secluded garden, then stroll through the front store to stock up on take-home goodies. Note: Try one of the decadent 'craving teas' like caramel dream or blueberry pie and see if they really do curb your sweet cravings (if not, their sweet little tea cakes may do the trick).
This bright Old Town Pasadena shop is full of glass jars brimming with enticing teas and herbs from around the world. Sidle up to the bar where you can sample tea drinks and house specialties while browsing the exotic merchandise.
Take a trip to Chinatown and venture through this two-story market where you can gawk at rows of gnarled ginseng root, sniff fragrant loose leaf herbs and sort through endless piles of foreign Asian teas. It's like a getaway to the Orient minus the airport fuss and fare.