I'd lived in SF for a few years before ever going to Samovar because I thought "sure, I like tea, but not enough to go to a fancy tea lounge, whatever that is". What a mistake! A visit to Samovar is definitely a treat (~$25-30/person for a meal with tea), it's a lovely treat with good tea and really excellent food.
I went for a weekday lunch and was surprised that we almost didn't get a seat without a reservation. On good-weather days there's a good amount of seating outside so they can accommodate more people. Looking onto lovely Yerba Buena gardens is very nice, and so is their minimalist, tranquil indoor dining room.
The staff was very relaxed and nice. What an oasis. They have a large tea menu and 7 set meals that come with tea. Two of them are vegan and you can actually substitute whichever tea you'd like to accompany your food. Those seemed like a better value than choosing tea and food separately.
I accidentally chose a meal with beets, which I hate. But you know what? The food was perfectly balanced, fresh whole foods goodness with just the right light sauces. I'm sure you can guess.. I metaphorically licked the plate clean. (to avoid confusion, the literal version wouldn't be appropriate in this sort of establishment).
I definitely recommend Samovar and their set menu for a lovely treat.
This location is in city center so if you drive you'll have to pay for an expensive parking garage, better to take public transit -- it's near Bart and many Muni lines.Pros: Healthy, Tasty, Nice ambiance
Cons: Expensive, Limited food selection