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tea in Santa Monica/WLA?

Chardgirl Oct 24, 2008 07:14 AM

Hello, I've searched the board but couldn't find it: tea house or tea restaurant or any cafe or restaurant that does a good tea service? Bulk teas, well brewed... you know.

to get things rolling I've searched and found the following places as possibilities:

Jin Patisserie in Venice

Lollicup on Sawtelle (this looks more like a bubble fun boba place which has it's place but....)

Catch 22 on Olympic

I'm looking for a quiet respite with great tea (away from my children.)

I know there's got to be other great tea places in this large city!

thanks for your help!

  1. playfulotter Oct 24, 2008 08:51 AM

    You could also try the Pacific Dining Car in Santa Monica as they have an afternoon tea.

    1. Servorg Oct 24, 2008 09:00 AM

      Have you checked with the Santa Monica beach hotels? Le Merigot, Shutters, Loews, Casa Del Mar are all possibilities. There are also a couple of British pub/restaurants like Ye Olde Kings Head (I am blanking on the other one at the moment) that might be potential suspects.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Servorg
        Chardgirl Oct 24, 2008 10:04 AM

        thanks to both of you, I might try those... especially when my 11 year old daughter who loves all the pageantry is with me.

        and I wasn't clear in my first post, apologies!: I'm not into high English tea with all the trimmings, my experience is that the tea itself isn't always that great. I'm looking for a morning place that does great tea: greens, oolongs, pu-ers, etc.

        I just tried to visit Jin Patisserie in Venice after a quick farmers market visit, but they don't open until 10:30 am so instead I had a lovely small chai at the Rose Cafe. Only $1.75 with tall tables and chairs to linger.

        I'm looking for a cafe or actual tea establishment that brews whole leaf loose teas in real pots with no tea bags: many choices or few: as long as the teas themselves are well chosen.

        I'm certain there are LA Tea-Heads out there!

        If I find a good place or two I'll post back.

        wish me luck!


        1. re: Chardgirl
          Servorg Oct 24, 2008 10:27 AM

          If you will stretch your geographic boundaries a bit then: https://www.chadotea.com/index.php

          1. re: Chardgirl
            mollyomormon Oct 24, 2008 11:53 AM

            I love that chai from Rose Cafe. Definitely try to stop by Jin again when they're open; it's one of my favorite places to sit with a book and a pot of tea.

        2. wilafur Oct 24, 2008 11:56 AM

          check out funnel mill on broadway, a couple blocks east of lincoln.

          8 Replies
          1. re: wilafur
            a_and_w Oct 24, 2008 12:51 PM

            Second Funnel Mill -- very comfortable and tranquil setting.

            1. re: wilafur
              WBGuy Oct 24, 2008 01:57 PM

              Funnel Mill. Esp for good coffees and Chinese/Japanese teas

              1. re: WBGuy
                Chardgirl Oct 24, 2008 02:49 PM

                Thanks to all! I'll stop by Funnel Mill and Jin on Abbot Kinney this trip if at all possible. And YES I'll travel for tea: Mumbai here I come! or for now, the downtown LA location of the Chado tea room will do. this is exactly the thing I was looking for.

                I did stop in at the Sawtelle Lollicup after my generous bowl of noodles at the famous place across the street: Asahi I think. I love the condiments they have at table. I love their noodles. I got there before noon to secure a seat! I got the predictable miso ramen with veggies and I loved them even though it was hot outside. The cold noodle dishes (without soup) passing by to other tables looked perfect.

                Lollicup: from the menu it looked like a strictly bubble tea/fancy perfume-y milk tea kind of a place. It's hot enough today that would be good! but the gal at the counter (the place was empty) was busy on her cell phone and looked annoyed when I walked in. Easy: I walked right out.

                Thanks much for the recommendations. If I don't make them this trip I'll visit each one next time: I'm an only child with aging parents in Venice, I'll be back often.


              2. re: wilafur
                liu Oct 24, 2008 03:22 PM

                I fourth Funnel Mill!

