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A pleasing plate of pancakes at Unconventional Diner.
Lia Manfredi/Unconventional Diner

16 Essential Brunch Destinations in D.C.

D.C.’s must-try restaurants for next-level avocado toast, khachapuri, bottomless Aperol spritzes, and more

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A pleasing plate of pancakes at Unconventional Diner.
| Lia Manfredi/Unconventional Diner

Brunch is sacred in D.C. With so many restaurants offering some variation of it, choosing the right place to catch up with friends, family members, and significant others over a midday meal can be overwhelming. This top-notch list is full of restaurants that are worth the time and investment whether your tastes lean towards French toast and fried chicken biscuits or eggs served in homemade Malaysian sambal.

For the hottest newest brunches to try in town, go here. And for the best bottomless deals around, check out this list.

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The kaleidoscope of sour, funky, spicy, and sweet flavors at this Malaysian mainstay in Columbia Heights translate well to brunch. Eggs in chef James Wozniuk’s fiery homemade chile sambal are a natural morning dish. People with a sweet tooth might gravitate towards biscuits and kaya — sweet and mellow coconut pandan custard. Char kway teow, a stir-fried flat noodle dish with sweet Chinese sausage, is another crowd-pleaser. Complement everything with acar (pickles) brimming with key lime and prunes, pineapple and ginger, or mixed vegetables and shrimp paste.

Nasi campur, or “with rice,” dishes at Makan include beef rendang, center; pajeri nenas (pineapple currry), top; ayam goreng (fried chicken with salted duck yolk and curry leaf), right, and okra in sambal.
Nasi campur, or “with rice,” dishes at Makan include beef rendang, center; pajeri nenas (pineapple currry), top; ayam goreng (fried chicken with salted duck yolk and curry leaf), right, and okra in sambal.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Primrose

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The whimsical bistro in Brookland sends out weekend brunch plates of shakshuka, latkes, and croque-madame from executive chef Oliver Friendly to go along with French wines and flutes of French 75 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Primrose opens for indoor or outdoor dining, with a patio makeover for spring currently under way.

Primrose’s stylish interior.
Sam Sanchez/Primrose

Compass Rose

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Sunday brunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at Rose Previte’s global plates place off 14th Street NW offers $40 food “tours,” cocktails that range from Mexican to Middle Eastern, and wines sourced from across the Mediterranean. The affordable prix fixe, which comes with a $38 vegetarian option, includes Georgian khachapuri, squash and e, and North African shakshuka, with beignets for dessert. Customers can also order Spanish patatas bravas or Irish spice bags full of fried chicken thighs from an a la carte section. Bottomless drinks like grapefruit-apricot mimosas are $30 more. For visitors who want to eat outside, the restaurant built covered patio on T Street NW with dining nooks dressed up like train cars.

Khachapuri from Compass Rose
Boat-shaped khachapuri from Compass Rose.
Compass Rose

Le Diplomate

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Diners can lounge at Stephen Starr’s ever-busy brasserie and sidewalk cafe for a long time; Le Diplomate serves brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Check out the raw bar selections, beef bourguignon, and the popular "Burger Americain.” Guests also come flocking for its “Les Oeufs” section of seven egg dishes. Go with the poached eggs basquaise, served with prosciutto and creamy polenta, or a lobster omelet. Brunch at St. Anselm, Starr’s American tavern in Union Market district, is also a good call.

Nina May

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The weekend brunch (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at this hyperlocal American restaurant in Logan Circle has plenty of outdoor seating. Opt for a “chef’s choice” ($35 per person) to sample a variety of dishes, or sample la carte items like an eggs Benedict with maple ham on toasted milk bread with red pepper hollandaise.

