I took a quick trip to Washington, D.C. this past weekend with friends for a Billy Joel concert at Nationals Park. While the concert was the focus of the trip — and it was amazing — I knew there would be plenty of opportunities to enjoy some good food while visiting the nation’s capital, and that was most certainly the case. During this quick stay, we made a stop at Shake Shack and we also went to Pitango Gelato, a gelateria known for its organic gelato. It was the perfect place to get a refreshing treat after walking around the city and I tried two new-to-me gelato flavors, kiwi and rhubarb, which were both unique and refreshing.
Hands down, the most noteworthy meal we had on this visit was on Sunday when we went to brunch at Old Ebbitt Grill, a historic restaurant in a prime location just steps away from The White House. It opened in 1856 and according to the history section of the restaurant’s website, it’s the oldest saloon in Washington, D.C.
I’ve tried to have brunch at Old Ebbitt Grill on other trips to D.C. but I’ve never been able to get a reservation at a time that worked. It’s quite the popular place, as evidenced by having almost 5,000 reviews on Yelp. This time though, we were in luck! I checked on OpenTable early Sunday morning and there was a reservation available at 11 a.m. for four.
When we walked into the doors of Old Ebbitt Grill, the restaurant was abuzz from the Sunday brunch crowd. The expansive space is decorated in a Victorian style, with white tablecloths lining the table, chandeliers throughout the dining room and a number of fine paintings throughout. Even with the more formal feel, it was clear this is a spot that would be suitable for a number of different occasions, from a casual get together to a celebration.
We were led to a booth towards the back of the restaurant that was lined with crush green velvet, so comfortable that it would have been a fine place to settle in for the nap which was much needed after our meal was finished. We spent a long time perusing the menu trying to decide what to get but we didn’t take long to decide that a round of brunch beverages were in order. The mimosas were especially good, made with fresh-squeezed orange juice and served with an orange slice.
Our table opted more for the lunch side of brunch on this visit, but this is a place we all said we’d be glad to visit again to explore the breakfast…or the dinner…or the dessert…you get where I’m going with this, it was all that good. We all started with salads, ordering the seasonal heirloom tomato salad and caesar salad. Both were delicious and it was a nice touch that the kitchen split each salad on to two separate plates for us since we had said we were sharing.
I couldn’t resist getting a cup of the oyster stew, a creamy base topped with fried Blue Point oysters, Andouille sausage, Swiss chard, smoked paprika and celery salt. If you’re an oyster lover, do yourself a favor and order this.
Our group ordered a variety of sandwiches and entrees for our main meals, including a blackened salmon sandwich, the French dip and a parmesan trout served with hollandaise sauce. Everything we had was fantastic and although it wasn’t cheap, we agreed the prices were really fair for the quality of food, level of service and ambience of the restaurant.
If you visit Old Ebbitt Grill
All in all, the service was great and the Old Ebbitt Grill is a place I definitely hope to visit again on my next trip to Washington, D.C. Heck, I would plan a trip around coming back to this spot!
If you plan to go, I’d definitely recommend making a reservation. Seafood fans will be glad to hear that the restaurant is known for their oysters, and they offer an oyster happy hour seven days a week from 3 – 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. (2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday) where all oyster items on the menu are 50 percent off.
Old Ebbitt Grill is located at 675 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005. It’s open Monday – Thursday from 7:30 a.m. – 2 a.m., Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 3 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.
What’s your favorite brunch spot in Washington, D.C.? Tell us in the comments below!