Best-of Guides Washington

Best Brunch in Washington, DC

8 Restaurants
Rosewater-cardamom pancakes, a hangover-busting mountain of fried potatoes with eggs, sweet potato shakshouka, and a slice of Basque cheesecake are among DC's top brunch dishes at these 9 restaurants.
Updated on 18 September 2023
1522 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 20007 Washington
$$ · Contemporary

This cute-as-a-button bistro fits in so seamlessly with the rest of Georgetown that you’d think it’s been here from time immemorial. With bottles of wine lining the shelves above, the dining room is a charming, date-night oasis, thanks to exposed brick, hardwood floors and a pressed-tin ceiling.
Not far behind the décor, the seasonal menu is tight-knit at dinner and brunch. Over a cup of La Colombe coffee or Palais des Thés teas slice into a French omelette with boursin and chives or smoked salmon with brioche, crème fraîche, and zingy horseradish. 

480 7th St. NW, 20004 Washington
$$ · Spanish

Chef José Andrés has opened locations of this tapas hangout from Las Vegas to Chicago to Dubai, but it all started here inside the Beltway. Unafraid of color and pattern, the expansive interior is a riot of glass, tile, hardwood, and art to ensure that the vibe is never dull or low energy. The brunch menu is tiny and the fare hearty. Sangria makes for wise starts before tucking into the four dishes on offer: smoked salmon on cristal bread (a Spanish-style ciabatta) with hardboiled egg, goat cheese, and capers; a tomato and Spanish omelette sandwich; huevos estrellados, a mountain of fried potatoes with fried eggs, and arroz a la Cubana, with tomato, bacon, and fried egg.

1847 Columbia Rd. NW, 20009 Washington
$$ · Afghan

Lapis-colored columns set against whitewashed walls set the tone for a restaurant that gleams like its namesake jewel. From the stunning Afghan rugs warming the floor to the sepia-toned heirloom photos on the walls, this place exudes warmth and charm in a highly stylish manner. Husband-and-wife owners Zubair and Shamim Popal share the fragrant cuisine of their native Afghanistan. Light and fresh without the heavy-handed spicing of other regional cuisines, this food is a delicious discovery. Brunch starts at 10am at weekends; arrive when doors open and make a beeline for the rosewater-cardamom pancakes, with warm rose water syrup and pistachios or the bolani, a crispy flatbread with filling options—pumpkin, leek and cilantro, onion and potatoes, or beef—and paired with chutney and yogurt. 

Del Mar
791 Wharf St. SW, 20024 Washington
$$$$ · Spanish

Chef Fabio Trabocchi’s restaurant owns a stylish resort-chic vibe by way of coastal blues and whites, polished brass fixtures and large windows overlooking the channel. Luxury ingredients find equal footing alongside classic Spanish flavor profiles, and the result is a can’t-miss menu. Barely touched or simply prepared, the beautifully presented fish are a highlight, but make sure to also sample their highly sought-after seasonal tapas, as well as the curated selection of Spanish meats and cheeses. Seasonal dishes have featured asparagus blanco, a thick stalk of French asparagus, poached and served over ajo blanco. Andalusian gambas al ajillo, starring shrimp laced with garlic and chilies, are accompanied by tufts of bread for sopping.

Unconventional Diner
1207 9th St. NW, 20001 Washington
$$ · American

With its white walls and seafoam-green booths, this “diner” may look like the classic American translation, but is in fact a far cry from your tuna-melt standby. Instead, this kitchen ramps up known classics by riffing on tradition. Look no further than the kale nachos or meatloaf elevated with a hint of sriracha and morel mushroom gravy. Roasted cauliflower tossed in tahini with fried chickpeas for crunch and pickled red onions for acidity is another win and goes to show that creating new traditions here is just as vital as jazzing up the old ones. Forget weekend queuing for brunch: it's served here every day before 4pm, so biscuits piled with sausage and hash browns and sweet potato shakshouka needn't be a weekend indulgence. 

Residents Cafe & Bar
1306 18th St. NW, 20036 Washington
$$ · Contemporary

A large greenery-donning patio out front greets diners to this "cafe," set within a black-painted row house. The space, spread over two levels, is thoroughly charming, thanks to a bar lined with mid-century modern stools, exposed brick, and plush seats. Edison bulbs and white hexagon floor tiles simply enhance the vintage vibe. The menu underscores an array of contemporary plates with Middle Eastern and European elements. Imagine Turkish eggs or salmon pastrami at brunch; smoked heirloom baby carrots with harissa and pistachio dukkah for lunch; and chicken schnitzel with a salad of Romaine hearts, charred corn, and tomatoes in a herb dressing at night. A classic and perfect Basque cake dusted with ras el hanout (at brunch, too) is matched only by a Caribbean coffee cocktail with aged rum.

3311 Connecticut Ave. NW, 20008 Washington
$$ · Mediterranean Cuisine

“Sababa,” which means “cool” in Hebrew slang, is exactly as advertised. The fine-tuned menu features Israeli salads, dips and kebabs, but small plates are its heart and soul. Choose from dishes such as charred eggplant with herbed labneh, fried cauliflower with tahini and raisins or pomegranate-glazed chicken liver. The list goes on, but one thing to never skip is the hummus. It’s so much more than the usual that it’s even listed as a daily special. Brunch is Sundays only 11am-3pm.

4445 Connecticut Ave. NW, 20008 Washington
$$ · Italian

When half your group wants brunch food and the other half is ready to dive into a bowl of pasta, come to this focused, consistent and lovely trattoria. The restaurant's name (Italian for “pasta master”) sets a very high bar but lives up to its moniker with a notable variety of hearty and elegant preparations listed as “classical” and “seasonal.” Highlights have included soft, almost whipped polenta folded with showers of cacio e pepe and piled with fresh green peas and shaved pecorino. On the compact brunch menu are toothsome standards like a caprese omelette and lemon ricotta pancakes.