3.2 / 3 votes

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Modern Japanese cafe and tea bar

Restaurant, Coffee/Tea/Juice

Teaism serves up modern Japanese food - mostly lighter fare - and has a large selection of tea from their sister tea shop.

You'll find a peppering of vegan dishes from veg sushi to a few noodle and rice dishes.

The decor aims to be peaceful and zen-garden-ish. Downstairs there's additional seating and a small indoor fish pond.

Teaism also has locations in Dupont Circle and Lafayette Square.

Added by timmy_tofu on Sep 13 06 (last updated Mar 29 09)

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Most Recent Reviews


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I've had mixed experiences here. They definitely have a nice selection of vegan options and the ambiance is pleasant. However, it can get really crowded at times. The first time I went was with two omnivores, and we all loved our food. The next time I went with a vegan friend, and neither of us was terribly impressed with our dishes. The weird thing was that I ordered the same thing both times, but the second time it was really bland and boring. I'd eat there again if I was in the neighborhood, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

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Teaism could be a great competitor to the preponderance of Panera's and other generic chains in downtown office areas. The atmosphere is similar but the food is much better and definitely more vegan-friendly.

I came here a few times as it was near my hotel. I found their curry lentil soup ($6) to be tasty, but watery, without any actual pieces of lentil. Make sure to ask for it vegan (they will leave out the dollop of yogurt they put in it). The cilantro tofu scramble ($6) was bland---it was just a big hunk of silken tofu broken up and lightly stir-fryed with cilantro and no other spices. I thought their seitan curry ($9.25), however, was delicious, with a light orange-soy sauce and chunks of vegetables with sesame brown rice. Prices are on the higher side when one considers the small portion sizes.

They have good tea options but a cup is super-expensive at $4 and, at least in the cafe portion of the place, they don't brew the tea properly, completely defeating the purpose of a high grade tea. They also serve the tea in a gigantic ceramic cup that's difficult to hold and maneuver. Tea is about subtlety and their preparation and presentation of it definitely ain't.

This joint gets packed quickly during the peak of lunch hours though there's quick turnaround on tables. You place your order at the counter and then wait to pick up your food and find a seat. I found the wait for the food to be longer than I would have expected for a downtown establishment catering to in-a-hurry hotshots. If you're in a rush don't eat here.

My biggest gripes about Teaism: the menu doesn't label what's vegan and you have to ask them to veganize many dishes, otherwise you'll get cheese on your vegan burger and yogurt in your vegan soup by default. Also, you can't change your mind on orders; once they push the button on their screen, the order is sent, even before you actually pay. This could be a problem if you change your mind often, which is easy to do, given the large menu.

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Neighborhood

Penn Quarter

Directions

The Archives/Navy Memorial metro stop puts you less than 2 blocks away. From the metro exit, you can either walk along the street or take a short-cut behind the fountains.

Non-Smoking

No Reservations

Wheelchair Accessible

Prices

$$ - average

Payment

  • MasterCard Visa

Cuisines

  • American
  • Indian
  • Japanese
  • Eclectic (Varied)

Features

  • Quiet
  • Wi-Fi

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Hours

7:30am - 10pm
9:30am - 9pm

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