Ah, brunch. There’s no classier way to find yourself tipsy before noon. The bottomless mimosas are ever-flowing and the food is piping hot. Plus, you don’t have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn.
What our nation’s capital lacks in convenient parking options, it makes up for with it’s favorite hobby. D.C. has mastered the brunch scene, moving away from the traditional yuppie-style meal, and adding a variety of options. I always say, you can’t live a full life on an empty stomach! Here’s my roundup of the best brunch options in D.C., along with some honorable mentions.
In no particular order…
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Halfsmoke is one of my favorite places to get brunch because of the atmosphere. You walk in, and your nose is wafted with scents of smoked meats and yummy food. The hostess greets you at the door, and walks you through the restaurant to your seat while Cardi B and Migos plays in the background. She seats you, and sets in front of you: a Lisa Frank binder. The menu’s in a Lisa Frank binder, y’all!
The restaurant definitely has a hip-hop, chill vibe between the R&B and Rap music videos playing on the several flat-screens and the many varieties of board games available for you and your party to play at no additional cost. There’s even a free photo booth to take pictures at.
But enough talk about the atmosphere, let’s get to talking about the food. The brunch menu specifically runs all day on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Any purchase of a $25.00 brunch plate awards you unlimited mimosas for an hour and a half!
The chefs at Halfsmoke bring dishes such as red velvet funnel cakes, eggs benedict, fried chicken, and cinnamon crunch french toast to life. The menu has 90s inspired dishes such as Pinky and the Brain and Boy Meets World. Oh, and the check comes in an old VHS tape case. Check it out!
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2. Ted’s Bulletin – $ to $$
Ted’s is how you say… eggcellent (ba dum tss). There are several locations, but I’ve experienced the one in the Mosaic District in Northern Virginia. It boasts a restaurant, bakery, and bar of American classics. Where else can you find buttermilk biscuits AND liquor-infused milkshakes in the same place?
The restaurant’s atmosphere is upscale with low scale prices. Breakfast is served all day long as well, so this is a godsend if you’re like me and will sleep well into the afternoon. My recommendation for brunch is to get the Original Breakfast Burrito. It’s under $15, and mixes marinated flank steak with hashbrowns, eggs, cheese, avocado, and green chilies.
3. Founding Farmers – $$
Founding Farmers is hands down the best place to get fried chicken. The macaroni and cheese is also pretty amazing. There are many locations, but the Tyson’s, Reston, and King of Prussia locations are the only ones that offers a $32.50 brunch buffet on weekends. My recommendation is to order the spicy fried chicken on a donut. It sounds weird, but you only live once! That combo, along with some mac and cheese and greens? YES. JUST ALL TYPES OF YES.
4. Milk & Honey – $$
Milk & Honey says “we didn’t invent brunch… we just perfected it.” With a tagline like that, how can you doubt that the food is good? The menu selections here are ultimate! Cajun shrimp and grits or a lobster, egg, and cheese croissant (deep fried lobster tail!) are just a couple of their offerings. Everything on the brunch menu is under $25, which is pretty impressive.
Besides the menu, the restaurant also boats celebrity chef and Food Network’s CHOPPED winner, Sammy Davis. They’ve even held events for companies such as Ferrari. I’d recommend saving a lot of space in your tummies and making the trip up to Bowie or College Park, Maryland ASAP!
First Watch is especially good if you’re looking for some healthy options for brunch. Don’t get me wrong, there are still huge omelettes and bacon strips galore. However, the restaurant also is mindful by serving fresh ingredients, listing all nutrition facts online, and has a pretty impressive healthy section of its menu. They’re also dedicated to sourcing their coffee from local small communities. French toast batter, muffins, and fresh fruits and vegetables are prepared every single morning.
Ambar brings Balkan cuisine to Clarendon and D.C. If you’re in the mood to try something new, this is the place to go! Sauces such as chimichurri and apple-wasabi mayo adorn this brunch menu, while still paying homage to favorites like strawberry nutella waffles and steak & eggs. There’s also the “Balkan Experience” option, which gives you unlimited food for 2 hours for $39 per person (the whole table must participate). Best of all, all brunch cocktails are under $8 – mango mimosas, anyone?
Cava Mezze is Mediterranean food “dedicated to culinary excellence.” Spicy lamb and gyro graces the menu along with classic favorites for the safe diners out there. The prices are pretty great for a la carte food, or the entire party can do all-you-can-eat for $35.00. Just like Ambar, this is a good place to go if you’re craving something new. And if you’re wondering, yes it’s the same company as Cava Grill!
8. The Caged Bird – $$
Umm Cajun brunch? Sign me up. Cajun shrimp and grits, Cajun avocado toast, and Jerk steak & eggs are just a few of the highlights of this menu. This location recently opened this past June, but is quickly making a name for itself with its tasty food and community involvement. Nestled on a strip in Dupont Circle, this restaurant won’t disappoint your tastebuds.
One of the best omelettes I’ve ever had in my 22 years of living is the lobster omelette from Cyclone Anayas. That’s the only reason it’s on the list. It was heaven to my tastebuds. Amazing. Also, if you want Mexican food in your brunch, this is the place to be.
Georgetown is one of my favorite places to go because there’s many hidden gems there. I recently found an awesome escape room there that was nestled away. Literally I have no idea how people find it or how it’s in business. Anywho!
Pinstripes is a really cool place because not only is it a restaurant, but it has a bowling alley inside too. They recently started doing brunch buffets every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm WITH bottomless mimosas for $36.00 per person. I had to drop this on the list because apparently the mimosas get you pretty… happy!
The Griphon DC
If you’re not familiar with The Griphon, it’s mostly known for being a club/lounge in D.C. Clubs in the area are more frequently doing brunches and day parties in the morning as a way to draw a crowd in during the day. This isn’t on the list for the food, but it’s here for the TURN UP!