I was lucky enough to visit American Tea Room when it first opened in DTLA with my dear friend Lynn Chen and The Actor's Diet. Since then, I've gone back a few times, but when I discovered they had started offering their version of high tea, I got really excited.
Most traditional high teas are English-style, with mini, crust-less sandwiches and scones and tiny cakes on a tiered tray. I've done high tea at The Peninsula, and it was a lovely, refined, sitting-very-straight-on-the-sofa kind of experience.
But I prefer DTLA to Beverly HIlls for a reason, and so I was eager to experience American Tea Room's likely deconstructed version of one of my favorite special outings.
We gathered at 2pm, when the sun had finally decided to cut through the May gray.
The outside space is wonderful, with lots of seating, tables, fire pits, and a lush plant wall that's a welcome oasis of green in the middle of a relatively industrial part of DTLA.
When you first enter the tea room, you're met with a wall of gleaming, bagged teas from all over the world.
I love this Alice-inspired invitation, which I obeyed.
American Tea Room is housed in a former brick warehouse and embodies all the details I associate with the downtown aesthetic. Soaring, beamed ceilings, concrete floors, light, airy, with evidence of the building's former purpose.
Besides hundreds of different teas, you can also bring home some goodies to give as gifts or just keep for yourself.
These kitty mugs. I mean.
Andrea and Sam checking out the menu...
Which is pretty perfect. I love that there's the suggested order, but then you can veer left or right, depending on your appetite. I considered A Bit More for A Bit Longer Than I Should Have and almost ordered it. I was really hungry. But in the end, we all chose The American Tea.
We each got our own pots of tea...
...which arrive in these little wooden trays with a beautiful glass tea cup.
And then! The food!
Our American Teas were distributed beautifully across two raised wooden tables. The presentation was just lovely.
Chai Chicken, Avocado and Watercress Sandwiches, Smoked Salmon Pinwheels...
...Maatcha Panna Cotta, Petit Four, Truffle...
Giant, fluffy scones with Tangier Butter. We all agreed that the butter was AMAZING.
I loved the fresh flowers and herbs that decorated the presentation.
It was a lot of food, but if you think we're not capable of tucking it away, here's what we think of you:
We gazed at the spread for about five seconds and then devoured it – laughing, dishing, and savoring the whole thing.
And by the end, we were all STUFFED. Everything was delicious.
The three of us declared Afternoon Tea at American Tea Room a sweet and savory success!
American Tea Room
909 S Santa Fe Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90021