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D.C. Best and Worst Brunches of 2015

Best and Worst Brunches
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What a year it’s been! This year we not only launched in our third city, Chicago, but also gave ourselves a bit of a makeover. We love our new look, and we’re so glad you told us you do, too! Thanks to each and every one of you for reading.

We also reviewed hundreds of brunches in the District and around the world. And we kept growing on new platforms like Snapchat (follow @BitchesWhBrunch for live brunch and party Snaps) and YouTube (watch out for videos of your favorite Bitches in 2016!).

But we can’t have such an amazing year without our partners—the local businesses who keep us Bitching year in, year out. We truly appreciate their support, and we hope you, as our readers, support them, too!

Special thank you to our long-standing partners including Commissary, Lavagna, VIDA Fitness, Aura Spa and Penthouse Pool, Tyler Jeffrey at Washington Fine Properties, Central by Michel Richard, UrbanStems, and Whispering Angel.

Also thanks to our new partners this year, including DC Harvest, The Grill Room at Capella, Crave Bethesda, Fete, Glen’s Garden Market, Guajillo, Heirloom Catering, La Tomate, Mosaic, nailsaloon, Olivia Macaron, Silver, and Studio Theatre. We work with these businesses and restaurants because we truly love them—give them a try.

And without further ado, here is our very Bitchy list—the very best and the very worst of the brunches we experienced in Washington this year. For New York, click here. For Chicago, click here. Time to make your 2016 brunch resolutions, Bitches.

The Best

Best Overall: Tie

Everyone knows we struggle naming more than one favorite. While last year Fiola Mare was the uncontested winner for best brunch of 2014, this year was harder to decide on just one. Instead, we have five recommendations for brunch in 2015: Hank’s on the Hill, DC Harvest, Republic, Casa Luca, and Glen’s Garden Market. We’ll be going to those spots again and again. You can read their reviews and accolades, below.

Best Seafood: Hank’s on the Hill

We loved everything about brunch at Hank’s on the Hill. First, the seafood: shrimp po’boy, shrimp and grits, and lobster rolls. The menu of craft cocktails is impressive, plus Hank’s serves boozy cereals. Brunch concludes with key lime pie, as any meal should. Read the review here.


Best Grab-and-Go Brunch: Glen’s Garden Market

We love Glen’s for healthy groceries, lunches, catering and happy hour—we pretty much love Glen’s for everything. But the bagel sandwiches are the best thing we’ve eaten all year. Go eat a egg, sausage and cheese Bull Frog Bagel sandwich now. Thank us later. Read our review here.

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Best Vegetarian-friendly Brunch: Oyamel

We appreciate how Oyamel diversifies its menu and offers authentic flavors from regions across Mexico. If you’re a veg, order the Frijoles Rebosero, Taco de hongos con crema (wild mushroom tacos), Col de bruselas estilo San Quintín (crispy Brussels sprouts). Read our review here.

Best Upscale Brunch: Rasika

We were impressed that the brunch menu at Rasika West End captured the flavors and culinary styles from various regions of India. The service was excellent and the bottomless option makes Rasika a perfect group brunch spot for a special occasion. Plus, it’s a shining star in the relatively empty Foggy Bottom. In particular, we loved the Indian Bread Pudding, Crab Poha, and Pao Bhaji. Read our review here.

Coconut Jaggery Pancakes

Best Neighborhood Brunch: Boundary Road

Boundary Road is a quality neighborhood bistro for hearty American fare, with generous portions and a chill atmosphere. We love this spot for dinner, drinks, and brunch. Read the review here.

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Best Brunch Experience: China Chilcano

Jose Andres is nothing if not an exhibitionist. Our favorite flamboyant Spanish chef comes at us with a Peruvian and Asian restaurant loaded with unique dishes, plenty of seafood, and about eight variations of a Pisco Sour, the Peruvian cocktail. If the scallop ceviche artfully presented in scallop shells wasn’t enough to wow, brunch will end with a chocolate snail. Read our reviews here and here.

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Best Party Brunch: Watch Your Manor

We are working our way through the drag and party brunches in Washington. We had a ball at Watch Your Manor, though the service and food could have been a bit better. Read our review here.

Best Roll Out of Bed Brunch: El Rey

You won’t find much at El Rey—just a large, festive patio, burritos, chips and salsa, and mimosas. But, that’s really all you need. Rough Friday night? Roll out of bed and head over to El Rey to get after it again. Read our review here.

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Best Hotel Brunch: The Grill Room at Capella

You’d be hard pressed to find a nicer hotel in Washington than Capella. The, modern, glamorous hotel is stunning and the service impeccable. We loved the truffle burger and the cinnamon raisin French toast. Read our review here.  

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Best Brunch to See and Be Seen: Fig & Olive

This posh CityCenterDC restaurant is a beautiful spot for cocktails or a business lunch on the patio. On the weekends, you’ll find it full of beautiful 20-somethings and a fair share of Europeans. This is one brunch where we won’t be wearing our Lululemon leggings. Read our review here.


