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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Turkish, Sandwiches
Counter service

Mon–Fri 9:00am–7:00pm
Sat 10:00am–7:00pm
Sun 10:00am–6:00pm

Features Date-friendly, delivery, kid-friendly, outdoor dining, veg-friendly, Wi-Fi
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx


2816 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 298-7777
Café Tu-O-Tu
A tasty little café that’s worn at the edges in all the right ways

Café Tu-O-Tu’s website plays a breezy soundtrack of João Gilberto tunes. It may seem a little odd for a restaurant with a Turkish twist, but the soundtrack encapsulates both the food and the feel of this odd little café on the edge of Georgetown. Located in a cozy house, Tu-O-Tu is a place where most people wouldn’t mind living. The stereo playing cheerful world music skips affectionately, and crockery looks well-worn and well-loved. Particularly wonderful is the backyard patio, fitted with cushioned benches and flower beds, and atinkle with wind chimes. It has a lazy, familiar feel—books, magazines, and laptops lie around haphazardly and the hum of the generator next door is oddly soothing.

Tu-O-Tu’s menu centers on salads, wraps, and sandwiches. Ingredients are fresh and combinations are satisfyingly substantial. For example, a wrap is crammed full of smooth smoked salmon, creamy herb spread, sprouts, and tomato chunks. The quantities are well composed—the mark of a good sandwich—with crunchy sprouts adding a little bite to the rich salmon and juicy tomato. The spread is thick and well distributed, moistening each bite and taking the edge off the fish.

Particularly satisfying are the small dishes, labeled “appetizers,” including baked eggplant stuffed with onions, garlic, and parsley, roasted until tender, and served cold. Mixed vegetables are soft and tender, with pools of olive oil waiting to be soaked up by hunks of bread. The “Dip It” pairs finger-scorchingly hot pita slices with three spreads, each better than the next: sweet, smoky red pepper and garlic in cheese; a classic pesto as good as any fresh version; and a bold, punchy sun-dried tomato paste. Each is so good that you’ll want to buy it in a jar to use in your own dishes.

Sandwiches go well with the strong coffee Tu-O-Tu brews, including a grainy-sandy Turkish version, or with some of the rarer imported beverages like Turkish soda and yogurt drinks. Desserts are limited to ordinary cookies and brownies, and baklava that is disappointingly slick.

For anyone looking for a hidden place to relax and pass an afternoon, Café Tu-O-Tu offers a welcome, homey retreat. You’re almost tempted to pack a bag and move in for good.

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