7 Brunch Spots Near the National Mall’s Cherry Blossoms

Image via iStock

About Brunch Around DC

All our brunch suggestions in one handy location.

Peak bloom has passed, but the weather is more gorgeous than ever this weekendand the flowering trees are still beautiful. Take a stroll around the National Mall and Tidal Basin and then head to brunch.

Garden Cafe at the National Gallery of Art
National Mall (6th Street and Constitution Ave., NW)
Get your culture and brunch fix all in one place at the National Gallery of Art. The palatial cafe is currently serving a French menu inspired by Cézanne through July 1, including a buffet brunch with dishes like striped bass niҫoise and crepes ($30 for adults, $18 for children 12 and under).

400 8th St., NW
Whether you need a quick pick-me-up or are looking to linger, this casual Japanese cafe and tea house is a welcome respite. The vegetarian-friendly menu includes everything from to cilantro-scrambled eggs to noodles, although we’re partial to the roll-your-own-handroll bento box with tea-cured salmon. For a recharge, order a pot of green tea—or a glass of sake. 

New Mexican spot Mi Vida pours pretty drinks at the Wharf. Photograph by Rey Lopez, courtesy of Mi Vida.

Hank’s at the Wharf
701 Wharf St., SW
Treat yourself to a hangtown fry (scrambled eggs and fried oysters) or a delicious lobster roll at this Wharf outpost of Hank’s Oyster Bar. A patio is open in warm weather for sipping mimosas or knocking back oyster shooters by the water. Note the Wharf less than a fifteen minute walk from the Tidal Basin, but a bit of a hike from other spots on the National Mall like the Lincoln Memorial.

Mi Vida
98 District Sq., SW
Two outdoor dining areas and ample margaritas make this colorful Mexican spot at the Wharf an attractive brunch option on warm days. In addition to the wide-ranging menu of tacos, Mexican-style seafood towers, and enchiladas, find weekend brunch specials like chilaquiles and huevos rancheros. Try a mezcal Mary for something different.

Red Apron Butcher/The Partisan
709 D St., NW
This moodily lit restaurant adjoining chef Nate Anda’s butcher shop is a prime place for carnivores. Meaty plates include porchetta and fried egg sandwiches, smoked ham Benedicts, and the “pancake burger” (which is just like it sounds). In the mood for a picnic? Grab sandwiches and salads from the adjoining market.

Get lucky at The Source with Chinese New Year menus, and of course, dumplings. Photograph by Scott Suchman
The Source does dumplings for brunch. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The Source
575 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
At this Wolfgang Puck restaurant attached to the Newseum, you’ll find flavors from across Asia. The Saturday dim sum brunch menu homes in on our favorite dish: dumplings. Versions might include shrimp with carrot-tinted skins as well as a terrific vegetarian riff on pot stickers filled with surprisingly deceptive “meat.” The list is rounded out with buns, noodles, and other savories. Items are available a la carte ($9), or in tastings of five ($40) and eight ($56).

Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th St., NW
Few places feel more “Washington” than this old-school, mahogany-covered saloon neighboring the White House. The American menu includes plenty of easy-pleasers for adults and kids (think four types of brunch Benedicts and beyond). We like to post up at one of Old Ebbitt’s four—yes, four!—bars for a beer with a crab cake sandwich or a platter of oysters. 

480 7th St., NW
When Jaleo opened in 1993, tapas-style dining was still a relatively foreign concept in Washington. Even as small-plates restaurants have multiplied to encompass a globe’s-worth of cuisines, José Andrés’s flagship Spanish spot still holds its own. Some of the greatest pleasures are its simplest: a flauta (sandwich) with Ibérico ham and tomato, garlicky sautéed shrimp, or roasted peppers and eggplant dressed with sherry vinegar. Sangría is a tempting way to liven up a meal, but it’s even harder to resist one of a half dozen gin-and-tonics.

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.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.