As you may already know, Mr. K and I love afternoon tea. I recently learned that The Huntington Library serves tea in their Rose Garden Room. I was especially excited to learn that the tea is served in a buffet-type setting. As much as we love tea, the experience can be quite expensive for a small amount of food, so the buffet option really appealed to me.
You can’t visit the Rose Tea Room without paying the entrance fee to The Huntington, so I don’t recommend just visiting for the tea. But we had been wanting to visit The Huntington and all of its beautiful gardens anyway, so we made a whole day of it. Besides, after all that eating, the walking was good for us.
Reservations are required for the tea room and it’s priced at $29.95 per person. Once you are seated, you choose your tea (you can get both hot and cold teas) and are served a whole basket of piping hot mini scones. Pro tip: you can actually bring the scones home in a to-go bag, so don’t fill up and feel obligated to eat too many.
The rest of the food is served in a central buffet area. It consisted of tea sandwiches, cheese, fruit, salads, and mini desserts.
Tea Sandwiches: Carrot-Ginger, White Albacore Salad, Smoked Salmon, Chicken-Tarragon, Watercress, Cucumber-Mint, Egg Salad
I liked the egg salad and the tuna sandwich best. The only problem with the sandwiches was that the outer edges were a little hard from sitting out, even though new sandwiches are restocked pretty frequently.
Salads: Wild Greens with Feta & Crispy Bacon, Three-Bean Salad with Honey Vinaigrette, Soba Noodle Salad
I am not usually much of a salad person, but I really liked the salads here. I especially liked the soba noodles and wild greens.
There was also Hummus, assorted cheese and crackers, fresh fruit
Desserts: Lemon Bars, Iced Chocolate Brownies, Pecan Bars, Shortbread Cookies, Lemon Drop Cookies, Fresh Fruit Tartlets, Chocolate Mousse Cups
Since it was buffet style, the food did suffer a little in quality. I enjoyed most of the sandwiches, but the edges of the breads were getting a little hard from sitting out. My favorite items were actually the salads, especially the soba noodle salad and wild greens. The fruit was also really good. The strawberries were so sweet. My least favorite items were the desserts, which tasted like grocery store bakery quality.
After eating our fill, we went outside to explore the many gardens. The one downside is that The Huntington closes pretty early (4:30pm!) and it is strictly enforced. As soon as 4:30pm hit, all these golf carts with security came driving around and they began escorting people out.
Overall, we had a fun time. I wouldn’t make a special visit just for the tea room, but if you want to pay a visit to The Huntington, it’s worth checking out. $30 per person is a bit expensive, but most afternoon tea experiences I’ve been to are about that price and provide far less food.
Huntington Library Rose Garden Tea Room
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108