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Afternoon Tea for 30-40?

Need to plan an afternoon tea for 30-40 folks (for my mom's 70th birthday), and, since afternoon tea is not a regular feature in my dining universe, I could really use some help selecting a venue. We would like a private or semi-private room or space, and the food needs to kick ass. Ideal location would be somewhere between Santa Monica and Downtown or the south-eastern portion of the San Fernando Valley (e.g., Sherman Oaks, Studio City, etc.). Within reason, cost is not a material constraint.

Please help me! TIA hounds.

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  1. try Jin Patisserie in Venice - know for their tea menu. It is possible to rent out the entire patio for a few hours. I once inquired (ended up going somewhere else because it was too pricey for me, but sounds like it might work for you)

    1 Reply
    1. re: chef74

      Definitely call Jin Patisserie, thought their place might be too small for a party of of 30-40. Kristy Choo used to work at Raffles in Singapore and has had plenty of experience doing their Afternoon Tea, so you won't be disappointed. I'd call and inquire about the space limitation though.

    2. Try the Biltmore Hotel downtown (5th and Grand) they serve a very nice tea.

      1. I agree regarding Jin Patisserie...It's wonderful...

        The tea service at Descano Gardens is lovely too, and of course, you have the gardens to stroll through before or afterward...

        3 Replies
        1. re: CynGriff

          You should check out Chado on Third Street. Also, many of the fine hotels can do this in a private room-Four Seasons, Peninsula, Beverly Wilshire, etc.

          1. re: holleygolitely

            I concur with HGL. I love going to Chado on Third and in Pasadena. Service and food are wonderful and extremly reasonable. If you really want to break the bank, go for the Hotel Bel Air. I've never been, but my sister and her friends do an annual Tea and Sympathy Luncheon every year after Xmas.

          2. re: CynGriff

            Jin Patisserie - great for tea. They serve the best tea I have ever had - Le Palais des Thes. The desserts are fab too.
            Penninsula has a great Tea too.
            We really enjoyed the Tea at Ritz Carlton in Pasadena

          3. I've had high tea at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, and found it to be pretty good. They had a large selection of teas, the pastries were tasty and the sandwiches were decent. The dining room is high-ceilinged and spread out, so that you have some sense of privacy. I'm not sure how pricey it is however, since it was a work function that I (luckily) didn't have to pay for!

            If you are willing to drive to Pasadena, there's an amazing little tea garden with fresh flowers everywhere and amazing selection of sandwiches: Tea Rose Garden on Raymond Ave.

            1. I've hosted tea at the Ritz in Marina del Rey for groups about that size and have been very pleased. Nice little nook off the front lobby overlooking the boats, so the setting is nice. The tea service and food were also very good - much better than Chado imho. I also have the name of a woman who used to do the Asian/English fusion teas at Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar. Her teas were exquisite in both menu and presentation. If you wanted to host something at home, she might be an option. Please let me know if you want that info, and I'll look her up.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CynD

                I would love the name, as I am in the early planning stages of hosting a tea for 30 to up to 40 in my home. Thanks in advance!
                Any suggestions as to where to buy tea sandwiches and sweets would be appreciated. It doesn't have to be anything "classic". It will just be an afternoon
                champagne/tea/coffee nibbles and sweets. I have all the china and flatware I need as well as serving platters, etc.

              2. Scarlet Tea Room in Pasadena, CA

                I never been to afternoon tea at Scarlet Tea Room, however one of my girlfriends did for a bridal shower and she said it was delish.

                3 Replies
                1. re: kwc

                  Scarlet Tea Room would be a lovely setting for a 70th birthday party!

                  1. re: dette

                    Agree, although it might be a bit small. The best other option would be the Ritz carlton, either Pasadena or Marina Del Rey.

                  2. re: kwc

                    I went to Scarlet Tea Room recently for a bridal shower. They reserved a private area for about 30 people, and the tables were set up to seat groups 4. The staff was very friendly, the service was good, and the pumpkin scones were especially yummy.

                    Maybe the only down side is that we were offered only two types of tea, but that seems to be the norm at the afternoon teas I've been to for large groups.

                  3. I've have no direct knowledge about its quality, but you might consider the tea service at the Huntington Estate, in San Marino.

                    1. I've hosted a co ed bridal shower tea for 30 at the Huntington Garden/Library in San Marino. We had a private room and they set everything up in stations (serve your self) with a good variety of tea sandwiches and pastries. The advantage is the gardens and library are beautiful to visit. Disadvantage is you have to also pay entrance fee to the library/garden and it is a little bit of a walk from the parking lot to the tea room (a little far for some elderly). If you decide to do a trial visit, reservations are a must. I don't think they accomodate walk ins at tea time.
                      I also hosted a smaller party of 12 and we were at one large table in the common room. We were in a corner and it was still very nice.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hungry runner

                        I too have hosted showers as well as have been many times for tea, (I'm a member). If you are doing a test run, you should as suggested make reservations but on my impulsive visits,so far I have never been turned away. You need to explain that you know reservations are suggested but that you will wait to see if there is a cancellation or a no show. Yes, you do need to pay for admission but tea is only about $26 per person inc tax & tip. Because of this post, I must try Jin and have yet to try Scarlet Tea Room only hearing good things about it as well. One thing I love about the Huntington is that it is buffet style so if there is a particular finger sandwich that you like, well, you can have as many as you wish. Another note: you can rent wheelchairs at the entrance.http://www.huntington.org/Information...

                      2. Maybe the Pacific Dining Car would work?

                        1. Tudor House in Santa Monica is another option. They have a private room that can possibly fit 40 people.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: dette

                            Raised by Brits, I love the Tudor House... If you end up there, you must have custard tarts.

                          2. Jin Patisserie is cute but parking would be HORRIBLE for that many people.

                            What about the Rose Garden Tea Room at the Huntington Library? or Hotel Bel-Air?

                            Chado would be good though.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mermy

                              I was at Chado over the weekend and found it to be just okay. The scones were warm and tasty, but the other baked goods seemed manufactured. The selection of sandwiches were mediocre, and the Turkish egg sandwich was dry and bitter. Not only had they run out of salad greens but they also gave us a tough time about offering any substitution for the missing greens. Plus the tea pots were slightly dirty. I was not that impressed...

                            2. We had a 100th birthday luncheon for my aunt at Descanso Gardens. It was perfect for our group (which was a bit bigger than your group) but check it out.