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breakfast in D.C.

My wife and I are having a child-free weekend in D.C. I have our evening restaurant plans (Sonoma and Restaurant Eve, thanks all!), but I need 2 breakfast places. We're staying at the Hyatt near the Mall, but we'd be willing to drive a bit. I'd like at least one of those breakfast places to be the kind of place that we can get mimosas and/or good chocolate. I.e. I'd like at least one of them to be a little outrageous.

Anyone have any ideas?

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  1. Seems like the drag brunch at Perry's, in Adams Morgan, would be outrageous by definition. I haven't been, but hear good things (though I don't like their food for dinner).

    Think about going to Eastern Market, if it's your style -- that would be the opposite of fancy, but good good.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mselectra

      Perry's drag brunch loses on both the drag component (very amateurish) and the food, which at brunch is expensive for what you get - basically a buffet of not-very-interesting options. Skip it. What about Hotel Monaco? Or Tabard Inn?

      1. re: dcandohio

        Thanks for the Perry's info -- I'm not really surprised, since the food (well, the sushi) I've had there was so bad. But I have gotten some fairly trustworthy positive reviews of the brunch from friends, so thought I'd throw it out there.

        I really wouldn't go to Tabard Inn. I had such a bad service experience there, with out-of-town guests, for brunch (really bad). I know it's not always like that and can be lovely, but for a one-shot special occasion, I just wouldn't risk it, myself.

        1. re: mselectra

          I actually prefer Tabard Inn for dinner vs brunch. While the scenary is always appreciated, the service during brunch isn't that great because it's usually so insanly crowded. I just find the service and food better for dinner

    2. Not outrageous....but my favorite place(s) in town for breakfast is still Teaism. You have one branch not terribly far from your hotel, at 8th and D NW. Cilantro scrambled eggs, or oh-so-bad for your French toast, side of chicken-apple sausauge, and a chai - now that's a good way to get your day started. Eastern Market suggestion is also right on.

      Leave the car in the garage!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Geoff

        Right, absolutely no reason at all to drive anywhere within DC, just don't do it. Use public transp or cabs, and if you're up for walking, it's a great city for it.

        I love, really love, the chai at Teaism (it's spicey, not just sweet) -- which you can get all day, not just b'fast. If you do consider it for b'fast, keep in mind they serve no coffee, which matters a lot to some. It *might* be a better stop for a midafternoon break, especially if you're doing the Mall.

        1. re: mselectra

          ......and if you take the midafternoon option, which I highly endorse (even if you eat breakfast there! :-)), don't forget the ginger scones and/or salty oat cookies. These are, IMO, legal crack.

      2. These might not be near your hotel but Bistro Bis does an amazing brunch I am sure they have mimosas as I have had them, and probably have chocolate, but you could check the website for this, and I also recommend Eastern Market for fun and some more casual breakfast.

        Georgia Brown's has an amazing number of desserts for their brunch and I am more than sure they have chocolate and mimosas. But it tends to be a little busy and loud.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ktmoomau

          Bistro Bis is such a good idea, seems like the elegance you may be looking for -- not sure why I spaced on that!

          This could be quite a delicious weekend!

        2. My favorite spot for a weekend breakfast/brunch is Bistro Bis up on Capitol Hill. They have a great 3-course brunch for a cheapish price. Champagne and dessert are available. And if the weather is nice outside they have a few tables on a small patio outside. Bis is only a few blocks away from Union Station Metro (red line). The food has some classic french choices and others with more modern interpretations...great food.

          For something a little more out there you might want to check out Cafe Atlantico's Latin dim sum brunch. It served tapas style with some delicious and inventive dishes. They also have some pretty fun drinks to choose from.

          Also in the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area there is Poste which has a pretty good brunch. Nothing too crazy but solidly good, with a great bloody mary.

          I also enjoy Bourbon in Adams Morgan for a yummy brunch. I haven't been in awhile but their french toast in particular was very good when I had it a couple of months ago. They also have an outdoor porch if the weather is nice.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Elyssa

            I like the Cafe Atlantico idea, too.

