At the entrance to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park stands the Tea Pavilion, a casual to-go tea spot. An outdoor patio is available, with a brick-paved courtyard and umbrella tables where families can gather for relaxing refreshment after touring the local attractions. Part of the profits from the Tea Pavilion supports the Japanese Friendship Garden.
The Tea Pavilion, owned and operated by the Cohn Restaurant Group, carries 47 teas, says general manager Sarah Llanos. These include green, white, oolong, and black teas, as well as herbal tisanes. Among the most popular are Japanese Cherry Sakura, flavored with the essence of cherries, and China Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl, a hand-rolled green tea with jasmine blossoms. The pavilion’s Thai Iced Tea is a sweetened milk tea and perfect for summertime. Bulk teas and loose tea bags are also for sale, and the fast-casual restaurant has an allday Japanese-influenced menu that includes miso soup, edamame, and rice bowls. The teas, which are served in a recyclable to-go cup, are $2.50 to $3 each. The restaurant is open 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily and later during the summer months.