Sunny Hayes Valley corner teahouse steeps some serious sips and offers Asian-inflected plates..
Even in San Francisco, there must be a finite number of citizens willing to pay $8 for a pot of tea, but Samovar's third tea lounge is thriving, perhaps because it was built across from the massive SF Zen Center--the equivalent of parking a taco truck next to a construction site. Cedar and redwood woodwork, various Buddhist elements and calming music give it an earthy, new-age vibe, ideal for the quiet consumption of some seriously connniosseur-grade teas. The extensive menu offers rare picks like 1993 cultivated menghal select leaves, although service is as friendly and unpretentious as it comes. Light bites include tea-infused dishes like ginger tofu tea soup and green tea mousse along with curry egg salad sandwiches, edamame with toasted seaweed and rice bowls.