Best Ambiance: Compass Rose

We loved the cozy, eclectic, and Bohemian Compass Rose, an international-themed restaurant built into a row house off 14th Street. It reminds us of a hostel in Southern Spain with a bit of North African flair. The cool spot is owned by a local couple and organizes the menu by nation. Order the Shakshuka and the beignets. Read our review here.

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Most Instagrammable Brunch Food: DC Harvest

DC Harvest is a true gem. The H Street restaurant sources more than three quarters of its menu from local farmers and butchers—yet it’s incredibly affordable and unpretentious. There’s a great bottomless deal, fresh, hearty classic brunch fare, beautiful cheese plates, and stunning, delectable desserts. Plus, the bar has marble counter tops. Read our review here.

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Most Reliable: Lavagna

We’ve been brunching at Lavagna for five years and the restaurant never does us wrong. Too bad we can’t say that about boys or Bitches. The pastas are made in-house—the risotto and the fried egg ravioli will blow your mind. The bottomless deal, fruit plate, and chocolate pot du creme are personal reasons for repeated visits. Read our latest review here.

Lavagna Brunch

Best Service: La Tomate

La Tomate is a family-run Italian bistro that’s been in business in Dupont Circle for 28 years. While this might seem boring, it’s actually anything but. The brunch is bottomless and utterly delicious. The bread basket alone is worth the trip—but the brunch burger with a fried egg seals the deal. Darling Natalina, an Italian Nonna and owner, will seat you at your table and force dessert upon you, like any good Grandmother would. Read our review here.

Best Gluten-Free: True Food Kitchen

The Bitches say: A. A healthy brunch that is still satisfying. A great addition to Mosaic District and a restaurant that’s worth a trip to the suburbs. The smoothies and the breakfast tacos hit the spot. Plus, the gluten- and dairy-free chocolate cake with coconut milk ice cream is the stuff dreams are made of. Read our review here.

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Best Patio: Doi Moi

Doi Moi is a stunning restaurant and patio, with its white tables, chairs, and umbrellas, is perfect for a summer brunch. The cocktails can’t be beat, and the shareable dishes of Asian food are delish. Gather a group of beautiful Bitches and brunch there, followed by a day on 14th Street, when the warm weather arrives. Read our review here.

Best Brunch Deal: Mandu Mandu

Mandu Mandu is an absolute steal at more food than you could ever eat for $15: order a brunch entree, plus receive a smorgasbord of Asian appetizers and dessert—three course for $15. Plus, t two things Bitches love, the cocktails and the patio, are both great. Read our review here.

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Best Brunch for Visitors: Central

Located on Pennsylvania Avenue? Check. Owned by a famous, original D.C. era chef? Check. High end? Check. Bottomless? Check. Central has it all.  The upscale French restaurant the perfect place to bring out-of-towners on any occasion, but at brunch, the restaurant offers a three-course prix fixe plus bottomless. Read our review here.

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Best Mexican Brunch: Guajillo

Guajillo serves authentic Mexican cuisine in a fun, unpretentious, and family-friendly environment. It’s a family-run Mexican restaurant with real Oaxacan fare. Read our review here.

Best Brunch Date Spot: Centrolina

Centrolina is the perfect spot for a low-key, intimate brunch. You can’t go wrong with an Italian influenced brunch menu and excellent service in a unique environment. Don’t leave without trying the ricotta gnocchi with apricot sage butter and toasted black walnuts. Read our review here.

Best Hangover Brunch: Bar Deco

Bar Deco is great for a hearty, group brunch in an urban space with great music and outstanding service. We’d go back to watch a football game on the roof or to catch up with a group of friends. Read our review here.

Best of Neighborhoods

Best Brunch in Barracks Row: Chesapeake Room Chesapeake Room had a makeover—and came back better than ever. The deviled eggs were delicious and that spicy fried chicken and waffles would make any Southerner proud. It’s perfect, hearty fare for a wintry day. Read our review here.

Chesapeake Room 18

Best Brunch in Navy Yard: Scarlet Oak

Scarlet Oak is a relaxed and unpretentious neighborhood restaurant with fresh, well-prepared American fare, a large patio, and a great bottomless deal of $15. We’d sit out on the patio drinking bellinis and eating that fried chicken eggs Benedict every weekend if we could. Read our review here.

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Best Brunch Downtown: Casa Luca

We were so impressed by Casa Luca, which isn’t surprising as we loved sister restaurants Fiola and Fiola Mare. The beautiful space offers a gourmet prix fixe meal with a bottomless option. It’s no surprise that the bread basket and pastries were phenomenal, but we’ve never gotten so excited about a salad. (A kale Caesar, if you must know.) Read our review here.

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Best Brunch in Cleveland Park: St. Arnold’s Mussel Bar

With its moules frites and waffles in a cozy, comfy environment, St. Arnold’s is a solid no-frills neighborhood brunch for a cold day. Worth the trek up the red line just to chill out in this laid-back spot. The service is fantastic, too. Read our review here.