Formerly known as Turkish restaurant Ankara, Ala’s makeover reflects a Levantine approach that widens its scope to include cuisines from across the Eastern Mediterranean. A $44 brunch (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) includes bottomless meze, mains, sweets, and drinks, including 10 mimosa flavors at the bar. Attentive servers send out a parade of plates like falafel patties with beet sauce, fried halloumi with pine honey and dukkah, Turkish sausage omelets, and man’oushe with za’atar. Pretty much any of the dips are a safe bet here. A unique wine list that pulls from Georgia, Armenia, and Palestine is worth checking out.

Fried halloumi with dukka, pine honey, and chives from Ala
Fried halloumi with dukka, honey, and chives from Ala
Ala/Facebook

Unconventional Diner

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Brunch is served until 4 p.m. every day at the award-winning modern diner full of pop art adjacent to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Chef David Deshaies serves sweet potato shakshuka, avocado toast topped with confit egg yolk, and a Caribbean twist on shrimp and grits with andouille sausage, plantains, and pineapple-habanero sauce. UD’s “glam Italian” sibling L’Ardente rolls out brunch for the first time this spring.

Not-your-average shrimp and grits at Unconventional Diner.
Lia Manfredi/Unconventional Diner

Imperfecto

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This buzzy Mediterranean-Latin fusion restaurant from Seven Reasons chef Enrique Limardo leans into fine dining with modernist flourishes. The chef’s detailed, spicy avocado toast is one of the most gorgeous — and, at $28, most expensive — versions in the city. Soft focaccia acts as the base for a medley of fresh avocado, grilled octopus, smoked jalapeno dressing, and harissa mayonnaise. Other hits off the a la carte menu includes a flower-shaped carpaccio of smoked Ora King salmon with arugula chili oil. Instead of waffles, fried chicken comes with a delicate corn pancake and a drizzle of guajillo chile sauce that begs to be bottled.

The main dining room at Imperfecto
The main dining room at Imperfecto
Jennifer Chase/Imperfecto

Fiola Mare

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See and be seen brunching at Fiola Mare's swanky Georgetown waterfront location. From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekends, expect classics such as lemon ricotta pancakes, tagliatelle carbonara, and decadent seafood towers along with seasonal a la carte dishes. A baller three-course option ($95) includes an appetizer, brunch favorites, dessert, a warm pastry, and bottomless bubbly or brunch cocktails, with a 75-minute time limit.

Boqueria (Multiple locations)

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This boutique chain of Barcelona-style tapas bars sends out a stylish selection of tapas and egg-topped paella from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday across its handsome Penn Quarter dining room outfitted with sleek wooden tables, glowing banquettes, and oval lanterns. A la carte options include eggy paella, caramelized French toast with citrus honey, as well as the whole tapas menu. A “deluxe” bottomless drink deal features a stream of sangrías, bloody marys, and cava for $45 (90-minute limit). The same options are available at a Dupont Circle location with a front patio at the corner of M and 19th Streets NW.

Paella de mariscos loads up on seafood (monkfish, sepia, squid, shrimp, clams, mussels) alongside bomba rice, saffron, and salsa verde
Paella de mariscos loads up on seafood (monkfish, sepia, squid, shrimp, clams, mussels) alongside bomba rice, saffron, and salsa verde
Rey Lopez/Boqueria

At this Southern staple on Capitol Hill, chef Walfer Hernandez (Union Pub, The Eastern) designs fried chicken and waffles topped with bourbon whipped cream, apple compote, and basil candy. Other popular orders include carbonara with homemade tagliatelle and 18-month cured prosciutto and shrimp and grits jazzed up with Calabrian sausage and piquillo peppers. Wash down brunch bites with clarified milk punch cocktails or bloody marys with a serrano pepper kick, plus a $23 (for 2023) bottomless bubbly deal to boot. Dine in 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Saturday and all the way until 9 p.m. on Sunday for the later brunch set.

