The 10 Best Brunch Dishes and Drinks in DC

By Rina Rapuano  |  April 25, 2016
Credit: Greg Powers

DC has seen no shortage of restaurant openings this year, and new restaurants mean new brunches. Weekend warriors have more reasons than ever to raise a mimosa or Bloody Mary in honor of their favorite meal. Whether you swing sweet or savory, we've pulled together a list of some of our (and your) favorite brunch drinks and dishes, so all you have to do is sit back and count down to the weekend. 

  • Credit: Le Diplomate

    Best Bread and Pastry Basket: Le Diplomate

    There’s nothing better than snagging a table at this still-hot Logan Circle destination on a gorgeous spring weekend, and every brunch here should start with one of their outstanding pastry baskets. The selection typically includes croissants, muffins, brioche, palmiers and other flaky treats, all served with jam and butter. And here’s a tip for landing one of those enviable tables: Early risers are rewarded with sans reservation tables since brunch starts at 9:30 AM.

    Runners Up: Osteria Morini DBGB

    1601 14th St. NW; 202-332-3333

  • Credit: Farrah Skeiky

    Most Over-the-Top Bloody Mary: Lox’d and Loaded Bloody Mary at Buffalo & Bergen in Union Market

    Owner and mixologist extraordinaire Gina Chersevani has created an architectural and culinary marvel with a Bloody Mary that sports a breakfast-sandwich top-hat. This drink that eats like a meal features a “garnish” of everything bagel filled with house lox, cream cheese, tomato, red onion and capers perched on a lettuce leaf, serving as a barrier between bread and beverage. The best part? It’s available Tuesday through Sunday, so there’s no need to wait for the weekend to indulge.

    Runners Up: The squid-ink-spiked Pantera at Del Campo; the version with a bacon-wrapped Brussels sprout garnish at Béarnaise

    1309 Fifth St. NE; 301-652-7400

  • Credit: Pennsylvania 6

    Best Reason to Start Drinking at Noon: Champagne and Bloody Bar at Pennsylvania 6

    This downtown newcomer recently upgraded its DIY champagne bar to a champagne and Bloody bar, where those who are ready and willing to blow off the afternoon can order unlimited vodka and champagne. For $18 per person, there's access to a bar stocked with mixers, garnishes, juices and bitters. Bonus: It’s set up in the ultra-elegant Oxford Room at the back of the restaurant during brunch hours — Saturdays and Sundays from 11 AM–3 PM — making you feel like a total baller. Even if you’re still feeling less than elegant from the night before.

    Runners Up: French press brunch cocktails at Provision No. 14; a house brew at Right Proper Brewing Co.

    1350 I St. NW; 202-796-1600

  • Credit: Mintwood Place

    Best Hangover Buster: Hangover Special at Mintwood Place

    You wouldn’t be the first Washingtonian to find yourself in Adams Morgan on a Saturday and Sunday morning with a raging headache and urgent need for carbs and coffee. This American bistro shows solidarity with the hungover masses by filling a cast-iron skillet with a wood-grilled burger patty bathed in red-wine gravy topped with fries, ranch dressing, caramelized onions, muenster and gruyere — plus pickled onions and peppers. It’s all baked and finished with a sunny-side-up egg and grilled shishito peppers.

    Runners Up: Lamb biscuits and gravy at Mason Social; a large bowl of pho at Pho 75; bacon, egg and cheese empanadas with hollandaise at Del Campo

    1813 Columbia Rd. NW; 202-234-6732

  • Credit: Alicia Griffin

    Best Upscale Dim Sum: The Source

    Chef Scott Drewno says the variety of dishes and the communal style of eating has earned dim sum the honor of being his favorite meal — but he doesn’t love that dishes sometimes get cold or less appealing as they’re wheeled around a dining room. His fix was to serve them family-style but cook them to order, bringing his fine-dining touch to the familiar brunch tradition. The dumplings, one of Drewno’s specialties, have earned the dim sum brunch here a cult following. Usually only offered on Saturdays, it occasionally makes a special Sunday appearance for special occasions like Mother’s Day.

    Runners Up:  Maketto Zengo

    575 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-637-6100

  • Credit: Birch & Barley

    Best Fried Chicken and Waffles: Birch & Barley

    Trying to pick the best chicken and waffles is not an easy job, but this Logan Circle spot has been the measuring stick for all other versions since they started serving them. The giant, coma-inducing waffle topped with perfectly seasoned and crispy fried chicken is gilded with buttered pecans and maple-chicken jus. (We’re guessing the loss of chef Kyle Bailey in the kitchen won’t affect this signature brunch dish, at least.) Go ahead and cancel your afternoon plans. You’re going to need a nap.

    Runners Up: Marvin; Convivial; Founding Farmers

    1337 14th St. NW; 202-567-2576

  • Credit: Osteria Morini

    Best Pancakes: Osteria Morini

    Of course this Italian eatery in Navy Yard has to put a deliciously Italian spin on this American breakfast favorite. Here, the stack of tender, ricotta-enriched pancakes are topped with maple mascarpone and blueberry jam. Eat them on the patio overlooking the Anacostia on nice weekends, and be sure to order the deconstructed mimosa — a bottle of Prosecco and choice of two juices for the table for $36.

    Runners Up: Mintwood Place; johnnycakes at Kangaroo Boxing Club; ricotta pancakes at Iron Gate

    301 Water St. SE; 202-484-0660

  • Credit: Blue Duck Tavern

    Best Eggs You Can't Make at Home: Short-rib hash at Blue Duck Tavern  

    This dish has been a brunch favorite almost from the get-go. Think it sounds simple? Think again. The star of the dish are the braised beef ribs marinated for two days in a complex blend that includes root beer, horseradish and soy sauce. They’re then cooked with a low heat for 18 hours before getting tossed in a pan with aromatics, cubed potatoes and braising liquid. Hash is then served with horseradish aïoli, an olive-oil poached egg and a biscuit on the side. Piece of cake.

    Runners Up: Poached eggs with pork belly at China Chilcano; eggs in jiog at Bar Pilar

    1201 24th St. NW; 202-419-6755

  • Credit: Duke's Grocery/Facebook

    Best Brunch Burger: Brunchie burger at Duke’s Grocery

    This British-inspired Dupont favorite has won legions of fans with its decadent burgers: two Angus beef patties atop a buttery brioche bun. The Brunchie Burger (dubbed the Proper Burger at other times) is topped with two slices of gouda, house dills, charred red onion, Thai sweet chile sauce, arugula and garlic aïoli. It's already pretty over the top, but you can add a runny egg, pâté, smashed avocado or white truffle oil for $2–$3 extra. Be warned: There are no French fries, and diners can only order it medium rare or well done.

    Runners Up: Dive burger at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace; triple-stack burger at The Partisan

    1513 17th St. NW; 202-733-5623

  • Credit: Greg Powers

    Best Dessert Disguised as a Brunch Dish: Greek coffee waffles at  Kapnos

    The photo of these Greek coffee waffles at Kapnos is pretty much as close to G-rated brunch porn as you can get. Just look at that barely there powdered sugar and the come-hither syrup... Have you ever seen a sexier stack? (Don’t answer that.) We literally cannot look at this photo without wanting to hightail it to the nearest Kapnos — it’s also served at  Taverna and  Kouzina. The addition of chocolate espresso beans, cinnamon butter and crema sweeten the deal.

    Runners Up: Red velvet pancakes at Founding Farmers; cinnamon bun pancakes at Olivia’s Diner; toasted coconut pancakes at District Commons

    2201 14th St. NW; 202-234-5000

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