Food & Drink

The Best Brunches in Northern Virginia

Published On 09/08/2016 Published On 09/08/2016
best brunches northern virginia
"K Town" at Brabo | Jai Williams/Thrillist

While Northern Virginia's culinary scene is often overlooked, the Federal City is currently dominating the culinary world, gaining national attention as the Bon Appétit restaurant city of the year... a move that's stoked all our egos a little. However, the restaurant scene in Arlington, Alexandria, and other surrounding suburban areas is also pretty remarkable -- Northern Virginia has a delicious and diverse food scene. Many of these spots pay homage to traditional Southern fare with new takes on the classics, and others take advantage of our proximity to the bounties of the Chesapeake, focusing on fresh, local seafood. Either way, you have tons of high-quality options when it comes to participating in DC's favorite hobby: brunch.

Jai Williams/Thrillist

Junction Bakery & Bistro

Del Ray

Open for only a few weeks, Junction Bakery is already a neighborhood favorite. With an industrial coffee bar and an open kitchen, this welcome newcomer offers up breakfast classics like fresh, ripe fruit, and Ă  la carte options like bacon and eggs, but the breakfast sandwiches with their "round the world" twist is the highlight here -- Korean, Italian, and Spanish styles are notable. "The Country" is extra delicious -- a fluffy cheddar chive biscuit stuffed with just as equally soft scrambled egg and sausage. Pair with a glass of the sparkling for optimal enjoyment. Served 11am to 2pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Trummers on Main

Trummer’s On Main

Clifton

The husband-and-wife duo behind Trummer's are heavy hitters in the dining scene, which is why it’s no surprise that their dishes and cocktails reflect a high level of passion and commitment -- including bringing on board executive chef Clayton Miller, who once cooked at The French Laundry. Located less than an hour away from the city, Trummer’s on Main is a gorgeous farmhouse with exposed hardwood beams and large windows, which allows plenty of sunlight to filter in. You can opt for brunch classics like the mimosa or spiced Bloody Mary, but your first meal of the day may be best spent caffeinated, with an Espresso Martini made with Stoli, Grand Marnier, vanilla, and -- naturally -- espresso. Rise and shine, Washingtonians. Brunch is served 11am-2pm Saturday and Sunday.

Fuego Cocina y Tequileria

Fuego Cocina y Tequileria

Arlington

Three courses for $19 -- not too shabby -- served during this boozy brunch where tequila can be ordered by the litro. Grab a few of your friends, as this two story restaurant has a bar large enough for you all. Choose a snack, like ceviche, guacamole, or tacos, then an entrée, and a dessert. If you go for this deal, you're eligible for $2 cocktails, to boot.

Jai Williams/Thrillist

Jackson 20

Old Town Alexandria

Framed like a colonial-era tavern, Jackson 20 focuses on American cuisine with a Southern twist -- so order down-home brunch standards like biscuits and gravy, or the Southernized version of a BLT, which adds over easy eggs and fried green tomatoes. Chef Brian McPherson’s slow-cooked beef brisket hash is really excellent -- green peppers, sweet onions, and Idaho potatoes are tossed with tender beef brisket, then topped with two over-easy eggs alongside toast. Brunch is served from 8am to 2:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

La Tasca

Arlington (& other locations)

Gather as many friends as you can for optimal sharing opportunities: this $22 Spanish brunch deal lands you three tapas per person, including delights like paella, gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), and spicy patatas bravas. The relaxed setting here is the perfect place to grab a few drinks, sit on the patio, and people watch. Grab $2 sangrias. Brunch begins at 11:30am.

Jai Williams/Thrillist

Brabo

Alexandria

An easy walk from the King St metro or the Old Town Trolley, this spot's known for its exquisite mini waffles. We especially recommend the "K-Town" (lightly battered fried chicken, kimchi, and Mae Ploy), and "The Elvis," which is covered in bananas, peanut butter, and syrup. Order a magnum of Champagne and a carafe of juice for $40 -- not too shabby a deal -- or try out the "L'eggo my Eggo," which involves butter washed rum. Yeah. Brunch is served Sundays, 11am-2:30pm.

Courtesy of Barley Mac

Barley Mac

Arlington

This recently opened gastropub and bar offers up a reasonably priced menu that features items like breakfast pizza and wagyu steak and eggs, but the true magic is in the form of a lobster Benedict. Even better, you can order bourbon flights for brunch... that's Southern hospitality at its finest.

Hank’s Oyster Bar

Alexandria (& other locations)

Get brunch started with a sake oyster shooter or three, then go all out with crabcake eggs Benedict, oyster po-boys, a smoked salmon platter, and/or Old Bay fries. This place really channels Maryland into Virginia. You can pair these up with $8 Bloodys (you pick the spirit, from pickled vodka to Scotch) or variations on the mimosa, including one made with basil syrup.

Courtesy of Del Ray Pizzeria

Del Ray Pizzeria

Del Ray

Quiet as it is kept, this tiny pizzeria is more than just about pizza. First of all, they have Duke’s mayonnaise -- if you’re not familiar, just try it, because it will change your life. Their hot fried chicken sandwiches and double-patty hamburgers are excellent, but what really makes this place special are their Funfetti pancakes, served with cream cheese frosting and maple syrup. Brunch is served from 10:30am to 2:30pm.