                This is a serious, no-nonsense tea house.
                They are very accommodating and will let you sit.

                1. re: liu
                  liu Jan 8, 2009 07:51 AM

                  A couple of days ago I had an hour to myself in Santa Monica sandwiched between two activities. I went to Funnel Mill about 4:00pm on Tuesday for some tea.
                  Most of the tables were occupied and the place felt very comfortable and cozy.
                  The owner spent some time talking to me about the teas that he liked and assisted in my selection. He took pains to brew my tea in the proper way and even gave me a dish of green tea pumpkin seeds to munch with my brew. These salty seeds were the perfect accompaniment with my oolong.

                  The hour passed quickly but my experience at Funnel Mill was extremely relaxing and tranquil. The service was extraordinary; the owner offered to keep my tea pot hot, and while I was preparing to leave, one of the servers brought me a sample cup of an herbal tea that he liked which contained dates and goji berries...very sweet and warming.

                  I felt very pampered and revitalized when I left. While the printed prices appear to be a bit steep, they do not accept any tips. For the entire experience, I believe their prices are very fair.

                  Funnel Mill is like no other tea/coffee shop I have visited and I highly recommend it for anyone wishing to take a break!

                  1. re: liu
                    a_and_w Jan 8, 2009 11:26 AM

                    I really think you've captured this place well, liu. All that pampering used to frustrate me a little bit when I would stop there wanting a quick cup of coffee. Then I realized -- it's just not the kind of place you do that. To get your money's worth and really appreciate Funnel Mill, you have to immerse yourself in the total experience.

                    1. re: a_and_w
                      liu Jan 8, 2009 01:01 PM

                      Well said, a_and_w!
                      It reminded me of a sushi experience. For me, eating sushi is not just about the fish or the rice; it is about everything from the moment you enter. Funnel Mill was a wonderful hour!

                      1. re: liu
                        luhkee Jan 9, 2009 09:25 AM

                        Thank you all for the Funnel Mill string. I have been locked in the house injured in Venice, and did not even know about this place! Going Weds after farmers' market.

                        By the by...Here is the place link...

                        Cheers, JOHNNIE

                        Funnel Mill
                        930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

              3. s
                slacker Oct 24, 2008 03:36 PM

                For an excellent British afternoon tea: Gordon Ramsay. They do a very delicious tea.

                1. Emme Oct 24, 2008 08:35 PM

                  i'm sorry this isn't in west la or sm, but there's a great tea place on Franklin next to UCB, but i'm blanking on the name... great tea choices, and and interesting place to sit.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Emme
                    Chardgirl Oct 25, 2008 05:39 AM

                    thanks for this reply, I'm willing to travel for tea... but I've not actually lived in LA since 1983... I now live in the Bay Area, so "UCB" sounds to me like UC Berkeley... help? -cg

                    1. re: Chardgirl
                      Servorg Oct 25, 2008 05:47 AM

                      Emme may be referring to: UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE THEATRE 5919 Franklin Blvd. in Hollywood. However, I have lived here my whole life and am not sure if that's right or not.

                      Add: Could it be 101 Coffee Shop?

                      1. re: Servorg
                        Emme Oct 25, 2008 12:56 PM

                        that's exactly right... it's a little place like four or five doors west of upright citizens' brigade... sorry to abbreviate before. it's west of the the japanes place... it's really cute and great tea selection... i *wish* i could remember the damn name... and unfortunately the guy that would know the name... well, we don't speak anymore :)

                        1. re: Servorg
                          ldodb Jan 8, 2009 09:48 AM

                          Well if its 4 or 5 doors down from UCB it cant be 101 Coffee Shop, thats like 3-4 blocks down the street.

                          I think emme is thinking about the bourgeois pig.

