It’s time to warm up with tea and find comfort in the arms of a well-crafted macaron or three. Any of these Bay Area restaurants offering tea services are worth a visit, but each offers different approaches to the timeless tradition. There are fancier affairs and services incorporating a wide array of cultures and cuisines, too. Find a seat at one of these 16 tea services for a warming moment despite what the thermometer tells you.Read More
16 Cozy Spots for Afternoon Tea in the San Francisco Bay Area
Where to feast on finger sandwiches and petite sweets
Pardee Home Museum
This historic mansion, built in 1868, offers tours and tea service for groups with advance reservation. It’s a proper spread of sandwiches, chicken salad in pastry puffs, scones, tarts, and more, all made by volunteers. Every party here is a private party, which means guests get the place entirely to themselves. The waitlist is long, so be sure to book well in advance — many fans take spots several months out.
Jade Chocolates Teahouse & Cafe
Mindy Fong is a San Francisco chocolate staple at this point, but it’s the tea service at her Grant Avenue shop that deserves extra attention. Stopping by for themed tea services, such as an Ohlone-inspired menu of treats and teas, is well worth it. Seating times are at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Walk-ins may be available, but booking in advance is recommended.
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Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar at the Fairmont
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 on Saturdays at 2 and 2:30 p.m., with tons of tea sandwiches, scones, tarts, chocolates, macarons, and petits fours. Reservations are recommended.
The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus
Join those who lunch for a post-shopping afternoon tea at this swank department-store restaurant with stunning views of Union Square below. The tea service (daily beginning at 2:30 p.m.) comes with mini sandwiches, pastries, petits fours, and the famed popovers with strawberry butter. You can also add a glass of Champagne to the mix, of course.
Maison Danel, the sparkly patisserie and tea salon, had a rough opening during the pandemic, but it’s now fully open and serving afternoon tea under a big chandelier. Husband-and-husband team Danel and David de Betelu are also boxing up afternoon tea service for takeout, if you prefer to bring the tea experience home or to a park, and it includes petite croissant sandwiches, plus macarons, and other sweets.
The St. Regis San Francisco
Tea service is back at the St. Regis, now available through the Tea Salon at Astra, the hotel’s new-ish restaurant. Offered Thursday through Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m., the service at the St. Regis is for fans of the high life without question. The raspberry macarons are perfect, the various beverages smartly curated, and those tiny sandwiches are king. Guests must make reservations at least 24 hours in advance
Crown & Crumpet Tea Stop Café
Enjoy afternoon tea at the Japantown outpost of this tea room located inside the New People mall, or at its second location in Ross in Marin County. The affordable tea service is thankfully customizable to your party, such as adding on a crown craft project for kids, or requesting unicorn cakes or a macaron tower for special occasions (just give the shop at least 72 hours notice).
Son & Garden
The 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. Now, the tea experience is available to experience in person at the San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Menlo Park locations. It’s a fabulous floral experience, packed with salmon, egg, and cucumber sandwiches, scones, cake, and sweets. The tea service has two seatings, Monday through Friday, except for holidays, with advance reservation required.
San Francisco Proper
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 includes a selection of sandwiches, sweets, and scones, with the option to add on a glass of bubbles. For the holidays, they’re doing a Nutcracker theme, which seems particularly appropriate given the proximity to the Opera House.
Malaya Tea Room
This tea room in Alameda takes the British afternoon tradition and infuses it with Malaysian flavors, spreading rendang curry and kaya jam on sandwiches, and folding pandan into chiffon cakes. It’s open for sit-down dining, with a special holiday tea for the month of December. There are also to-go tea boxes, with sandwiches, sweets, and yes, tea, all conveniently packed up (you will need to order ahead of time for the tea boxes, however, so be warned).
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Japanese Tea Garden
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 lemon bars and cookies. Every order comes with a fortune cookie, which was introduced to the U.S. right here (way back in the 1890s).
Sip Tea Room
Sip Tea Room replaced 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. The full afternoon tea experience has two seatings, and runs Thursday through Sunday; reservations are required.
Lovejoy's Tea Room
This shabby-chic tea room 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. There’s a parklet on Church, if that’s preferred, and if there are some hungry folks in your party, there ‘s also “pub fare” such as shepherd’s pie (although it should be mentioned these items do not come with tea).
Lovey's Tea Shoppe
From the same owners at Lovejoy’s in San Francisco, baby sister Lovey’s in Pacifica also offers tea, scones, sandwiches, and mismatched doilies, but with much easier parking just off Highway One. Afternoon tea is offered on certain days, with reservations required, but as the website notes, there is a “more casual walk-up menu” available for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Rosewood Sand Hill
With a full view of the Santa Cruz Mountains, one Eater reader described this service as “a distinctly California interpretation of afternoon tea.” The scones are worth mentioning, as are the glasses of Champagne. Prices begin at $70 a person and, as it can be a bit of a drive for some in the Bay Area, booking in advance is highly recommended.
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If you’re looking for something different than cucumber sandwiches and you’re in the San Jose area, iChina offers its version of afternoon tea — but with dim sum. You can order a selection of dim sum a la carte, or as part of a set of steamed or crispy dim sum. There is also a “signature pastry collection” option, featuring a selection of sweet bites such as raspberry lychee mousse, jasmine peach macaron, and a sable with pineapple jam and calamansi curd.