Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House (6 reviews)
Lovely atmosphere with even more lovely teas... this is the place to go when the cold winter wind is zipping down your spine. Their preparation is excellent, and they don't skimp on the amount of tea they use in a cup like some other places I've been (so I don't ever need to drink weak or bitter tea). The location is central, too, and I find myself going here when I'm headed for Uwajimaya, for instance, or meeting someone for some pho or Chinese cuisine.
The teahouse is alive with history, worth the visit if only to see the japanese bath house and hotel upstairs. Bilingual staff, outstanding owner,open late,near downtown, the japanese restaurant two buildings down has been open for 100 years...a well kept secret.
I'm very much into tea. My family stopped in here on a recent trip to Seattle after reading the reaviews here. We are all avid tea fans and wanted something to eat as well as some good tea. We found both!
This house is actually part of a hotel as the name suggests. The hotel is a historical site in Seattle and has quite a lot of history associated with it. The neighborhood is in an old part of town so the outside of the building was not the most inviting at first. But once inside the door I found the place quite the opposite, warm and inviting and clean. Hard wood floors, padded sofas in one area, tables and comfortable chairs, a long counter to serve the customers from and display the treats they offers. The decorations were historical yet tastefully and attractively done. There are two rooms, the second room at a lower level with a short set of stairs to get to it. Free wireless internet access is provided so hanging out with your laptop some morning would be a nice relaxing experience.
They offer about 40 varieties of loose tea ranging from herbal and rooibos teas to green, oolong and black teas. They also offer cold and hot sandwiches and baked treats that looked really good.
The pannini sandwiches we ordered turned out to be huge and almost too much unless you are starving but then we were warned. Our tea was served in clear glass tea pots. The rooibos tea my sons had were in an inner glass filter but nothing was provided to set it on if they wanted to stop the steeping. My wife and I split a Black Peony tea which is a ball of tea tied like a flower so doesn't really need a filter but no utensils were provided to remove it or set it on to prevent oversteeping. No timer was provided for checking steep time either.
The tea was excellent. The service was otherwise excellent. Initally only one person was available so she was quite stressed taking our order and those of others that arrived but later the owner arrived and helped out. The owner is very friendly and fun to talk to. She is quite knowledgeable about the history and can tell you about it if you ask.
This teahouse has been written up in several publications as a 'not to miss' teahouse. We recommend it and think with a few tweeks could be an outstanding place for tea in Seattle.
I am an avid coffee drinker, and the Panama Hotel sure pulls a good espresso. That said, I am slowly discovering the pleasure of tea and I love it -- today I enjoyed a steamy cup of Hojicha at the Panama and give it three thumbs up. If you want to experience a beautiful cup of tea in a serene and interesting ambience, you must come to the Panama Hotel.
I come here everytime I go to Seattle. I love the tea and the seating area. I wish they would bring back the green tea tiramisu though!
The atmosphere is light and relaxing in this historic building. In Seattle's International District, it connects one back to the past, yet creates an open environment for enjoying beverages. A wonderful community gathering place, and an oasis in the heart of bustling downtown seattle. Tea selection is good, prepared well, and overall a 'must visit.'