1111 Solano Ave
Albany, CA 94706
For a quiet, relaxing (I'd say ZEN, but I've never really been sure what the true definition of that word is) experience, the Celadon Tea Room in Albany is an easy recommendation.
It's right on busy Solano Avenue, but you'd never know it from the relaxed patrons sitting inside, quietly sipping their exotic brews. The layout is open, and the decor is soothing -- with natural wood and stone accents. The night our group was there, a koto player performed in the background.
I had a pot of jasmine green tea, which was extremely fragrant and delicious. One member of my party had the chrysanthemum flowers herbal infusion. It had a subtle flowery smell and was quite earthy tasting.
Celadon also has a small selection of desserts if you're looking for something more. Our table ordered a pear tart and some chocolate cake. The pear tart was small, but the pear was carved to look like a flower and was soaked in wine. The chocolate cake was dense and tasty.
I went to Celadon with a couple of hardcore coffee drinkers who didn't fully appreciate the whole experience, so I think this is a place for serious tea-heads ONLY, who want a truly mellow experience.
Since Mrs. Francie Lupoff reviewed this tearoom (see her review above), I had a chance to go to the tea room and experience the place for myself. I would give this place "two pots".
My experience at this tea room was different from hers. I have to admit it was really hard trying to pretend that this was my first time in a tea room. My overall impression of the tea room was that is was sterile and not really inviting. The décor of the establishment was very nice like Mrs. Lupoff said. It had stone accents and natural wood. The seating was a bit tight, meaning the tables were pretty close to one another. Its surprising that you couldn’t be included into other peoples conversations.
The time Mrs. Lupoff and I went was actually a great time. It was quiet ... we were pretty much the only ones in the place (besides the wait staff, which seemed like they were also ready for a cup of tea). Anyway, the establishment seemed open an airy, but the thought of many more people in this place made me feel a bit claustrophobic.
We sat on these wonderfully made chairs and the tables (made of nice wood) were sturdy and strong enough to handle anything.
The tea menu was small ... mostly greens, oolongs and herbals. I don’t remember if there were blacks ... if there were, they were limited. I remember Francie ordering an herbal tea ... I had an Oolong, "Tung Ting," very tasty. The tea pot was really cool which kinda redeems the whole establishment. I have to admit, this place has a pretty cool selection of tea pots ... mostly xiying pots . The tea cups we drank from were pretty neat, too. Kinda like someone did a lot of pottery and sold it to this tea room.
We didn’t order a dessert because we had just eaten Thai food (otherwise we would have).
I have to admit, even though the establishment didn’t have the ideal things I would consider for a tea room, it did quite well for someone who might be going to a tea room for the first time. Like I said, this is definitely a two teapot review. Give this place a try when you get to the Bay Area.
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