Photo Credit: The Brunch Belle
The Brunch Belle Says These Are The 10 Best Brunch Spots In The DMV
There’s enjoying the occasional brunch and being a full-blown brunch connoisseur. Khara Connor aka the Brunch Belle is firmly entrenched in the latter category. Her torrid love affair — as she describes it — with the breakfast and lunch hybrid began when she moved to the Washington, DC area from Anguilla to complete her undergrad degree at the University of Maryland in College Park, followed by law school at William and Mary. According to Connor, the brunch spots in the DMV are unmatched.
“There are very few restaurants here that don’t offer brunch,” Connor told Travel Noire. “It’s like the possibilities and options for brunch are truly endless. I honestly dare anyone to name me a city that brunches harder. It’s a full lifestyle here. You can go to brunch and literally leave at dinner time. I’ve done it several times. It’s like an all-day affair. It’s literally like a marathon.”
In fact, Connor takes her brunching so seriously that for the past five years she has been pursuing a personal goal of dining at 100 different brunch spots in the DMV. So far she is at 95 and is hoping to meet her mark later this year if not by the end of this summer. As a mother and life partner, brunch is also her best bet at maintaining an active social life.
“Somewhere along the way I became a mom. So that took up a lot of time and switching gears, changing focus, and balancing life. But yeah, I’m at 95. I’ve definitely eaten more than a hundred brunches because I’ve gone to several places multiple times.”
She added, “I can go with my significant other on a date. I go with my family, and we bring along my son. I go with my extended family because I have a sister and a cousin in the area. We do a lot of brunches together as well. We have a tradition of brunch every New Year’s Day. That’s something we do together as a family. And I go with girlfriends.”
With years of brunch expertise under her belt, Connor was more than qualified to curate a list of the best brunch spots in the DMV for Travel Noire. Her selections include Peruvian, French, and Mediterranean style fare, Southern comfort foods, and sorbet mimosas.
“You probably might notice there might be some spots with a little international flavor on my list because that’s kind of my way of escaping a little bit through brunch,” she admitted. “Even though I’m still in DC I kind of seek out restaurants with an international feel as well.”
1. Unconventional Diner
It’s funny that they use the word diner because it’s anything but a diner. It’s actually more like an upscale comfort food vibe.
What I actually like most about this place is that they’re one of the few and rare places in DC that offer brunch every day, not just the weekend.
My favorite dish there is the shrimp and grits because they actually have what’s called the Caribbean shrimp and grits. It has a little island twist style flavor to it. They do the creamy grits and top it with shrimp, but then they actually add plantains to the dish, which I’ve never seen anywhere else.
They top it with a fried egg and the usual chicken sausage. But the plantains that they add to it give it that little sweet flavor. And then they just basically smother it with a pineapple habanero sauce.
2. Pisco y Nazca
It’s one of my favorite places to go to for bottomless brunch. I feel like brunching can get expensive in DC, especially. Prices add up. So at $30 for a three-course brunch, it’s definitely a deal. And they offer bottomless drinks as well. I think they have the best sangria in DC. Their sangria brava is the best. I highly recommend them.
Some of my favorite dishes to try there are definitely their tostones. They have a cholo benedicto and instead of the traditional English muffin that you put on a Benedict, they actually make a sweet plantain cake that they put on the bottom of the dish as the bread base. So that definitely gives that dish added flare.
3. La Vie
This is a Mediterranean-inspired spot and probably one of my swankiest brunch experiences. You’re going to go here for a scenic brunch that brings you all the aesthetics. You want an instagrammable spot? This is where you go. And they do also offer a limitless brunch option of sweet and savory foods.
The lemon ricotta pancakes, tiramisu French toast, and short rib hash are a few of my favorites. I first tried ricotta pancakes in Bali, and I’ve been hooked ever since. But honestly, because it’s the limitless brunch, you can order anything and everything.
