Food & Drink

The Best Place to Brunch in 15 DC Neighborhoods

Published On 07/09/2014 Published On 07/09/2014
Jen Heller

Dupont Circle


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Scion is generally appreciated for its killer craft beer selection, but don’t count it out when it comes to brunch. Start with bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, or poinsettias (a fancy name for cranberry juice plus Champagne) for $14... and pair it with an order of potato nachos smothered with bacon, cheese, tomatoes, and fried jalapeños. Then build your own omelet, or opt for something decadent, like lobster hash. Bonus: there’s a second location in Silver Spring.
Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 10am-3:30pm

Laura Hayes/Thrillist

Navy Yard

Osteria Morini

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Pasta and pastries can be just what you need to recover from last night. So round up some buddies (with well-paying jobs) and snag an outdoor table one morning before a Nats game. The selection of pastas is far from lacking, with a braised wild mushroom rigatoni, a squid ink casarecce, and a truffled ricotta ravioli. Breakfast purists have their pick of ricotta pancakes, frittatas, poached eggs, and more. Don’t skip the pastry basket, or you’ll regret it midway through the second inning.
Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 11am-3:00pm

Laura Hayes

Logan Circle

Birch & Barley

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Kyle Bailey was still slinging winners at one of the original brunch beasts on 14th St before the neighborhood blew up like... someone who eats one of his brunches! Go breakfasty with fried chicken & waffles, or a simple-sounding sausage, egg, and cheese -- or opt for one of its famous flatbreads. But know this: no meal is complete without an order of freshly fried donuts.
Brunch hours: Sundays only, 11am-3pm

Greg Powers

U Street/14th Street


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Go Greek... and we’re not talking Psi U. Mike Isabella’s Greek spot, which specializes in spit-roasted meat, is just as good, if not better, in the AM than at night. Favorites include Greek coffee waffles, a series of spreads, and baklava French toast. Where else can you get spit-roasted lamb as a brunch side? Try one of four kegged lemonades; the pisco lemonade makes our hearts sing.
Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 11am-3pm

L’Enfant Café and Bar

Adams Morgan

L’Enfant Café

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The La Boum Brunch at L'Enfant has a serious reputation... in a good way. It’s one of the most unique Saturday afternoon experiences in DC. Rated 21+, this brunch reminds us of a French house party that’s gotten out of hand: dimmed lights, drawn shades, DJs, bar-top dancing, sparklers, burlesque, and pretty much anything naughty. Try this rite of passage at least once, but note that reservations are required. Starting June 4th, the party will be moving to a bigger space: Capitale on K Street.
Brunch hours: Saturdays and Sundays at 10 am and 2 pm

Columbia Heights

Kangaroo Boxing Club

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Show up at this pork-centric brunch ready to throw back some pig product. Annihilate the Aporkalypse (a pork patty topped with cheddar, tomato, fried egg, and maple syrup), or beat a hangover with the Hair of the Hog, a breakfast bowl comprised of two biscuits, scrambled eggs, and bacon, smothered in chicken sausage gravy. Don’t miss out on your sugar rush -- order a side of cornmeal pancakes with honey maple butter.
Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 10am-3pm

Copperwood Tavern


Copperwood Tavern

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Experience brunch underneath a moonshine station, in what’s probably the coolest cabin you’ve ever seen. Come starving and start early: there’s bananas Foster French toast, a super-savory duck hash, four different Benedicts, a Carolina pork BBQ sandwich, and shrimp & smoked Gouda grits. Try a Bloody Mary, or the Iced Lexington (iced coffee plus Jameson, coffee liqueur, and cream), but know that you can also sample eight varieties of moonshine... and cross off the rest of your day.
Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 9am-4pm

Woodley Park

Open City

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Open City for the win -- it serves brunch from open until close seven days a week. If that wasn’t enough, the patio is sunlit and charming, and the food is super-comforting. Go with a no-frills hash brown bowl filled with two sunny-side-up eggs with jalapeños, mushrooms, onions, cheddar, and bacon, or go big, and get the loaded huevos rancheros. Then channel your inner hipster with the "Put a Bird on It" cocktail, made with brandy, iced Oregon chai, almond milk, and hazelnut syrup.
Brunch hours: Sun-Thur 6am-12am; Fri-Sat 6am-1am


