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Party Size
For 2
7:00 PM

Empress Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental - DC

62 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Afternoon Tea
Top Tags:
  • Special Occasion
  • Good for Groups
  • Romantic
An inviting escape from the rigors of the city, Empress Lounge is a relaxing venue for cocktails, light fare and of course afternoon tea. With house made pastries and signature tea sandwiches afternoon tea at Empress Lounge is truly a destination for all.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Afternoon Tea, Contemporary American, Contemporary Asian
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Hours of operation
Daily: 12:00pm - 12:00am
Tea Service: Friday. - Sunday 2:30pm - 4pm
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Phone number
(202) 787-6140
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Mark McDonnell
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Cross street
12th St SW and Maryland Ave SW
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Parking details
$11 per car
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Public transit
Walking distance to: L'Enfant Metro Station (Yellow, Green)
Walking distance to: Smithsonian Metro Station (Blue, Orange)
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, High Tea, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 62 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2  based on all time ratings
Noise · Moderate
74% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
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  • 1
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vipOpenTable Diner (Washington DC)
2.0  Dined on December 23, 2017

The food, particularly the sweets, accompanying the afternoon tea service was almost inedible. We didn't finish the food and some members of our party became physically ill from the amount of sugar used. Although we've come here for several years at the holidays, we do not intend to return.

OpenTable Diner (Washington DC)
2.0  Dined on December 17, 2017

Tea time $50 include tip was horrible, worse than eating at McDonald’s. Not expecting big portion but it was soooo little

KTMC (Washington DC)
3.0  Dined on December 16, 2017

This was a holiday afternoon tea with friends. We've been doing it ever year for a long time, and the first time we'd tried the Mandarin Oriental. Given the cost, it was disappointing on many levels. We waited quite a while to be seated and there was nobody at the entry to meet us. Afternoon, this time of year, there is direct sun from the large windows and no blinds to block it so it's right in your eyes, very annoying. The tea was very good, food was OK but not special, although they did honor a request for an all-vegetarian plate for one of our party. Service was less prompt than it could have been. Appeared to be too few staff for the number of people.

vipOpenTable Diner (Washington DC)
4.0  Dined on November 19, 2017

Adults daughter home for the week. Enjoying family time

MrsMcEntee (Washington DC)
3.0  Dined on August 26, 2017

Service is remarkable. We were given a complimentary dessert or appetizer of our choosing as a gift for our anniversary - we were there celebrating 14 years. The gesture was lovely, but the cheese plate we selected was surprisingly inelegant, populated almost exclusively by 3 hunks of cheese of a size and variety you'd commonly find at the grocery store. Pong, the bartender, is fun. He's as serious about being a showman as he is a top notch mixologist. The Tom Kha-Rita, a recipe of his own design, was gorgeous and yummy, but the J'aime Paris was a light and refreshing delight. Good people-watching. Lots of new money looking to impress.

vipOpenTable Diner (Washington DC)
4.0  Dined on June 30, 2017

We chose the Empress Lounge for high tea to celebrate a 90th birthday. Fantastic setting, baked goods, sandwiches and desserts were exceptional and inventive. Truffled egg salad in pastry puff will not to be forgotten.

vipOverrated (Washington DC)
3.0  Dined on June 11, 2017

Afternoon Tea in a bar lounge? Around people with T-shirts, shorts, flip-flops? Infants crawling on stair entrance? Guests storing large pieces of luggage on the stair entrance, while they dine? Employees holding personal conversations in speaker in the ladies room??

Was the manager asleep on the job???

Food and Service was superior... atmosphere was horrible... this Afternoon Tea is OVER-RATED!!!!

viplisab (Washington DC)
3.0  Dined on May 21, 2017

By the end of tea service, the food had grown a little dry and stale so the sandwiches that came at 4 pm were decidedly not fresh. Same with the scones. The service was fine and the lounge is lovely. I'd recommend getting an earlier reservation. It was fine but I don't know that I'd go back anytime soon.

OpenTable Diner (Washington DC)
5.0  Dined on May 12, 2017

Great place for high tea

OpenTable Diner (Washington DC)
4.0  Dined on May 6, 2017

The afternoon tea selection was excellent and the ambience was lovely; my only issue was it was practically impossible to get the attention of the server. We waited half an hour before anyone came to take our drink orders and then were there for another hour afterwards waiting on a check. I'd still recommend the Empress Lounge though as I'm sure it was just a luck-of-the-draw problem with service.

vipdiner01 (Washington DC)
2.0  Dined on April 9, 2017

Not a great afternoon tea experience. We were seated at the window next to a door that is used to get in and out to the outdoor seating area. Every time the servers went in and out the wind blew my hair and there was a loud crash as the door closed -- very jarring. Also, because we were at the window, it was uncomfortably hot and sunny because of the angle of the sun. Our desserts actually melted into each other and we had to ask for the damaged desserts to be replaced. The server was very nice but not attentive.

Separately, because we were seated close to the bar, I saw a lot of food orders going out. I saw some unsanitary handling of the food -- food that fell off the plate and onto the counter being scooped up and placed on the plate and out to customers! At that point I lost my appetite.

If you are interested in afternoon tea, the Willard's Peacock Alley and St. Regis are much better options.

OpenTable Diner (Washington DC)
5.0  Dined on February 12, 2017

Went here for high tea as a small birthday celebration. Absolutely wonderful! Great tea and excellent food! However, I didn't know I had to request the Chinese New Year menu prior to the day of the reservation, because I booked through Opentable instead of directly calling the restaurant. So fyi, if you want a different menu than the standard, make sure you tell the staff when they call to confirm your reservation. Otherwise, this was great! And they were very accommodating as they made my friend a special lactose free tea service!

vipOpenTable Diner (New York Area)
4.0  Dined on February 4, 2017

They did not have our open table reservation on their list, but after a bit of a wait, they made room for us.

OpenTable Diner (Washington DC)
4.0  Dined on January 29, 2017

Wonderful service. Food was good, wish we had a better table.

Kiddoc (Washington DC)
4.0  Dined on January 28, 2017

Quite enjoyable afternoon tea with good food and service. The sun beaming through the windows made it uncomfortable.