7 Spots for Afternoon Tea Los Angeles Connoisseurs Will Adore

It’s that time of year again in Los Angeles. Hummingbirds are shooting across impossibly blue skies. Fragrant rain-nourished flowers are blooming in bountiful bouquets of vibrant color. And the sun is kissing everything it sees with its refreshing radiance. If this isn’t the perfect time for afternoon tea Los Angeles devoteas crave, then you’re just not fancy enough. But for the rest of you, throw on your Sunday best and get those pinkies in the air… but remember: the higher the finger, the lower the class. It’s time to visit the best places for afternoon tea in Pasadena… errr, Los Angeles. 

The Langham (Pasadena)

Since there’s an air of Wildean decadence to afternoon tea in a country where it’s not exactly commonplace, we’ll start with arguably the fanciest option. And while tea in a hotel lobby may conjure nightmarish images of bargain continental breakfast bars in the midwest, afternoon tea at The Langham Pasadena couldn’t be further from instant coffee and an individually wrapped danish. The Lobby Lounge is a simple, yet elegant room, often punctuated by the gentle strum of live harp music. Generously sized windows open beyond a covered porch onto sun-soaked vistas of verdant lawns bordered by manicured gardens and a periphery of palms. If you think this is inconsequential to the afternoon tea Los Angeles connoisseurs want to read about, then you’re forgetting how much atmosphere matters. 

And like any afternoon tea worth its Devonshire cream, the Langham Pasadena’s tea menu changes with the seasons. They’re still serving from their winter menu, with delectable scones, petit fours kissed with edible flowers, and a selection of sandwiches ranging from smoked salmon to classic cucumber. We recommend tacking on a glass of sparkling wine because everything’s better with bubbles. 

The Peninsula (Beverly Hills)

Photo credit: The Peninsula Hotels

On the pricier end, but worth every penny in our opinion, afternoon tea at The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills invites you to sip “free-flowing champagne” in their “Living Room.” This is probably the closest you’ll get to afternoon tea in Kensington on this side of the pond. True to its name, this venue for afternoon tea Los Angeles socialites regularly populate resembles a living room. Albeit a living room of someone very wealthy. Expansive windows framed in cream-colored curtains look out over verdant trees and shrubbery, allowing privacy through nature. Elegant live harp music only serves to further set the atmosphere. 

The endless bubbles (requiring just a modest upgrade) by Laurent Perrier are just part of the appeal. Guests will also enjoy unique, specially blended teas, exotic takes on classic finger sandwiches, and rich sweets like white chocolate pomegranate, strawberry hibiscus, and cranberry macaron. 

Tea Rose Garden (Pasadena) 

Photo credit: Tea Rose Garden

Old Town Pasadena has its own sense of beauty, but it’s not exactly an English garden. Yet, the area’s Tea Rose Garden still earns its place on our list of the best venues for afternoon tea Los Angeles aficionados adore. Rather than rely on their surroundings, Tea Rose Garden recreates a fairytale garden within its very confines. Roses spill from opulent vases. Moss-strewn statues punctuate whispering fountains. Chandeliers and fairy lights imbue the space with a welcoming glow. 

You are treated to a wealth of options at Tea Rose Garden with a huge selection of exotic teas (cactus nectar is a personal favorite), delicate finger sandwiches, and delectable cakes. On any given day, you’ll find the room crowded with families in their Sunday best, groups of kawaii girls (and the occasional boy), and celebrants in cottagecore fashions. Their Tea For Two package also makes it a great location for a daytime date. 

Rose Garden Tea Room at The Huntington (Pasadena)

Photo credit: The Huntington

This venue for afternoon tea Los Angeles residents enjoy has been a big deal ever since The Huntington renovated their historic Rose Garden Tea Room. Most would agree that The Huntington is a quintessential element of the LA experience. Tea at The Huntington was a bit more obscure by comparison until the renovation placed it firmly on the calendar of anyone who loves the city’s sprawling scene of arts and culture. To be fair, the hype is well-deserved. An outside columnated veranda overlooks the lush gardens, while the interior is a much simpler affair, though not without its charms.

Guests choose from the seasonal tea selection. But all the favorites are here as well. House-made scones with lemon curd, Devonshire cream, and cranberry orange relish. Classic sandwiches with exotic accents. Mouth-watering sweets like ginger cakes with quince compote and cream cheese or Belgian chocolate and sea salt caramel tarts. You can even upgrade to “Huntington Tea” for a mere $13 more, giving you a glass of bubbly, lobster roll, Hawaiian black sea salt and micro celery, and a Huntington bonbon. So, there’s a bit more going on with this re-opening than some interesting architecture. 

Rose Tree Cottage (Pasadena)

Photo credit: Rose Tree Cottage

What is it with Pasadena and afternoon tea? Perhaps its the quaint charm of the city, but Pasadena really understands afternoon tea on an authentic level. And this is best represented in the village vibe of Rose Tree Cottage. Emanating English pride (try to count the Union Jacks before you even step inside), this genuine English-by-way-of-Pasadena tea room has been owned and managed by a couple of British ex-pats for well over four decades! It may lack manicured gardens and delicately babbling fountains, but there’s no better tea house for taking you back to dear ol’ Blighty. 

Upon arrival, you’ll be guided to your reserved seating area by staff dressed to the nines in traditional English finery. Tea begins with a delicious sparkling elderberry concoction. From there, it’s like an all-star parade of British cuisine, all toad-in-the-hole and sticky toffee pudding with plenty of piping hot scones, finger sandwiches, and fresh fruit. And while there may not be much of a tea selection, the house blend offered is so good that you don’t need another option. Just be ready to make your reservation with British efficiency. Rose Tree Cottage only accepts reservations a week in advance (no sooner, no later) and only by telephone. 

Chado (All Over Los Angeles)

Photo credit: Chado Tea Room

You won’t find the same level of decadence at Chado that you’ll recognize in a lot of the other spots for afternoon tea Los Angeles connoisseurs populate, but this chain has its own unique strengths. For one: the massive, and we mean massive, selection of teas. For another, there’s likely one fairly close to wherever you live in the city. Unlike the other tea houses on our list, Chado has multiple locations spanning Pasadena, Hollywood, South Bay, and Little Tokyo.

Don’t get us wrong. When we say Chado lacks the fanciful elements of places like The Langham or Tea Rose Garden, we’re emphasizing those venue’s extravagances. Chado is still a casually classy spot serving up quality afternoon tea at an affordable price. And it’s also arguably the most creative take on afternoon tea. Forsaking classic finger sandwiches like cucumber and egg salad for souchong chicken and punjab, Chado serve up a strong side of exoticism. 

Ye Olde King’s Head (Santa Monica)

Photo credit: Ye Olde King’s Head

The afternoon tea Los Angeles aficionados crave may seem woefully under-represented on the westside. But Ye Olde King’s Head, Santa Monica’s take on an authentic British pub, comes through with flying colors. Those colors just so happen to be Union Jack red, white, and blue. It may lack the finery of some of the other offerings on our list, but it more than makes up for it with authenticity. Reserve a table by the brick fireplace and burn through scrumptious scones and dainty finger sandwiches with some robust English Breakfast tea. With vegetarian options and an affordable price tag, it’s an instant favorite with Anglophiles and ex-pats alike. 

Ye Olde King’s Head is a pub, first and foremost, so for a mere $5 more, you can upgrade to the Royal Tea. This includes your choice of a mimosa, kir royale, or a glass of bubbly. Other appealing add-ons include the quiche of the day and a strawberry-packed scone with a mini Union Jack flag. It’s enough to fill that London-sized hole in your heart. 

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