Must-Try

New Delicious Reasons to Visit The Huntington

By Lesley Balla  |  November 22, 2016
Credit: Max Pelzner

There really is no bad time to visit The Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Gardens in lovely San Marino. The grounds are one of the best places to get away for the day, take visitors or just find a quiet corner of your own — especially during the holidays. This year there are even more reasons to go on a stroll through the cacti in the Desert Garden or along the bamboo and bonsai gardens: better-than-ever food options, including several outposts from Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken and Kajsa Alger.

Maybe you've gone for tea or grabbed a quick snack at the garden in the past, but sustenance has always seemed more utilitarian here. Not anymore. The main cafe, 1919, named for the year The Huntington was founded, is now like a small food hall with several counters to feed the masses. Along with a market cafe for salads, pizzas and sandwiches, there's a Border Grill Taqueria with all the staples Feniger and Milliken are famous for, including tacos, burritos and margaritas. Yes, there's booze! There's also a Blue Window sushi bar from Feniger and Alger — the two co-owned and operated Street, Mud Hen Tavern and Blue Window in Hollywood (which recently closed). The patio is the best place to sit, dine and relax with great views of the garden. 1919 is open to non-ticket holders, so even if you don't have time to walk around, you can still grab a bite.

Around the grounds, Feniger and Alger are also overseeing the Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House in the Chinese Garden. The cafe is set right along the tranquil pond, a good spot to rest with a snack, sake, beer or tea (they're excellent here). Feniger and Milliken also have the Patio Grill, which is situated near the Rose Garden Tea Room, for food inspired by the many cultures of LA, including fresh salads, sandwiches and more. Should you need a coffee or scoop of ice cream, the Red Car cafe has Illy espresso, Fosselman's and other sweet and savory treats. Take a look below at some of the many new menu items.

The Huntington is open Wednesday through Monday, and the first Thursday of every month is still free with advance tickets. While it's closed on major holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it's the perfect place to go around those breaks. The Patio Grill and dumpling house is open until 4PM and 4:30PM, respectively. The tea room serves until 5PM, and 1919 is open until 5:30PM, with the bar keeping later hours until 6PM.

1151 Oxford Road; 626-405-2100

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  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    Specialties from Feniger and Alger at the Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House in the Chinese Garden include General Tso's cauliflower, a spicy-sweet vegetarian option. Best enjoyed with a glass of sake and a view of the pond.

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    Tianjin noodles are filled with fresh vegetables, tofu and a good chile kick at the end.

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    Pork and Napa cabbage water dumplings from the Chinese Garden cafe. Other dishes on the small menu include sticky rice filled with pork; crispy spring rolls; and scallion pancakes. Prices are $6 to $15. 

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    At Cafe 1919, the Blue Window sushi bar features rolls, nigiri and bowls, all made to order, plus some in grab-and-go containers. The fish used is approved by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, and there are vegan and gluten-free options, too.

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    Enjoy a sushi bowl with a garden view.

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    1919 also has cocktails — bonus! There are signature drinks, plus beer and wine.

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    Border Grill tacos are now available in 1919, along with rice, beans and other familiar side dishes. 

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    Border Grill's stuffed burritos and aguas frescas (or go for a margarita) are new options at 1919.

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    Milliken and Feniger are also overseeing the Patio Grill, which is located next to the Shakespeare Garden, with globally inspired salads, sandwiches and more. This kale, quinoa and roasted yam salad is a perfect light bite for a short respite.

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    You'll find this Cubano sandwich on the Patio Grill menu.

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    Patio Grill side dishes include grilled corn with smoky aïoli and cheese.

  • Credit: Max Pelzner

    While not overseen by the celebrity chefs, the Rose Garden Tea Room also has a new menu, which includes specialty items like caviar on blinis; housemade crumpets and scones; finger sandwiches; sparkling wine and more.