Holiday Tea and Lunching


Crown & Crumpet interior photo: ©


The bonne bouche platter at Jardinière. Photo: ©

Since we’re continuing full speed ahead with the holiday season, keep these holiday tea and lunch options in mind as you make your plans, especially if you want to plan a special afternoon for the kiddos.

Have an elegant, traditional holiday tea service at the ~WESTIN ST. FRANCIS~, Saturdays and Sundays only from December 3rd-18th, 2pm-4pm. Choose from fine artisanal teas by Mighty Leaf or Red Blossom Tea Company, followed by a selection of tea sandwiches, freshly baked black currant scone and seasonal berries with Devonshire-blend cream, preserves, and assorted petits fours. Prices range from $41-$49/adult, $21/child 12 and under. Go for the Royal Tea ($47); it includes a glass of Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine. Book now; reservations are required. 335 Powell St. at Geary, 415-774-0264.

The ~SIR FRANCIS DRAKE HOTEL~ is once again offering Tea Under the Tree, a holiday tea experience on select dates between December 3rd and 23rd, 1pm-4pm. Guests will have a choice of artisanal teas, plus tea sandwiches, and freshly baked pastries, all under a 20-foot tree. Hand-crafted cocktails and wines by the glass will be available too. $40/adult, $20/child. 450 Powell St. at Sutter, 415-395-8555.

The ~TOP OF THE MARK~ is also presenting special holiday teas. Their Holiday Afternoon Tea is available from 2:30pm-5pm on December 5th-8th, 12th-15th, and 26th-30th. Enjoy three-tiers of tea sandwiches, English scones with Devonshire cream and fruit preserves, and elegant French pastries, and choose from a selection of the fine loose leaf teas and infusions, or iced tea or coffee. $36/person.

As a special treat for all ages, Top of the Mark is hosting a Magical Holiday Tea on select dates between December 9th-23rd, 12:30pm-2pm. The buffet includes quite a selection of traditional and holiday tea favorites, plus kid-friendly items like mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and pigs in a blanket. The experience includes magician RJ Owens, face painter Sandra Lethley, and a complimentary children’s gift. $48/person, $2 off with a toy for Toys for Tots; prices exclude tax and gratuity. 1 Nob Hill at Mason, 415-616-6916.

~CROWN & CRUMPET~ has lots of holiday tea options, especially kid-centric ones. The Gingerbread Tea on December 16th, 19th, and 23rd is for kiddos from 2 to 12, who’ll get to decorate miniature gingerbread houses! They also get a kid-friendly holiday tea, and Christmas crackers for all. Adults in tow will be served a light tea and a holiday aperitif. Do expect a special visitor—wonder who that’ll be? 4pm-6pm.

The Ladies Afternoon Tea on December 11th and 18th, 4pm-6pm, is a family-friendly (gents are welcome) holiday afternoon tea service that includes an aperitif (non-alcoholic avail), a Christmas cracker, and a small party favor, plus holiday entertainment and door prizes. Those dates not working for ya? You can always book a Holiday Tea anytime from December 10th-24th for a special menu that includes an aperitif (non-alcoholic avail), a Christmas cracker, and their light tea (assorted holiday tea sandwiches, flavored scones, a crumpet, housemade sweets and treats). Prices range from $38-$48/adult, $18-$48/child, plus tax and gratuity. Look for more details and extended dates online. When you make your reservation, note the 72-hour cancellation policy, after which it’s $25/person to cancel.

Open for lunch on Fridays ‘til Xmas is ~JARDINIÈRE~ (that’s December 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd) with a holiday lunch menu. Of course there is the delicious warm bread salad with roasted artichokes and crescenza cheese ($15), and some seasonal highlights are the young escarole salad with fuyu persimmons, hazelnuts, and pecorino Romano ($14); Liberty Farms duck confit with Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, and sugar pie pumpkin ($19); and a trio of holiday treats with Aunt Julia’s fudge, candy cane cupcake, and Linzer cookie ($9). They’re also offering a three-course children’s menu ($24) at lunch or dinner: heirloom carrot crudité with herb crème fraîche; choice of fish and chips with local rock cod, handmade pasta and sauce Bolognese with Parmigiano-Reggiano, or roasted Hoffman Ranch chicken breast, honey-glazed carrots, and potato purée; and vanilla ice cream with milk chocolate sauce and candied peanuts. It’s a good option for a special family meal when you’re in the ‘hood to see the “Nutcracker.”

Up in Marin, ~THE TAVERN AT LARK CREEK~ will start serving lunch on weekdays throughout December between 11am-2pm. Lunch menu items include pear and goat cheese salad with Bibb lettuce, honey lavender almonds, and huckleberry vinaigrette ($9.95); day boat scallops with cranberry vinaigrette, sunchokes, chanterelles, and Brussels sprouts ($21.50); and pumpkin-braised short rib with sweet onion, polenta, sugar pumpkin, and autumn vegetable salad ($22.50). Or you can opt for the three-course prix-fixe menu with roasted pear salad, braised short ribs, and classic butterscotch pudding ($32). 234 Magnolia Ave. at William, Larkspur, 415-924-7766.