Dobrá Tea

Dobra Tea on Urbanspoon 1

Dobrá Tea lies at the intersection of Beacon Street and Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill, but amazingly upon crossing the threshold, you are immediately transported to a foreign land (one can only hope a HIPSTER-FREE ZONE). Dobrá may be only a few months old in Pittsburgh but they have other locations across these wonderful United States.

The ambiance of the establishment is the first thing that is striking. The colors and room decor provide a warm environment which dances beautifully with the profound aroma of tea emanating from every corner. Combine this aesthetic with world music emitting loudly from the speakers and you soon realize that instead of just going to a restaurant, you are going to enjoy an experience, a tea experience. Blake does not really understand Ying or Yang or meditation, but the environment almost inspired me to whip out a mat, find a few patrons and work on my downward-facing dog.

This institution provides a full serve; once you select your seat the staff provides a bell and the menu; if you need anything simply ring the bell.

(*** Note: Due to attention-span issues very few mammals love bells as much as Blake: kittens with a bell necklace, circa-1985 LL Cool J, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Prince Adam from Beauty and the Beast)

About this menu, at the time of this review it was over 64 pages. I repeat over 60 pages. Literally less than a tenth of these pages are food. What could possibly make up the remaining 90+% of the menu? Tea! Are you bleeping kidding me? No I am not. They have literally hundreds of types and mixes of tea. Black, White, Chai, Green, Herbal, Organic, Blends, Tea Cocktails (yes I said tea cocktails).  Who can possibly love tea this much? {Insert your own pity the fool joke here}

What did I choose? Staroborshov – chilled tea, dark oolong tea is shaken with fruit sugar to produce a frothy “head” like a draft beer. Hummus Plate – chickpea, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil, sprinkled with Zaatar and served with warmed, local pita and slices of fresh vegetables, Capetown Kiss – Naturally caffeine-free, this Rooisbos cocktail has a taste reminiscent of cold apple cider. It is made from coconut water, cinnamon, anise, honey, and a secret ingredient to tantalize your taste buds to the last drop. Lemon Bread – Made by Allegro Hearth Bakery, Baklava – Made by Stamoolis Bakery, Chocolate Medicine Ball – Made by Silvermoon Chocolates

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Blake will spare you a review of the tea, because before this experience Blake’s idea of a gourmet tea outing was Pittsburgh’s own Turner Tea next to a Vinnie Pie or a Primanti sandwich on an incline, so I will stay in my lane. What is clear is that the food here (called snacks) is clearly an afterthought. So much so that little is actually made or even assembled in house. Again tea is the John Lennon here, while all the food can only be compared to Pete Best. Thus I hesitate to criticize on something they do not specialize in. The hummus platter was very clumsy in my opinion. While the hummus itself was tasty, everything else dropped the ball more than Limas Sweed. The vegetables while fresh and cut on bias were much too thick for enjoyable eating. The pita was advertised in the menu as warm. They were not. They were lifeless. They were disappointing.  I will not comment on the Lemon Bread, Chocolate Medicine Ball or Baklava again because they are not made by the teahouse but I will say in general, come here for the tea.

This place is all about the experience. The staff is friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. Dobrá hosts various events like Belly-dancing, Poetry Readings, and Tarot card readings on various nights.  This place is Bohemian to the core, not hipster (THANK YOU!) While the tea claims to be the center attraction, you are paying for the Dobrá Tea unique experience, either to get work done or meditate on the life-cycle of butterflies; it is that experience which Blake deems worth every dollar.


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