Imperial Tea Court - Berkeley (5 reviews)
Berkeley Teahouse is in the Epicurious Garden walk-through just off Shattuck between Cedar and Vine (upstairs in the back). Select the elegance of our quiet garden seating or the coziness of our interior tearoom.
It is a well known fact that next to plain water, the most popular drink on earth is tea, and we are honored to make many of the world's finest, rarest, and most highly acclaimed teas available to you at our tea houses and here online. It is our privilege to invite you to experience the tradition and artistry of one of life's oldest and most rewarding pleasures - known simply as the way of tea.
The San Francisco Bay Area's world-famous Imperial Tea Court is renowned as an exclusive source for many of the most highly acclaimed and sought-after teas produced today. Magnificently appointed by visiting Chinese craftsmen and opened on the fourth of July, 1993 in Chinatown, Imperial Tea Court represents the life-long commitment to the art and tradition of all aspects of tea of co-founders Grace and Roy Fong. Their mutual love and respect for authentic, hand-crafted Chinese teas (and their difficulty in obtaining them in the United States) led to the initiation of direct relations with tea growers and producers in China and Taiwan, and ultimately to the establishment of Imperial Tea Court.
This place got me into tea. They have an extensive menu of very high quality teas and incredible knowledgable staff. Their food is also delicious, try the hand pulled noodles
This quickly became my favorite spot for a light lunch and tea. The ambiance is soothing and reminiscent of those teahouses in Chinese movies, right before the blood and guts scenes.
Several visits after the first, we asked the manager why there wasn't more seating, as the food was incredible. His response was that they wanted to encourage tea drinking, and not push the food(?)
Anyway, the next time we brought some friends with us, but we were all sorely disappointed with both the food and the service. The food tasted as if it was left over from the day before; the hand-made noodles which were previous long and chewy, were about one-inch long and hard. The server dropped a napkin on the floor and proceeded to set our table with it!
Maybe we came on a (very) bad day, but I won't be coming here anymore, which makes me really sad, because these visits used to fill me with much contentment in the past.
Nice space with a good tea selection and attentive if relaxed service. Tasty reasonably priced lunch items including handmade noodles and dumplings. Worth a visit, perhaps not best if you're in a hurry, but then that's not the way to enjoy your tea. The outdoor garden is nice weather permitting.