Chevy Chase


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The menu at Bryan Voltaggio’s Chevy Chase restaurant has a truly impressive range (sorry not sorry). It has salads, shellfish over ice, bakery selections, terrines & pates, cheeses, wood oven pizzas, sandwiches, and, of course, brunch staples. Go savory with the bone marrow & soft scrambled egg, or stay sweet with the cinnamon roll with butterscotch sauce... and wash it all down with a Bellini or a gin fizz.
Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm


Big Bear Cafe

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Your coffee at Big Bear Cafe will probably come out with some kind of ornate foam flower insignia, but look past that: the name of the game at Big Bear Cafe is simple & cheap. Even the steepest brunch orders, like a lox bagel, won’t break the bank. The vibe leans a little crunchy Colorado, but it’s worth pretending to be a hippie for the food -- and killer coffee.
Brunch/breakfast hours: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm; Sat 7:30am-4pm; Sun 7:30am-5pm

Laura Hayes/Thrillist

Eastern Market


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Brunch at a bourbon bar? Sure, why not? The chef is from Charleston, SC, so DO NOT LEAVE before trying his biscuits, especially when they come with fried chicken, smoked sausage gravy, and blood orange jam. Plus, there’s a decadent croque madame with ham and crab mornay sauce, and a pork chop sandwich with fontal cheese, cherry mustard, BBQ beans, and chips. Bring three friends and you can order a barrel of Old Fashioned: one whole liter of barrel-aged Old Forester bourbon & bitters, accompanied by seasonal syrups and ice balls.
Brunch hours: Sat-Sun, 10:30am-4pm

Courtesy of Scott Suchman



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Convivial has been the name on every Washingtonian’s lips since opening last year, and the restaurant’s brunch lives up to its reputation. French chef Cedric Maupillier serves a mean full English breakfast, but he doesn’t stop there. The chicken & waffles with sausage gravy, the shrimp & grits, and the bacon cheeseburger will leave you stuffed... but not too stuffed to have the key lime & speculoos pie for dessert.
Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 10:30am-2:30pm

Courtesy of Bobby Spero

H Street


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This boutique/café hybrid upped its game again when it debuted Sunday dim sum brunch last fall. The Taiwanese- and Cambodian-influenced small plate menu is offered first-come, first-served, so you’ve got to be on your toes if you want to chow down on Taiwanese fried chicken or pork bao on a Sunday afternoon. Opt for traditional dim sum dishes like rice noodle crepes, crystal shrimp dumplings, and egg custard tarts, or go out on a limb with the anchovy peanut brittle.
Brunch hours: Sundays only, 11:30am-3:00pm

Courtesy of Pennsylvania 6


Pennsylvania 6

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Forget grand plateaus. How about a royal plateau? The mega seafood tower from this newcomer is stacked with a whole lobster and a ridiculous amount of oysters, clams, shrimp, and crabs. Plus, there’s a DIY Champagne and Bloody bar that includes unlimited vodka and Champagne and access to a full bar of mixers, garnishes, and bitters for just $18 per person. Soak up all that booze with brioche French toast, biscuits & gravy, or a lobster roll.
Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 11am-3pm


Chez Billy Sud

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Brunch at Chez Billy’s sister restaurant in Georgetown, and you can pretend you’re spending an afternoon in Southern France. Feel the sun on your face out in the Provençal courtyard, and order the pain perdu (brioche French toast with whipped butter) or the classic croque madame. The drink selection includes coffee, an impressive range of teas, and simple but well-executed cocktails (many featuring French sparkling wines). As an added authenticity bonus, The Frenchman features calvados, the apple brandy that is adored throughout Normandy.
Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 11am-2pm

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1. Scion 2100 P Street nw, Washington, dc, DC 20037 (Dupont Circle)

Located in Dupont Circle, Scion serves up American comfort food with a sophisticated edge all day long. Expect fancy salads, sandwiches, and entrées that are a touch more elevated than what you grew up on -- mac & cheese with lobster and bacon, duck-filled ravioli, a cheeseburger topped with smoked mozzarella. Scion also has a great craft beer selection and a knockout brunch, especially when nice weather calls for a table outside.

