Your ultimate guide to brunching around DC

Your ultimate guide to brunching around DC

Nina May and Shaw. Photo courtesy of Nina May

A&J
1319 Rockville Pk, Rockville, MD; 4316 Markham St., Unit B, Annandale
There is a reason why these no-frills dim sum living rooms are considered some of the best in the area. There are no carts, but the steaming noodle soups, juicy dumplings and hot muffins and pancakes that come out of the kitchens are always fresh. Although the dim sum menu runs daily, weekend tables are especially sought after – although restaurants have started offering takeaways (and accepting credit cards) since the pandemic.

Ambar and TTT
Ambar (523 Eighth St., SE; 2901 Wilson Blvd., Arlington) TTT (2900 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 8407 Ramsey Ave., Silver Spring)
Restaurateur Ivan Iricanin is known as the King of Washington All You Can Eat. His Balkan concept, Ambar, and TTT Mexican restaurants serve unlimited food menus for both brunch and dinner, with bottomless drinking options in DC. (Libations are only 25 cents in Virginia, per state law.) There are plenty of options on the menus, which are mostly under $ 40 per person. Person – it just depends on whether you are in the mood for mimosas with sparkling Balkans from the Balkans and southeastern European dishes or margaritas and huevos rancheros.

Barrel
613 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
The Capitol Hill gastropub has long been a popular brunch destination — so much so that they embrace it and offer a “Sunday Funday” brunch all day long from 6 p.m. 11 to 21 from 19 September. Hungry and thirsty dishes like shrimp n ‘grits and chicken n’ waffles fill up, and $ 26 bottomless bubbles come in the form of a whole bottle of Prosecco with mixers (limit one per person within a reasonable 90 minute limit).

Belga Cafe
514 Eighth St., SE
If waffles are your weekend jam, chef Bart Vandaele’s Belgian brasserie in a residential nook on Capitol Hill is your place. During the pandemic, outdoor greenhouses create a lovely indoor / outdoor setting to enjoy the long menu of European egg dishes, sweet and savory waffles, fresh pastries and hearty brunch cocktails.

Cozy
801 O St., NW
We have hung over many a wonderful weekend brunch at Chef Cedric Maupillier’s French-American brasserie in Shaw (the terrace is especially lovely). The restaurant embraces its dual citizenship with both brunch and lunch dishes on the menu-think steak tartare, escargot and trout almandine along with ham and cheese filled crepes, french toast or shrimp n ‘grits. The new pastry chef and native of Bordeaux, Mark Courseille, makes dessert an affair not to be missed.

Croque madame at the Convivial in Shaw. Photo courtesy of Convivial.

The compass rose
1346 T St., NW
Rose Previte’s Globetrotting Shaw Restaurant is a relaxing place to hang out on a Sunday where endless orange or grapefruit mimosas are yours for $ 30. The menu ranges from North African shakshuka to the restaurant’s famous Georgians khachapuri (cheese bread). While not in itself bottomless, you can get a very filling taste of all the small plates in a “brunch tour of the world” ($ 30 for omnivorous or vegetarian).

Duke’s grocery store
Locations in Dupont, Woodley Park and Foggy Bottom
In addition to having one of the longest happy hours in DC (it runs from noon to 7 on weekdays), this series of gastropubs encourages patrons to linger – up to 90 minutes – on the weekends with bottomless “bevvies” (their words ). Choose from mimosas or house Bloody Mary ($ 24), then order one of the decadent brunch burgers or a proper English breakfast.

Large vial
3050 K St., NW
The star on the waterfront in Georgetown is definitely a brunch spot on a special occasion (though still not as expensive as for dinner). Diners can enjoy the $ 85 sparkling brunch, which includes a hot pastry basket, choice of appetizer, entree and dessert, and unlimited Prosecco and brunch cocktails.

