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Afternoon Tea in the City?

Looking for a rec. for a nice place for weekday afternoon tea in the Union Square-Civic Center-Powell&Market vicinity.

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  1. Samovar at Yerba Buena. Good food too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: vulber

      I like Samovar too, but it's deliberately untraditional. While they do offer British style black teas and scones, their real strength is their selection of other teas and foods (like matcha brownies).

      1. If you're open to an indulgence, you could try afternoon tea at the Garden Court in the Palace Hotel. It's quite a lavish affair.

        As noted above, Samovar is a good choice for tea. It has a more casual and contemporary style than The Palace.


        2 Replies
        1. re: DandySF

          Is the Tea at the Garden Court now available week days?

          From their web page.
          Saturday Afternoon Tea 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

          1. re: wolfe

            You're correct, tea is only a weekend event. I thought it was seven days a week. Thanks for catching that.

        2. I relly like Crown and Crumpet. It's in Ghirardelli Square, but you could take a cab or cable car. It's open and airy and not too formal. The food is yummy too.
          The Ritz is incredible, but pricey. And I'm not sure if they do tea on weekdays.

          1. if you're going to take a cab (or the J), one place that's always intrigued me is Lovejoy's in Noe Valley; it appears to be stuffy British tea at its best (or worst).

            8 Replies
            1. re: vulber

              Have you been or are you again assuming? My wife, daughter, DIL, granddaughter and even son loved it and there ain't a stuffy bone in any of their bodies.
              Note about the Ritz. One site says Friday- Sunday, Ritz site says Sat-Sun only.

              1. re: wolfe

                I should say that it appears to be quite formal, not stuffy; and not everybody wants formality with tea

                Regardless, I should stop assuming.

                1. re: vulber

                  Afternoon tea is not just stopping for a cuppa. It appears that there is a form but it need not be formal. There are usually a selection of teas and goodies may include delicate sandwiches, possibly without crusts, small pastries and scones with clotted cream/preserves.

                  1. re: vulber

                    There is nothing formal about Lovejoy's. The problem is it's been taken over by baby showers, with lots of Laura Ashley dresses to match the furnishings.

                    Their tea and food is decent rather than exceptional, but it's half the price (or less) of the Garden Court, where tea for two is $98 plus tax and tip.

                2. re: vulber

                  I take my 7 year old there regularly. Not stuffy at all.

                  1. re: vulber

                    I love Lovejoy's. My bachelorette party started there. (In addition to baby showers, the place has been taken over by bridal showers.)

                    Anyway, I've had tea at probably 4 places (though not in SF), including The Empress in Victoria, B.C. I thought Lovejoy's just edged out The Empress and edged out an exceptional one in La Mesa (near San Diego). Plus, it's the cheapest one of the places I've been to.

                    A friend was raving about Samovar the other day, but it's a much more contemporary tea place.

                    1. re: katya

                      Samovar is definitely contemporary, but it will remind you that tea is enjoyed throughout the world in different ways in different cultures, where as Lovejoy's APPEARS to be more focused and specialized (for example, there's no traditional Chinese tea tasting). That's not in anyway a dig against Lovejoy's.

                    2. re: vulber

                      I too love Lovejoy's, quaintly traditional, not stuffy--imaginge a flowery antique store filled with tatted ladies lunching (lol). Their food (the High Tea and Queen's Tea) is delicious and plentiful.. It's easily accessible by MUNI metro.

                      With regards to it being overrun with showers and other parties, that won't be a problem since you're going on a weekday.

                    3. I haven't been to this place in quite a long time, so not sure if tea is still good there...

                      Windsor Tea Room at the King George Hotel at 334 Mason Street

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: slew

                        There may have been a policy change, this from their web site.
                        "Afternoon tea service is available for parties of 10 or more; advanced reservations are required."
                        Obviously call before you go.

                        1. re: slew

                          My experience is old, but this was the least of the teas we tried. It felt like they turned it over to staff who had no idea what Tea is supposed to be like, and left.
                          Also, the menu said rose petal tea and what I got was rose hip tea. I mentioned it to the waitperson, who said, "well, that was what was in the rose petal bin."

                          If you hadn't specified area, I would have mentioned Tal Y Tara for tea -- it's a tea and tack shop, and great fun. Yes, tack, as in horsey stuff. Really. You can have tea on red velvet settees and then buy leather riding boots or treats for your horse.

                          1. re: slew

                            Mmm, I found that value for money - wise the Windsor Tea Room wasn't so good. The sandwiches seemed to be made from grocery-aisle ingredients and they don't bake onsite. I'd take the cable car up to Crown and Crumpet for better quality and fun atmosphere. They have a tea for two around $40 if I recall, which is really good for full tea service.

                          2. Not in Union Square, but for others who might be looking, my family recently had a lovely tea at the Secret Garden at Ninth and Lincoln. Delicious little sandwiches and bruschetta-type snacks, nice range of tea served properly hot. It was also a welcoming space for a group that included three grandparents, a three-year-old, and an infant, as well as several in between.

                            Secret Garden Tea House
                            721 Lincoln Way, San Francisco, CA 94122

                            1. I went to Crown & Crumpet a little over a week ago and had a lovely time. Much less formal and pricey than the Rotunda's Tea. I would highly recommend C&C and can't wait to go back.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: CarrieWas218

                                Adding my vote for C &C. Very good tea, cakes and sandwiches, fun / slightly silly atmosphere, very well priced.