Barrel’s bottomless spread.
Sam Sanchez/Barrel

Ambar Capitol Hill

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Capitol Hill’s resident Balkan restaurant underwent a multi-million dollar renovation during the pandemic but didn’t change a thing about its beloved bottomless brunch ($34.99 per person, plus $12.99 for unlimited drinks). Popular orders that keep coming (for two hours) include potato hash, meze platters, beef prosciutto or salmon Benedict, beet tzatziki, and cinnamon sourdough, 

all designed to be washed down with bottomless mango hibiscus mimosas and bloody marys. Opt for seating across its expanded patio, indoors, or on a retractable rooftop on the third floor. An additional outpost in Clarendon is joined by a brand new location in Shaw.

Decoupaged pottery, trinkets and books line the shelves one the second-floor perch.
Photography by Goran Kosanovic

Boardwalk Bar & Arcade

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Waterfront brunch with a side of arcade games and Skee-ball? Yes, please. The year-old entertainment venue with the biggest bar at the Wharf sends out a surprisingly solid weekend lineup of avocado or French toast, breakfast burritos, and tacos. Go bottomless with unlimited bottles of bubbly and choice of cranberry juice, pineapple juice, or orange juice for $39.99 (90-minute limit).

Duke's Grocery Navy Yard

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The quirky, East London-style pub offers brunch at all three D.C. locations (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). There’s one of the best burgers in town — add a runny egg for $2.50 — along with a proper English breakfast and shakshuka. The decade-old Dupont original is currently closed for a facelift, and a brand new Navy Yard location joins its Woodley Park and Foggy Bottom outposts. All offer bottomless mimosas, bloodies, and select beer for $26.

A full English breakfast at Duke’s Grocery.
Duke’s Grocery

Shilling Canning Company

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Brunch at chef Reid Shilling’s Chesapeake restaurant in Navy Yard runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Rotating dishes on the a la carte menu include deviled eggs, buttermilk fried chicken with hot honey and hoe cakes, ham and cheddar biscuits, and croque-madame. The solid cocktail list includes mimosa carafes made with preserved local fruit.

All-Purpose (Multiple locations)

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This waterfront pizzeria in Navy Yard and Shaw draws large crowds for its egg-topped pies on weekends. Along with its full lineup of Jersey-style, deck-oven pizzas, popular orders include fiery wings with Calabrian chili honey; Sicilian “disco” fries with ‘nduja sausage, parm fonduta, and chives; and bottomless mimosas and Aperol spritzes for $23.

Pizza topped with greens and cheese.
A brunch pizza from All-Purpose Capitol Riverfront
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Makan

The kaleidoscope of sour, funky, spicy, and sweet flavors at this Malaysian mainstay in Columbia Heights translate well to brunch. Eggs in chef James Wozniuk’s fiery homemade chile sambal are a natural morning dish. People with a sweet tooth might gravitate towards biscuits and kaya — sweet and mellow coconut pandan custard. Char kway teow, a stir-fried flat noodle dish with sweet Chinese sausage, is another crowd-pleaser. Complement everything with acar (pickles) brimming with key lime and prunes, pineapple and ginger, or mixed vegetables and shrimp paste.

Nasi campur, or “with rice,” dishes at Makan include beef rendang, center; pajeri nenas (pineapple currry), top; ayam goreng (fried chicken with salted duck yolk and curry leaf), right, and okra in sambal.
Nasi campur, or “with rice,” dishes at Makan include beef rendang, center; pajeri nenas (pineapple currry), top; ayam goreng (fried chicken with salted duck yolk and curry leaf), right, and okra in sambal.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Primrose

The whimsical bistro in Brookland sends out weekend brunch plates of shakshuka, latkes, and croque-madame from executive chef Oliver Friendly to go along with French wines and flutes of French 75 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Primrose opens for indoor or outdoor dining, with a patio makeover for spring currently under way.