Try a luxurious brunch at Fiola Mare. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Farmers and distillers
600 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Get hungry for the family-friendly, all-you-can-eat buffet at the Farmers Restaurant Group, where tables are filled with French toast, breakfast fare, meat cuts, salads, desserts and dinner specials like fried chicken, casserole pies and cheesy mac ($ 30 per person; $ 15 for children, 7 to 12; free 6 and under). In addition to the spread, servers will bring hot dishes from the kitchen, coffee drinks and brunch cocktails with spirits from the in-house distillery.

Hanks Oyster Bar
701 Wharf St., SW; 1624 Q St., NW; 1026 King St., Alexandria
Chef Jamie Leeds’ trio of New England-inspired fish and seafood spots are crowd pleasers at brunch – especially the Wharf, where you can enjoy a lobster roll by the water. All offer deals for brunch like a killer hangtown fry (eggs with fried oysters and bacon) and crab cake bennies plus quaffable wines and spicy bloodies. An added bonus: brunch begins on Friday everywhere.

Iron Gate
1734 N St., NW
We often find ourselves recommending this Mediterranean charmer, a historic Dupont Circle property with a lovely wisteria-lined terrace and wood burning stove. Kredittokok Anthony Chittum and his team for bringing fabric that matches the style. The seasonal brunch menu isn’t super-fancy — think olive oil-fried eggs, oak-grilled oysters or ricotta pancakes — but it feels refined, especially matched with a Greek rose.

Ivy City Smokehouse
1356 Okie St., NE
Ivy City now supplies smoked salmon and other hardened seafood products to major grocery stores and markets. But nothing has changed by the delicacy of their smoked fish dish in the restaurant, served with bagels, cream cheese and other dishes. The low-key seafood place also makes tasty Benedicts, waffles and more.

Smoked fishing board at the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse.
Smoked fishing board at the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse. Photo by Scott Suchman

KitchenCray
1301 H St., NE; 4601 Presidents Dr, Lanham, MD
Chef James “JR” Robinson is a master when it comes to decadent, comforting brunch options. Menus are divided into “not so hungry”, “a little hungry” and “starving” sections with options like hot sauce-marinated fried chicken on top of french toast with vanilla caramel or bloody Marys with shrimp, crab and bacon.

Diplomats
1601 14th St., NW
Stephen Starr’s perennial French brasserie hardly needs an introduction — everyone from President Biden to your out-of-town relatives has angled to a table. Provide a soiree atmosphere, accessible menus — though you can always splurge on lobster fries and Champagne — and sniper-like texture. So book weeks in advance, or prepare to wait.

Eat
3400 11th St., NW
Perennial maketto / spoken English chef James Wozniuk’s modern Malaysian restaurant is transportable in both appearance and taste. While a relative newcomer to the scene, the dim sum-inspired brunch menu is a must-try. Dishes borrow from both Southeast Asian and American traditions – think of Bloody Mary spiced with lemongrass and ginger, homemade biscuits and coconut cream or sambal eggs.

Grace me
1143 New Hampshire Ave., NW
As much as we love the fast-growing Call Your Mother deli / bagel store, it’s more of a grab-and-go versus casual brunch experience. See the team “Black South American” cafe in Foggy Bottom. In addition to a breakfast and daytime dinner with pastries and bagel sandwiches, the restaurant offers dinner service for brunch on a spacious garden terrace or indoors. On platter: smoked grilled pizzas, eclectic egg dishes (we are eyeing Benedict with fried pork and cilantro), hearty sandwiches and salads.

A breakfast taco with bacon-eggs-and-cheese at Mercy Me.  Photo by Raisa Aziz
A breakfast taco with bacon-eggs-and-cheese at Mercy Me. Photo by Raisa Aziz.

Moon rabbit
801 Wharf St., SW
Although brunch is fairly new at Chef Kevin Tien’s modern French-Vietnamese restaurant by the quay, it’s already deserved on the map. Look for creative dishes that speak to Tien’s Vietnamese-American heritage such as a “sloppy” Viet banh mi, Saigon cinnamon rolls and a crispy spicy chicken sandwich. To drink: whimsical cocktails like a pho-inspired bloody Mary.

