Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away, and we’ve been pondering our options as
much as anyone. (If you think we’re tough critics, you should meet our moms.) Restaurants
around Washington are bringing out the big brunch guns—as evidenced by our extensive
it can be hard to choose. Here are a few of our personal picks—places where we’d toast
our own moms. Caveat: We haven’t tried certain set menus or judged service during
a holiday crush. Consider these guidelines, not guarantees.
Todd Kliman, food and wine editor
My mom enjoys the brunch here, if only for the house-made doughnuts to start—a mood-maker,
if ever there was one. From there, the best choices are the smoked salmon platter
and the house-made corned beef hash paired with one of the bar’s strong but balanced
Dim sum is a Mother’s Day tradition in our family, and this restaurant—a scene of
happy chaos on weekends at noon—is my current favorite among all the area’s parlors.
The roasted meats dangling in a case at the entrance are almost as effective as a
platter of antipasti in priming the palate for the feast to come.
Come for the zestily faithful rendition of
shakshuka and the Montreal bagels and lox, and stay for the Jewish mother advice. Yes, owner
Nick Wiseman’s mom,
Robin Jeweler, will be on hand to tell you what you should be doing with your life—even if you
Expensive? Yes. But if you’re going for grand statements, you can’t get much grander
than the elegant, multi-room spread at Seasons in Georgetown. All-you-can-eat has
rarely been so classy. The bountiful raw bar is the star, but don’t miss the ceviche
station, where the Peruvian treat is assembled while you wait.
Ann Limpert, food and wine editor
Even though brunch isn’t my mom’s thing, if I were going to take her out, one of my
first picks would be the beautiful herb-pot-lined terrace outside the Park Hyatt.
Kick things off with pineapple-mint mimosas or one of the great Bloodys and a house-made
If you’re throwing together a more-the-merrier family meal, head over to this stylish
Vietnamese spot in the Eden Center and squeeze into a banquette. The menu, as with
most sit-down spots in the outdoor mall, is massive, and the menu has many standouts,
from spring rolls that shatter at the first bite to grilled grape leaves to shaky
Hopefully this May 12 will be a sunny, 70-degree day. In that case, there are few
better places to celebrate the start of warm weather—and a mom who doesn’t mind getting
a little Old Bay on her hands—than this waterside Annapolis crabhouse.
We tend to avoid the brunch crowds, but I always like to do something for dinner.
Last year we gathered at my parents’ house and grilled up a bunch of chicken using
has sambal, yogurt, and Madras curry, among other ingredients—then made the
labneh-and-cilantro dipping sauce and Napa-cabbage slaw chef
Haidar Karoum pairs it with at the restaurant. For dessert we made Bar Pilar’s
super-easy—and served it with strawberries. The 14th Street theme was unintentional,
but it all made for a great casual yet special meal.
Jessica Voelker, online dining editor
Your mom wants to spend time with you. Hop in the car, drive her to Frederick, and
treat her to the great brunch at
Bryan Voltaggio’s beautiful restaurant. If it’s serving pork-belly hash with poached eggs and piquillo
peppers or the omelet with lobster, mushrooms, and asparagus, you’re in luck—both
are knockout dishes. Also not to be missed is the scallion biscuits and gravy, an
à-la-carte side dish.
Sunday Gospel Brunch at Howard Theatre
The food isn’t bad—go early to get the best of the buffet of fried chicken, deli meats,
eggs, and more—but the real event here is the Harlem Gospel Choir. Its amazing singers
perform for church groups, families, and couples, who have plenty of chances to participate.
It’s impossible to leave this experience without a soaring sense of well-being.
I trust this Belgian bistro in the Palisades to take good care of the people I love,
which is why I frequently bring family and friends here for moules
frites in the evenings and, on weekends, the consistently excellent brunch. Try a gallette—a
buckwheat pancake—stuffed with spinach, ham, tomato, Gruyére, and egg, or a perfect
Benedict with smoked salmon.
I’ve been enjoying
Enzo Fargione’s Penn Quarter Italian place ever since it went casual a few weeks back. Take your
mom to dinner here and treat her to an olive oil and salt tasting (featuring oils
from three regions of Italy), a perfect prosciutto-and-burrata appetizer, (the Roman
artichokes are great too), and rustic, bone-sticking entrées. Order house-made limoncello
with dessert—I’m a fan of the tiramisu bar.
Anna Spiegel, assistant food and wine editor
Make a day of it by driving Mom out to this beautiful little guesthouse in the Virginia
Tarver King’s three-course brunch is a reason to go in and of itself, but you can also spend
a leisurely afternoon wine tasting at nearby vineyards or browsing the boutiques in
Middleburg. Snag a table on the garden patio and be prepared for a menu that’s both
adventurous (lamb confit omelet) and comforting (bacon-studded chicken and waffles).
Mintwood brunch is just a happy place: a bright, buzzy room, an informal atmosphere,
and generous plates of seriously good food. If Mom is the type to dig into warm croissants,
blueberry-topped Belgian waffles, and eggs Benedict with house-cured salmon, then
this is a great bet. If you’re looking for a hushed atmosphere you might try elsewhere,
but the lively room also makes it a good spot for young kids.
Brunch is the quintessential Mother’s Day meal, but there’s no saying you can’t treat
her to a wonderful dinner instead—plus it’s probably easier to get a reservation and
avoid crowds. My mom and I loved our last meal at Adour. It’s a gorgeous room and
quiet enough for easy conversation, but neither the decor nor the staff makes it stuffy
or overly formal. Recent standouts included lightly soy-lemon-marinated hamachi and
lobster “cookpot” with orecchiette and an intensely flavorful lobster sauce. Another
reason to go: The restaurant just announced it will close at the end of May.
If your mom loves free-flowing bubbly, then a great bet is
Ashok Bajaj’s Cleveland Park bistro. The restaurant uses actual Champagne, not fizzy sugar water,
so you can happily sip straight it straight or mixed with fresh-squeezed orange juice.
There’s an à-la-carte menu, but the bottomless brunch is a steal at $27 for a choice
of appetizer, entrée, and generous refills. Mom and I like to start by sharing the
crispy Brussels sprouts and salmon rillettes, and the fried-egg-topped burger is a