Tea Time

1 rating
$$ • Tea Room
Reported NOT to have a gluten-free menu, but gluten-free options are available
Reported GF menu options: Bread/Buns, Brownies, Cookies, Dessert, Quiche, Salad, Sandwiches, Scones, Soup
542 Ramona St
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Most Recent Reviews


Symptomatic Celiac

Overall Rating

Review


Let’s cut to the chase: I was NOT glutened here!! Now on to the detailed review. Parking here is TERRIBLE. I arrived an hour early to find parking and ended up almost being late because it took so long to find a spot. I ended up getting the very last spot in Palo Alto garage R, which is about a five minute walk away. That aside, Tea time is very lovely on a sunday afternoon. The outdoors seating is nice with full shade from umbrellas that can be retracted. I was sat indoors with my service dog against the wall, as I had requested over the phone. Classical music played on medium-low volume. The staff and owner (?) were all very friendly and professional. They knew the service dog rules and were very respectful about his space.

TEA: I ordered my black currant tea and asked about dairy free milk-- only cows milk or soy milk powder. A little strange but, whatever. I received a small pitcher of whole milk and a significant amount of both brown and white sugar cubes. The black currant tea tasted excellent and was brewed perfectly. That's something you can't always count on at other tea places, so I was really chuffed. The pot yielded 4 small cups.

FOOD Bear in mind that I am celiac and had ordered the afternoon tea ($55) as gluten free ($2 extra). Therefore, some of the offerings I received may be different than those who can eat gluten. My first course arrived about 10 minutes after my tea did. The quiche was very flavorful and cheesy with lots of veggies. The soup was well spiced with veggies. It certainly did taste and look a bit like canned vegetable soup, but it was still good. The salad was simple with fresh tasting lettuce.

The second course, a tiered bit, came with one gluten free cranberry scone, clotted cream and lemon curd, three sandwiches (I chose chicken and walnut, cucumber cream cheese, and egg curry), and the top tier had some fruits, a lemon bar, some deli style cheese slices, a brownie, and a chocolate macaron. First the scone. I am so impressed with their gf scone. Crumbly, yes, but tastes and feels like a regular scone. Faintly lemony, comes out warm, good cranberries. The sandwiches were nice-- the chicken one was very fresh and good. There's no mistaking the gf bread-- it was a weird sandwich choice, being a stodgy brown seedy nut bread. And, the egg one was on the heel of the bread, which was strange-- all crust. They aren't stingy with the sandwich toppings, which is important. Despite the brown-ness of the Apple, all of the fruits were very fresh. I would recommend to Tea Time that they spray or brush their apple slices with lime or lemon to avoid future browning. The brownie was a little dark and fudgy for me but a chocolate-lover would like that I think-- I'm just more of a milk chocolate lady. The macaron was similarly dark. The lemon bar was delicate and a bit on the sweet side, still good.

In the reviews, some people complained they didn't get $55 worth of food. I don't agree. By the time I was halfway through my second tier of course 2, I was feeling full.

SEATING AND STAFF The chairs looked comfortable but they really need new stuffing-- the back is completely collapsed in, and you can feel every spring in the seat cushion. I asked the waitress if they had a throw pillow I could use and she brought one! Yay.

I liked that the waitresses wore identifying aprons but seemed to be allowed to wear whatever outfit they wanted. I prefer it when staff are comfortable. They also both seemed comfortable asking the boss man questions and he was very patient in answering them, from what I witnessed. So it seems staff is treated professionally.

WORTH IT? Was it the most amazing food I've ever had? No. But the tea was good, the food was not only nice but it was filling, and the service was very pleasant. I am looking forward to returning. The tea was $63 after tax.

HOW IT COMPARES It isn't the most perfect or classy experience, but you get what you pay for-- I didn't come in expecting something out of this world for $55. Those that prioritize an authentic afternoon tea that pays attention to the little things like keeping fruit from browning or serving on good bread may prefer to have tea at the Palace Hotel in SF, where they charge double for a very classy, well put together, and promptly served tea at a gorgeous location with live music, or be okay with canned soup/brown apples/heels of bread/deli cheese‍ at Tea Time where it's more affordable for a reason. I think Tea Time is my highest-ranking affordable GF afternoon tea option, with the Palace as my highest-ranking option for those who can afford to drop $100+ on this type of thing.

Safety


How confident are you that this establishment takes safety precautions against cross-contact?

— Very

Quality & Quantity


How much of the menu is available gluten-free?

— Most/All

How would you rate the taste and quality of the gluten-free food you tried?

— Excellent

Updated 8 months ago read full review

This establishment is NOT a dedicated gluten-free facility and may not be safe for those with celiac disease. Please contact the establishment directly to inquire about safety precautions.

Gluten-Free Features

  • Bread/Buns
  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Dessert
  • Quiche
  • Salad
  • Sandwiches
  • Scones
  • Soup

Categories

  • Brunch
  • Lunch
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Tea Room
  • Vegan Friendly

Photos


Gluten-Free at Tea Time
Gluten-Free at Tea Time
Gluten-Free at Tea Time
Gluten-Free at Tea Time
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Gluten-Free at Tea Time
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