SF Tea

13 11 2007

So you want to take English tea in the city around the holidays? Glad you asked.

  • Lovejoy’s English Tea Room; 1351 Church St. (@ Clipper); (415) 648-5895; Tues – Sun 11 am – 6 pm, Fri 11am – 7 pm; Tea services ranging from US$7.95 – $18.95. Book on weekends and holidays. Antique-filled room is filled with towers of elegant tea sandwiches, scones, fruit, biscuits, and an ever-present pot of house tea. If you take a liking to your teapot you can take it home with you.

  • Secret Garden Tea House; 721 Lincoln (between 8th and 9th Ave.); (415) 566-8834; Tues – Sat 12 – 6 pm, Sun 12 – 5:30 pm; Tea services ranging from $10.95 – $18.95. Book for weekends and holidays. This smaller tea room is similar to a Victorian-era doll house. Children 12 and under can order a special Prince and Princess Tea ($13.95) complete with peanut butter and jelly tea sandwiches, petit fours, and a cup of cocoa. Adult tea services range from $10.95 for tea and two scones, to $18.95 for tea with a scone, assorted tea sandwiches, a savory quiche, and dessert.

  • Tal-Y-Tara Tea and Polo Shoppe; 6439 California St. (@ 28th Ave.); (415) 751-9275; Mon – Sat 10 am – 6 pm; This store offers British tea pots, jams and biscuits in addition to riding whips, boots, and other equestrian-related gear. Tal-Y-Tara is most famous for its Motorloaf ($12.50), a loaf of dense, moist brown bread with tea sandwiches that are cut out of, and then nestled in its frame. Motorloaves are also available with seasonal fruits and cheese ($6), or with butter and cream cheese ($4). Other a la carte tea items include homemade scones ($5.50), trifle ($6), or crumpets ($4), and a pot of tea for two is a bargain at $5. 

  • Ritz Carlton; 600 Stockton St (@ California); (415) 296-7465; Mon – Thurs 3:30 – 4:30 pm, Fri 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Sat – Sun 1 – 4:30pm; Tea services ranging from: $29 – $41; Book for the Teddy Bear Tea (holiday season only). Traditional Tea ($29) arrives on a tiered carousel with tea sandwiches (Norwegian Smoked Salmon with Pickled Onion and Caviar; Cucumber, Roquefort and Walnuts; Prosciutto and Melon; Egg and Chive), a scone with Devonshire Cream, lemon curd, and preserves, English Tea cakes, a fresh fruit tartlet, a Madeleine, a Florentine, and shortbread. Add a champagne cocktail, to the Traditional Tea for the Premier Tea ($34), or add champagne, chocolate, and strawberries for the Royal Tea ($41). A vegetarian option! During the holiday season, Teddy Bear Teas are offered for children and their stuffed animal friends. Ritz-Carlton Teddy tells classic holiday tales while the children sip hot chocolate and munch on teddy bear cut-out cookies and Peanut Butter and Jelly, Egg Salad, and Ham and Cheese sandwiches. Booking needed. 

  • Garden Court (Sheraton Palace Hotel); 2 New Montgomery St.; (415) 392-8600; Tues – Sat 2 – 4 pm; Tea services ranging from $22 – $85; Book for the Prince and Princess Tea. Beautiful set with gilded marble columns, a leaded glass-dome ceiling, crystal chandeliers, and gold leaf sconces, the magnificent flower and palm tree filled room is overdone and opulent. A harpist provides soothing background music at tea time, and white-glove service leaves patrons feeling like royalty. The Garden Court Tea ($28) includes scones with thick cream, marmalade, honey and lemon curd, an assortment of pastries and fruit tarts, and tea sandwiches. $4 for you to upgrade your tea with a glass of sparkling wine, or for $11 make it a glass of French champagne. A party of two can order the Exclusive Tea for Two ($85), which includes the equivalent of two full tea services with a half-bottle of Pommery French champagne instead of two glasses. Especially for little boys and girls is the Prince and Princess Tea ($22), for which reservations are required. The Princess Tea features pastries, sandwiches and a crown and scepter. 

  • Windsor Tea Room (The King George Hotel); 334 Mason Street (@ Geary); (415) 781-5050; Sat – Sun 2 – 5 pm; Tea services ranging from $8.50 – $18.00; Truly English. The most elaborate tea service, the King George’s tea ($18.00), includes a bottomless pot of tea, a scone with preserves and Double Devon Cream, a refreshing mixed green salad and a selection of two tea sandwiches. The tea concludes with a choice of tea cookies or a fresh fruit tart. For a service that more closely approximates an English High Tea, try the Cheese and Fresh Fruit Platter ($8.25). Its assorted cheeses, seasonal fruits, freshly baked bread, and a glass of wine or sherry is a perfect light, pre-theater dinner. 

  • The Rotunda (Neiman-Marcus); 150 Stockton Street; (415) 362-4777; Daily 2:30 – 5 pm; Tea services ranging from $18.50 – $29.00; Full Tea ($18.50) includes a selection of finger sandwiches, flaky scones, petite cookies, tarts, and other house-made sweets. For a real splurge, add a glass of French champagne for an additional $10.50. Book for a booth overlooking the lower shopping levels and Union Square

  • Laurel Court (The Fairmont); 950 Mason (@ California); (415) 772-5260; Mon – Sun 2:30 – 4:30 pm; Tea services ranging from $32.00 – $57.00 for adults, $25.00 for children; Standard tea ($32 adults/$25 children), sumptuous enough for two to share, starts with homemade scones served with lemon curd, Devonshire Cream and Sonoma preserves. This is followed by an array of finger sandwiches, a selection of French pastries, and a glass of Champagne. For an additional $25, you can also upgrade your tea with caviar and a higher quality Champagne. An á la carte menu offers all the components of the complete tea service plus seasonal berries with Devonshire Cream and a selection of English tea biscuits. Sparkling wine, port, and sherry can also be ordered by the glass.

  • Renaissance Stanford Court Hotel; 905 California St. (@ Powell); (415) 989-3500; Daily 2:30 – 5 pm in the Lobby Lounge; Tea service: $25.00 – $35.00; Book a minimum of 24 hours in advance. The High Tea ($25.00) at the Stanford Court includes finger sandwiches (Smoked Salmon on Pumpernickel, Cucumber and Tomato with Cream Cheese, Egg and Chive, and Chicken and Watercress with Mascarpone), miniature scones with lemon curd, Devonshire Cream, and preserves, petit fours, a fruit tartlets, and assorted tea cookies. For an additional $10, you can begin your tea experience with a glass of Mumm Cuvée champagne. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas the Stanford Court celebrates the holiday season by including traditional Christmas cookies and cakes from Leland Stanford’s era in the tea service. A gingerbread replica of the 1876 Leland Stanford mansion, which originally stood on this site, is featured in the lobby.

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