Mother’s Day Dining: 7 Great Options to Impress Mom (Even Last-Minute)

Family-friendly brunches, wine tastings, and more ways to celebrate.

DGS Delicatessen (pictured) offers a special Mother's Day brunch, and opens early. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Mother’s Day is to brunch what Valentine’s Day is to dinner: any restaurant that’s open has something special planned. So how does one decide where to eat? We’ve compiled a few ideas outside the typical brunch box, many of which fit with last-minute planning. Don’t see anything you like? Check out our recent guide to breakfast and brunch in Washington for more ideas.

Make a day of it and head out to wine country, like at Veritas (pictured). Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Head to a vineyard, and bring the kids

Virginia wine country is unbelievably green and gorgeous this time of year—and can be accessed in about an hour, depending on how far you want to travel. Many vineyards are also kid-friendly, offering picnic spots, live music, and lawn games to entertain the under-21 crowd and designated drivers. Stop for a tasting or glass of wine in the sunshine at one of our favorite vineyards, or combine a visit with a country lunch. Great spots like Girasole, Ashby Inn, and of course, the Inn at Little Washington, come to mind.

Channel the early-bird

Le Diplomate’s prime-time reservations filled up long ago, but diners may find tables at 9:30 AM, when doors open and families with young kids often fill the seats. Other popular early-bird options that would be wonderful for the holiday include Kafe Leopold (8 AM), Belga Cafe (9 AM), DGS Delicatessen (10 AM), and the hotel options mentioned below.

Seasons at the Four Seasons serves one of the most lavish hotel brunches, with plenty of sweets for kids. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Check out a hotel, no check-in required

Hotel brunches feel like festive occasions, even on a normal day—the handsome lobbies, bountiful buffets—not to mention other perks: they’re almost always family-friendly, equipped for high-volume dining, and typically offer early and late reservations, so there’s a better chance of snagging seats. A few of the many options include splurge-worthy meals at Seasons and Blue Duck Tavern; three-course brunch menus for parents and children at Poste; a grand buffet at Jackson 20; and market-inspired buffet in Juniper‘s courtyard.

Span the globe

Brunch doesn’t have to equal eggs Benedict. Ethnic restaurant can be more kid-friendly—think A&J in Rockville for delicious dim-sum, where families crowd the boisterous dining room, or delicious Korean fare at welcoming Gom Ba Woo, which critic Todd Kliman highlights in a 2012 piece about the best places to dine with children. That’s not to say all the options are Cheap Eats-type places. We’re fans of the classy all-you-can-eat-and drink menu at Del Campo ($45 per person). Two other favorites: Rasika West End just launched weekly brunch, while sister Bombay Club offers an elegant buffet with live piano music.

The Angelika theater in the Mosaic District combines eating and movie-going. Photograph by Tom McGovern.

Combine eating and entertainment

Luxury movie theaters with dine-in options are the newest trend in entertainment, serving tasty food and alcoholic beverages to go along with the flick. Critic Ann Limpert recently reviewed three new cinemas: Angelika Film Center (Fairfax), iPic Theaters (North Bethesda), and ArcLight Cinemas (Bethesda). Whichever you choose, it’s a rare plan that’s great for Moms in need of a relaxing escape, or families with kids in tow.

Go out for dinner

Mother’s Day brunch is the tradition (for some unknown reason), but dinner can be equally good, and less chaotic. A number of restaurants have special meals planned. Tosca, typically closed Sunday evenings, opens for a celebratory Italian meal. Over at Casa Luca, chef Fabio Trabocchi offers a Mother’s Day tasting menu at dinner in addtion to a special brunch.

Rare Sweets bakes gorgeous cakes and “breakfast in bed” baskets for Mom. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Stay in for breakfast, even if you can’t cook

Avoid the crowds and plan for a meal at home, even if you can’t poach an egg. Society Fair in Alexandria offers a range of pick-up items, from whole brunch baskets with quiche and read-bake scones, to cinnamon rolls and pound cake. Rare Sweets bakes up Breakfast in Bed gift boxes, with six seasonal pastries like scones, coffee cakes, and cinnamon rolls. If Mom is a bagel fan, get to Bullfrog Bagels in the Atlas District early to avoid lines, and make sure to pick up smoky whitefish salad or specialty cream cheeses as toppings.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.