Food

Our Top Brunch Picks for DC Summer Restaurant Week

The $25 weekend afternoon deal is the best of the bunch.

Michele's in downtown DC dishes up French-American comfort food for Restaurant Week brunch. Photograph by Leading DC

Brunch is arguably the best deal of the Summer Restaurant Week promotion. It’s priced at $25 for three courses (or two and a drink), and there’s no rush to get back to work like a weekday lunch. As always, add-ons like alcoholic drinks can make it less of a steal—but in the age of $18 cocktails, those $20 all-you-can-drink mimosas feels indulgent in the right way. Here, a few standouts.

Bar Chinois
455 I St., NW
Restaurant Week dinner and brunch menus both offer plenty of modern dim sum-style options. For weekend mornings, we like the sound of French-onion/beef gyoza, breakfast fried rice, crispy Singaporean fish, and desserts like matcha creme brulee. There’s also a $20 bottomless option with your choice of mimosas, select beers, and Stateside vodka spritzes. 

Bistro Bis
15 E St., NW
Chef Jeffery Buben’s 25 year-old French bistro on Capitol Hill is hardly a newcomer to Restaurant Week—and the generous menus show it. We’re fans of the classics: steamed mussels, steak tartare, French toast with lemon cream, or a decadent brunch biscuit with Virginia smoked ham, scrambled egg, and country sausage cream gravy, plus desserts like apple croustade with Calvados ice cream.

Chiko Dupont 
2029 P St., NW
If you’re looking for a complete, casual meal—or afternoon takeout—Dupont’s Chinese/Korean spot fits the $25 bill. Choose appetizers like dumplings or a refreshing avocado salad, mains such as a crispy Szechuan chicken sandwich or cumin lamb stir fry noodles, and a non-alcoholic beverage. Add on a beer or wine for $5.

Dauphine’s makes a pretty perch for brunch. Photograph by Jennifer Chase.

Dauphine’s
1100 15th St., NW
The New Orleans-style dining room in downtown DC is dishing up a lovely weekend brunch, which includes lemon-poppyseed scones, fried-fish and grits, and beignets. Go indoors or outside—their courtyard patio is one of several pretty al fresco spots for Restaurant Week.

Destino
1280 Fourth St., NE
While sister Espita Mezcaleria recently closed in Shaw, you can satisfy a craving for upscale Mexican fare at this indoor/outdoor spot in La Cosecha marketplace. The restaurant week brunch ($25) doesn’t differ that much from the regular three-course prix-fixe option ($29), but kudos for offering plentiful choices that aren’t dumbed down for the promotion. Think huitlacoche quesadillas, huevos divorciados, and homemade corn and hisbiscus ice cream sundaes.

Destino. Photograph by Leah Judson

Michele’s
1201 K St., NW
Michelin-starred chef Matt Baker’s French-American brasserie in downtown DC’s Eaton hotel is a pleasant spot for weekend brunch. The three-course menu offers comfort fare like a smoked salmon tarte flambee, fried chicken on cheddar-jalapeno biscuits, and peach cobbler with vanilla-bourbon ice cream.

Moon Rabbit
801 Wharf St., SW
Chef Kevin Tien’s French-Vietnamese dining room at the Wharf is serving an enticing lunch (Thursday through Sunday) in lieu of brunch. We like the sound of his Hanoi-style wedge salad, a pho-spiced fried chicken sandwich with green papaya slaw, and miso-butter cake with tropical caramel.

Passionfish
11960 Democracy Dr., Reston
This seafood-focused spot in Reston Town Center offers a bounty of dishes, such as crab-and-shrimp spring rolls, spicy salmon rolls, shrimp n’ grits, and eggs Chesapeake with crabcakes. Brunch is only offered on Sunday, but you’ll find similar options at lunch.

House-made paneer cheese with spritely vegetables at Rania. Photograph by Greg Powers

Rania
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
The high-end Indian replacement for  Punjab Grill is one of the few fine dining spots offering Restaurant Week brunch. The three-course menu showcases dishes like smoked salmon kulcha with pickled cucumbers, homemade paneer with seasonal vegetables, and parsi chicken with a masala egg. Diners can also add bottomless mimosas or bloodies for $25.

Ser
1110 N. Glebe Rd, Arlington
Restaurant Week menus look the same for lunch/brunch as they do for dinner at this Spanish spot in Ballston—so why not take advantage of the $25 version? Three courses yield summery offerings like chilled melon soup with crispy ham, grilled hanger steak with chimichurri, and pistachio/chocolate flan. There’s an optional $25 wine pairing, too.

Succotash Prime
915 F St., NW
Cheffy comfort food is the name of the game at Edward Lee’s Southern spot in Penn Quarter. The family-style brunch menu includes all the hits: deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles, shrimp n’ grits, and pecan sticky buns. (Note: the menu must be ordered by the whole table with a minimum of two guests.)

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.