Cafe Asia DC
A trendy, social pan-Asian spot.
Reviewed By Emily Brown
Photograph by Emily Brown
Comments () | Published September 17, 2007
Cafe Asia - Downtown
Address: 1720 I St., NW, Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-659-2696
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cuisines: Thai, Sushi, Pan-Asian
Opening Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:30 AM to 11 PM; Friday, 11:30 AM to midnight; Saturday, noon to midnight; Sunday, noon to 10.
Nearby Metro Stops: McPherson Square, Farragut West
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed

The Food: Cafe Asia’s menu reads like a greatest-hits medley of Asian cuisines. From Thailand, there’s satay and drunken noodles; from Vietnam, spring rolls and lemongrass chicken; from China, crab wontons and Szechuan pork; and from Japan, udon and soba noodle soups and sushi.

The Scene: Downstairs is the starkly modern place to be seen. White walls and tables get a tiny splash of color from a few orange benches. During rush hours the large room is packed, and with an open-atruim ceiling and nothing to absorb the noise, it can sound like a cafeteria. A stainless steel bar has Sapporo and Kirin Ichiban on tap, as well as some domestic brew. Both the downtown Cafe Asia (where a DJ booth is perched on the second floor) and its sister location in Rosslyn are known for a surprisingly happening bar scene.  

What’s Nearby: Lots of downtown law and lobbyist firms are housed nearby, and the White House is three blocks away. Next door are two bars: a neighborhood joint, the Bottom Line, and a hipper bar/lounge, Eye Bar.  

Insider Tips: The energy of the downstairs/bar area is appealing, but the short, backless stools aren’t conducive to lingering. For something a little more intimate and comfortable, ask for a table on the second level, overlooking the first floor, or head to the third floor, which overlooks I Street.

Happy hour, which runs Monday through Saturday from 4:30 to 7:30 PM, offers nigiri at $1 a piece, half-price sake and beer specials.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 09/17/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Restaurant Reviews