Primrose’s stylish interior.
Sam Sanchez/Primrose

Compass Rose

Sunday brunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at Rose Previte’s global plates place off 14th Street NW offers $40 food “tours,” cocktails that range from Mexican to Middle Eastern, and wines sourced from across the Mediterranean. The affordable prix fixe, which comes with a $38 vegetarian option, includes Georgian khachapuri, squash and e, and North African shakshuka, with beignets for dessert. Customers can also order Spanish patatas bravas or Irish spice bags full of fried chicken thighs from an a la carte section. Bottomless drinks like grapefruit-apricot mimosas are $30 more. For visitors who want to eat outside, the restaurant built covered patio on T Street NW with dining nooks dressed up like train cars.

Khachapuri from Compass Rose
Boat-shaped khachapuri from Compass Rose.
Compass Rose

Le Diplomate

Diners can lounge at Stephen Starr’s ever-busy brasserie and sidewalk cafe for a long time; Le Diplomate serves brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Check out the raw bar selections, beef bourguignon, and the popular "Burger Americain.” Guests also come flocking for its “Les Oeufs” section of seven egg dishes. Go with the poached eggs basquaise, served with prosciutto and creamy polenta, or a lobster omelet. Brunch at St. Anselm, Starr’s American tavern in Union Market district, is also a good call.

Nina May

The weekend brunch (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at this hyperlocal American restaurant in Logan Circle has plenty of outdoor seating. Opt for a “chef’s choice” ($35 per person) to sample a variety of dishes, or sample la carte items like an eggs Benedict with maple ham on toasted milk bread with red pepper hollandaise.

Ala

Formerly known as Turkish restaurant Ankara, Ala’s makeover reflects a Levantine approach that widens its scope to include cuisines from across the Eastern Mediterranean. A $44 brunch (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) includes bottomless meze, mains, sweets, and drinks, including 10 mimosa flavors at the bar. Attentive servers send out a parade of plates like falafel patties with beet sauce, fried halloumi with pine honey and dukkah, Turkish sausage omelets, and man’oushe with za’atar. Pretty much any of the dips are a safe bet here. A unique wine list that pulls from Georgia, Armenia, and Palestine is worth checking out.

Fried halloumi with dukka, pine honey, and chives from Ala
Fried halloumi with dukka, honey, and chives from Ala
Ala/Facebook

Unconventional Diner

Brunch is served until 4 p.m. every day at the award-winning modern diner full of pop art adjacent to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Chef David Deshaies serves sweet potato shakshuka, avocado toast topped with confit egg yolk, and a Caribbean twist on shrimp and grits with andouille sausage, plantains, and pineapple-habanero sauce. UD’s “glam Italian” sibling L’Ardente rolls out brunch for the first time this spring.

Not-your-average shrimp and grits at Unconventional Diner.
Lia Manfredi/Unconventional Diner

Imperfecto

This buzzy Mediterranean-Latin fusion restaurant from Seven Reasons chef Enrique Limardo leans into fine dining with modernist flourishes. The chef’s detailed, spicy avocado toast is one of the most gorgeous — and, at $28, most expensive — versions in the city. Soft focaccia acts as the base for a medley of fresh avocado, grilled octopus, smoked jalapeno dressing, and harissa mayonnaise. Other hits off the a la carte menu includes a flower-shaped carpaccio of smoked Ora King salmon with arugula chili oil. Instead of waffles, fried chicken comes with a delicate corn pancake and a drizzle of guajillo chile sauce that begs to be bottled.

The main dining room at Imperfecto
The main dining room at Imperfecto
Jennifer Chase/Imperfecto

Fiola Mare

See and be seen brunching at Fiola Mare's swanky Georgetown waterfront location. From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekends, expect classics such as lemon ricotta pancakes, tagliatelle carbonara, and decadent seafood towers along with seasonal a la carte dishes. A baller three-course option ($95) includes an appetizer, brunch favorites, dessert, a warm pastry, and bottomless bubbly or brunch cocktails, with a 75-minute time limit.

