I am the member of a regency society, so I have been to my fair share of tea rooms in several states. Elise’s Tea Room is exactly what a tea room should be; cozy and lavishly decorated with soft pink walls, flowers, tapestries, fine china, comfortable dining room chairs, and a frescoed ceiling. Tucked away on Atlantic Avenue in the Bixby Knoll neighborhood of Long Beach, this tea room is worth the drive. Elise and her husband, Marcos, partly thanks to Elise’s English grandmother, know what it takes to serve an authentic English tea.
From the moment you walk in the door, you are called “sir” and “madam.” If there is room, you get to choose where you sit. You are given two menus; one just for tea, the other includes the food portion. We had been sitting for just a few minutes when the chef and owner of the tea room, came and introduced himself to us. With friendly gusto he told us about the menu and let us know there was something for any budget. Most tea rooms have a set price-per-person and a very limited menu. This was not the case at Elise’s Tea Room. Marco assured us he could make anything our heart’s desired, whether it was on the menu or not. He even offered my husband Peking duck after he learned my husband liked duck. However, we had come for a traditional tea.
I ordered the High Tea and my husband ordered the Full Tea. I cannot say enough about the quality of service or the food. First, each course was given to us separately, where other tea rooms I have been to bring you all your food at once, which not only overwhelms, but crowds the table. Second, in between courses the prompt and friendly waiter cleaned the tablecloth. This type of service has long been forgotten and it was such a treat, my husband and I felt like royalty.
The food at Elise’s Tea Room was simply the best. The scones were warm, soft, and crumbly, unlike the hard, cold scone one normally sees in an American restaurant. The jams brought included a to-die-for Devonshire cream and a lemon jam; both made fresh daily in-house – the lemons from their very own garden. The quiche was simply divine, the salad fresh and crisp, the tea sandwiches sublime and the desserts perfection. The chef himself returned with my husband’s dessert, a fruit trifle with blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and kiwis. The fruit was flawless, at the peak of ripeness and not a blemish to be found.
Last but certainly not least, the tea. I have only had lavender tea one other place, a tea house in Oregon that specializes in lavender tea. Elise’s Lavender Earl Grey surpassed their tea in both flavor and fragrance. I have no doubt their other teas are just as delicious.
I have not one bad thing to say about this tea room. No surprise, the tea room has won 5 Gold Awards from the Southern California Restaurant Writers. If you have been looking for a special place for a wedding party, birthday lunch, or just a girl’s day out, this is it.