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Alba Osteria Brunch

Chinatown
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It was Friday afternoon and I had a contingent of Bitches waiting on my Saturday brunch direction. The clock was ticking, and I was frantically searching. Mission? Not serving brunch yet. Lupo Verde? Doesn’t serve on Saturdays. Le Dip? We’ll never get in this late.

Sidenote: The irony of being the city’s brunch website is that you’re supposed to have all the recommendations. What if you’ve left it to the last minute and your “To Brunch” list of spots to try just doesn’t seem that appealing that week?!

I fired off a few emails and collected responses. A restaurant mention got me curious: Alba Osteria. A little off the Chinatown beaten track, but they had a bottomless-endless deal, on a Saturday, no less. Two key facts that sealed the deal.

Alba Osteria Brunch

We arrived to an empty restaurant, which to some might be a deterrent, but I saw the opportunity to snoop around and check it out. The place is gorgeous: Stone floors, huge floor-to-ceiling windows, bright modern furniture, black lacquer chandeliers. The open kitchen even has a gorgeous red-glass-mosaic brick pizza oven.

We fell into a long banquet table and admired the menu: Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11 to 3 with totally bottomless food and drinks. There’s live music, too, apparently, though I didn’t hear it. It’s just $30 per person, a great deal, and the whole table has to be game.

Alba Osteria Brunch

I ordered a bloody mary, which was made with infused prosciutto vodka and was quite peppery. At one point I even choked on a whole peppercorn. There are massive beer-mosas for the boys (or girls, if you like ‘em), white peach bellinis, and regular mimosas, as well—all bottomless.

Our brunch tablemates were trickling in slowly, so we decided to get started on the ordering. It is endless, after all. They can catch up. Executive Chef Roberto Donna and Chef de Cuisine Amy Brandwein created an egg-fueled brunch menu here. Nearly every dish includes egg in some way or another.

Alba Osteria Brunch

I ordered Nonna’s fried eggs and meatballs, which, frankly, was a mistaken way to start. I was expecting a couple of tasty meatballs with a fried egg either on the side or on top. Instead, I got a dish of mush: two fried eggs, tomato sauce, fried house made meatballs and fried potato, seemingly all mixed together with French fries on top.

Alba Osteria Brunch

The fruit salad was also marginally disappointing. A few slices of strawberries and bananas on a bed of melon cubes, although it was a welcome respite from all the eggy options.

Alba Osteria Brunch

The buckwheat ricotta pancakes were served with lemon and blueberries baked into the batter. They were covered in powdered sugar and had a gorgeous jug of syrup on the side. They were decent. The poached eggs were like tiny little benedicts. Served on grilled ciabatta bread with burrata cheese, house cured salmon, and green sauce. Tasty and bite-sized.

The egg white frittata was the best of the bunch. It was made with spinach, mushrooms, onions, and parmigiano reggiano. Of all the egg dishes, this was probably the lightest. Perhaps that’s why I liked it the most. On the side, a mixed green salad.

Alba Osteria Brunch

The house-made steel-cut oatmeal with pistachio and banana was served alongside a press pot of cinnamon infused warm milk—sure, it seemed a bit gimmicky since there’s nothing to press, but it made for a handsome presentation.

The sausage pizza was the most substantial of the dishes—and the most sharable. It’s made with egg, provolone cheese and tomato sauce. We ordered a few of these, as along with the frittata, it was the best thing on the table.

Alba Osteria Brunch

Given all the egg options, it made sense that the one sandwich option was a Monte Cristo. It was interesting and delicious, but a bit on the side of greasy. The sautéed bread slices had melted fontina cheese, Italian ham, and fried eggs inside.

The food began in a bad state, but the more mimosas and Marys we had, the better it got. The brunch grew on us, and while nothing was exemplary, we ending up hanging out there and ordering different dishes and cocktails for hours.

Alba Osteria Brunch

The Bitches say: B. Alba Osteria is a solid option for a bottomless brunch if you find yourself north of Chinatown. If you like eggs, you’ll be happy.

Alba Osteria
425 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 733-4454

Alba Osteria serves bottomless brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Good For
Bottomless Brunch, Group Brunch, Patio Brunch

3 thoughts on “Alba Osteria Brunch”

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  1. we reserved a table about a week for 6 people in advance for a saturday. we called and confirmed the day before or the morning of, i can’t recall. when we got there, we weren’t on the list. they hustled to get us a table, really, to small, circular bar tables pushed together. the bartender took our drink order, promptly dropped them off, but then didn’t come back for about 20 minutes. we tried flagging down some servers, but they weren’t having it since we were in the bar section. we ordered a bunch of food in several installments. i agree: none of the food was great, but the bottomless drinks saved the day. if you go, you’ll probably have a good time if you don’t end up sitting in the bar as a larger group.

  2. Where to start…. We called to reserve a table for 6 in advance for a Sunday. When we arrived, our name was not on the list. It didn’t take long to get us a table and it seemed pretty empty in the restaurant. Each member in our party put in a drink order, not all members received their order at the same time. The “Beer-Mosas” were nothing special and were never poured as a full glass. Even though they are bottomless, I don’t feel that they should be brought over to a table 3/4 of the way full (if tha). The first round of Mimosas & Bellini’s were ok, but shortly there after, we received what looked like dishwater. Cloudy and unappealing.
    We put in a food order…. It took what seemed like forever to receive our dishes. I would say that 75% if the dishes that were brought to us were not dishes that we had ordered. After, this happened a few times, we decided to attempt to eat whatever was brought to us (since it was bottomless). I was no impressed by any of the dishes. I also have pictures of the meal and they look NOTHING like the photo’s that were posted in this blog. They only thing that looks similar is the placemat. One of the people in our party ordered the oatmeal. She was not able to pour the milk out of the metal carafe so we opened to top to see what the problem was. It was disgusting, dirty, and the milk was curdled. (Thankfully, they “took it off of our bill”- Reminder: It’s bottomless, we were being charged the $35 bottomless price regardless). The fruit from the fruit salad looked as if it had been sitting in juice for days, the strawberries were brown. I would NEVER recommend this place. The service was terrible, the food was not very good and was not fresh. The drinks were just as horrible.

  3. A group of 12 girls went today for my daughter’s Birthday brunch. Worst brunch I have ever been to! The food was terrible and the service was even worse! I am a server in GA, at a hotel that has a Sunday brunch. Our server ( who’s name was never given), seemed very irritated that first,we were not all getting the bottomless brunch, & second that one of the girls was not feeling well was not a friendly person at all! Alot of us ordered hot tea to start, received our cups & tea bags, but had to ask for our hot water so we could make our tea. I also had to send my eggs back since I ordered over easy & they were overy cooked. I did not like the fact that my food didn’t come out on my plate, but on shared plates with the others that ordered the same thing! To finish our unsatisfing brunch was the fact that we requested separate checks & we’re told that couln’t be done (remember, I do this for a living). The 2 that did order the bottomless brunch were able to get a separate check. It took us close to a half hour to figure out who owed what, since it wasn’t even rung in separately. Having to ask around the table who else ordered toast is not a way I want to pay my bill. I would never recommend this restaurant to anyone! I couldn’t even give it 1 star. Find another place for your brunch!!

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