It’s official. It’s spring. And it’s freaking beautiful outside (well, hopefully it will be very soon, whenever it warms up again). The tourists are flocking in, the cherry blossoms are blooming, and suddenly all is good again in the world.
This weekend, pack a picnic, find a grassy spot near the Tidal Basin, and plunk yourself directly under those gorgeous pink blooms, like we did last year. Or better yet, be served—have brunch somewhere outdoors, on a patio, or in a restaurant that can swing open its windows and let you feel the fresh air.
Here are our recommendations …
Go For the View (but, perhaps, not for the food)
When Cori Sue brunched at the Kennedy Center Roof Terrace Restaurant last year, she said the food was crap. But the view, people, the view is amazing. Looking directly out over the National Mall and the Tidal Basin, it might be the best spot to take in the blooms. You’ll likely forget that you swore off mediocre buffets.
Indigo Landing takes in the view from the other side of the Potomac, in Arlington. There’s live music inside and a gorgeous patio for outdoor dining. It’s ripe for events or special occasions (there are lots of wedding receptions there). But, again, it’s a buffet. And you know how we feel about buffets.
Bring the Pooch
Nestled in lovely Del Ray is Evening Star Cafe, a colorful restaurant with a patio perfect for people- (and dog-) watching. In fact, the entire neighborhood is super dog-friendly and adorable. You’ll likely want to enjoy their fab brunch and then wander off to boutiques and wine and cheese shops for the rest of the afternoon.
If you’re in the District, head to the Chesapeake Room on Barracks Row, which has super comfy armchairs in its patio. Also dog-friendly, this restaurant makes you feel like you’re on the Maryland shore, with a menu focused on sustainable and organic cuisine, and seafood.
It’s hard to talk about nice views of the District without mentioning the epic brunch from POV on the roof of the W Hotel. For $39, you get a hot dish of your choosing, a complete cold buffet, and bottomless bellinis or Bloody Marys. Lounge on one of the sofas overlooking the city, and enjoy the sun and the live music.
I think it’s the adorable plush striped pillows on the patio’s benches at Napoleon Bistro & Lounge that won us over. It certainly wasn’t the service (we’re talking a terrible waitress and a broken credit card machine). The food, the cocktails, the bartender is all grand. Just whip your patio server into shape.
Lounge under the big umbrellas on the cobblestone sidewalks of Georgetown at the Peacock Cafe. It boasts Washington’s first full-service fresh fruit and vegetable bar, and did we mention its fab Happy Day Brunch (we love a brunch with an official name)? It’s no-frills good food and good ambiance. Who could ask for more than that?
Go off the Beaten Track
Super chill inside and out, Whitlow’s on Wilson is right in the heart of buzzing Clarendon. In fact, patio brunch is so hot in this Virginia ‘hood that sometimes it’s hard to maneuver around all the pedestrians and outdoor tables. Whitlow’s has great food and beer, and – here’s the best part – a Bloody Mary bar.
Vinoteca‘s back patio might not have cherry blossom blooms, but it does have bocce blooms .. err, balls. And, bottomless mimosas with a great, affordable brunch. ‘Nuff said.
Other Brunch Events We Recommend This Weekend
In the spirit of the Final Four, Rustico in Ballston is hosting Bloody Mary finals. “Who will triumph when Bloody Shawn’s Sriracha Mary throws it down against Bloody John’s Classic Mary? Only the public will decide. Get in here, taste these masterful concoctions and cast your vote.” No patio, but how can you pass up that offer? Check out the bracket.
The Passenger is donating a portion of the proceeds from its Sunday Cherry Blossom-inspired brunch to aid victims in Japan. Go.