10 Best Brunch Spots in Washington, D.C.
You'll see why Washington, D.C., locals love brunch after dining in these restaurants.
Head to the historic Tabard Inn in Dupont Circle for vanilla pancakes, crab cakes and homemade doughnuts.(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Visitors to the District of Columbia may think the nation's capital is all about power lunches on Capitol Hill. Not so. The fact is, most locals much prefer lingering over a mimosa and eggs Benedict.
With the city's restaurant scene exploding, there are more places than ever to enjoy a leisurely midday meal on the weekends. Local experts recommend that visitors try these 10 restaurants for brunch.
If you'd like your Sunday brunch served with a side of history, a classic spot is the Tabard Inn in Dupont Circle, says Joaquin McPeek, director of communications at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in the District of Columbia. The inn has been around since the early 1920s and served as a boarding house for Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service during World War II. The restaurant's seasonal brunch menu features items like vanilla pancakes, crab cakes and homemade doughnuts. If you're in the mood for something hearty, try the chicken and bacon waffles with maple cream cheese sauce.
Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Another prime spot for brunch is Seasons restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, in Georgetown. The bright dining room overlooks the C&O Canal and the restaurant offers an array of "fresh seafood, crab cakes, and fabulous desserts and pastries," says Julie Saunders, the hotel's head concierge. Food stations serve up a variety of entrees – from lemon ricotta pancakes to huevos rancheros – and the dessert offerings take up an entire room, she says. Stop at the dumplings station, which offers a selection of dumplings and pot stickers with pickled ginger, Asian slaw and a variety of sauces, including sweet Thai chili sauce and hoisin sauce.
Seasons restaurant serves brunch on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
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Located in a Georgetown alley, this favorite of many of the city's hotel concierges serves a sweet and savory mix of European delicacies. Try Leopold's frühstück (German for "breakfast"), which includes grilled ham with toast and two eggs any style. If you have a sweet tooth, the kaiserschmarrn mit zwetschkenröster, or "emperor's pancake" made with plum compote and currants, is a good choice. You can also get classic croque monsieur or croque madame sandwiches.
Kafe Leopold opens each day at 8 a.m. and serves breakfast until 4 p.m. All its menu items are served a la carte.
For a more casual spot for brunch, Erich Hosbach, director of sales and marketing at The Graham Georgetown hotel, recommends taking a trip east of the Capitol building to Cava Mezze, known for its modern take on traditional Greek recipes. This all-you-can-eat brunch for $35 features mimosas for 25 cents, and offers delicacies such as the spicy lamb Benedict, orzo and eggs, or "green eggs and ham" – a combination of deviled eggs with crispy pancetta and fresh herb vinaigrette. "Combine this with an after-brunch walk around the corner to the artisan stalls and authentic Old World food vendors of Eastern Market and pick up a keepsake gift or a rare cheese," Hosbach says.
Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays is from 10 a.m. to 3:30 or 4 p.m., respectively.
According to Saunders, vegans should make sure to try the brunch at Equinox on Connecticut Avenue, where you can enjoy a tasty tofu scramble and amazing salads. Other fun items on this buffet menu include granola-crusted French toast with spiced quince filling, and black bean and walnut chili, served with cilantro and scallions.
Vegan brunch takes place every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Located on Prospect Street in Georgetown, Cafe Milano "has a wonderful brunch where you can either choose items a la carte or visit the buffet. The setting is gardenlike, [and] the food and service, impeccable," says Kitt Vidnovic, senior concierge at The Fairmont Washington, D.C. Buffet items include a variety of salads, fish and cured meats, and specialties like pancetta and egg pizza. Vidnovic really likes the marinated salmon with dill and lettuce sauce from the buffet. "From the a la carte menu, eggs Benedict with hash browns and grilled asparagus is my favorite." And the mimosas are amazing, she adds.
Hours for brunch are 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Vidnovic is also partial to Juniper, the Fairmont's own restaurant, which serves locally sourced, sustainable and seasonal foods. Saturday's a la carte brunch offers a variety of savory and sweet plates, and Sunday's organic buffet brunch features an array of fresh market fruit, salads and an "interactive omelet station." Vidnovic recommends that visitors try the homemade honey wheat walnut bread – the honey is sourced from the restaurant's rooftop honeybees. And for dessert, "the pastry chef's warm chocolate chip cookies can't be beat," she says.
Saturday brunch a la carte is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the Sunday brunch buffet is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you're looking for a bountiful selection of brunch options to pair with a spicy bloody mary, Hosbach suggests Sequoia at the Washington Harbour in Georgetown. "An entire room is filled with unique food stations, ranging from the freshest raw bar to waffles and breakfast specialties, and featuring an almost magical dessert display," he says. "Other chef specialties of fish, chicken and pasta are also on the buffets, and a chef's attendant is at the ready to create your favorite omelet or sear that lamb chop to meet your taste."
Sequoia's brunch takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Farmers Fishers Bakers
Also located at Georgetown's Washington Harbour, Farmers Fishers Bakers delivers everything from classic American fare to sushi. Everything is made in-house from scratch, McPeek says. Once you've indulged in some warm biscuits and cinnamon rolls, take your pick from the brunch menu's butchers, gardeners and carving tables, and then finish things off with a homemade pie or cake from the dessert bar. You can wash things down with a drink from the extensive brunch cocktail menu.
The restaurant's Farm Market Brunch takes place Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This French restaurant on trendy 14th Street is a winner for brunch. "It's hard to go wrong with almost anything on the menu – the eggs Norwegian, the buttermilk pancakes, the burger – and it's an airy, pretty spot," says Sherri Dalphonse, executive editor of Washingtonian magazine. The brunch menu also features a generous "fruits de mer" (French for "seafood") selection.
Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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