Nina May
1337 11th St., NW
This elegant restaurant from the farm is permitted by restaurateurs and Equinox alum chef Colin McClimans and Danilo Simic are a local favorite. Choose between two floors in beautiful dining rooms and outdoor areas for homemade cakes and breads, local egg dishes and refined but unsafe dishes such as potato rosti with house-smoked salmon, crème fraîche, pickled red onions and dill salsa verde.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
1612 14th St., NW
The Oyster Garden on 14th Street serves Gulf Coast dishes such as oyster Rockefeller, fried chicken and wood-grilled redfish. There are also plenty of pastries like ricotta beignets and tasty cocktails. Note for brunch lovers: the weekend menu starts on Friday.

Perrys
1811 Columbia Rd., NW
The longest running brunch in the district is back on Sundays after a pandemic break, and even with a mask need, it’s still an unobstructed, amazing show. American brunch fare and carafe brunch cocktails are standard – but you’re not really here for the food. Reservations are accepted one week in advance (read here for other details from the Covid era).

Perrys (photo taken before the pandemic). Photo by Scott Suchman

Q by Peter Chang
4500 East-West Hwy., Bethesda
Some of the best dim sum in the area can be found at Peter Chang’s exclusive Chinese restaurant. There are no carts – customers order from a menu of dumplings, wontons, rice rolls, bag buns, barbecue and noodles.

Seasons
2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
The most sumptuous Sunday brunch buffet in DC just returned to Four Seasons Georgetown after a long pandemic break. Go to stations filled with raw bar fare, salads, carvery meats, omelettes to order and a rainbow of homemade desserts. The all-you-can-eat experience is $ 110, and diners can add bottomless mimosas for $ 30. Note that everyday “power breakfast” is also back.

Spanish eatery
7271 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda
José Andrés’s new dining room, a spin-off of the one in New York’s Mercado Little Spain dining hall, serves American and Spanish breakfast dishes at all hours. This is an egg lovers’ paradise: egg sandwiches, egg dishes and an entire menu section dedicated to fried eggs with olive oil over crispy potatoes with your choice of Spanish meat.

Silver diners and silver
Multiple VA and MD placements plus silver in DC
The homemade food chain and its more elegant American brasserie spinoff, Silver, offer both options throughout the day. The casual dining room hits all the classics – pancakes, egg dishes, etc. – while the brasserie serves daily brunch with plates such as toasted veggie huevos rancheros and yogurt “banana split” parfaits. Good for those with dietary restrictions: Menus on both are labeled with icons for dishes that are gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, low-fat and low-cholesterol.

Spanish Diner by Chef Jose Andres opens in Bethesda. Photo by Liz Clayman

Taqueria Habanero
3710 14th St., NW; 8145 Baltimore Ave., College Park
Some of the best chilaquiles in town can be found at this taqueria with locations in Columbia Heights and College Park. Also find a large selection of tasty tacos on homemade tortillas, mole enchiladas and more – best enjoyed with a margarita.

Tryst, Coupe, The Diner, Open City
Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and Woodley Park
The restaurant group Tryst is about breakfast and brunch all day. The classics are all available on menus that are pleasing to the audience: omelettes, hash, breakfast burritos, bagels and scrambles. There are also vegan options like tofu tostadas.

Untraditional dining room
1207 9th St., NW
Brunch is served daily until 16.00 at David Deshaies’ Shaw Dinner – lucky us, because it’s one of the most beautiful brunch options in town. Go for “s’eggsy” egg sandwiches, shrimp and grits in Caribbean style or blueberry pancakes.

Food editor

Anna Spiegel covers dining and drinking in her home country of DC. Prior to joining the Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. Louis. John, US Virgin Islands.

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