982 N High St.
Columbus, OH 43211
Now with three locations across Columbus, Zen Cha Tea Salon is a modern take on the classic, quiet and lovable tea house. Tea lovers can come to a place like this for a chance to enjoy nice drinks and tea time bites to eat while in a quieter and more peaceful environment. The salon is located in places that are typically very busy and crowded, but in each, the tea house is an island of calm, its drinks and goodies a real reason to come in.
The tea house has a rotating variety of teas, the exact menu of which fluctuates regularly. Some of the options:
- Oolong Tea: There are about half a dozen varieties of oolong tea on tap if you prefer to try them, most are served lose-leaf in a tea pot for enjoyment.
- Chai Tea: The chai teas are all made with milk and serves as a thick tea drink, heavy on the spice, with a spry and heavy cinnamon taste to it. The spice there is palpable! But the tea is great!
- Bubble Tea: The classic bubble tea is served iced and cold with tapioca pearls. I tried two of them, one with the basic vanilla and another with the hazelnut flavor, for a little more dimension. I loved both.
- Ginger Salad: A pretty simple appetizer, romaine lettuce and some chopped veggies, like tomatoes, onions and cucumber, topped with a ginger-based dressing.
- Thai Mango Curry: A sweeter yellow curry with a meat of choice and some chopped mangoes inside. Which is really nice, and a very easy meal I think.
- Bourbon chicken: Sauteed veggies and chicken smothered with a sweet, garlicky sauce.
- Okonomiyaki: This Japanese pancake is a brunch choice, stuffed with cabbage and shrimp. Topped with a mayo and a hoisin-based sauce. Good but not overwhelming.
- Strawberry bruschetta: Grilled crostinis, topped with some sweet yogurt and strawberry with some sweet agave on top. Homey. A starter or a dessert.
The shop has dozens of teas to try, but the goodies on the menu shouldn’t be ignored either. Some things I liked:
- Scones: The option for three kinds of scone is the best to try here; one is berry-based, with a blueberry with sugar top, another is like a snickerdoodle, a cookie made with plenty of cinnamon, the third with chocolate chips. The scones are crunchy on the outside, butterey and soft on the inside, and served with a nice spread.
- Cookies: Served extra crisp, these cookies are crunchy and lovable. Snickerdoodle cookies are the tops.
The environment of the place is what makes it so lovable. It’s quiet and the environment is very intimate, lots of small tables where people can talk. Each location is designed to be an island of calm in a crazier part of town, without wi-fi it’s hard to come here to get work done, but it’s a place that seems to be about people.
All in all, ZenCha is a spot that is about the location, about the feeling of a little peace where someone can enjoy a drink. Columbus has a lot of bustle to it, and a lot of people. In that context, ZenCha offers something really great.
- This is a place you need to bring tea lovers and spend time having a conversation. Even casual tea fans will enjoy drinks like the chai teas.
- Try some of the goodies! The cookies and scones are wonderful.
- The downtown spot doesn’t have wifi; I don’t recommend it as a place to go to do work. Though I have seen people on the High Street location with laptops.