Boqueria (Multiple locations)

This boutique chain of Barcelona-style tapas bars sends out a stylish selection of tapas and egg-topped paella from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday across its handsome Penn Quarter dining room outfitted with sleek wooden tables, glowing banquettes, and oval lanterns. A la carte options include eggy paella, caramelized French toast with citrus honey, as well as the whole tapas menu. A “deluxe” bottomless drink deal features a stream of sangrías, bloody marys, and cava for $45 (90-minute limit). The same options are available at a Dupont Circle location with a front patio at the corner of M and 19th Streets NW.

Paella de mariscos loads up on seafood (monkfish, sepia, squid, shrimp, clams, mussels) alongside bomba rice, saffron, and salsa verde
Paella de mariscos loads up on seafood (monkfish, sepia, squid, shrimp, clams, mussels) alongside bomba rice, saffron, and salsa verde
Rey Lopez/Boqueria

Barrel

At this Southern staple on Capitol Hill, chef Walfer Hernandez (Union Pub, The Eastern) designs fried chicken and waffles topped with bourbon whipped cream, apple compote, and basil candy. Other popular orders include carbonara with homemade tagliatelle and 18-month cured prosciutto and shrimp and grits jazzed up with Calabrian sausage and piquillo peppers. Wash down brunch bites with clarified milk punch cocktails or bloody marys with a serrano pepper kick, plus a $23 (for 2023) bottomless bubbly deal to boot. Dine in 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Saturday and all the way until 9 p.m. on Sunday for the later brunch set.

Barrel’s bottomless spread.
Sam Sanchez/Barrel

Ambar Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill’s resident Balkan restaurant underwent a multi-million dollar renovation during the pandemic but didn’t change a thing about its beloved bottomless brunch ($34.99 per person, plus $12.99 for unlimited drinks). Popular orders that keep coming (for two hours) include potato hash, meze platters, beef prosciutto or salmon Benedict, beet tzatziki, and cinnamon sourdough, 

all designed to be washed down with bottomless mango hibiscus mimosas and bloody marys. Opt for seating across its expanded patio, indoors, or on a retractable rooftop on the third floor. An additional outpost in Clarendon is joined by a brand new location in Shaw.

Decoupaged pottery, trinkets and books line the shelves one the second-floor perch.
Photography by Goran Kosanovic

Boardwalk Bar & Arcade

Waterfront brunch with a side of arcade games and Skee-ball? Yes, please. The year-old entertainment venue with the biggest bar at the Wharf sends out a surprisingly solid weekend lineup of avocado or French toast, breakfast burritos, and tacos. Go bottomless with unlimited bottles of bubbly and choice of cranberry juice, pineapple juice, or orange juice for $39.99 (90-minute limit).

Duke's Grocery Navy Yard

The quirky, East London-style pub offers brunch at all three D.C. locations (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). There’s one of the best burgers in town — add a runny egg for $2.50 — along with a proper English breakfast and shakshuka. The decade-old Dupont original is currently closed for a facelift, and a brand new Navy Yard location joins its Woodley Park and Foggy Bottom outposts. All offer bottomless mimosas, bloodies, and select beer for $26.

A full English breakfast at Duke’s Grocery.
Duke’s Grocery

Shilling Canning Company

Brunch at chef Reid Shilling’s Chesapeake restaurant in Navy Yard runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Rotating dishes on the a la carte menu include deviled eggs, buttermilk fried chicken with hot honey and hoe cakes, ham and cheddar biscuits, and croque-madame. The solid cocktail list includes mimosa carafes made with preserved local fruit.

Related Maps

All-Purpose (Multiple locations)

This waterfront pizzeria in Navy Yard and Shaw draws large crowds for its egg-topped pies on weekends. Along with its full lineup of Jersey-style, deck-oven pizzas, popular orders include fiery wings with Calabrian chili honey; Sicilian “disco” fries with ‘nduja sausage, parm fonduta, and chives; and bottomless mimosas and Aperol spritzes for $23.

Pizza topped with greens and cheese.
A brunch pizza from All-Purpose Capitol Riverfront
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Related Maps