Chado Tea Room

Best Museum Café, August 2013

Few cultural institutions can claim as essential a dining experience as the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. The Chado Tea Room occupies a corner space just off the main entrance and mirrors the museum’s minimalist design with ashen woods and granite. The aroma of browned butter and strawberries is as comforting as a Zen garden. Care to join the tea sippers on the patio? Servers are happy to suggest just the right kukicha blend from the list of more than 300 varieties. Fuel up for that World War II exhibit with light sandwiches, such as the smoked-tea egg salad or warm scones with clotted cream and jam. They’re not exactly Japanese, but who’s complaining?