LACMA, The Getty, and The Broad are some of the big museums in Los Angeles, but we decided to explore the Getty Villa in Malibu. If you are a fan of the ancient world of Greece and Rome, this is definitely the museum to hit up. The Getty Villa requires reservations prior to attending, so don't forget to reserve your ticket online first. Admission is free; however, parking is $15.
While we were looking into reserving our ticket, we came across a unique experience that was being offered called 'Tea by the Sea'.
"Enjoy Tea by the Sea, a special experience inspired by the herbs, vegetables, and fruits that are grown in the Villa's authentically re-created first-century Roman gardens."
This sounded amazing, so we went ahead and booked it. 'Tea by the Sea' is only offered on Thursdays & Saturdays at 1PM and space is very limited. It cost us $36 per person, plus tax and 18% gratuity. Not a cheap lunch, but we felt like indulging a little since this sounded like a special treat!
A little tip: The Getty Villa is located in a canyon, so there isn't any cell service. Thankfully, they offer free wifi and all you have to do is look for the network "GettyLink".
The Gallery is open from 10am-5pm, so we decided to go around 11am to give us plenty of time to explore the museum before our 'Tea by the Sea' lunch at 1pm. Those two hours went by really fast! We only got through half of the museum before it was time for lunch.
The Villa is gorgeous and very picturesque. Unfortunately, the majority of the fountains were turned off to conserve water. LA's water drought is definitely more important, so we just had to imagine how beautiful it would have been!
When we arrived at the tea room, we were a little confused. We thought 'Tea by the Sea' meant that we would be sitting outside with a view of the Malibu ocean. Instead, it was a small room with seven tables. Wow! They really meant it when they said space was limited, but the room definitely wasn't anything special. It almost felt like a small banquet room that got thrown together at the last minute. After seeing the beautiful courtyard outside, it was like they were taking us away from the amazing views.
We sat down and our server immediately offered us some hot tea. We both would have been up for it, since that is part of the experience, but the room felt like it was almost 90 degrees! So instead, our server offered us this delicious mango flavored ice tea. We are not tea connoisseurs, but that was the best iced tea we both ever had. We loved it so much that we asked if they sold it in their shop, but the server admitted it was not made by them. He was nice enough to give us the company's name though: Mighty Leaf Tea Company Calypso Mango Iced Tea.
Before we get into the dining experience, we just want to let you know that we are not food critics. These are just our personal opinions about the food we experienced that day.
With our lovely mango ice tea, we had the brown butter tea bread and the raspberry scones, which were already at our tables when we arrived. These were delightful as well! We were super excited to taste our main meal after these tasty drinks and appetizers. Our entire entree came out in less than 10 minutes. We appreciated the fast service, but it made us wonder if it had just been sitting 'ready to go' and not prepared to order. The presentation and food looked wonderful; however, the taste just wasn't something either of us were enjoying. Everything was lukewarm and the flavors were bland. We both took one bite from each dish and decided to drink more tea instead.
Unfortunately, the tea was the best thing we had on their entire menu. We wouldn't say the food was horrible, but we both left unsatisfied. The 'Tea by the Sea' experience also came with a complimentary tour of the garden, but we decided to opt out of the tour and explore the villa instead. We both agreed that the cafe outside would have probably been a better place to have our lunch. They had a much better view than we did!
Although 'Tea by the Sea' was a little disappointing, the Villa was beautiful and a great way to spend the afternoon. Perhaps we were unlucky that day with our meal, but we would recommend eating at the cafe downstairs instead. We wonder if we were the only ones that experienced a mediocre 'Tea by the Sea' meal. If you have been to 'Tea by the Sea', what was your experience like?