Before we reveal the brunches that stole the show in 2019, we must add the disclaimer that this city has so many local gems. This list is a compilation of the new, the familiar, and the classics we explored this year, and – frankly – the ones we can’t stop thinking about. Now, what makes a brunch a “best brunch” you might ask? It’s a question we get a lot around here. A “best brunch” is one that we would recommend to anyone, any day. You can sort and sift based on the type of vibe and cuisine you’re looking for, but a “best brunch” is sure to both satisfy and impress. Here’s where our brunch dreams came true in 2019.
Best Overall: All-Purpose Shaw
We recommend brunch at All-Purpose to everyone and anyone who asks. It’s as simple as that. Amazing, casual food with delightful accommodations at an affordable price point. It can be as rowdy or as family-friendly as you want it to be. You’ll leave full, you’ll leave happy, and you’ll find yourself recommending it to everyone you know. Read the review here.
All-Purpose, 1250 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 849-6174
Best Party Brunch: 12 Stories
The best spot for a party brunch is – of course – one with visually stunning cocktails! That’s one of the many reasons we love 12 Stories. Another is their commitment to making everything in-house. This large-format brunch spot is fun, and brunch is their strong suit. Read the review, here.
12 Stories, 75 District Square SW 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. (202) 894-9700
Most Family-Friendly: Olivia
It’s easy to miss Olivia amidst the hubbub of Gallery Place street performers and crowds flocking to and from the arena and portrait gallery. Olivia has approachable, upscale Mediterranean cuisine that tackles brunch in a refined fashion. Olivia makes the list thanks to their beautiful presentations, interesting ingredients, and welcoming staff. Read the review, here.
Olivia, 800 F St NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 347-4667
Best International Cuisine: Chiko
Chiko makes Chinese comfort food into a brunch staple with fresh, funky street food we didn’t know we could wake up craving. Between their saucy egg sandwiches on pillowy rolls and hearty rice bowls filled with fermented fix-ins, let’s just say our brunch desires have matured some in 2019. Read the review, here.
Chiko, 423 8th St SE, Washington, D.C. (202) 558-9934
Best Fancy Vibes: Shilling Canning Company
The pride for MidAtlantic cuisine is on the rise and Shilling Canning Company is at the forefront of the movement. Locally sourced ingredients and nostalgic, home-style flavors from the DMV’s farms and coastlines create a dynamic brunch experience that’s perfect year-round. Shilling is beyond a typical oyster bar or surf and turf vibe: it’s an elegant and comfortable eatery that brings creativity to our favorite brunch classics.
Shilling Canning Company, 360 Water St SE, Washington, D.C. (202) 554-7474
Best View: Hank’s Oyster Bar
When we finally got around to visiting the new Hank’s Oyster Bar at the Wharf, it wasn’t new anymore. But Hank’s is offering the same old oyster specials and large-format brunch deliciousness as its other iconic locations, but with a fresher and more vibrant feel. We trust the experienced team behind Hanks to give us some of the freshest seafood and the greatest hospitality in the city. Read the review, here.
Hank’s Oyster Bar, 701 Wharf St SW, Washington, D.C. (202) 817-3055
Best Aesthetic: Brasserie Liberté
“Casual,” “not crazy costly,” and “French” are words that we don’t often find in the same sentence when describing D.C. restaurants. At Brasserie Liberté, there’s a thoughtful charm in every decorative detail, creating a calming ambiance for this Georgetown hideaway. It’s the perfect environment to enjoy a Sunday morning Benedict. Read the review, here.
Brasserie Liberté, 3251 Prospect St NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 878-8404
Best Classic Brunch: Mintwood Place
Mintwood Place is one of the Obamas’ favorite spots in D.C., and this year it’s one of ours too. The Adams Morgan brasserie has still got the magic touch. Delicious burgers, frites, cocktails, and a constantly happening atmosphere make Mintwood Place the ultimate classic brunch destination. Read the review, here.
Mintwood Place, 1813 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 234-6732
Best VA Brunch: Punch Bowl Social
A spread of options for the health-conscious, sober friend, or seasoned bruncher, Punch Bowl Social Arlington is the newest spot to see and be seen. D.C. diners take note: they’re opening a second location in Navy Yard at the end of this year. Read the review, here.
Punch Bowl Social, 4238 Wilson Blvd Ste. 1180, Arlington, VA (571) 297-7640
Best Group Brunch: Boqueria Penn Quarter
Boqueria has had our back this year. Whether it was for large birthday dinners, awkward bumble date happy hours, or legendary bottomless brunches, we are confident that their latest expansion in D.C.’s Penn Quarter was the right move. The vibe, libations, and sharable plates are celebration-driven without being too wild for comfort. Read the review, here.
Boqueria Penn Quarter, 777 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 552-3268
Best Date Brunch: The Pembroke
Dupont’s Pembroke is one of the most aesthetically pleasing brunch spots in D.C. This wall-to-wall windowed spot is a lively, centrally located restaurant with creative plates and cocktails that are nothing shy of perfection. Read the review, here.
The Pembroke, 1500 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 448-4302
Most Unique Brunch: Mola
There’s a reason that Mola earned back-to-back mentions on D.C.’s Bib Gourmand list, and we would be remiss if we didn’t salute Micky, Erin, and their supportive team of female superstars! The underrated tapas joint could give Barcelona a run for its money. Read the review, here.
Mola, 3155 Mt Pleasant St NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 849-3247