Image: Salmon Bento Box

Last Updated: February 2022

Current Status:  All three locations are open for sit-down, take-out and delivery.  Hours, however, vary by location with Lafayette Park open for lunch and afternoon tea break weekdays, but closing at 4:00 currently.  The other locations are open til 8:00 and are open on weekends as well as weekdays.

Overview:  Before the idea of fast casual swept the dining scene, Teaism started a quarter century ago in a little two-story shop off Connecticut in Dupont.  As the name implies, the primary focus was on tea, specifically loose leaf tea that had yet to break through the dominance of mass-produced teabags both in the market and in the public’s idea of tea. To go with the tea, they developed a limited menu that has been built out over the years.  The menu pulls for various Asian cuisines, but to be honest, it is difficult to resist the Bento Box with its combination of hot and unexpectedly cold elements.

In the before times, the three locations tended to have their own vibes with Penn Quarter and Lafayette Park bustling with lunch crowds while Dupont, with its dark,old wood, always seemed more serene.  We hope they are able to benefit from bustling crowds again soon. A word must be said for the cookies.  The salty oat chocolate cookies have their own fans.  For many of us, it was the first time a “salted” cookie displayed its magic.  Note the Penn Quarter and Lafayette Park locations are also relatively close to the Mall.

Gift Cards. They also have an online and in-person shop for tea and tea-related items.


Cuisine: Other Asian (lots of Japanese)


Dupont Circle: 2009 R Street, NW Washington, DC 20009
Penn Quarter: 400 8th Street, NW Washington, DC 20004
Downtown (Lafayette Park): 800 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20006

Website: https://www.teaism.com/

Reservations: Walk-in

Other Critics/Voices:

Washington Post: Phyllis Richman from 1996 Dining Guide: “A few steps away from Connecticut Avenue’s bustle yet serenely Japanese in spirit, this converted town house is a shrine to tea.”

Washingtonian: Shows up on a bunch of list over the years. Appears to have made Cheap Eats (then called Dirt Cheap Eats) in 2009 and probably a few times before.


Washington City Paper:  Laura Hayes looked at the determination to keep the Lafayette Park location open through a very tough stretch.

Nomastic – Praising the French Toast.