If you’re thinking, “ugh, enough with DC’s trendy hotspots,” you might want to seek out one of Teaism’s three enchanting teahouses in the District. Dupont Circle’s is the original location, a two-level restaurant nestled in a townhouse whose windows overlook other Dupont Circle facades. But each Teaism is a lovely Asian oasis, awash in warm colors, awaft with a pleasant herbal aroma. (A 4th Teaism lies in Old Town Alexandria.)
And each Teaism serves more or less the same menu: curries, noodle dishes, sandwiches, and bento boxes. Locals especially love the bentos, filled variously with tea-cured salmon or grilled chicken with onion mayo sauce, or other choices, and accompanied by brown rice, pickled cucumber salad, and the like: a tasty deal for $12.75. Teaism opens early so breakfast items also are on the menu, including ginger scones, sourdough waffles and cilantro scrambled eggs. Afternoon tea is served daily 2:30-5:30pm, offering a mix of savories and sweets, the salty oat cookie a particular pleasure.
The tea menu numbers 20 or so, from Golden Monkey black tea to the Berry Beauty tisane.
Teaism Lafayette Square lies near the White House, at 800 Connecticut Ave. NW; Teaism Penn Quarter is located at 400 8th St. NW. and is the only one that serves alcohol. Each Teaism sells tea-related gifts, but the Penn Quarter’s is the most extensive, the tea shop located nearby but separate from the restaurant.
Metro: Dupont Circle on the Red Line. Q St. exit.