tea, tea review

Samovar – San Francisco (Castro)

6.5 Overall Score
Tea: 6/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Staff: 6/10

Great atmosphere, good tea

Staff not too knowledgable, tea was preppared with way too many leaves, expensive $$

Open Daily: 10am – 10pm
498 Sanchez Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 626-4700

We had heard of Samovar for some time but hadn’t had the opportunity to visit one until we spent our anniversary in the Bay Area.

We shared a gaiwan of their Tieguanyin and split a desert plate.
The Tieguanyin was well rounded, delicately floral, and very pleasant.
The desert definitely upstaged the tea.

Here’s an excerpt from Anniversi-Tea Day 3:

As soon as I walked into the shop I was pleasantly surprised with this tea place. Samovar was part restaurant, tea bar, hang out spot and it had a wonderful feeling to it.

The atmosphere was relaxing and there were a fair amount of people in the shop. We walked in towards the end of the day, close to closing time, so it was quiet enough to enjoy and enough people to show us that this was a popular place. The service was good. Our server promptly brought us some menus and was helpful with our questions regarding their food and tea. We really just wanted to try their tea and desserts. They only had a couple Pu-ers (much to Klee’s dismay), some oolongs, blacks and whites, and a lot of herbal or blended teas. We chose their Tieguanyin and the dessert plate.

Samovar Dessert

Samovar was a little pricey ($12 for a gaiwan of Tieguanyin,$24 for their top pot of Pu-er), but they didn’t charge us for an extra cup and the server was very polite. The tea was tasty, but there were so many tea leaves put into the small pot that we had to take out half of the leaves and after a few steepings there was still a little too many leaves. If they would’ve made the price a little lower and put in half the amount, they still would’ve been making a profit (oh capitalism, how you are a jerk). All in all, it was a good tea and the desserts were delicious; brownies with matcha cream, shortbread cookies, coconut/rice pudding and fresh  fruit made for a very fresh and filling dessert.


Tieguanyin at Samovar

It was nice to visit a tea place like this outside of Chinatown serving Chinese teas (there were other teas as well) and not a Victorian style teahouse. It was a great place to sit and drink tea whether you’re alone or with a group of people. The staff was helpful, granted we were there at the end of the night. Pricey, average was $12 for a gaiwan. We would have liked to try their food, because the desert was tasty, but it was very expensive. The dessert was definitely enough for two.

CONCLUSION: Samovar is mainly a place for special occasions on our budget. The atmosphere and great tea offerings definitely make it a worth an occasional visit.


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Author: thismomentfortea View all posts by

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