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Alina Tyulyu

11 Cozy Spots for Afternoon Tea in San Francisco

Where to feast on finger sandwiches and mini sweets

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It’s not quite the glamour of London or Paris, but San Francisco does have a few posh places to enjoy one of the most civilized of dining experiences: afternoon tea. Whether it’s a special occasion with family and friends or a much-needed shopping break, it’s a comforting tradition to sip on fine china and snack on sandwiches and sweets.

Typically, the downtown hotels and department stores serve splashy teas, but sadly, with the pandemic, many remain closed. Notably absent from this list: The Palace has shuttered the historic Garden Court, where guests usually settle in under a golden dome filled with chandeliers. And Neiman Marcus has dimmed the Rotunda, that extraordinary glass structure with a sweeping view of Union Square.

But in good news, the Fairmont has reopened to the public, serving an elegant Champagne tea in the Laurel Court. The SF Proper Hotel continues to put out a respectable tea in their well-appointed lounge. And the neighborhood shops are still open for tea-party business. So whether you feel comfortable taking a seat in a parklet, or want to pick up a fabulous takeout box to go, here’s where you can still find a cozy afternoon tea.

As of publication time, some of these restaurants offer seated indoor and outdoor dining. However, their inclusion should not be taken as endorsement for sit-down dining, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that COVID-19 infection rates are lower for outside activities than dining indoors, but the level of risk involved with even outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants and their patrons following strict social distancing, face covering, and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar

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950 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 772-5260
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Befitting its location in what might be San Francisco’s highest-end hotel, the Fairmont’s Laurel Court does a pricey but fully loaded afternoon tea, with tons of tea sandwiches, scones, tarts, chocolates, macarons, and petits fours. During the pandemic, fans were devastated to miss the holiday tea with a view of the lobby and life-size gingerbread house, but after a long winter’s nap, afternoon tea is back in time for Mother’s Day in 2021, and they’re pulling out the good china and silver for the occasion. 

Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Fairmont Hotel

2. Maison Danel

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1030 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 685-5900
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Maison Danel, the sparkly new patisserie and tea salon, has finally reopened for indoor dining, and is now serving afternoon tea under the big chandelier. Husband-and-husband team Danel and David de Betelu are also still boxing up the afternoon tea service for takeout, and it includes petite croissant sandwiches, and macarons and other sweet.

The tea service at Maison Danel Emily Martin Events

3. Crown & Crumpet Tea Stop Café

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1746 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 771-4252
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This tearoom's larger Fisherman's Wharf location is no more, but you can still enjoy afternoon tea at the smaller Japantown outpost, located inside the New People mall. The affordable tea service is now available to order online and pick up, and there are a variety of fun packages, including unicorn cakes and personalized crowns for special occasions.

4. Son and Garden

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700 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 913-7404
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The latest restaurant from the Farmhouse Thai group became a viral sensation during the pandemic, thanks to this over-the-top afternoon tea party in a box. It’s a fabulous floral experience, packed with salmon, egg, and cucumber sandwiches, scones, cake, and sweets. Call the restaurant directly to pick up, or order delivery through a couple of different apps.

Afternoon tea from Son and Garden Son and Garden

5. Dartealing Lounge

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470 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 644-0142
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Nestled away amid the busy tech corridor of eastern SoMa, this petite retreat feels like a quirky-cute living room, and where you can usually choose from a savory service (smoked salmon scones and quiche) or a sweet service for two (scones, crumpets, and tea bread). At the moment, they’re closed for sit-down dining, but still taking orders for curbside pickup on Saturdays and Sundays.

6. San Francisco Proper

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1100 Market Street Hotel Entrance is at, 45 McAllister St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 735-7777
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The Proper Hotel is maybe best known as a dining destination for brunch at Villon or rooftop cocktails at Charmaine’s, but the modern hotel would not want any guests to go hungry between meals. Afternoon tea is served on the weekends, and includes a selection of sandwiches, sweets, and scones, with the option to add on a glass of bubbles.

Alina Tyulyu

7. Malaya Tea Room

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920 Central Ave
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 263-8208
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This new tea room in Alameda takes the British afternoon tradition and infuses it with Malaysian flavors, spreading rendang curry and kaya jam on the sandwiches, and folding pandan into the chiffon cakes. They are now open for sit-down dining, and the pandemic-inspired takeout boxes are still beautifully arranged, and include sandwiches, canapés, cake, and more.

Holiday tea from Malaya Malaya Tea Room

8. Japanese Tea Garden

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75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-4227
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A historic fixture of Golden Gate Park, this exquisite garden also offers a small tea cafe, which has always been a largely outdoor experience. The green tea or matcha are accompanied by traditional Japanese snacks like dorayaki (red bean pancake), edamame, and arare (savory rice crackers), as well as afternoon tea staples like petits fours and finger sandwiches on white bread. Every order comes with a fortune cookie, which was introduced to the U.S. right here (way back in the 1890s).

9. Sip Tea Room

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721 Lincoln Way
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 683-5592
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A relative newcomer to San Francisco’s afternoon tea scene, Sip Tea Room replaces Secret Garden Tea House with a more modern setting. The tea service itself leans traditional though, arriving on a three-tier stand with sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, strawberry preserves, lemon curd, and sweets.

10. Stonemill Matcha

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561 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 796-3876
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While it doesn’t offer afternoon tea in the traditional sense, the sleek Stonemill Matcha is a prime place to assemble your own green-tinted version. Meticulously prepared stone-ground matcha tea — served hand-whisked, cold brewed, or even sparkling — can be paired with Japanese and Japanese-inspired treats, such as soufflé cheesecake, black sesame cream puffs, and pork katsu sandwiches.