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2. Osteria Morini 301 Water Street Southeast, Suite 109, Washington , DC 20003 (Navy Yardnear Se)

This New York City transplant specializes in Italian cuisine from the northern Emilia-Romagna region. Expect house-made pasta dishes like braised wild mushroom rigatoni, simply grilled meats, and cured meat and cheese plates. Osteria Morini's dinner is perfect for date night, while its brunch, featuring ricotta pancakes and frittatas alongside signature pastas, has all the cheese and carbs essential to curing a hangover. The upscale Navy Yard spot is bright and airy with floor-to-ceiling windows and high factory ceilings.

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3. Birch & Barley 1337 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005 (Logan Circle)

Birch & Barley is the restaurant located below infamous beer bar ChurchKey in Logan Circle. It serves a simple and elegant menu of seasonal American food, but its claim to fame is the 500-plus beer list that rivals anything in the area (except of course, its upstairs sibling). The upscale restaurant serves a multi-course tasting menu with an optional beer pairing, but you can also order à la carte. Brunch rocks too, especially the freshly-fried donut holes.

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4. Kapnos 2201 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 (U Street)

Chef Mike Isabella's 14th Street Corridor restaurant is a go-to for upscale but reasonably priced Greek food. Open for dinner nightly and brunch on the weekends, Kapnos serves a small-plates menu of spreads, mezze, phyllo pies, and whole roasted meats like lamb, goat, duck, chicken, and suckling pig. There's plenty of seafood as well, given that wood-fire grilled octopus is the house signature. The wine list is stacked with red and whites from Greece and kegged lemonades.

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5. L'Enfant Café 2000 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

If the miniature Eiffel Tower on the roof is any indication, this Adams Morgan bar and cafe is a little piece of Paris in DC. Open from 6pm to 12am during the week (and 1am on Fridays), L'Enfant is a great place to go for a glass of wine and a late bite (the menu is classic French with crepes, steak frites, and duck confit). Its claim to fame, though, is the weekend party brunch. The so-called La Boum Brunch is a three-hour Saturday and Sunday event that takes brunch to the next-level with a DJ, champagne, and plenty of dancing. Reservations are required and it fills up fast, so book a few weekends ahead of time.

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6. Kangaroo Boxing Club 3410 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010 (Columbia Heights)

As its name suggests, this Columba Heights restaurant and bar errs on the side of quirky. KBC does great things for barbecue, and its dinner menu is packed with smoked meat platters, BBQ sandwiches, and burgers, plus a few vegetarian options for the meat-averse. At weekend brunch, the signature smoked brisket and pulled pork get topped and scrambled with eggs. Though you'd certainly be missing out if you didn't order any food, KBC is the kind of cool and laid-back place to grab a drink, especially when the sidewalk patio is in full swing.

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7. Copperwood Tavern 4021 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206 (Arlington)

Though you wouldn't expect it from the sidewalk patio, this Arlington restaurant is decked out like a wooden cabin, complete with a canoe on the wall, leather booths with plaid pillows, and copper embellishments all around. The American menu is strictly farm-to-table, and all of the farms Copperwood sources from are nearby in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. There's a full bar serving local Virginia beers on tap, bourbon, and moonshine.

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8. Open City 2331 Calvert St NW, Washington, DC 20008 (Woodley Park)

This Woodley Park gem is a three-in-one coffeehouse, diner, and bar that serves all your favorite American comfort foods from 6am to midnight every day (until 1am on Saturdays and Sundays). The bar menu is heavy on wine and cocktails, especially caffeinated drinks like a brandy-infused chai latte.

