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Your favorite regular brunch spot

So I'm moving to DC from Boston and I'm curious as to the brunch scene. For me and a small group of friends, every Sunday means "brunch club" at Highland Kitchen (if this means nothing to you, think well crafted cocktails, standard brunch fare without all the grease, Johnny Cash on the jukebox, friendly bartenders who really get to know the regulars and just a tad out of the way so it's not overrun by huge crowds).

Looking to replicate this experience as best I can. Somewhere I can eat at the bar and read the paper, or bring friends and hang out for a few hours. While I'll be living in Capitol Hill (NE), I'll consider anywhere within bike riding/bus (maybe Metro is it's really worth it) distance. Closer is always better, but the right place supersedes any distance.

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  1. On Capitol Hill it is hard because it gets so crowded due to the Eastern Market that waits can be a bit much...

    I really love Cafe Atlantico... not necessarily the dim sum one, which is good, but not like an every weekend thing, but their Saturday brunch menu.

    Downtown I also really like Poste and Chef Geoff's for brunch. Chef Geoff's doesn't get a lot of love, but their brunch I think is their best meal, except for cheap burgers.

    The brunch at Matchbox looks good, but I have never had it.

    On the hill Montmartre isn't bad, but tends to have a lot of messy kids. Also Tuncliff's is good for eggs and potatoes, but nothing real creative. But a lot of new stuff has gone in since I left a couple years ago.

    1. I like Firefly, Tabbard and the le pain quotidien (but not the gtown one, that one seems to be lacking in any service at all) in Eastern Market. Tryst cafe in adams morgan is also nice to just hang out and not be bothered by wait staff if you want to eat/drink/relax and read

      1. boulevard woodgrill and harry's tap room in clarendon both have good brunches and fit your at the bar or with friends criteria, and they're both very metro-friendly.

        5 Replies
        1. re: littlew1ng

          I especially agree w/ the Eastern Market rec (Saturdays only-before noon.) It is great food and fun, casual atmosphere--- I absolutely love their pancakes & sausage/bacon.
          Tabard Inn is good for a more relaxed brunch in a charming atmosphere.

          1. re: littlew1ng

            If you are going to travel all the way to NOVA for brunch, you might as well go to Cassatt's Cafe, I think it is much better and much more interesting than Boulevard Woodgrill, which is ok if you can score a seat outside, but not worth travelling across the city for. And the wait to get an outside seat normally not worth it.

            Harry's Tap Room is also ok, but I would travel out of the area for it. If Tallulah put their cherry ricotta pancakes back on the menu that is worth travelling for, but I haven't seen the on the menu and they recently changed chefs. The best thing at Harry's Tap Room are the eggs chesapeake, and really Carlyle Grand in Shirlington has much better, so does Passionfish in Reston.

            Sorry, I love these places because I live right there, but I wouldn't travel across the city, especially with so many option in the city.

            1. re: ktmoomau

              yeah that's def a good point. dc brunches just get so crowded, it seems....arlington is a little less of a hassle and the OP seemed to want some places a little off the radar. what's good at cassatt's? is that the kiwi place? i've never been there but live kinda nearby and have been interested, but it's not metro accessible? on lee highway right?

              1. re: ktmoomau

                I don't believe Passionfish is open for brunch, but their crab cakes are very good.

                1. re: keithlb1

                  I guess just special occasions, the eggs chesapeake at Easter for brunch were very good.

            2. This thread might help: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5991...

              I personally don't know of any place quite what you're looking for, but would be interested if you find something (Highland Kitchen sounds great). My first thought was also Tryst, because you can hang out forever reading the paper, but it's not at all convenient for you and doesn't have typical brunch food (no eggs, but pretty good waffles....

              )

              Market Lunch at Eastern Market is not what you are looking for at all, it's not leisurely and they even specifically have signs not to read the paper when it's crowded, plus they don't serve breakfast on Sundays. But it's great and you'll want to check it out.

              There are a couple of coffee shops on H NE, so will be near you, that are supposed to be nice, but I don't know that area well enough to say. I didn't like Tunnicliff's food all that well, but it's been quite a while and it might actually be good for what you're talking about.

              I really like brunch at Cafe St. Ex (but haven't been in a long time), and you can sit at the bar, there can be a long wait (unless you get a bar seat), but they're pretty laid back. It would be a metro or bike ride for you. Cashion's Eat Place has a wonderful Sunday brunch, I've never sat at the bar, but it would be nice -- but it's also not convenient for you at all (it's in my neighborhood, as is Tryst).

              Do any of the Hill pubs serve brunch? Like Tune Inn or Dubliners or something like that?

              Also not really what you're looking for, but to get more into the DC spirit, you might check out Florida Ave Grill and also near Howard U is Wilson's (?) and Ben's Chili Bowl also serves breakfast. Each of those are more like diners, with some history behind them.

              Good luck with the move!

              2 Replies
              1. re: mselectra

                The Capitol Lounge on Pennsylvania Avenue, Capitol Hill, might be what you're looking for.

                http://www.capitolloungedc.com/

                1. re: mselectra

                  Thanks everyone for your replies so far, I won't be there till May, so I will certainly reply when I get settled in. Based on my wanderings however, Cafe St. Ex definitely looked most like my speed, but that was just simply by walking by (although it did catch my attention).