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Nothing in life is free.  Or is it?  What if you can have a hot, delicious meal, all courtesy of a stranger, no strings attached.  A gift to pass on if you wish. Karma Kitchen is a restaurant within a restaurant, like minibar, only you don’t have to make a reservation months in advance, there’s room for everyone, and your bill always comes to zero dollars. Okay, so it’s nothing like minibar.

Karma Kitchen inside Dalchinni offers vegetarian Indian fare every Sunday from noon until 3 pm, served by an all-volunteer staff, except for the cooks. The dining room is bright, warm and serene—the way every Sunday should feel.  The mood is light, to match the sunshine bathing hardwoods and fresh-cut flowers. Our server Tina is an attorney by day and donates her time here, and explains how things work:

You’re invited to pay it forward to the guests who dine after you. You may order as little or as much food as you want.  There are several choices of beverages, entrées, sides and dessert.

We recommend a bubbly pomegranate spritzer or creamy mango lassi made with fresh mangoes and milk.  For something warm, order the fragrant masala chai, black tea spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

The menu changes regularly.  This particular day, we had bright sweet potatoes and chick peas; creamy eggplant and potatoes; tender cabbage fry; and daal makhni, a spicy stew of black lentils.  There was fluffy basmati rice and hot, chewy naan to sop up every last bite.

The cooking is good, but come for the gracious service, an escape from the city, and for the pride and attention that goes into making Karma Kitchen happen.  This is the place to bring family, friends—anyone who enjoys a good meal, kind words and a smile.

Karma Kitchen
1736 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC

Open for lunch Sundays 12-3 pm