Restaurants with good tea service
Since serious tea drinkers are a neglected minority, I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of full-service restaurants (not tea shops or places that otherwise specialize in drinks), that have good tea service. And no, I don't mean bagged tea, no matter how fancy either the tea or the presentation box, I mean loose tea. Of course virtually all Chinese restaurants serve loose tea, so I'm also excluding the basic Chinese restaurant, but if you know of one that offers a good selection of teas, that would be worth a mention.
I'll start with a few:
Town Hall (a choice of loose teas served in iron pots)
Absinthe (I don't remember the pots, but they offered a selection of loose teas)
Lalime's (served in those glass pots with the plunger)
Town Hall Restaurant
342 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
398 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706
Bar Tartine serves tea in the glass pots with plungers, IIRC.
561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Funny you should mention--I was despairing this morning because most of the brunch places in my neighborhood serve bagged tea, a lot of which is Mighty Leaf (way too perfumey for my taste).
Modern Tea in Hayes Valley specializes in loose leaf teas and has a full menu. I like the waffles for brunch.
602 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA
I suspect, though, that Ruth was thinking of restaurants that happen to have good tea service, not tea rooms that serve food. Personally I would love a tea house specializing in Chinese teas with complementary (not necessarily complimentary) food, something like Imperial Tea but less precious and less formal. Chatea, the Taiwanese chain comes to mind.
re: Xiao Yang
Despite its name, Modern Tea is primarily a restaurant. Tea may be their inspiration, but their food is not precious or tea room like.
Oh, and you might check out the new tea room at Teance in Berkeley, which has just opened on the weekends. They're serving snacks to complement their teas.
I think the teas served at Slanted Door are loose leaf. I've enjoyed the pueh erh (when available) and the Hong Kong milk teas there. The waiters who served the teas seemed knowledgeable about steeping times and food (at least dessert) complements.
Does anyone know of restaurants in the South Bay which have good tea service?
It's been a while since I've eaten there, but as I recall, Aziza had a really nice tea selection.
5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121