Kirbie's Cravings

Huntington Library Rose Garden Tea Room

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

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6 comments on “Huntington Library Rose Garden Tea Room”

  1. Very nice! The gardens look gorgeous! I would love to walk around over there and see everything! Wandering Chopsticks has some older posts on the gardens (not the tea). Too bad about the desserts though.

    • Yeah there were tons of different gardens. We only walked about half the grounds since we only had an afternoon and spent a while at tea.

  2. I do always wish for more sandwiches or desserts when I go to a tea room. The idea of a buffet sounds nice, but like you said, there’s always suffering of quality when it comes to a buffet style. Too bad about the desserts – they look so cute! The grounds and gardens look lovely though! How much was the entrance fee?

    • It’s $20 on weekdays, $23 on weekends. Though they have one free day a month, so that would be the best time to try to go if you want to avoid the entrance fee. I like getting more than one helping of each sandwich because usually you only get one of each. I was sad the desserts didnt taste nearly as good as they looked. The mini scones were really good though

  3. We used to take guests here once in a while when we lived in LA and were members. My Step-mother loved the place. Good to know it’s still going strong.

    • It was quite crowded when we went. It definitely is a nice feature of The Huntington. And those gardens! We really got a workout.

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