After dinner my friend were on our way to meet some friends for tea and shisha. On our way, we stumbled upon Abu Nawas. The loud gasp followed by " An Iraqi Chaikhana!" was startling. His Iraqi pride instantly took over and he pulled directly into the parking lot and we went in. What a pleasant surprise!
As we walked up to the door there were groups of people sitting under the awning happily sipping their Iraqi tea and puffing on their nargiles. The interior is spacious and clean. Surprisingly the walls were bare but we later found out from the owner that the wall space has been dedicated to showing the works of local Iraqi artists.
We were seated outside, treated to a cup of Gahwa and handed a menu. My Iraqi companion was delighted to see that most of the menu items were traditional dishes of his home country. For after dinner we settled with a pot of Iraqi tea that was prepared as it should be; very strong with at least one or two cardamom pods in the pot. In addition to the tea, we were served a complimentary bunch of fresh dates. We got a to-go container of deliciously sweet tender dates stuffed with raw walnuts to share with our friends.
All of our tableware was correctly matched to the coffee and tea. The Gahwa was served out of a dallah into little cups with no handles. Â Our tea was poured into traditional Iraqi tea glasses, no handles, atop a small glass saucer to match. Tiny spoons are the perfect size for stirring in the sugar.
The service was prompt and friendly. The owner took some time to talk to us about the upcoming art show and soft opening. The other patrons seemed to be having a good time as they relaxed with their nargiles outside chatting while watching the rain.
I give Abu Nawas 5 stars for providing possibly the most traditional Iraqi tea experience in the Fairfax area. Fast friendly service with affordable prices and traditional menu items with a stamp of approval from my Iraqi companion.
Next time we visit we will be judging based on the food and the shisha. Is their food on par with their tea? Can they pack a decent bowl of mu'assel? An Iraqi foodie and Mu'assel Â Industry Representative want to know! Stay tuned for the 2nd review ;)