The Golden Tea Garden is a wonderful new tea house in downtown Oakland. Service is great, there are dozens upon dozes of teas to chose from, and the food is out of this world. I really couldn't have hoped for anything better, specially so close to San Leandro (where I live).
The English Rose does not know how to do tea. The room is cute (if you like that sort of thing) and the food was fine (more on it later) but the tea was awful. The tea is placed in tea bags inside the pot and brewed in the kitchen, the tea bag is removed before they bring it to you. Unfortunately they seem to think eveyone likes very weak tea. We did ask that they leave the tea bag in for subsequent pots and that helped a little, but we found most of the black teas unimpressive. The first of the Ceylons in their list was pretty good, however. The English Rose is listed here as serving 'English style' tea, but in reality they serve some suburbian idea of what a Victorian tea might have been like. Their tea sandwiches (egg salad and some deli meat and cheese) were awful, and their scones came sprinkled with colored sugar!!! The British among us almost boycotted them on principle. Some of the other tidbits were pretty good, however - just not English.