The 12 Best Breakfast Spots In DCBecause sometimes you don't want a mimosa-based morning meal.
Brunch culture takes up a lot of the airspace when we think about breakfast in DC, but the two meals are not to be confused. For one thing, breakfast sans the bottomless mimosas, well that’s all a time-honored tradition here. There are diners (like Florida Avenue Grill) that are older than Metro. So for the mornings you’re craving a straightforward no-nonsense breakfast, whether you’re carrying out or dining in, here are 10 great spots to check out.
There are a few reasons to hit this all-day American restaurant and cafe in Navy Yard, like their homemade cold brew that’s quite good and the buttery croissants. But the real reason we come here is the scallion-pancake egg sandwich. They come with your choice of bacon, kimchi, or sausage, and are served with a spicy, tangy garlic-chili oil. It's a great spot to work while you eat—or maybe it’s eat while you work? Lounge on a green tweed couch if you're looking to kick back, or grab a more sturdy (but still comfortable) booth if you're there to grind.
We love an on-the-go breakfast that gives us an energy boost that isn’t from a short-lived sugar rush. And on those days, we go to Turning Natural. The Anacostia juice bar serves about 20 different smoothie and fresh juice options, including our favorite, the Bob Marley, a tropical smoothie full of papaya, pineapple, mango, and peach. And they get you in and out in under 10 minutes, so you have time to stop even on those days that you’re running a little behind schedule. Just tell your boss it was your daily dose of self-care.
Florida Avenue Grill is a DC institution that has served residents since 1944. It’s an old-school diner, so think tattered vinyl booths and bar seats that have withstood the test of time, with customers that range from longtime regulars to the occasional tourist. The restaurant is only open Friday through Sunday from 9am-2pm, so time is of the essence here. Their world-famous hot cakes, served with butter, cinnamon, and powdered sugar, are the stuff of dreams. They're light and fluffy, buttery and sweet. Things take time here and the service can be slow, but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
Call Your Mother knows how to attract a crowd. This fast-casual Jewish deli is the closest Dc has gotten to a New York City bagel—which is a big deal. The bread, ranging from plain to maple salt and pepper, is made fresh and served with cream cheeses like strawberry-mint and candied salmon. Their signature sandwiches, like The Pastrami Sun City, made with pastrami, egg, cheddar and honey, are instant classics. The shop's decor includes quirky designs in aquamarine and pink, so get ready to pull out your phone at least once to snap a quick pic while holding up the line. That said, it’s in your best interest to skip the line entirely. Order ahead, especially on weekends where wait times (typically around 10-15 minutes) can hike up quickly.
Murry & Paul’s is the definition of a no-nonsense diner, with minimal decoration, a straightforward American breakfast menu, and a cash-only policy. On weekends, it gets seriously packed with people waiting for a table and mulling around the bar while the staff manages an obscene number of carry-out orders. The restaurant has served Brookland for over 50 years, and you can tell by the large crowds that the restaurant, and its food, are much appreciated. The menu includes their pancake and french toast specials, the most popular dishes, which come with eggs and your choice of meat. The food is good, but take your order to go unless you got time, since the wait can range anywhere from 25-30 minutes.
Heat Da Spot, a beloved local gathering spot in Columbia Heights, serves some seriously good breakfast. Come here for the Ethiopian menu where you can get things like ful, a fava bean and egg sandwich brimming with flavor, and chechebsa, fried flatbread marinated in spiced butter and berbere that’s peppery and crispy in all the right places. There’s a down-to-earth charm about the place, which on any given occasion should probably only seat about 30 people, but is often hosting double that amount. And on the weekends you’ll find people forever lounging on the gold couches and the mismatched furniture that decorate the space, so be prepared to hunt for seats.
The Coupe's all-day breakfast menu and massive seating options mean breakfast lovers of all types can find what they need here. The restaurant takes up the entire corner of the block, which means there’s space for everyone — and plenty of natural sunlight thanks to a series of windows along the far wall. There’s an extensive coffee and pastry menu, if you’re not looking to take on a whole meal. Though if you do, you can’t go wrong with The Coupe Royale which comes with eggs, sausage, a hash brown square, and your choice of french toast or pancakes (get the pancakes, always get the pancakes).
La Tejana, a Tex-Mex restaurant in Mt. Pleasant, is a go-to neighborhood staple for a quick and delicious breakfast. Inside, you’ll be instantly enveloped by the space. Plants hang from shelves overhead, coffee grinds sit next to jugs of horchata, and the staff banters from behind the counter with regulars, recommending orders and drinks like the Dirty Horchata. The restaurant only serves five taco options that they rightly recommend you order in batches of two or three. Each soft taco is made with some variation of eggs, queso, potatoes, or refried beans on flour tortillas made in-house. They’re ridiculously good. On the weekends, expect a line that forms early, but moves quickly. You can take your order to go or hang around the standing counter mounted against a wall and the patio seating on warmer days.
This family-owned restaurant in Capitol Hill is everything you want from your neighborhood cafe. It’s the type of place you can sit at a table by a window solo or side-by-side with friends in a booth dissecting the drama from the night before. Expect nothing but the fundamentals: booths, bar seating, and wooden tables that can be rearranged to accommodate big groups. The straightforward menu is full of American breakfast classics, the best of which are the omelets and the french toast. Like other diners, it’s cash-only here, so be prepared. The restaurant is open from 6:30am-3pm on weekdays and 8am-3pm on weekends.
The early morning breakfast crowd is in Farmers & Distillers, and for good reason. The Chinatown restaurant sits on the corner of Mass Ave. and 6th St., making it really easy to get to whether you’re driving, walking, or taking the metro. And it has New Orleans-adjacent beignets, fluffy pancakes, and a huge dining room that fits anyone’s needs (and you’ll see everyone in here, even at 7am). Whether you’re coming for a quick pre-work breakfast with a coworker or looking for a spot to meet up with a friend who is visiting, Farmers & Distillers meets the mark.
This Puerto Rican spot in Navy Yard is serving flavor with a capital “F”, in everything from the sandwiches to the batidos (milkshakes). It’s a brightly colored family-friendly place (yes there’s a bar) that can get you in and out of in under 30 minutes, depending how quickly you’re able to pick between the mata hambre (steak, egg, and cheese) and jibarito made with fried plantains as the bread. Use your phone to order food at your table—try to get one with a swing—and someone will bring it right to you. Or you can grab-and-go at the dedicated takeout counter complete with an old-school black and white menu with the slide-on letters.