Taking Tea in San Diego

Marlene’s Tea & Cakes
14677 Via Bettona • San Diego, California 92127 
858-756-4320 • marlenesteaandcakes.com

Marlene Spawton, the eponym of Marlene’s Tea & Cakes, considers afternoon tea a form of therapy for the soul. Her first tea experience at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, Canada, evoked such a passion for the tradition that she decided to open her own tearoom and bakery following a 12-year career in the high-tech industry. “I love the relaxing feeling of having tea and enjoying the pretty edibles,” she remarks. “I like feeling pampered, so I wanted my tearoom to be different in that I wanted the elegance and comfort.”

Her passion for beauty and baking makes Marlene’s Tea & Cakes a worthwhile venue for frequent or novice teatime goers. From the shop’s chic motif to the lovely floral arrangements on each table to the display of tea fare on three-tiered stands, her attention to detail and presentation is apparent throughout the locale.

The menu for high tea at Marlene’s—$32 per adult or $26 per child—changes monthly. For the holidays, she tries to incorporate traditional ingredients, such as cranberry and turkey, in addition to utilizing local produce that is in season. “What I like about this business is that I can be creative and artistic, even with the simplest ingredients,” Marlene comments. “I always make sure that there’s a good variety of flavors and textures.” She also ensures to provide robust selections of around 20 teas for all types of tea lovers.

Tea at Marlene’s, which requires a reservation at least 24 hours in advance, is served at 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. for two-hour tea times Wednesday through Sunday.