Envisioned as a place to unwind, unplug and be mindful, Samovar Tea delivers on all three counts. Not only is the space beautiful – surrounded by the lush greenery of Yerba Buena Gardens, with sweeping high ceilings and plenty of natural light – but it’s permeated with a feeling of reverence. Samovar Tea is, after all, a veritable temple to tea.
For Samovar founder Jesse Jacobs, tea is a drink that brings people together, that allows them to slow down and be present. It’s also delicious. So he’s spent years befriending small, artisanal producers around the world, visiting, learning, tasting and passing along his knowledge to his staff – the tea masters. Not to mention populating the menu with wonderful teas for his San Francisco Samovar devotees.
One of two Samovars in San Francisco, the outpost in Yerba Buena Gardens is a fully-fledged restaurant; the distillation of Jacobs’ vision. Here, diners and tea-lovers can settle down with a pot of Masala Chai or cold-brewed Matcha and enjoy some of the menu’s small and large plates. There are dishes designed to pair with the teas, like the Chinese tea service, which brings seasonal veggie stir-fry, organic brown rice, and squash dumplings together with a lip-smacking cup of Blood Orange Pu-erh. And others designed to tempt (the Duck Scallion Waffle with pure maple syrup and butter comes to mind). But whether you’re indulging in a sharing platter of local cheeses, poached eggs on Acme Pan Di Mie Milk bread, or an epic Reuben on Rye sandwich, the food here is guaranteed to be just as nourishing and healthy as it is delicious. And if the delightful assortment of teas weren’t enough, Samovar Tea also serves a curated collection of craft beers and wine.
And for those who’ve caught the Samovar Tea bug, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s an online shop so you can pick up some of your favourite brews and cultivate your own tea rituals back home.