                    2. perk Jan 8, 2009 05:21 PM

                      I haven't been to Funnel Mill, so now I'm anxious to try it. But I would recommend going back to Jin Patisserie. I went with friends to their tea about a month ago. It's very casual....folks and families on the patio. But the tea is delicious and the pastries were wonderful. The sandwiches were ok...not amazing. But then...there are her chocolates....which could end wars. It was a very nice experience....I will definitely go back.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: perk
                        Chardgirl Oct 23, 2010 11:28 AM

                        exactly 2 years later... I went to the Funnel Mill for my first time. Liu's post is similar to my experience. Knowledgeable staff, relaxed space, wireless for those that need it (I was just a magazine kid today). And the Tea List! I loved reading their menu... Then I decided on their masala chai. They brewed it on the spot for me. 20 minutes later a glass 2/3 full of steamed milk foam was brought to my table with a full pot of spicy chai, and poured perfectly. I'll be returning to try the mellower Mumbai chai! I watched them prepare coffees as well, nearly making me wish I like coffee given the fancy looking glass equipment and the single minded focus of the woman making the coffee.


                        Funnel Mill
                        930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

                        1. re: Chardgirl
                          liu Oct 23, 2010 08:48 PM

                          Hi, Chardgirl!
                          Aaaaah, your post reminded me of my wonderful experience at Funnel Mill that day almost a year ago. I am glad to read that your experience was a good one!

                          Did they serve you anything -- salty green tea pumpkin seeds -- with your tea? Did you feel pampered?

                          Your post reminded me that I need to return...soon!

                          Funnel Mill
                          930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

                          1. re: Chardgirl
                            goodhealthgourmet Oct 23, 2010 09:07 PM

                            so glad you finally made it, the place really is a gem. i adore Funnel Mill, even despite the fact that my first cup of tea there ended up costing me a whopping $70...i didn't realize i parked in a permit zone. oops :)

                            now if they would just offer some *gluten-free* complimentary munchies, the place would be darn near perfect.

                            oh, and if you're a coffee drinker, they brew a mean cup of joe as well.

                            Funnel Mill
                            930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

                        2. k
                          kauma Oct 23, 2010 12:49 PM

                          Hello! I'd suggest The Tudor House.


                          Tudor House
                          1403 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                          1. c
                            Chardgirl Jul 1, 2013 10:42 AM

                            5 years later... Still a tea head with aging parents to visit in Venice. On my last visit I tried Intelligentsia on Abbot Kinney... And they are up there with the funnel Mill on the quality and preparation of their teas. I know this place is all about coffee, but they truly take the tea thing seriously. The scene is of course a bit more frenetic than the Funnel Mill, but I wanted to give them a plug. I'll be returning to the F Mill this week, and someday I might actually make Jin Ptisserie during hours they are actually open, maybe...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Chardgirl
                              Servorg Jul 1, 2013 10:57 AM

                              Just be aware that Jin relocated to Culver City http://jinpatisserie.com/

                              1. re: Servorg
                                liu Jul 1, 2013 11:15 AM

                                Thank you, Servorg, for this update. This Culver City location at 5741 Buckingham Parkway, Suite D, is a production location for order and pick-up only; it is not a shop or garden like the one on Abbot Kinney used to be.

                                In a year or two, Kristy Choo, proprietor of Jin and such a talent, plans to open another place that will serve tea and pastries, but that location is unknown at this time.

                              2. re: Chardgirl
                                liu Jul 1, 2013 10:59 AM

                                Hi, Chardgirl.

                                Jin is gone.
                                Perhaps they have relocated, but I do not have any word on that. I would love to find them somewhere in this city!

                                I, too, like Funnel Mill for tea; I think they are serious. Regarding Intelligentsia for tea, it is my experience that they vary greatly in customer care and general care from shop to shop. I have never had a good cup of anything at their Sunset location; perhaps they are too busy, but I do like the Pasadena shop and the Abbot Kinney store. The Pasadena Intelligentsia seems to put special effort into their tea service and their cold bao zhong is as good as any I have had...no add-ins, I often slurp two or three glasses before I am ready to leave!

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