11. Lovejoy's Tearoom

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1351 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 648-5895
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This shabby-chic tearoom feels like the best version of a grandmother's attic, with mismatched china, hodgepodge furniture, and even hats you can borrow for the full effect. Bottomless tea can be accompanied by two simple scones, jam, and clotted cream all the way up to an all-out Queen's Tea with sandwiches, crumpets, salad, fruit, and petit fours. The parklet on Church is a quiet spot for outdoor dining, and takeout boxes are still lovely.

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1. Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar

950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Fairmont Hotel

Befitting its location in what might be San Francisco’s highest-end hotel, the Fairmont’s Laurel Court does a pricey but fully loaded afternoon tea, with tons of tea sandwiches, scones, tarts, chocolates, macarons, and petits fours. During the pandemic, fans were devastated to miss the holiday tea with a view of the lobby and life-size gingerbread house, but after a long winter’s nap, afternoon tea is back in time for Mother’s Day in 2021, and they’re pulling out the good china and silver for the occasion. 

950 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94108

2. Maison Danel

1030 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
The tea service at Maison Danel Emily Martin Events

Maison Danel, the sparkly new patisserie and tea salon, has finally reopened for indoor dining, and is now serving afternoon tea under the big chandelier. Husband-and-husband team Danel and David de Betelu are also still boxing up the afternoon tea service for takeout, and it includes petite croissant sandwiches, and macarons and other sweet.

1030 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

3. Crown & Crumpet Tea Stop Café

1746 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115

This tearoom's larger Fisherman's Wharf location is no more, but you can still enjoy afternoon tea at the smaller Japantown outpost, located inside the New People mall. The affordable tea service is now available to order online and pick up, and there are a variety of fun packages, including unicorn cakes and personalized crowns for special occasions.

1746 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94115

4. Son and Garden

700 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Afternoon tea from Son and Garden Son and Garden

The latest restaurant from the Farmhouse Thai group became a viral sensation during the pandemic, thanks to this over-the-top afternoon tea party in a box. It’s a fabulous floral experience, packed with salmon, egg, and cucumber sandwiches, scones, cake, and sweets. Call the restaurant directly to pick up, or order delivery through a couple of different apps.

700 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

5. Dartealing Lounge

470 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Nestled away amid the busy tech corridor of eastern SoMa, this petite retreat feels like a quirky-cute living room, and where you can usually choose from a savory service (smoked salmon scones and quiche) or a sweet service for two (scones, crumpets, and tea bread). At the moment, they’re closed for sit-down dining, but still taking orders for curbside pickup on Saturdays and Sundays.

470 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

6. San Francisco Proper

1100 Market Street Hotel Entrance is at, 45 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Alina Tyulyu

The Proper Hotel is maybe best known as a dining destination for brunch at Villon or rooftop cocktails at Charmaine’s, but the modern hotel would not want any guests to go hungry between meals. Afternoon tea is served on the weekends, and includes a selection of sandwiches, sweets, and scones, with the option to add on a glass of bubbles.

1100 Market Street Hotel Entrance is at, 45 McAllister St
San Francisco, CA 94102

7. Malaya Tea Room

920 Central Ave, Alameda, CA 94501
Holiday tea from Malaya Malaya Tea Room

This new tea room in Alameda takes the British afternoon tradition and infuses it with Malaysian flavors, spreading rendang curry and kaya jam on the sandwiches, and folding pandan into the chiffon cakes. They are now open for sit-down dining, and the pandemic-inspired takeout boxes are still beautifully arranged, and include sandwiches, canapés, cake, and more.

920 Central Ave
Alameda, CA 94501

8. Japanese Tea Garden

75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

A historic fixture of Golden Gate Park, this exquisite garden also offers a small tea cafe, which has always been a largely outdoor experience. The green tea or matcha are accompanied by traditional Japanese snacks like dorayaki (red bean pancake), edamame, and arare (savory rice crackers), as well as afternoon tea staples like petits fours and finger sandwiches on white bread. Every order comes with a fortune cookie, which was introduced to the U.S. right here (way back in the 1890s).

75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118

9. Sip Tea Room

721 Lincoln Way, San Francisco, CA 94122

A relative newcomer to San Francisco’s afternoon tea scene, Sip Tea Room replaces Secret Garden Tea House with a more modern setting. The tea service itself leans traditional though, arriving on a three-tier stand with sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, strawberry preserves, lemon curd, and sweets.

721 Lincoln Way
San Francisco, CA 94122

10. Stonemill Matcha

561 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

While it doesn’t offer afternoon tea in the traditional sense, the sleek Stonemill Matcha is a prime place to assemble your own green-tinted version. Meticulously prepared stone-ground matcha tea — served hand-whisked, cold brewed, or even sparkling — can be paired with Japanese and Japanese-inspired treats, such as soufflé cheesecake, black sesame cream puffs, and pork katsu sandwiches.

561 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

11. Lovejoy's Tearoom

1351 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

This shabby-chic tearoom feels like the best version of a grandmother's attic, with mismatched china, hodgepodge furniture, and even hats you can borrow for the full effect. Bottomless tea can be accompanied by two simple scones, jam, and clotted cream all the way up to an all-out Queen's Tea with sandwiches, crumpets, salad, fruit, and petit fours. The parklet on Church is a quiet spot for outdoor dining, and takeout boxes are still lovely.

1351 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94114

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