November 11, 2004

Afternoon Tea

Here are a few reviews of tea rooms here and abroad. We'll add The Bel Air Hotel, Jin, Casa Del Mar, and a few others sometime soon.


San Francisco being a prime spot for European tourists, there are more than half a dozen places where you can enjoy an afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, scones, and clotted cream. I've been to every single one of them. My favorites are listed here.

St. Francis Hotel, Union Square
The Compass Rose room in the St. Francis is dark, elegant and filled with Oriental treasures. A pianist plays the standards during afternoon tea. Also a great place for an old-fashioned Sidecar with a view of Union Square.

Sheraton Palace, Financial District
A splendid tea is served in the opulent glass-domed Garden Court at the Sheraton Palace. I swear you'll feel like you are in a Jane Austen novel while you're sipping your Earl Grey. This is one of my all-time favorite escapes.


Paddington's Tea Room
This family-owned tea room has scones that will keep me returning again and again. The decor is fussy Victorian with lots of tea cups and, of course, teddy bears.


Four Seasons
I spent the day visiting museum after museum and then I hiked over to the Four Seasons Hotel for tea. What a perfect day. The service is wonderful.


The Shelbourne Hotel
The Shelbourne was built in 1867 and serves afternoon tea in the Edwardian Mayor's Room which oozes history. Quite majestic!


  1. I must add my own delicious reviews of LA tea rooms.
    My hands down favorite is the Peninsual in Beverly Hills. A harpist, two seatings at 2:30 and 5:00 make this the truest tea in LA. Start with a bit of champagne and you're off!

    Also the Four Seasons on Doheny & the Ritz Carlton Pasadena are famed for theirs. Yummy scones!

    From December 1- 24 the Millenium Biltmore in Downtown is serving a Victorian Christmas tea with holiday music and even a tea etiquette class for youngsters. Delightful!

  2. Anonymous7:27 PM

    F.Y.I. Kim and I just had an unfortunate experience at Paddington's this weekend that left us soured. We were literally treated as if we were invisible until we finally opted to leave (without having ordered) a half hour later.

    So we walked one block to a cute French restaurant where we enjoyed, hot chocolate, a crepe and a brie-smothered turkey sandwich. Walking back past Paddington's fully satisfied, we were tempted to do a Julia Roberts "Pretty Woman" moment: "Big mistake. Huge!" -- Amy