            Do you all know anything about Bistro Bis's weekday breakfast, as opposed to their weekend brunch? I don't see a separate breakfast menu on the website. No big deal, this thread just reminded me that I'd wondered about it.

            1. re: mselectra

              I don't know that they do weekday breakfast. Although they might since they service the hotel?

          2. I'm a big fan of the breakfast at Mandarin Oriental -- Cafe Mozu, not CityZen. Great Illy coffee and lots of breakfast selections. I've had the bento box breakfast and the egg white omelet. There's nothing bad on the menu.

            1. The hands-down absolute best place for Sunday brunch in DC is one of those no advertising, gotta be in-the-know places called The Mansion on O Street.
              Its on O St, NW, just south of Dupont Circle.
              The food is to die for. $40 gourmet buffet of hot, cold, and desserts, plus champage. The have all the breakfast food you can imagine omelet/waffle/eggs station....all sorts of hot and cold lunch entrees and a massive dessert buffet that is usually so extensive its set up in an entirely different room. Plus, you can walk around the whole place afterwards, its a combination museum/art gallery/ guest house decorated wildly.
              I can guarantee you haven't been to a place like this, and your will have to walk back to your hotel your belly will be so full.

              5 Replies
              1. re: CuriousGrrl

                Oh, wow I went to a wedding at The Mansion and thought it was a private club? I didn't think non-guests or non-club members could go? I must be wrong. The log cabin room and many others are such a hoot. It is hard to believe this place actually exists. It is so non-descript from the street. The wedding food was pretty good, so I bet it could be decent. Although some of the rooms are pretty small. Where do they actually serve the breakfast?

                1. re: ktmoomau

                  Website says restaurant is for members only. Pity, it sounds pretty good.

                  1. re: greglor

                    Actually, it specifically says the Sunday brunch is open to the public (this was news to me). From the website:
                    For all events:
                    * All events listed here are open to the public
                    * Non-refundable deposit required

                    But your choices still sound good!

                  2. re: ktmoomau

                    Yeah, we got married there. It was amazing. The people there are a bit of a pill to work with, totally in lala land. But it was worth it. The brunch is open to the public.

                  3. re: CuriousGrrl

                    I didn't realize this was open to the public, either. Thanks for the tip. Here's the website for info on the Sunday brunch, as well as afternoon teas. Can anyone speak to the tea? Seems like that would be really nice to do with visitors.


                  4. Thanks, folks. I think we'll probably do Teaism and Bistro Bis for our breakfasts. Thank you so much. We don't get to go out without the little one very often (last time was in February) so I want this weekend to be awesome. I think we're both going to have a fantastic time.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: greglor

                      Thanks all for the suggestions. All the restaurants were fantastic, Restaurant Eve was outrageous! Great meals, all.

                      Thanks again.

                      1. re: greglor

                        If you have time -- any more details? So glad you had a good time, it sounded like you were planning a really special weekend.

                        1. re: mselectra

                          Details, sure!

                          Friday night we checked in to the hotel near the National Mall. Got cleaned up and went to Sonoma. I had expected it to be a classical Italian restaurant (given the menu I saw online) and was expecting to have a 4 hour meal of appetizers, firsts, seconds and dessert. Turns out the portion sizes are too big for that. We had a pickled vegetable plate and lamb carpaccio for appetizer. We both loved the carpaccio, my wife loved the pickled veggies. I had NY strip steak for dinner and my wife had the scallops and spaghetti squash. Lovely! The kale greens that came with it were very tasty, and the steak was perfect. The sauce that came with the steak was also very good. For dessert, I had the grape sorbet and I'm spacing on what my wife had... The wines that were coupled with the meal were great. The meal as a whole was fantastic.

