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The Bitches Guide to Michelin Brunches in D.C.

Bitches Brunch Guide
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Thanks to the arrival of the Michelin Guide in Washington, our fair city is getting all sorts of dining attention. And, dinner reservations at the featured restaurants are now even harder to come by, so why not consider checking them out for brunch? It’s usually less crowded and more affordable than the dinner menu, anyway.

Some of our very favorite restaurants made it into the Michelin Guide, though many of the star awardees do not serve the Bitches’ preferred meal. Our favorite two restaurants of 2016, the Dabney and Kinship, both received one star. And we’re still eagerly awaiting the announcements of when they will serve brunch. Similarly, Thip Khao, which received a Bib Gourmand nod—is one of my very favorite places for a casual meal. (You can read our dinner experience hereIn fact, the only two restaurants that received  Michelin stars also serve brunch—both are located in posh, downtown hotels. Plume at the Jefferson and Blue Duck Tavern, respectively). 

Pecan Sticky Buns

That being said, many of the Bib Gourmand winners, known for being more affordable, serve brunch. We took a look at our Bitchy brunches of years past to determine whether the fancy pants Michelin Guide made the right choice in selecting these restaurants. Below, we highlight what makes these brunch spots noteworthy and whether or not the Michelin nod is well deserved. 

The Michelin Bib Gourmand Brunches: What do the Bitches say?

Bidwell

We love the all-natural, local focus at Bidwell, an American restaurant located in Union Market. The focus on fresh and local is serious—so serious that they source many of the vegetables and herbs used in the food and the cocktails from the hydroponic rooftop garden. Status: worthy. Read the full review here.

Bidwell Brunch 66

Boqueria 

The prix fixe with bottomless brunch and expansive menu at Boqueria make it a great place for brunch, and helps the restaurant overcome its terrible location and New York City chain status. We love the shareable, classic Spanish tapas, charcuterie and cheese boards and those chocolate-stuffed churros. But, is the food noteworthy? It’s just plain ole’ good, but not so special that it deserves a Michelin nod. Status: Not worthy. Read the full review here.

Boqueria Brunch

China Chilcano 

José Andrés received quite a lot of love from the Michelin Guide, which seems fair as he’s Washington’s original celebrity chef. We love the friendly, vivacious chef, and his restaurants. China Chilcano, a Peruvian-Japanese spot, is certainly the most unique dining experience. Go hungry, and go with a big group—and try everything you can. But, be sure to order a selection of dumplings (including a gold-flaked varietal), and the HaKao, the steamed glass dumplings with shrimp. The ceviches are incredibly fresh and beautiful, including a live scallop ceviche, beautifully presented on the half shell. Status: Worthy. Read the full review here.

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Doi Moi

Doi Moi is a great go-to because of its convenient location, (right on 14th street), large space (for large parties and last-minute reservations), and beautiful decor (perfect for meeting a friend for a cocktail and quick bite). Speaking of cocktails, we love its evening bar program and the killer Blood Orange mimosas at brunch. The Asian food is shareable and hearty. Status: worthy. Read the full review here.

Jaleo 

José Andrés received quite a lot of love from Michelin, but Jaleo is lackluster. The popular restaurant is an easy go-to for families and tourists, and provides above-average Spanish tapas. But it is certainly not the jewel in the shiny crown that is Andrés’ restaurant empire, and there are more exciting restaurants both within his repertoire and Washington’s dining scene as a whole, for brunch or for any meal. We’ll continue to rely on Jaleo as an easy spot for cocktails and tapas, but it does not warrant a Michelin nod.  Status: Not worthy. Read the full review here.

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Kyirisan

The cuisine at Kyirisan, a French-Asian restaurant from Chef Tim Ma in Shaw, is creative and nothing short of incredible. We loved every bite at brunch, while being attended to by a professional, courteous server. Status: Worthy. Read the full review here.

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Lapis

This Afghan restaurant is a nod to the owner, Omar Popal’s heritage. The dinner and lunch menu is authentic Afghan fare, while brunch features some European and classic American items, like French toast and great cappuccinos. We loved the airy, natural vibes of the space, the friendly service, and the delicious food. Status: worthy. Read the full review here.

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Maketto 

This mixed-use boutique meets coffee shop meets restaurant is a hipster heaven. We liked the shareable Asian plates and loved the fried chicken. It’s also a great spot for drinks after work on the patio, or to grab a latte on the way to the office. Status: worthy. Read the full review here.

Maketto

Oyamel

Inventive Mexican fare from José Andrés. Another surprise addition to Bib Gourmand, but we love the fresh-made guacamole and the margaritas.  It’s a great spot for happy hour in Penn Quarter, but not necessarily a dining destination. Status: not worthyRead the full review here.

Guacamole

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

I was slightly surprised to find that Pearl Dive had garnered a Michelin nod, as I love this 14th Street spot for cocktails but rarely visit for the food. The space is charming with its nautical vibes, and it’s a popular watering hole. We did love the classic seafood pairings and the classic doughnuts, but it’s not our favorite of the Michelin Bib Gourmand recipients. Status: not worthy. Read the full review here.

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The Royal

The Royal is my favorite coffee shop—because it serves incredible food and great cocktails, too. I’ve definitely spent eight straight hours there, working from lunch through to cocktails. The coffee and bar program is unique—they the best Matcha latte in town and also make the Vermouth in house for the Vermouth-centric cocktails.

The food is Latin American, with a menu loaded with arepas, empanadas, and choripan. The choripan, a chorizo sandwich with fried egg, sliced tomato, queso blanco, and chimichurri is served on crispy white bread. It’s absolute heaven. The cheesy arepas with spicy dipping sauce are also a must order. Status: worthy. Read the review here.

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Zaytinya

This Greek spot from José Andrés was one of my first dining experiences in Washington. It’s incredibly vegetarian friendly, with Greek small plates that offer something for everyone.  For a true Greek experience, be sure to order the Cilbir, a poached egg with Greek yogurt. And, finish your meal with the Lebanese style French toast with banana and orange blossom honey. Status: worthy. Read the full review here.

Zaytinya

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