Samovar Tea Lounge at Yerba Buena Gardens is a retreat in the midst of chaotic downtown SF. With its expansive patio seating area perched two flights above street level and overlooking the gardens, the sound of the waterfall in the distance and the sight of all the tall buildings around you, this is quite a special place. I can’t think of many better ways to enjoy it than with a pot of warm tea and a deliciously NOBREAD friendly snack …
Stepping inside from the patio, the dining room is flooded with natural daylight as well, and beautifully decorated in a way that immediately induces a state of calm. Cozy up in a pillow-lined booth, or grab a table alongside the windows. Always one to gravitate toward herbal teas, green teas, and chai teas, I sampled exactly those varieties from Samovar: turmeric spice, green ecstasy, and masala chai. Other varieties I’m planning to try next time around include the California rose, moorish mint, jasmine pearl, ocean of wisdom, spearmint sage, and blood orange. The lunch menu is perfectly concise; there is really something for everyone here. Two standouts for me were the vegetarian sandwich (avocado, roasted peppers, arugula, baked zucchini, red onion, white cheddar, Other Brother olive oil, basil pesto & mayo), and the tea-smoked chicken salad sandwich (with arugula, red onion, cheddar, Other Brother olive oil, basil pesto & mayo). These are served on GF sourdough bread from Bread SRSLY, which has become a bit of an obsession of mine. These sandwiches are just the right amount of food for lunch – enough to fill you up without putting you over the edge. For a little more of an indulgent lunch, the wild salmon comes with two poached eggs over organic brown rice. And for breakfast, dessert, or just a snack – I highly recommend the chia pudding with fruit, nuts and bee pollen.
Samovar Tea Lounge is one of my favorite recent discoveries in SF. I can’t wait to walk over here during my lunch break next time I need an escape. For when you’re on the go, Samovar also has a tea bar located in the Mission, with its own (smaller) menu of snack-y things. And of course, lots of tea.