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“An American Tea experience”
Review of Samovar Tea Lounge - CLOSED

Samovar Tea Lounge
Price range: US$10 - US$20
Cuisines: Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighbourhood: The Castro
Cross street: 18th St.
Transit: Muni L,M,K to Castro or Church, J to Church & 18th
Reviewed 24 June 2014

Samovar came highly recommended by my local mate- who cautioned us that the success of the establishment has lead to it doubling it's prices.
After playing around in Delores Park on the swings and slide we scampered up to Castro and Samovar. Seated speedily, with the afternoon light gently streaming in our seats, i found it very relaxing.
The shocker was the prices!. I live in Perth which is the most expensive city in the Southern Hemisphere. However, $10 for a pot of tea is a bit "rich" if you pardon the pun. Also, the menu states that each person MUST order at least one item. Which to me, does not make sense as a pot of tea can be shared between 2 people. So, economically it does not make sense. It would make more sense that if one pot can give you 4 cups why not let people share so they can finish sooner and you can have faster turnover of clients?.
Plus, the tea is pretty much not as nice as Bewley's in Dublin. We had the masala chai which had too much of a strong top note of cinnamon- not necessary, hardly tasting the star anise. The scone was okay but not light and airy. The cream accompaniment was good.
Overall, i can see why it is a hit with the wealthier Castro and hipsters in Mission but it's not as special as you think. We chalked it up as an experience of an American Tea House and enjoyed the company of a mate i had not seen for years.

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Thank spunkeymonkey78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (76)
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13 - 17 of 76 reviews

Reviewed 23 May 2014

Don't let the name fool you, this is not a Russian place - they have food and tea from everywhere. It works like an English tea room: you choose the dish of your wish and get a pot of tea with it. Each meal has a recommended tea that suits that particular food best.

I ate in Samovar Tea Lounge in a group of four. We each chose different stuff: Japanese, English, Russian and Moorish. Everyone just loved their food, as did I.

The place is nicely decorated and the service was good, too. It's not a fancy restaurant but great for a relaxed meal in good company. They even had a fortune teller (or Tarot card reader etc.) present who was selling his services. That was hilarious in my opinion :)

I will go back the next time I'm SF!

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Thank Laura K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joshua J, Director of Sales at Samovar Tea Lounge, responded to this reviewResponded 19 June 2014

Thank you visiting our Castro location. Coming with friends is a wonderful way to taste our menu and get the full Samovar experience. We look forward to seeing you again soon!

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Reviewed 21 February 2014

I thought the cost for tea was expensive ($10) and I didn't find it any better than other teas I've had that cost less. I got about 4 cups out of it though. The environment was nice, there were big windows that let light in and pillows to rest on. Service was fast and friendly.

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1  Thank Bengal23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joshua J, Director of Sales at Samovar Tea Lounge, responded to this reviewResponded 19 June 2014

Thank you for the review. A lot of people are surprised by the price on the menu. But once they talk to our servers and the tea is delivered they get it. A pot of loose leaf, hand-crafted organic tea brewed to order and served by the pot is actually a great value.

Please note that if you are looking for tea by the cup, check out our new venue in The Mission on 411 Valencia Street. Service is fast, tea is $3-$5, and the tea is precision-brewed while you watch in our glass and stainless steel Tea Crucibles.

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Reviewed 5 December 2013

This is one of my daughter's favorite places to go to eat healthy California and relax. Nothing to dislike.

Thank Beverly W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joshua J, Director of Sales at Samovar Tea Lounge, responded to this reviewResponded 19 June 2014

And, I hope plenty to love -- thanks for visiting!

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Reviewed 19 November 2013

I showed up here one afternoon on a whim when Foursquare recommended it to me. I was surprised that it was so... swanky. Usually tea places are casual, but it was kinda fancy. Dress is casual, though!

I ordered the Chai Masala as zillions of Yelp reviewers recommended (also, it was the cheapest tea... at $5.75 a pop, I won't come here often, but it's better priced than their $10+ cups of other tea. I kinda get the overpriced vibe from here) as well as the greek yogurt with dates and walnuts.

And then.... I waited.
and waited.
and waited some more.

And then my tea arrived!

I slowly finished my tea
and waited
and waited even more
and then finally my yogurt came out!

I was sitting outside and the temperature significantly dropped in the long time that I was sitting there waiting, so I was getting kind of cold and cranky that I had to wait so long (how long could it possibly take to add some fruit and nuts to a bowl of yogurt?).

Also, sitting outside, you will be harassed by pigeons and other birds that are interested in your crumbs.

If the review were based solely on service and atmosphere, this place is a 2. However... the tea and yogurt were REALLY really good. Like, some of the best I've had. I wrote down all the ingredients in the yogurt so that I can attempt to recreate it in my own kitchen.

So, if you want some amazing food/tea, check out Samovar. If you want somewhere with good service and atmosphere, look elsewhere.

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Thank Michelle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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