Food

Washingtonian Recommends: the Best Rooftop Brunches for Every (Sunny!) Occasion

Where to sip mimosas in the sunshine, whether you're with kids or a big group.
The outdoor terrace at Sally's Middle Name is a blissful place for brunch. Photograph courtesy of Sally's Middle Name.
Washingtonian Recommends

Our Washingtonian Recommends lists bring you the best places to eat, drink, and be entertained—all selected by Washingtonian editors.

For foodies: Sally’s Middle Name
1320 H St., NE
This charming spot on H Street is worth seeking out on sunny afternoons, when you can linger over chef Sam Adkins’s cooking on an airy back terrace. The hyper-seasonal brunch menu changes often, and your discerning friends will be impressed with the lineup. Think Caribbean-style lentils with eggs, pickled ginger, and herbs or a warm Dutch baby with homemade preserves.

For hangovers: Homestead
3911 Georgia Ave., NW
This low-key Petworth joint just revamped rooftop, but it’s still a chill space to hang in the afternoon. Enjoy mix-and-match bottomless brunch drinks for up to two hours ($20 per person), with beers and screwdrivers joining the usual mimosas and bloodies. Rib-sticking fare like shrimp and grits, huevos rancheros, and Benedicts are also curative.

For lox lovers: the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse
1356 Okie St., NE
Smoked fish fans shouldn’t miss this seafood restaurant atop  Ivy City’s seafood market and smokery. Groups can settle in on the roomy rooftop patio for boards of the smoked salmon and whitefish salad with Bethesda Bagels and cream cheese. (We also love cracking crabs there in summer and fall.) In addition to the all-day menus, a special brunch lineup runs on Sunday from 11 AM to 3 PM with waffles, Benedicts, and more.

Dig into smoked fish platters on the roof of the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse. Photograph via Ivy City Smokehouse.

For under-the-radar space: Sababa and Bindaas
3309 Connecticut Ave., NW
Did you know that there’s a small-yet-charming rooftop terrace on the Cleveland Park building that houses Sababa and Bindaas? Most people don’t! You can order from either of Ashok Bajaj’s restaurants up there, though tables have to pick one menu and can’t mix-and-match dishes from the new modern-Israeli restaurant (Sababa) and Indian street food spot (Bindaas). Also note: the space is uncovered, so weather dependent.

For a big group party: Masa 14
1825 14th St., NW
Few restaurateurs throw a brunch party better than Richard Sandoval, whose DC ventures (El Centro D.F., Toro Toro) are known for their raucous all-you-can-eat-and-drink affairs. We’re partial to his Latin/Asian spot, where groups can camp out on the covered rooftop or in the dining room. For $39 a person, feast with abandon on 18-odd small plates—barbecue steamed buns, egg-and-chorizo hash—plus various mimosas, bloodies, and beer-tails. Another perk: a patient waitstaff.

For kid-friendly eating: Northside Social Falls Church
205 Park Ave., Falls Church
The brand new downtown Falls Church location of this popular Arlington cafe has multiple outdoor spaces, including first- and second-floor terraces and a patio. Homemade pastries, quiches, and sandwiches are available all day, along with new items like wood oven pizzas, entree salads, and rice bowls. A wine bar menu takes over the top level at night, but you can always grab a cold beer or glass of vino while the kids are treated to fresh-baked cookies.

Grab your friends (and swimsuit) for brunch at the DNV Rooftop. Photograph courtesy of DNV.

For pool-side views: DNV Rooftop
1155 14th St., NW
The lobby restaurant of this Kimpton Hotel property recently closed, but you can still head up to the rooftop weekend brunch by the pool. The views are more exciting than the menu (avocado toast, egg sandwiches), but you can also get your thrills from Sunday DJ pool parties from noon to 5 PM. Don’t forget a swimsuit! The public can dip along with hotel guests.

For special occasions (or when someone else is paying): Del Mar
791 Wharf St., SW
The luxe Spanish restaurant from the Fiola Mare crew is already at the top of our special occasion list. Celebratory brunch, or just feelin’ fancy? Head to the second-floor terrace for shellfish towers, tapas, and a handful of egg dishes—though honestly who wants eggs when you can splurge on seafood paella?

For tacos: Cortez
1905 Ninth St., NW
Order your hangover-curing chilaquiles and frozen margaritas at the bar, and then find your spot under a colorful umbrella on the rooftop of this Mexican restaurant in Shaw. In addition to a handful of weekend brunch items, the full menu of tacos and street snacks is available.

El Techo rooftop bar/restaurant serves brunch in Shaw. Photography by Evy Mages

For tropical (and millennial) flare: El Techo
606 Florida Ave., NW
Settle in amid the flowers and plants at Shaw’s “adult treehouse,” where you can have your boozy passion fruit sno-cones and eat them, too. The kitchen turns out riffs on brunch classics like fried chicken and churros alongside dishes like fried avocado tacos (because millennials love avocados and tacos).

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Anna Spiegel
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.