Best places for tea in Los Angeles

Not every tea house is created equal. We've scoured the city to find the perfect tearoom for everyone—whether you like a tea latte in a garden or a cup of earl grey in a steakhouse.
Hello Kitty afternoon tea tearoom at Bow Room at Hello Kitty Grand Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Sanrio/Jakob N. Layman
By Stephanie Breijo and Lesley McKenzie |
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It's always tea time in Los Angeles, where tea houses abound for a fresh cup day or night. Whether you're fiending for a caffeine fix at a Koreatown cafe, forgoing juice bars for a more herbal remedy or in the mood for sipping and snacking to your heart's content at brunch, here's what these tea houses are brewing around town.

RECOMMENDED: Best coffee shops in L.A.

L.A.'s best tea houses

Photograph: Courtesy Peninsula Beverly Hills
Hotels, Spa hotels

Best tea served with bubbly: Peninsula Beverly Hills

icon-location-pin Beverly Hills

Pinkies up! For a spot of afternoon tea served in style, make your way to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel. The luxurious affair takes place three times each day against the backdrop of the opulent Living Room, complete with plush sofas, two fireplaces and the music of a classical harpist (during the last two seatings only). Opt for the Royal Tea, with highlights such as a glass of champagne, strawberries and whipped cream, and a menu of nearly 20 loose-leaf teas; or the more extravagant Imperial Tea, which includes a serving of caviar cake and a take-home sponge and passion-fruit mousse Page Boy Cap cake, modeled after the traditional headgear worn by pageboys at the Peninsula Hong Kong in the 1920s. Tea Service: Traditional Tea, $70 per person; Royal Tea, $75 per person; Imperial Tea, $87 per person

Photograph: Courtesy Chado Tea Room
Restaurants, Tea rooms

Best (and largest!) tea selection: Chado Tea Room

icon-location-pin Little Tokyo

Find yourself steeped in a world of tea at Chado Tea Room Downtown (the chain has locations in Hollywood, South Bay and Pasadena, as well). This tea house offers more than 300 varieties to choose from, including an extensive selection of hand-tied flowering teas and hard-to-find exotic teas. Seek out the menu of salads, soups, sandwiches and sweets, served side-by-side with afternoon tea throughout the day. Visitors can purchase single cups or try the tea tasting, which includes a lesson in the drink's history, origins and production. Tea Service: $19.95-$26.95 per person

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Photograph: Pornchai Mittongtare
Restaurants, Californian

Best tea for tots: Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

icon-location-pin Bel Air

Everyone loves a fine cup of tea—kids included. So it’s no surprise that Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air’s Little Royals service every Friday and Saturday is a hit with the young'uns. Here, Thai tea panna cottas and fresh scones are served alongside sourdough "grilled cheese" bites, fanciful cookies, house-made preserves, and a selection of herbal teas including fresh mint and the house rejuvenation blend (apricot essence, lemon myrtle, rooibos and rosehips). Princes and princesses also leave with a parting gift of a chef's hat, to inspire their own culinary creations at home. Tea Service: $65 per adult, $36 per child under 12

Photograph: Courtesy Tres by José Andrés
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Best variety of snacks with tea: Tres by José Andrés

icon-location-pin La Cienega

Mad Hatter, make way for José Andrés. The name responsible for iconic dining destinations around the country including L.A.'s The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Andrés also lends his famously whimsical touch to the hotel’s tea service, Tres by José Andrés, available daily in the Philippe Starck-designed lobby. An array of traditional green teas share the menu alongside the Spanish-American chef’s unconventional take on 15 to 20—yes, you read that right—sweet and savory snacks, ranging from bagel-and-lox cones and Spanish tortilla to sweet treats like bellini macarons and chocolate pop rocks. Tea Service: $55 per person

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Photograph: Courtesy The Langham Hotel Pasadena
Restaurants, Tea rooms

Best chocolate tea: The Lobby Lounge at The Langham Hotel Pasadena

icon-location-pin Pasadena

If Willie Wonka were to throw a party, it would undoubtedly be at Chocolate Afternoon Tea, held every Sunday at The Langham Hotel Pasadena. Here, everything from savory tea sandwiches to scones and fruit tarts are infused with—you guessed it—chocolate. Enjoy the sugar rush with the hotel’s fine tea offerings or, for the ultimate indulgence, sips of pure liquid chocolate. If that doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, turn to the chocolate fountain and sculptural chocolate art. Not a sugar fan? The lobby lounge has a Tiffin tea service Monday through Saturday, serving a variety of teas and snacks. Chocolate Tea Service: $59 per adult, $29 per child under 12

Photograph: Stan Weightman
Restaurants, Cafés

Best tea served with sweets: Valerie Echo Park

icon-location-pin Echo Park

Wake up and smell the tea! Following in the footsteps of her über-successful sweets spot Valerie Confections, Valerie Gordon’s Echo Park Tea House & Bakery puts a modern twist on a traditional concept, offering a full breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch alongside an extensive tea selection—including must-try soba (made from roasted buckwheat)—loaded with local herbs. Fill up on flavorful fare like curried chicken or smoked salmon sandwiches, with tartines available in tea- or full-size—and leave room for Gordon’s signature petit fours. Tea prices vary