Ted's Bulletin

Ted’s Bulletin

Merrifield & Reston

There's something delightfully illicit about infusing a childhood treat with alcohol, and Ted’s Bulletin does one hell of a job making up tasty, weirdly nostalgic mixtures like toasted coconut, bananas Foster, and a White Russian so large that you're more likely to get full than tipsy. Make sure to pair one of these bad boys with their chicken and biscuits, drizzled in honey and served with a side of mumbo sauce... or go for their salted caramel pop tart, four words which should go together more frequently. Get there early (doors open at 7am), as this place is normally packed by 9.

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Jai Williams is a freelancer for Thrillist, and a published photographer/writer who is addicted to 62.5-degree eggs.

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1. Junction Bakery & Bistro 1508 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301 (Alexandria)

This airy Del Ray spot boasts some of the best breakfast food in the area, with menu offerings ranging from fresh scones and croissants, open-facing toasts, classic egg plates, and globally-inspired sandwiches (the "Roman," for example, frames a fried egg with focaccia, potatoes, romesco, and lemon zest, while the "Kim Chee" takes the bacon and egg combo and adds kim chee and lime rice mayo on a steamed bun). There's cold brew on nitro to keep the coffee enthusiasts caffeinated and array of European wines and regional microbrews behind the bar, making for a lively, buzzing ambience during peak brunch services and mellow dinners.

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2. Trummers on Main 7134 Main Street, , Clifton, , VA 20124 (Fairfax)

Escape the city bustle and bask in the Virginian healing light coming off their "Kentucky Derby" spirits tub: serving 6-8 with bourbon, fresh mint, chocolate bitters, and "flaming absinthe", meaning you don't even need a lighter when passing this

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3. Fuego Cocina y Tequileria 2800 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201 (Arlington)

Immediately grab your most reformed Jewish friends and storm the first floor at this "temple of traditional Mexican cuisine", where the more formal atmosphere of the dining room above is eschewed for a tile bar that snakes end-to-end, and the agave liquors number more than 120.

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4. Jackson 20 480 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

This modern but quirky hotel is the place to be after work. It’s easy to make a full-on meal out of Jackson 20’s happy hour offer, on weekdays from 4-7pm. You’re drinking $3 canned beers or $5 bubbly if you fancy. Pair these up with $6 apps -- we’re strongly in favor of the deviled farm eggs, BBQ sliders, and fried green tomatoes-- and you're good to go!

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5. La Tasca 2900 Wilson Blvd Ste 103, Arlington, VA 22201 (Arlington)

Slinging house-made sangrias and mimosas that are as affordable as they are delicious, La Tasca offers one of the hottest tapas brunches in Arlington. The menu boasts a wide variety of Spanish small plates like seafood paella, beef empanadas, patatas bravas, and tomato-garlic toast, all of which can be ordered in the prix-fixe package: a killer deal of 3 dishes per person for a mere $22. The dinner is equally as solid and just as lively, but it's hard to beat $2 sangrias on the street-side patio on a warm summer day.

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6. BRABO Restaurant by Robert Wiedmaier 1600 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

Despite its fancy digs, BRABO lets its hair down at the bar. Fresh mixologist talent has ushered in a playful drink list that incorporates unusual elements, like a scoop of sherbet (why not?). Expect to see new drinks regularly -- the menu changes with the seasons. It's an Old Town favorite for a reason!

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7. Barley Mac 1600 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209 (Arlington)

This industrial-chic Arlington spot offers an extensive list of American whiskeys and modern takes on time-honored fare like parmigiana truffle potato skins, wagyu beef meatballs, house-made pastas, and inventive flatbreads. The weekend brunch at Barley Mac is solid thanks to various mimosa flavors and rich plates like the lobster benedict, but it's primarily a dinner spot, revered by hipsters for its craft cocktails, happy hour deals, and trendy ambience.

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8. Hank's Oyster Bar 1624 Q St NW, Washington, 20009 (Dupont Circle)

Get a taste of New England at this Dupont Circle seafood spot (they also have locations on the Hill and in Alexandria). The kitchen in this bright, modern space is dishing out some of the best clams, lobster rolls, and raw bar bites in town, plus some solid daily specials that range from jumbo soft-shell crab to pan-seared scallops. Oh, and did I mention they have bottomless brunch, too?

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9. Del Ray Pizzeria 2218 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301 (Arlington)

Don't let Del Ray fool you: while the pizzas here are definitely delicious -- specialty pies using both thin, deep, or gluten-free crust alongside market-driven ingredients -- the kitchen also excels at apps like fried heirloom tomatoes, nachos, gazpacho, and gourmet sandwiches. The casual eatery boasts a solid brunch (Funfetti pancakes, anyone?), but it's primarily a happy hour haunt thanks to multiple flat screen TVs and a well-stocked list of regional draft beers.

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10. Ted's Bulletin 1818 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (U Street)

Why choose between vices like ice cream and alcohol when you can indulge in both at once? At Ted's Bulletin, "adult milkshakes" are a crowd favorite -- towering glasses of blended home-made ice cream spiked with things like peppermint schnapps, Irish cream and coconut rum. And for those who can stomach more than a boozy shake, the D.C. mainstay offers a full menu of morning and afternoon eats. Best known for its brunch, the place boasts home-made pop tarts, hefty egg plates, and a "Walk Of Shame Burrito," stuffed with sausage, cheese and hash-browns. The trendy, leather-booth-lined space is equally as appealing as the entrées (and equally instragrammable), and the bar offers plenty of coffee, and a traditional cocktail menu, for when the dairy-liquor combo doesn't necessarily appeal.

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