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9. RANGE 5335 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20015 (Friendship Heights)

With 300 tables, two open kitchens, and a menu that borrows from both Italian and American cuisine, Bryan Voltaggio's newest restaurant shows some truly impressive range (sorry). Stationed in the Chevy Chase Pavilion, the sleek 14,000sqft eatery boasts a rotisserie-equipped wood-oven, a raw bar, and a separate in-house Salumeria for the careful treatment of locally-sourced poultry and game. The menu offers plenty of inventive small plates (alongside house-baked bread), an impressive list of Mid-Atlantic oyster options, and a variety of wood-fired pizzas. The meat-centric entrées like rotisserie pork shoulder topped with apple cider-mustard reduction are inventive (and tasty), and the expertly curated wine list is designed carefully around Range's staple menu items -- while the space is clean and minimal, the cuisine is nothing if not complex.

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10. Big Bear Cafe 1700 1st St NW, Washington, DC 20001

There's a lot to love about this all-day Bloomingdale coffeeshop and cafe. First, it's a real coffeehouse in the sense that it brews a new variety of house coffee and espresso every week. It's also a great place to eat a sit-down meal, whether it's a bagel with lox at breakfast or steak-frites at dinner. And it serves alcohol. Big Bear definitely attracts a hipster freelancer crowd, probably because it only turns its WiFi on during the workday. The best part of about this place, though, is the vine-entangled patio with ample seating.

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11. Barrel 613 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Capitol Hill)

If you're in Capitol Hill and you like bourbon, this Southern bar is for you. The bar menu features two full pages of bourbon varieties, and if brown water is too strong for you, there are also 16 domestic beers on tap, and a few wines. The two-level space includes a downstairs hideaway called Elixir Bar, where you can scan shelf after shelf of the impressive whiskey collection. Though Barrel is definitely a drinking spot, the kitchen serves a menu of Southern comfort-inspired food like fried chicken, mac & cheese, and bacon fried rice.

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12. Convivial 801 O St NW, Washington, 20001 (Shaw)

Chef Cedric Maupillier has taken his native French cuisine to the next level at this upscale Shaw restaurant. The menu is an exposé of crave-worthy but affordable plates like escargot pigs-in-a-blanket and ravioli stuffed with seasonal veggie purées. As far as cocktails go, expect to sip on minimalist drinks and European wines.

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13. Maketto 1351 H St NE, Washington, 20002 (H Street Ne)

Maketto combines a restaurant, coffeeshop, bar, and clothing store into one massive, 6,000sqft venue on H Street NE. The 60-seat restaurant focuses on Cambodian and Taiwanese food for lunch and dinner, and if you're in the business of brunching, be sure to put the Sunday dim sum brunch on your bucket list. The retail store showcases international brands at upscale price points, and even if the merch is beyond your budget, the sheer variety is worth checking out. The second floor cafe serves Vigilante Coffee and bread from Frenchie's Bakery, plus a few pastries baked in house.

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14. Pennsylvania 6 DC 1350 I St NW, Washington, 20005 (Downtown)

The DC outpost of Pennsylvania 6 (it also has locations in Philly and New York) is a glamorous American bistro known for its raw bar, steaks and chops, and cocktails. If you're there for the shellfish, then you should probably order one of the towers stacked with lobster, oyster, clams, shrimp, and seasonal crab. The stately decor feels like old Hollywood-meets-English gentlemen's club, complete with plush red seating, tartan-upholstered chairs, and a faux fireplace.

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15. Chez Billy Sud 1039 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007 (Georgetown)

The Georgetown offshoot of Petworth's Chez Billy has the kind of South of France charm you should save for a wine n' dine kind of date. Serving brunch, lunch, and dinner, Chez Billy Sud puts an upscale and elegant spin on Gallic classics like duck confit, steak frites, and beef bourguignon. Splurge on a bottle of wine, or go for one of the thematically-named cocktails (Champs-Elysees, anyone?).



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