It's no surprise that Nada Tea House looks more like a sushi restaurant than your standard coffee shop. The owner fashioned the spot as a Japanese-style tea lounge, named after the town where she grew up in Japan. Bamboo paneling and straw curtains dimly lit from behind form the walls of the shoebox-shaped space; it's a snug fit for the seven two-tops and row of barstools along the skinny countertop.
Food is brought in daily from Sweets and Savories down the street, filling the modest glass case with elegant confections like chocolate ganache mini tarts, mission fig scones and individually wrapped wafer cookies shaped like cigars. Those sticking to the savory end have fewer feasting options, namely quiche and panini. As far as tea goes, don't expect to be wowed by a huge selection beyond the basic Jasmine, green (imported from Japan) and black loose leaf teas. However, a tea sampler set offering two or three teas for $2-$2.50 is a special treat for indecisive sippers. Mochas, lattes and coffee up the caffeine ante.
Weekdays at Nada present a den of quiet, other than the din of (occasionally elevator) jazz; with plenty of light and free wi-fi to boot, DePaul students and other nearby worker-bees should find this a sweet spot for uninterrupted studying.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jessica Herman