Best Brunch in Georgetown: Chez Billy Sud

We love everything about Chez Billy Sud—the charming, vintage restaurant is built into a cottage of sorts. They serve delectable pastries, snazzy cocktails, and a great brunch burger. It’s about time Georgetown got a decent restaurant. Read our review here.

Best Brunch in Takoma Park: Republic

Republic comes to us from Blacks Restaurant Group, the folks behind BlackJack, Black Salt, and Pearl Dive. Inside, the restaurant is like a vintage speakeasy, with lots of black, white, red, and glam. Outside, there’s an unpretentious patio with wooden tables and organic vibes. The seafood is great—and the craft cocktails even better. And, the monkey bread will blow your mind. Read our review here.

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Best Brunch in Shaw: Right Proper Brewing Co.

Shaw has lots of great restaurants but not enough brunch. We saddled up to the picnic benches at Right Proper Brewing Co. for beers, burgers, and grilled cheese. While the brunch menu is small, the pancakes are top notch. Beer and pancakes, Bitches. Read our review here.

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Best Brunch in Capitol Hill: Barrel This cozy whiskey bar and restaurant on Pennsylvania has character—and great food. Though the chef was quickly booted off Top Chef, we’re happy he’s back in the kitchen. The cinnamon roll and sparkling cocktail were phenomenal. Plus, the pasta is made in house.  Read our review here.

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Best Brunch in Bethesda: Silver

We’re taking the red line out to Silver, which has all the good things about the classic Silver Diner, but wrapped up nicely in a brunch menu: delicious milkshakes, epic pancake platters, and some chicken pot pie. Plus it’s super family-friendly, too. Read our review here.


Best in Mosaic District: Brine

We love spending the day at Mosaic District: the shopping, the farmer’s markets, the movies, the fun! While Target is worth the trip, so is True Food Kitchen.  Then, we discovered Brine and we’re confident Mosaic is a brunch go-to. Our Brine review will post next week, but trust us, this spot is worth a visit. Review coming next week!


The Worst

Worst Overall: Ping Pong Dim Sum

The overarching theme with Ping Pong’s brunch is that while the dishes have exotic flavor descriptions, the food itself lacks flavor and the ingredients are of the worst quality—resulting in a mesh of bland, confusing, often icky bites. We literally said “ew” after most of our bites and just had to stop eating. The Bitches stopped brunching. Read our review here.

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Worst Mimosa: Philos

You know the rule with brunch: As the quantity increases, the quality decreases. That is a fact of life we lament most in bottomless, endless brunches. The mimosas at Philos were made with Sunny D and champagne, the latter of which we couldn’t even taste. What a poor excuse for a mimosa. Read our review here.

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Worst Letdown: Satellite Room

We love the vibe and scene at Satellite Room, and the bottomless deal is a good one. But they minimized the menu—no more chicken biscuits! The quality of the food declined as well: the bacon was greasy and the hash browns were from the freezer. And our server took 20 minutes to arrive with water or mimosas on a 95 degree day. Read our review here.

Worst Ambiance: Ankara

Ankara offers authentic Turkish food with great service in a truly unfortunate and lackluster restaurant. There’s an enormous patio and a cheap bottomless and endless option, but it’s located on 19th Street in an ugly part of town. And the build out is hideous: bright lights, low ceilings, cheap furniture—it reminds us of a cafeteria. It’s not totally their fault; the last restaurant there (Levantes) was ugly, too. Read our review here.

Worst Mexican: Rosa Mexicano

Once upon a time, we were young, stupid, and loved Rosa Mexicano. Oh, the long lost days of tableside guac. Our taste buds have grown more discerning, the District’s competition in restaurants has improved, and, most importantly, the quality of cuisine at Rosa has gone down. We won’t judge you if you go for the mimosas and guacamole, though. Read our review here.

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Worst Service: Brookland Pint

We trekked over to Brookland, as we’re in love with the neighborhood. Brookland Pint is a cozy, unpretentious neighborhood spot—but why were the servers so moronic? They sat us directly next to a table of toddlers in an empty restaurant and said “no” to every common request. Read our review here.

Worst Buffet: Mari Vanna

Mari Vanna, the Russian restaurant on Connecticut Avenue, is kitshy in the best possible way and frequented by Russians. The service was awful—and buffets are just difficult. We would have loved to appreciate Russian cuisine, but it was cold, mushy, and poorly executed on the buffet line. Next time, we’ll just take shots of vodka. Read our review here.

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Worst Hotel Brunch: Nage

Oh, poor Nage. The food was awful years ago; it’s still pretty bad now. Worse than the food is the hideous ambiance reminiscent of a 1990s motel—fingerprints on the windows, a vintage ATM, and the poor wait staff dressed as if they work at Denny’s. How does that Marriott even stay in business? Read our review here.


BitchBiz: Bitches Who Brunch partners with Lavagna, Central, DC Harvest, The Grill Room at Capella, Crave, Glen’s Garden Market, Guajillo, La Tomate, Mosaic District, and Silver. While this article was written independently, we do receive compensation from these companies. 

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