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Hello Kitty afternoon tea tearoom at Bow Room at Hello Kitty Grand Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Sanrio/Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Cafés

Best over-the-top-cute tea: The Bow Room at Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

icon-location-pin Irvine

Sanrio's cutest kitten now has her own permanent café, but there's a sip-friendly surprise hidden behind a door with a bow-shaped knocker: The reservation-only Bow Room is the all-pink setting for a too-cute tea room (as well as a cocktail bar in the evenings). During the day from Wednesday to Sunday, Hello Kitty-shaped tea cakes and finger sandwiches on themed displays make for a perfect treat for little ones and fans of the adorable cat. Sip coffee and tea lattes topped with Hello Kitty faces, or enjoy pots of tea sporting ceramic bows, with 15 specialty teas to choose from. There’s even à la carte wine (for those who prefer their tea just be a mimosa). Tea service: $55 per person

Afternoon tea at the Huntington Library Rose Garden tea room
Photograph: Courtesy The Huntington's Rose Garden Tea Room
Things to do, Event spaces

Best tea with a side of strolling: Huntington Library's Rose Garden Tea Room

icon-location-pin San Marino

The Huntington's Library's afternoon tea is a posh affair, indeed. Set in the estate's iconic rose gardens, the British-inspired service is elegant and refined, and involves traditional table service that'll have you feeling perfectly pampered by the end of your visit. The fare ranges from the traditional—scones and finger sandwiches—to the extravagant: petit lobster vol-au-vent, little bites of lobster, truffle oil, black salt and chives within a delicate puff pastry bowl. Even the sweets are thoughtful—don't miss the house-baked shortbread cookies dotted with dried rose petals from the garden's own roses. Afterward, visit the garden yourself—then get lost in the Library's 120 acres of botanical gardens. Tea service: $35, plus admission to the grounds

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Photograph: Courtesy Rose Tree Cottage
Restaurants, British

Best Downton Abbey-themed tea: Rose Tree Cottage

icon-location-pin Pasadena

Traditional English afternoon tea service takes center stage at Pasadena’s Rose Tree Cottage tea house, served three times a day, Tuesday through Sunday. Nibble on classics from across the pond, including cucumber sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding as you sip on the house’s signature loose-leaf tea, served in delicate Royal Crown Derby and Royal Doulton tea sets. Don’t miss occasional special affair teas, including the annual celebration of reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, as well as Downton Abbey-themed gatherings—sure to delight your inner Lady Mary. Tea Service: $49.50 per person

Museums, History

Best tea for art lovers: Getty Villa

icon-location-pin Pacific Palisades

For a cup of tea with a serving of art, hightail it to the Pacific Palisades Getty Villa where, on Thursdays and Saturdays, you can experience the institution’s culinary side through the Tea by the Sea program. Start in the Founder’s Room with a view overlooking the oceanside villa, where you sip on a selection of teas and nibble on treats from a Mediterranean-influenced spread featuring fruits and herbs grown in the property’s recreation of a first-century Roman garden. Ready to burn off some calories? Head to the 2:30 Roman-garden tour, to learn all about the culinary traditions of yore, then stroll through the grounds with a guided tour—including more than 20 galleries, most of which boast an enviable collection of ancient Greek and Roman antiquities. Tea Service: $42 per person

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Pacific Dining Car
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Steakhouse

Best tea with old-school charm: Pacific Dining Car

icon-location-pin Santa Monica

Sip organic teas as you sink into plush leather booths at one of L.A.'s best and most historic steakhouses—which, funnily enough, just so happens to serve afternoon tea. From 3 to 5:30pm daily, and by reservation only, Pacific Dining Car offers scones, assorted sandwiches and roughly 10 varieties of tea in an elegant throwback to the early 20th century, a time when robber barons met over thick steaks and thicker cigar smoke. You can almost taste the history—or is that just the spice from your cup of Hot Sweet Cinnamon tea? Tea service: $32.95 per person

Afternoon tea at Culver Hotel in Culver City
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Julia L.
Hotels, Boutique hotels

Best tea with booze: Culver Hotel

icon-location-pin Culver City

Culver City's historic Culver Hotel was once the part-time residence to Old Hollywood, from Clark Gable and Joan Crawford to Greta Garbo and Buster Keaton—and the Old-Hollywood charm is alive and well with the restaurant's elegant tea service. It's hard not to imagine you're silver-screen royalty in the space dotted with palm fronds and dark wood and dramatic floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains, but the hotel will do you one better: Opt for the Culver Tea option, and your glamorous experience suddenly also includes a glass of champagne to go with your pastries, sandwiches, pot of tea and berries and cream. Not looking to booze? The standard Full Tea should fit the bill just fine. Tea service: $28 to $39 per person

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