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Mar 17, 2008 09:59 AM

High Tea in Pasadena

Any recommendations for a nice high tea in Pasadena? The Huntington Library and Gardens where I usually go is booked solid.

I found a few choices - are any of these decent?

Rose Tree Cottage
Tea Rose Garden
Scarlet Tea Room
Tea Room at teh Ritz Carlton Pasadena

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  1. I love Rose Tree Cottage. It is run by true Brits (the gentleman actually wears tails!). This would probably be the most authentic.
    I have heard Scarlett is good.
    Tea Rose Garden & Langham (never been)

    1. I just had tea with friends at the Scarlet Tea Room yesterday, though it was a cream tea, not high tea (which is a meal-replacement and generally has more substantial food). Absolutely fantastic sandwiches and sublime scones; the strawberries Romanoff were too sweet. There was strawberry sorbet at the start and some very good (though hard to eat) petits fours.

      The tea itself was Earl Grey and was very well-brewed. No problems getting refills on the pot. We also had almond champagne which was fine, but not worth $8 a glass.

      $29 pp, not including the champagne, tax or tip.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        I agree about Rose Tree Cottage. I had a beef wellington en croute that I could have made a meal out of. With regards to Scarlett Tea Room, I thought the room was beautiful and the service very good but I thought it was totally overpriced. I don't remember anything standing food wise but I do remember coming out of there feeling bad that my friend spent so much as this was a birthday treat for me. I would say that Tea Rose Garden would be way, way at the bottom of my list. I didn't like their sandwiches-too many ingredients. It has been a long time. I hosted a baby shower there. I would say that the atmosphere at Ritz or whatever it is called now was wonderful. The food and service was ok but like I said, the atmosphere was wonderful. There is a place in Sierra Madre on Baldwin north of Sierra Madre in a converted house that I went to a couple of years back and I was very impressed by the proprietress. She has a lovely china collection. I just found the name. It's the 4 Seasons Tea Room (626) 355-0045. I will tell you a little secret about the Huntington's tea room. Get there and wait at the door until it opens. Immediatly speak to the host/hostess and tell them you do not have a reservation. Ask if you can wait around to see if someone doesn't show up for theirs. I have done this on numerous occassions besides the numerous times I have actually made reservations and hosted showers (I cannot tell you how many times I've had tea here). Anyway, I know there are those who will put it down but you can't beat the atmosphere or $$ or the fact that you can go back and get more of what you like instead of being given a 4 piece assortment and being stuck.

        1. re: Fru

          I have not tried the 4 Seasons, but have heard good things about it. I love that The Huntington's Tea Room is buffet style, but keep in mind that you need to pay for admission to the garden in addition to the cost for the tea. We have been 3 times and I think we did not make reservations any of them!!

      2. Been to all but Rose Tree Cottage (when I wanted to try there was a lot of hoopla about that place closing so I never went ahead with booking)

        Tea Rose Garden is definitely most casual of the three, the tea selection is decent, and you get a pretty generous portion of food; and you can choose from a good array of sandwiches and scones. Runs a little under $20/pp

        Scarlet Tea Room is about $30/pp and a bit more formal in dress. Pretty decent overall, here's my blog on it ( )

        I went to the Ritz Carlton one before it became the Langham. Definitely the most uppity of the bunch, the tea runs around $40/pp and there's an upgrade option to include champagne. Very classy but I was unimpressed by the baked goods. There was live piano and a nice view into the lawn, but the mood was totally ruined that day by a VERY loud bachelorette party nearby.


        1 Reply
        1. re: AquaW

          Yes, Rose Tree Cottage was supposed to close because they were going to replace the courtyard with, laugh with me here, "affordable" housing. However, obviously, they have not done that as of yet, so they are still going strong (thank God). Give it a try if you are still interested. When we went we got sticky toffee pudding. Yum!

        2. As previously noted, Rose Tree Garden is very British. Atmosphere is lovely and peaceful (no noisy showers the day we went!), and the tea and food are quite good and mostly homemade. I felt it was a bit overpriced for what was served, though, and they do not take credit cards.

          I usually enjoy the Huntington, but the last time I went (December 2007), the tea sandwiches were put too close to the jets on the buffet table and were rather frozen. I literally felt like I was biting into iced over bread, and had to let the sandwiches defrost before they were edible.

          1. Anyone have any updates for High Tea in Pasadena? Thinking about taking some young relatives to experience high tea. I've been reading online that Rose Tee Cottage's service is bad. People get yelled at for being late and mumble at if you need to use the restroom. I am bring girls between 8-14 and do not want to be yelled at. Any other good rec around the area?

            4 Replies
            1. re: luckattack

              The Huntington still has excellent high tea. Hint go on Free Day (free tickets availbale online) and you won't need to make reservations or pay for admission though it will be on a first come first serve basis.

              1. re: SeaCook

                Guess it depends on the weather but I've gone by accident on the free day and it was very crowded. If the entrance fee isn't a problem, I would avoid the free day. And yes, I think their tea is a great value. If you cannot make a reservation, go to the desk as soon as the Tea Room opens and just wait for a no show. I have never been turned away. With regards to Rose Tree Cottage, it isn't inexpensive but it is wonderful and authentic. Yes, the service may be a bit stiff but I have never experienced rude service.

                Rose Tree Cottage
                801 S Pasadena Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

                Tea Room
                12229 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

              2. re: luckattack

                I have gone several times (both new and old location - most recently in October) and have never had bad service or been treated rudely. They are "British" and a little stuffy, but service has always been good.
                There is a place in Sierra Madre that I have heard good things about, but never been: The Four Seasons Tea Room


                Four Seasons Tea Room
                75 N Baldwin Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024

                1. re: WildSwede

                  This was going to be my suggestion if the OP didn't mind traveling a little bit outside of Pasadena. It's a little pricey in my opinion, but it was Mother's Day when I went so perhaps that had something to do with it. The scones are terrific and they have an outdoor patio that is nice when weather permits (and makes things less stuffy)!