But it’s the brunches that keep our world spinning. Those so-real-it-hurts honest reviews of the District’s best and worst spots for your weekend binges—and believe it or not, we had more than a hundred of them in 2014.
But, we couldn’t have conquered this year without the support of the tremendous businesses we’re lucky to call our partners. Much gratitude goes to VIDA Fitness and Aura Spa, the EatWell Group, UrbanStems, True Currency, Lavagna, Beasley Real Estate, Wooden Nickel Bar Company, Whispering Angel Rose, Nail Saloon, PRESS Juice Bar, Pacers, Casa Oaxaca, Michel Richard’s Central, Medium Rare, Piola and LaTomate Bistro.
Drum roll, please! Here are the best and worst brunches of 2014. And don’t forget to click here to see the Best Brunch Bites of the year, too.
While we gave a handful of As this year, both of us agree, Fiola Mare is a truly classy gem with phenomenal cuisine and warm service on the Georgetown waterfront. We have to say, it’s our favorite brunch of the year.
Best Bottomless Brunch
It’s a tie. Cori Sue loved Bar Charley, a chill space and vibe, really good food, and a hard-to-beat bottomless deal. Becca loved the solid bottomless brunch at Alba Osteria—plus the eggs options on the menu were tremendous.
Best Affordable Brunch
Commissary got an A for being the neighborhood classic, a quick, inexpensive, and good brunch. A solid, trusty standby for a frigid day if you’re in the neighborhood.
Best New Brunch
It was hard to get a table for dinner at Mike Isabella’s Kapnos when it opened up earlier this year, and the Greek brunch turned out to be equally as unique and delicious as the dinner menu.
Best Bang For Your Buck
Michel Richard’s Central is a solid fancy-pants brunch with non-fancy-pants prices. We love the bottomless three-course prix fixe and the great service.
Best International Brunch
Maybe we’re biased, but we love a good Argentine steakhouse. Rural Society is an over-looked, upscale spot downtown that improved from its previous ownership and is a great place to go for a celebratory brunch.
Alphonse has a delightful atmosphere with comforting Italian food that would make for a great spot for many occasions, from a casual brunch to an intimate date night.
Macon Bistro & Larder is a splendid setting for brunch with craft cocktails and gourmet Southern comfort cuisine with a twist.
Best Party Brunch
STK threw an epic one-time party brunch over the summer, and the restaurant has promised a series of more. The DJ, free-flowing champagne, and space to dance makes this a great spot for a classy daytime dance party.
Best Yoga Brunch
The Riz-Carlton Georgetown Yoga Brunch offers amazing cuisine in a lovely setting with an outdoor yoga class prior. A wonderful way to spend a summer Saturday.
Given our love of Spanish cuisine and stunning patios, we had a feeling brunch at Bar Barcelona would be lovely. We were right.
Brunch at Casa Oaxaca provides a great value and top-notch service for food that is consistently delicious.
Best for a Brunch Date
Gorgeously romantic, Iron Gate has great service, brilliantly flavorful brunch dishes, and a striking back patio.
It’s a tie. The Heights brunch has something fresh and natural for everyone in a great, friendly environment, always. Circa at Clarendon always has good service, quality food and cocktails, and comfortable environment.
Satellite Room has an awesome vibe, great gourmet junk food as well as healthy options, and a killer patio, rain or shine. The service knocked it down a notch.
Best Chill Brunch
Red Rocks is a solid, laid-back, not-too-many-frills brunch with bottomless mimosas and friendly accommodating staff.
Best Family Brunch
We’re not typically fans of buffet brunches, but Pinstripes is great for a buffet. The mimosas flow constantly, and there’s bocce, bowling and plenty of amusement for the kiddos.
Best Reason to Go South
Copperwood Tavern is brunch perfection in Virginia. It’s just enough of everything for a big group of hard-to-please Bitches.
Best for Brunch Events
A successful baby shower and other large events are made possible by the gorgeous space, delicious food, and friendly staff at Rustico.
Best Brunch for the Seafood Lover
Eat the Rich has unique dishes, great wine, cocktails, and mimosas, and delicious, fresh seafood. We wish there were a few more menu options, is all.
