The food: Half tea shop and half restaurant, the Lafayette Square Teaism (other branches are in Penn Quarter and Dupont Circle) is an Asian-style teahouse that draws influences from Japan, Thailand, and India. For breakfast, try cilantro-scrambled organic eggs and tea-cured salmon or Irish oatmeal with apricots and raisins. Lunch offerings include sandwiches, rice-and-tea soups, and five different bento boxes ($8.75) with centerpieces such as seared tuna, fried chicken, or teriyaki salmon. To go with the tea are confections such as shortbread, jasmine crème brûlée, and coconut rice pudding. There’s a selection of hot and cold drinks, looseleaf teas (black, white, oolong, green), and tisanes.Afternoon tea ($20) is available British-style (scones, tea sandwiches, tartlets) or Asian (tea-cured salmon, mochi, ginger ice cream).
The scene: The entry serves as a gift shop with teapots, bowls, mugs, and packaged teas. Get a hot tea or chai milkshake or one of Teaism’s famous salty-oat cookies from the front counter. For those who linger, marble bistro tables near large windows overlook H Street and Lafayette Park. Walls are decorated with work by local artists.
What’s nearby: Lafayette Park and the White House are steps away, and the historic Decatur House is across the street. The Corcoran Gallery of Art is about 2½ blocks down 17th Street, and the Farragut West Metro stop (Orange and Blue lines) is easily accessible.
Insider tips: Can’t make it during business hours? Both the Penn Quarter and Dupont Circle locations offer a more elaborate menu and longer evening and weekend hours.