Finding Peace in the Gourmet Ghetto - NBC Bay Area

Finding Peace in the Gourmet Ghetto

Bay Area foodie reviews Imperial Tea Court



    Not Getting Enough Sleep? What’s Your Excuse?

    Located in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, Imperial Tea Court can be easy to miss. Tucked away above a Asian-themed garden, the restaurant provides a welcome refuge from busy Shattuck Street. I ate here one late morning weekend, right as they were opening for lunch.

    As their name suggests, Imperial Tea Court’s emphasis is on tea. While perusing their menu, I ordered a cup of Superior Yunnan Tea, and the server patiently showed me how to properly allow my cup to steep, while I ordered my lunch.

    The tea was excellent, with a gentle aroma and sweet taste. A small pot of hot water allowed me to enjoy ample refills.

    For lunch, I started with the chicken potstickers:

    I was initially apprehensive about these since, well, chicken potstickers are usually so run of the mill. But these had a wonderfully thin and crispy wrapper and were filled with a juicy and delicate meat filling. It was hands down my favorite part of the meal.

    Since it was a chilly day, I had also ordered the hand-pulled noodles in broth:

    See those pepper flakes? I removed most of them before mixing my bowl and it was still almost too hot to bear. Despite the heat, the noodles were chewy and had a great texture, even if I was a little disappointed by the greens taking up most of the bowl. (Don’t get me wrong, I love my greens, but I love my noodles even more.)

    Service is slow at the Imperial Tea Court, at least when I visited, so make sure you’re not too famished before dropping by. If you’re looking for a break from the crowded streets and good cup of tea though, then Imperial Tea Court is the place to go.

    Mariam Hosseini is a Bay Area native who has been writing about food and travel for six years. She blogs regularly at