Best Brunch for the Meat Lover
From the ambiance to the service to the top-notch grub, Urban Butcher’s brunch can’t be beat. Carnivore or vegetarian, there are options for everyone.
Best Small Plates
Cava Mezze is an affordable, delicious, fill-you-up Mediterranean brunch. We loved everything from pita breads to the carnivorous share plates to the heavenly French toast.
Best Traditional Breakfast
The Jefferson is perfect for a traveler or local looking for a simple, classic breakfast in a stunning, calm environment with exemplary service.
Best Jazz Brunch
The food at Rialto is decent and the baroque decor and upscale ambiance is great for a gals brunch, and the jazz is quite good.
Best Sustainable Brunch
We love the ambiance and sustainability ethic at Bidwell. We also love the set-up of the substantial menu and the willingness to innovate.
Best Fancy Brunch
Mio is great place to bring the parents, pinky out, but not really a go-to for the bottomless Bitches on spring break.
Best Hipster Brunch
Beuchert’s Saloon is super adorable and ready for you and your hipster best.
Best Brunch for Dinner
Southern Hospitality is nothing gourmet, but the food is reliable and classic. The drinks are bottomless, and the ambiance super fun.
Best Brunch with Baseball
Brunch at Nationals Park is nothing but fun, food, and Americana festivities. You might even see some fireworks.
CoCo Sala is the Willy Wonka of restaurants, and definitely the place to go for dessert, chocolate, and frou frou cocktail concoctions. For brunch, the non-saccharine cuisine struggles to meet our standards.
The food was hit or miss, perhaps because Creme has lost its “soul” in its new 14th Street spot.
It’s a tie. In the District, Duke’s Grocery had such bad service we could barely stomach the brunch. In Virginia, Vermillion was the same: the service painfully slow, nulling out any hope for the food.
The food was excellent and the staff was very friendly at Grillfish, but the décor is a bit too Old World for a lively brunch.
The ambiance and food presentation is not great at Dino’s Grotto, but Dino knows his ingredients and whips up some pretty amazing dishes under the ancient ambiance.
Not Worth the Hype
Go to Lupo Verde for a romantic dinner. For brunch, stick with the appetizers and cocktails. But not too many, lest you break the bank.
The unique menu at Carving Room didn’t exactly pan out as promised. The restaurant has a promising bottomless, deal, though, if you’re not that picky about the food.
America Eats Tavern lost all its charm in the move to Tysons Corner, but the food we had at brunch was decent.
Worst Bang For Your Buck
Table was a let down this year. We wish the French restaurant would go back to its original brunch menu, or at least make the portions a little bigger and give back a few more options.
Worst Small Plates
Teddy & The Bully Bar is a solid party brunch but the small plates dishes are hit or miss—and some we felt had been sitting under the heat lamp for far too long.
Biggest Fall From Grace
Marvin has steeped in its comfort since its original opening years ago. While the restaurant is a classic, we hope it will pull up its boot-straps and innovate a bit.
Worst Empty Kitchen
GBD Chicken and Doughnuts makes really delicious fried chicken and biscuits. However, the doughnuts are either seriously delicious, deeply disappointing, or completely missing, which is unacceptable when that’s your restaurant’s niche.
Most Likely to Improve
The food at Del Campo is hit or miss, with some dishes are delicious and others that are confusing and sad. While the ambiance is upscale and the presentation lovely, the service is terrible. At the end of it all, you’re presented with a steep bill—we’d expect more.
Worst up North
Miss Shirley’s has a mediocre atmosphere, average food, but awesome service. It just wasn’t everything we wanted it to be.
Worst Brunch Attempt
1905 was rough around the edges, with its clumsy service and dusty decor, and the brunch dishes are hit or miss.
Biggest Lack of Creativity
Don’t be lazy, Penn Commons. Adding bottomless and a benedict to an already established menu does not a successful brunch make.
Cafe Dupont had disappointing service and subpar food. The patio was the only redeeming quality that saved the resto.
Go for appetizers and cocktails at Eatonville if you’re unable to snag a table anywhere else in the neighborhood, which has far better options.