The Essential Spots for Afternoon Tea in L.A.

Crustless sandwiches are necessary for living a joyful life

Where do you go when you are craving civility and a long repast that includes scones, clotted cream, and bottomless pots of steaming tea? We’re so glad you asked.

The Huntington Gardens Rose Garden Tea Room
San Marino

The Huntington just revamped its Traditional English Tea Service a little over a month ago and it’s definitely worth making a reservation for on a leisurely afternoon. The meh buffet-style service is gone, replaced with a more refined table service via Executive Chef Marc Powers. It includes delish teas from Monterey Park-based Art of Tea (Dark Chocolate Peppermint is available during the holidays) and scones, crumpets, smoked salmon and caviar sandwiches, and lemon madeleines. They’ll be updating the Tea Room itself in a year or so. > 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

The Getty Villa

Photo Courtesy of Open Table

Because we live in L.A. we can have our tea by the Pacific Ocean in a villa built by an oil tycoon to resemble a Roman country house. Tea by the Sea is served in the sunny Founder’s Room which overlooks the Getty Villa and surrounding gardens. The tea is in keeping with the museum’s Greek and Roman collections and has a Mediterranean-inspired menu that includes savory panini, prosecco, tarts, fruits, and cheeses. > 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, 1.800.369.3059, Malibu

Century City

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Annie Miler’s beyond homey neighborhood bakery serves up the sweetest afternoon tea on Thursdays (if you make a rez 48 hours in advance). There is Intelligentsia looseleaf tea, triangle shaped gravlax, chicken salad, smoked turkey sandwiches, and warm currant scones with clotted cream and lemon curd. Alas, Miler’s killer chocolate chip cookies aren’t included in the tea service, but assorted sweets are. > 1751 Ensley Ave., 310.552.1080, Century City

The Langham Huntington

This is the afternoon tea by which all others are judged. The grand hotel’s Afternoon Tea with Wedgewood is set in its luxe Lobby Lounge overlooking the postcard-worthy grounds. They suggest “casual” attire but you will see little boys in bow ties and ladies in poofy skirts sipping their beverages and devouring macaroons and scones with Devonshire cream. > 1401 South Oak Knoll Ave., 626.585.6218, Pasadena

High Tea Cottage
Woodland Hills

This quirky little house with a fireplace in the parlor is a cute spot to drink pots of tea (from a crazy extensive tea menu) and eat dainties off tiered servers. You will not leave hungry and often need a little to-go box as service starts with soup or salad and includes tea sandwiches (Cheese and chutney! Chicken and cranberries!), scones (complete with preserves and Devonshire cream), and lots of desserts. > 21938 Costanso Street, 818.887.2117, Woodland Hills

Hotel Bel Air
Bel Air

When you are sipping tea and eating petite crab sandwiches with wee, shiny buns, there should be swans nearby. Luckily that’s the case at Wolfgang Puck’s afternoon tea in the mod-yet-gardeny setting next to the hotel’s pond. There is the constant soothing sounds of a fountain in the middle of the room and the great smoky smell of a real fireplace. The sour cherry scones are a must, and the chocolate dipped cream puffs aren’t bad either. And the little girls in their party dresses partaking in the Little Royals tea? Adorable. > 701 Stone Canyon Road, 310.909.1644, Bel Air

Pacific Dining Car

Fancy afternoon tea at a steak joint open 24/7? Absolutely. The gorgeous old-school restaurant (open since 1921) serves a lovely tea daily from 3-5:30 p.m. Of course you can enjoy their assortment of teas like Hot Sweet Cinnamon, but they also include a sip of champagne or sherry before scones, petits fours, and tea sandwiches. > 1310 W. 6th Street, 213.483.6000, DTLA

Culver Hotel
Culver City

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The historic brick hotel in the heart of Culver City (you’ve heard The Wizard of Oz stories, right?) hosts a charming afternoon tea party in their Grand Lobby. The Full Tea comes with warm scones and Devonshire Cream/lemon curd along with assorted finger sandwiches. The Culver Tea throws in a glass of champers as well. Either one is a lovely way to spend an afternoon with the city bustling just outside the corner hotel’s windows. > 9400 Culver Blvd., 310.558.9400, Culver City

Rose Tree Cottage

Yes, you do have to ring the doorbell here and sometimes owner Edmund Fry opens the door dressed in full butler attire. The English gent was always full-on Downton Abbey, meaning you get traditional English tea here. He serves his own blend of English Village tea with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and Sticky Toffee pudding. The jumble of a shop next to the tearoom is worth a wander, and if you are in the market for an enamel AGA Cooker, you can get one here. Also there’s croquet set up on the front lawn. > 801 S. Pasadena Ave., 626.793.3337, Pasadena

The Peninsula
Beverly Hills

You can’t have an afternoon tea list without including the Peninsula. You just can’t. A harpist (see?) plays while you try to sit up straight in their living room. Yes, that was Hugh Jackman walking past. You usually spot someone fun while enjoying your cucumber and dill finger sandwiches. Their Peninsula Cap Cake—modeled after a pageboy’s pillbox hat—is adorable. > 9882 South Santa Monica Blvd., 310.551.2888, Beverly Hills