Tea by the Sea, a new experience of the ancient Mediterranean inspired by the herbs and fruits of the Getty Villa’s gardens, kicks off December 2.

The idea of offering tours and tea at the Villa stemmed from the requests of visitors. Many of you fondly remembered the old Tea Room, which occupied the spot where the Outdoor Classical Theater stands now. From the time the Villa opened in 1974 through 1997, when renovations began, the Tea Room was a popular spot for lunch and treats.

Panoramic view of the Tea Room at the Getty Villa prior to renovation

View of the former Tea Room from what is now the Museum entrance

Views of the former Tea Room at the Getty Villa, which occupied the spot where the Outdoor Classical Theater stands now.

To heighten the multisensory experience that is the Getty Villa, we created a menu that would adhere to a High Tea tradition but incorporate quintessential elements of the Villa—hence the Mediterranean flavors of prosciutto, mozzarella, bocconcini, and fig jam. More traditional tea items, such as scones and tea breads, will be seasonally tailored to reflect the herbs and fruits in season in the Villa’s Herb Garden. The opening menu will feature quince paste, tarragon aioli, and fig scones—all featuring herbs or fruits grown in the Villa’s gardens.

(In case you’re wondering, the herbs and fruits aren’t picked from the Herb Garden itself; we leave them there for you to see and smell.)

Herb Garden at the Getty Villa

Further inspiration from the early days of the Villa came from Mrs. Garrett’s famous carrot cake, which was served in the Tea Room. Mrs. Garrett, wife of Stephen Garrett, the Museum’s first director, was famous for her culinary skills and used to cater parties at the Villa. Her carrot cake recipe has survived to this day, and Mrs. Garrett’s Original Carrot Cake will be part of the tea experience.

Tea will be served every Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Price per person is $36, and you can sign up here. After tea, be sure and take one of the garden tours—and spend the rest of your afternoon enjoying the galleries.