4. Belga Café
It’s probably one of the oldest places on this list that I’ve been familiar with and go back to from time to time when I just want something good that I know won’t disappoint me.
It’s Belgian-style fare, but it’s a great selection of waffles and brunch dishes. So if you’re really into waffles, they have sweet waffles, they have savory waffles, and they even have a doffle, which is basically the love child of a doughnut and waffle. My favorite dish there is the farm cornbread waffle. Basically, that is cornbread but in a waffle style, and it’s topped with pulled pork and avocado on the side that you feel don’t necessarily go together, but they just blend together so well.
That place also has probably my favorite mimosa. They make it with sparkling rosé instead of sparkling wine. They have orange juice in it, but they also have a blood orange purée. And for me, I feel like blood orange just makes everything better
5. Farmer Fishers Bakers
This is pretty much a DC staple. It’s a lot of people’s favorite. It’s a great buffet-style brunch. So if you’re into that, where you have all your different food stations, that’s definitely a good option.
It’s also an affordable option at $29.99 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. So definitely budget-friendly. They have French toast stations, eggs stations, and carving stations. They also have different food trays that they pass around like sushi or pizza. They basically have a lot of options to choose from. I think there’s pretty much something for everybody here.
6. Dukes Grocery
This is probably one of the most casual spots on my list. I’m not a big go-to burger person, but this is where I go when I’m craving a burger. I basically get the proper burger, but I think on the brunch menu it’s really called a brunchie burger.
It’s the same burger. It’s double patty goodness with sweet chili sauce or something like that, garlic aioli, and a brioche bun. It’s very good. You also go here if you want good drinks because the drinks are very boozy and strong.
7. Hen Quarter
This is actually one of my favorite Black-owned restaurants. They serve up a Southern-style family brunch. It’s also bottomless food for about $28.95.
It’s where you can find my favorite chicken and waffles dish. They technically don’t make the sweet waffle that we’re accustomed to. They do a corn and cheddar waffle, so it’s a bit of a sweet and savory mix. They top it with fried chicken and bourbon maple syrup. What I love about this is that you have the option to choose between dark and white meat.
8. Fig and Olive
They’re serving up some delicious, Mediterranean-inspired brunch dishes. They have a great selection of crostinis. My favorites are the caramelized onion one and the burrata, but they have some seafood-based ones I believe too.
My favorite meal is the steak and eggs. They also have potatoes, but I love the chimichurri sauce that they use on it. It’s very good. And this is home to my favorite cocktail, called the Rossellini. It’s something you need in your life. It’s passion fruit vodka. And again comes the blood orange that makes everything better.
9. Blue Duck Tavern
Blue Duck Tavern is probably where you go to have a classy, upscale, brunch. This restaurant was a Michelin star restaurant, so it’s definitely on the upscale side.
I basically fell in love with their sorbet mimosas. I’ve honestly never seen it outside of Blue Duck Tavern. It’s basically the champagne poured over whatever daily sorbet selection they have. I really love the coconut flavor one, and they pour the champagne over it and when it all melts it’s a perfect summer brunch cocktail.
I am attracted to their sorbet mimosas, but they definitely have some great dishes to try there. I recommend the short rib hash and the s’mores French toast.
10. Mon Ami Gabi
It’s a French restaurant, and it’s actually a chain. So I think you can find it in Vegas and different places. I love the escargot, because it is something that I grew up eating on the neighboring island of St. Maarten.
They have a baked goat cheese that I really like. It’s interesting. It’s like a ball of goat cheese baked in a tomato-based sauce, and you can basically use it as a spread on toast that’s buttered with parsley. Their steak frites I also love.
My favorite thing there, I want to shout it out, even though it’s technically removed from the brunch menu. But honestly, I’ve never had a time that I go there, and I asked, and they don’t give it to me. The scallops gratinées is like a potato gratin, technically – replace with is like a potato gratin, technically. It’s literally baked underneath some caramelized onions, cream, and cheese and broiled to perfection. It’s so good!