                          A late breakfast on Saturday was at Bistro Bis. The cappucino was fantastic. Eggs benedict and some fabulous cheeses in an omelet were absolutely delicious. I was a little disappointed that there was no crab on the eggs benedict as advertised online, but I got over it. It was fantastic. We decided to go less hardcore than I had originally planned, and we stopped there, just drinking our cappucinos (I had planned to have mimosas, but my wife thought that was over-the-top).

                          For dinner on Saturday, Restaurant Eve. We had 10 o'clock reservations, so we showed up at 8:45 and took advantage of the cocktails at the bar for an hour and a half. My wife loved the Black Currant Fizz.

                          We went for the 5 course tasting menu. The starting petits bouches were very tasty. Then we had a small tomato dish (sliced tiny tomatoes, basil leaves, and tomato water) that was delicious. First courses were crab terrine and a seared tuna dish. I loved both, my wife didn't like her crab terrine, so we swapped. The tuna came with little bits of things to dip it in, placed strategically all over the plate. It was delicious. The terrine was too creamy for my wife, she didn't like the texture. I thought it was fantastic.

                          Second course was a scallop for my wife, and a lobster-tail with a glorioius sauce all over it for me. I can't even guess what was in the sauce, but it was heavenly. The scallop was "the best scallop of my life" according to my wife. After talking to the server, we all decided it was the butter that made the browned part of the scallop taste better than normal butter-fried scallops. I make a mean scallop, and she said this one left me in the dust. I agreed.

                          Main course was a cut of beef for me in a superb sauce. I forget what my wife had for this course (a few cocktails and glasses of wine later...). But the most memorable part of this course was the Argentinian malbec that was served with my meal. Outrageous! Very, very good. Up until this point, the wines we had all weekend were good, but nothing to write home about. This is one I wrote down (it's at home - I'll post it later). Really, really tasty.

                          Next course was a messy Stilton tart with port-reduction sauce that was very tasty. My wife loved it, though it was too rich for her to finish (I helped!). I had another cheese that I am forgetting at the moment, that was very, very good.

                          And dessert! I had a goat-cheese creme brulee that really wasn't a creme brulee. It was more of a cheesecake with caramelized sugar on top. Very tasty. I also had a delicious French sauternes to finish off the meal. And again, I can't remember what my wife had. I really wish I had a better memory... The sauternes was a very nice place to end the meal.

                          And now, a funny story - at the table next to us was a group of 2 fairly wealthy couples. We overheard bits and pieces of the conversation - property in France, Los Angeles and Houston. Business dealings all over. One gentleman said something along the lines that he couldn't taste the difference between a Gewurtztraminer and a Cabernet Sauvignon. He wasn't joking, as best as I could tell, and everyone at the table agreed with him. Why would you spend so much money on dinner and wine, if you can't tell the difference? (It's harder for me to understand that, as a trip to somewhere like Restaurant Eve is not a casual dining experience for me). Anyway, I digress...

                          The following morning we slept late (we left Restaurant Eve around 1:30 a.m., so we crashed hard). We have a 21 month old, so we don't stay up that late very often any more...

                          We had a late breakfast at Teaism after checkout. The scrambled eggs with cilantro were fine (my wife raved about them, I thought they were rather plain). But the tea! I had the Jinzhen, my wife had the Chai. Both were *fantastic*. We were very happy with that.

                          And with that, we drove back to Baltimore. We haven't had a weekend with just the two of us since around Christmas last year, so this was a fantastic break for us, and the meals were outrageous. I put Restaurant Eve in my top 4 best restaurants ever (up there with Petits Louis and Charleston in Baltimore, and slightly below Nobu in New York). Really, really good.

                          Thanks all for the suggestions, it couldn't have worked out better.

                    2. I'm a fan of the weekend brunch at the Belga Cafe near Eastern Market - beware the inconsistent service, but oh are those green eggs worth it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nosestuckinbook

                        I agree...those green eggs are delicious plus you can wander around the Market before or after brunch. But the only thing that keeps me from going back too often is the service. I find them pretty snobby at times. The hostesses have always been very nice but I have almost every time found that the waiters have had a pretty bad attitude.