Where to Find Posh Afternoon Tea in the West
The Living Room, Beverly Hills
This may be Los Angeles’ prettiest tea, with towers of macarons being delivered to sleek cream-colored sofas under chandeliers in a flower-laden room at the Peninsula Hotel. A harpist plucks notes as you fill up on bubbly or cider along with the Traditional Tea. Tea includes finger sandwiches of egg salad, cucumber, Camembert, smoked salmon with capers, and curried chicken; scones with lemon curd and Devonshire cream; and desserts of macarons, tarts, and cakes.
Le Salon de Thé, West Hollywood
Elegant Parisian-inspired decor and shimmering gold plates make for a stylish tea in West Hollywood. With owners from Paris, the menu features charcuterie, fresh baguettes, and chèvre with herbs de Provence and honey. With more finger sandwiches than desserts, the afternoon tea leans savory here, but chocolate cake with raspberries and Chantilly cream, macarons, and a fruity chocolate brownie are also on offer. The space is available for rental for your special holiday tea.
Crown & Crumpet, San Francisco
If you’ve got a hankering for all things Old Blighty, this charming tea stop on Post Street owned by Christopher and Amy Dean—a couple who met, naturally, at the former home of George Eliot in London—is the spot to indulge in all things Anglomania. It’s evident that the pair once owned an antiques shop from the vintage plates adorning the walls, but the atmosphere is modern, bright, and cheery rather than old-fashioned. Tuck into tiny ham and cheese sandwiches, lemon tarts, chocolate-covered strawberries, and scones along with your vanilla-and-rose-flavored Marie Antoinette tea and Equator coffee, and make a reservation for their holiday teas. If you can’t snag a reservation, order some crumpets for the road from their takeaway window.
Palace Hotel, San Francisco
High tea at this iconic San Francisco hotel isn’t just a tradition, it’s a grand celebration. The Garden Court Restaurant, a San Francisco landmark, hosts high tea every Saturday from 2:00 to 4:30pm under a glamorous domed ceiling to the sounds of a live harp performance. From scones with jam and clotted cream to tiramisu and lemon tarts, you can easily while away an hour sipping tea and bubbly in this beautiful room. If you’re celebrating a special occasion for kids under 12, there’s a Princess or Prince Tea complete with a special kids’ menu and a costume of tiara and scepter that makes for precious photo memories.
During the holiday season, this restaurant in the historic Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland will be serving Russian Tea every day. From open-faced rye bread sandwiches with herring schmeer, garlic cheese, and lox to khachapuri and dolmas, the savory menu is on point. For sweets, dine on Grandma’s steopka, a walnut cake with sour cream, or a honey cake torte with graham cracker crumbs and cream.
Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe & Afternoon Tea, San Diego
Harry Potter Afternoon Tea? It doesn’t take using a magic wand (which Shakespeare’s provides) to know that a butterbeer scone with double Devon cream and lemon curd is an Anglophile’s dream come true at this San Diego tea room. You can even get PG Tips here, a true (and strong) British classic. For adults, feast your eyes upon an assortment of finger sandwiches, mini quiches, sausage rolls with Branston pickles, scones with Devon cream, strawberry jam, and lemon curd, little cakes and biscuits, and fresh fruit. For the tots, the shop rolls out the red carpet with Harry Potter or princess themes, and Cadbury’s hot chocolate, of course. What’s extra-fun is that you can even dine outside on the patio year-round in the perfect San Diego weather.
Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix
The Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria resort, is a grand setting for a lavish afternoon tea service year-round, serving a wide variety of teas. Special care is taken when pairing the delicate teas with miniature sandwiches and pastries, served on white tablecloths in the impressive hotel lobby. During the holidays, seatings for its special Gingerbread Tea are offered from 11am to 2pm seven days a week from December 1-24, including a glass of Champagne for adults and gingerbread cookies for kiddos. The resort was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and opened in 1929; Irving Berlin apparently wrote “White Christmas” while sitting by the resort’s pool.
Queen Mary Tea Room, Seattle
Come in out of the rain into this cozy tea parlor in the Ravenna neighborhood and feast on scones, sandwiches, fresh fruit, cookies, and sorbet, along with creamy Earl Grey tea. One of the best advantages of this tea room over others is the choice of afternoon tea, lunch, or a mixture of both. You won’t leave hungry if you choose lunch, which features various tasty quiches, pot pie, shepherd’s pie, and Cornish pasties. Kids’ parties feature a tiara, crayons, and less-hot tea. There’s even a gluten-free afternoon tea on offer for celiacs.
The Culver Hotel, Culver City
With a 24-hour advance reservation, this tea, complete with finger sandwiches, scones, Devonshire cream, and lemon curd—plus the option of sparkling wine—can be yours. Served in a plush 1920’s flatiron hotel, you’ll feel daintily glamorous lifting a pinky as you sip Earl Grey with the ghosts of the Munchkins cast from The Wizard of Oz.