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Oct 12, 2007 12:03 PM

Which Teaism?

I see there are 3 locations. Any recommendations as far as which one? decor, ambiance, service, parking, etc. I've never been to any one of them. Thanks. And they don't serve dinners, right? Didn't see a dinner menu.

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  1. I think the Penn Quarter location has the most seats and a bigger menu than the Dupont Circle one. But where is the third? I haven't been to that one.

    They are open into the evening and serve the same items from lunch to close. You could do dinner there, no problem. Just remember, it is not a place where you sit down and someone takes your order. You order at a counter and they give you a tray and you go find a table.

    Parking is not easy at either the Penn Quarter or Dupont Circle location.

    2 Replies
    1. re: debit

      read all about it at Third location is at Connecticut and H, across from Lafayette Park. This location is IMO kinda quirky; in its prior life it must have been an old fashioned ice cream parlor; they still have all the little marble tables, tiled floor, etc. I've eaten breakfast here, it's relatively quiet in the mornings.

      Penn Quarter definitely has more seating. they also have their wonderful shop right next door, for teas and beautiful tea-related accoutrements.

      1. re: Geoff

        The Dupont one always seems more, I don't know, happening and hip -- and crowded. Penn Quarter feels more like a restaurant and more seating, not as crowded, as others have said. The one near the White House, by Laf Park, always feels weird to me, deserted -- I had a theory it might be more of a breakfast and maybe business lunch crowd (I heard a job interview going on there once) but Geoff says it's quiet in the morning too.... But the food and tea seems the same at each (and parking wouldn't be easy anywhere, but maybe more parking lots in Penn Quarter?). Atmosphere seems to reflect their neighborhoods, I guess.

    2. Ohh, I will have to try the Dupont location on my next visit to the city. Thanks for the address:

      1. Maybe I ordered wrong last time, but I went to the one in Lafayette and had the fried chicken bento box and morrocan iced tea. I didn't think the morrocan iced tea was vry good at all, in comparison to green iced tea I make at home, or have had at like tryst. I also wasn't very impressed with the food. The sauce on the sweet potatoes was a little overwhelming, the cucumber and pickled ginger salad was good, but didn't seem to match well with the sweet potato and the chicken was decent it's hard to screw up breaded chicken, but for all the good reviews I guess I expected better. I did really like the rice pudding though. Did I order wrong? What is good? I was happy to see they featured Hahn wine. I really like the wine and know the owner's family so I always like to see that.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ktmoomau

          If you go for breakfast, order cilantro scrambled eggs with a side of chicken apple sausage - this sausage is one of my favorite single food tastes. or the muesli. if it's the weekend, also consider the french toast. and now that it's getting cooler, have a chai.

          Go back and try one or two of the other bento boxes, may be more to your taste. My favorite happens to be the salmon bento. They also offer a thai stir fry and and indian curry plate , both of which i've enjoyed. They also currently offer a very tasty chicken salad plate. and sweet naan. and delicious chicken kebabs (yes, i'm a big fan, what can i say) . and....don't forget the ginger scones and/or the salty oat cookies - as I've posted before, these are IMO legalized crack.

          I agree with mselectra re overall ambience of Dupont vs other two. I like Dupont and Penn Quarter a lot more than Lafayette - but if that's where i'm gonna be that day, i'm definitely headed to Lafayette outpost.

          1. re: Geoff

            Yeah, I don't eat breakfast, but I will try one of your other suggestions for lunch. I was so disappointed about the iced tea, I think I will go for hot tea next time perhaps that is better.

            1. re: ktmoomau

              If you'd like to try other cold drinks, I recommend ginger limeade; or the zenzhou pearls (chai bubble tea), or the chai shake. all delicious and refreshing.

              1. re: Geoff

                Yes...their chai AND their chai shake are divine.

                Last time I was at the PQ location, they had Chocolate Salty Oat cookies. They were pretty darn fine. Are these at the other locations as well?

                1. re: debit

                  Personally, I don't like the chocolate version as much as the classic. I'm pretty sure they're at Dupont, too.

          2. re: ktmoomau

            I don't know if this will help, or make sense, but I think of Teaism as a cafe that has some decent food, rather than as a restaurant. For example, they've got a soup -- maybe called Chinese noodle? -- that I really like, but that wouldn't be fair to compare with a noodle soup at a real and good Chinese restaurant. Do you see what I mean?

            I haven't been crazy about the bento boxes I've had there -- but the more cafe (and breakfast) type food can be great, the famous salty oat cookies, for sure. I definitely love their chai -- way way better than at Tryst, imho, where it just tastes like overly sweetened milk. At Teaism you taste the cardamom. The salty oat and the chai are what I crave and would go out of my way for. Otherwise, I'm happy to be there when I'm in one of the neighborhoods and need to take a break or am looking for a nice place to read or study for a while.

            I think a lot of the recommendations on the board are for tourists who wouldn't stumble on it, but would be much better off going there than, say, most of the Smithsonian cafeterias (well, I guess that's obvious). It's comfortable and affordable, with some tasty stuff.

          3. I work near the Penn Quarter Teaism, which I find more pleasant than the Dupont one, just because there's a little more space. I agree that's it's more of a cafe than a restaurant.

            Although I still think the food is good, I've noticed they've been inconsistent in execution lately - perhaps because with all the development in the area the lunch crowds have grown exponentially and they're slammed. Occasional missteps like, the salmon doesn't seem very fresh, the edamame are half-frozen, ginger limeade is overly sweetened, or the tempura is greasy.

            There are some things they still do very well - the ginger scones and salty oat cookies, as mentioned, are great. I also like the veggie burger and curries. I almost always take out of town guests here, because it's somewhat of a unique DC institution at this point, and they seem to like it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sacrilicious

              We live north of Pittsburgh and have literally extended and dragged out a long weekend to the ocean by detouring through DC, driving around for 1/2 hour for parking just to grab hot Chai and Salty Oat Cookies, and perhaps other lunch/brunch items. But then I'm a Teaism junkie. It doesn't hurt that Dupont Circle has a small market with good wine suggestions and prices, keeping in mind I'm from Pa!!!

            2. I wouldn't recommend the chicken salad sandwich as it is pre-made which doesn't do much for the texture. Also I finally tried the salty oat cookie today-- however I do believe "sugary salty oat" would be a more accurate name. Way too sweet for my taste so I can see why the salt is welcome. But it didn't live up to its reviews as far as I was concerned.