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Jan 29, 2001 03:28 PM

In Search Of: English tea house

  • l

Trying to find a place for proper afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, etc. I know some of the swank local hotels offer tea (Bel Air, Bev Hills), but I'm hoping to spend around $10. Any ideas?

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  1. Tudor House
    1403 2nd Street
    Santa Monica
    (310) 451-4107

    --for an English-style afternoon tea (scones and clotted cream, anyway, don't know about finger sandwiches).
    Chadwick's in Beverly Hills has started doing an afternoon tea which is probably fabulous (has anyone been?) but it's pricier than you want and not English-style, which sounds like what you're after.

    1. Try "The Best of Times" in Seal Beach. It's a small cottage like tea house on Electric Ave. off of Main Street. Finger sandwiches, clotted cream, the whole works, served by ladies in starched white aprons and caps. Charming and not fancy, and reasonably priced.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LBJQT

        Sounds awesome, but where is "Seal Beach"? Can't find it on any maps.

        1. re: Bill Daltry

          Seal Beach is just south of Long Beach, and just north of Huntington Beach. The area where this tea room is located is Old Town, off of Main Street(what else?) and Pacific Coast Highway. It's a nice place for a stroll. There are a couple of decent restaurants, and the ubiquitous Ruby's at the end of Seal Beach pier. The Abbey, the bar known for being Mark Magwire's hangout, is on Main Street, near PCH. (They have good appetizers, btw).

      2. For a bit more (about $20-$25?) there's the Rose Tree Cottage in Pasadena off of Lake and California. It's a cozy little place run by a wife-and-husband team. The front is a store with British goods, and in the back is the dining room. The dining area is very small and exactly what you'd expect to see in a movie--round tables, flower-patterned china and lacy curtains. The set menu is very good (cucumber sandwiches, scones, strawberries, etc.) and filling, and is served by a distinguished looking, tuxedo-ed butler.

        It's a bit pricey, but really, you pay for the ambience and attentive service. Last time we went, we were informed that the table we were at was the same one a visiting African king had been seated. The table next to us had a mother and daughter, with the little girl dressed up and wearing an Easter dress, straw hat, and gloves. My aunt, who is an English tea lover, frequents and adores the place. They also have special menus for the queen's birthday.

        You can check the LA Times website for a review.

        Some other ideas: The Huntington Library's tea room is less formal and it's self-serve, but you can wander the gardens and library afterwards. Also, I hear the Ritz Carlton in Pasadena has a wonderful tea, but I haven't been yet.


        3 Replies
        1. re: Jennifer W.

          I've been to the Huntington Library tea. Although the gardens are magnificent, I found the quality of the food lacking. It's served buffet style, which detracts from the whole experience.

          The Biltmore Hotel serves a nice tea in the lobby, although the last time I was there (5+ years ago) it was around $20, including sherry, and the parking fee was astronomical. The hotel itself is an architectural treasure, and a pretty, urban setting for afternoon tea.

          1. re: Jennifer W.

            There is a little place in Redondo Beach called Collet Tea that does nothing but afternoon teas. I have heard is a very pleasant experience, but I haven't been there yet.

            1. re: Jennifer W.

              YES, try Tudor House in Santa Monica 1403 2 310.451.4107 or next to it is the Ye Old Kings Head on 116 Santa Monica Blvd 310.451.1402. I have been to Tudor House and they servce tea bags of Biegelow tea. They seem to sell some on the menu that you don't normally find, such as Prince of Wales variety.

              I have heard the Bel Air hotel has high tea. That is beautiful so maybe they serve tea. (I have not been.)I also heard the Ritz Carlton in Pasadena serves afternoon tea. Let me know if you find others. I am trying to find tea houses too!!