1280 Fourth Street, Northeast
Excellent cocktails centered around mezcal and tequila make this La Cosecha spot from the team behind Espita a fun spot for everyday drinks (or not – they’ve also got some Amazing non-alcoholic cocktails). The modern Mexican brunch menu is small, with a few entrées and entrees, but includes some notable vegetarian options such as the mushroom-stuffed quesadilla.
2011 Crystal Doctor, Arlington
The all-day venue in Crystal City (i.e., National Landing) serves an eclectic mix – vegetarian pakora pancakes, toasted shrimp and steak – as well as brunch for lunch. The spacious 50-seat covered patio is a great place for a coffee or a cocktail, too.
1734 N St., NW
The shaded Wisteria Garden in this Mediterranean Dupont destination is one of the most charming places to dine al fresco in the capital. The new lunchtime menu offers sumptuous tuna melt, delicious Caesar and focaccia pizza. Try the version with fennel salami and charred pineapple (yes, we team pineapple on pizza).
Laos in the city
250 K St., NE
Enjoy the vibrant and spicy flavors of Laos from NoMa’s vast (although mostly uncovered) patio. Among the highlights: the many papaya salads, lemon-battered pork sausages, and char-grilled chicken with vinaigrette and chili sauce. A dedicated vegetarian menu is also available.
1847 Columbia Road, Northwest
Adams Morgan Afghan Restaurant serves their full menu for lunch on their low side patio. Sample the usak (leek dumplings topped with minced beef), plentiful vegetable platters, grilled kabobs, and much more alongside refreshing beverages (like brewed pomegranate, rose water, and soda mix).
1601 14th Street, Northwest
One of the most buzzing midday destinations, the popular French brasserie is excellent for both people watching and onion soup. Lunch: Warm shrimp salad with lemon purée blanc or the famous American burger. Ask for one of the “street-side embankments” (ahem, streettier tables) when possible.
3310 Rhode Island Ave., Mount Rainier
Chef Jesse Miller has a way to make American comfort foods more comforting. For lunch on the sail-covered patio, check out snacks like fried green tomatoes and baked eggs, as well as Sammy’s stuffed with buttermilk-fried chicken and ranch ranch or cornmeal crusted fish with remoulide.
rakuya / raku
1900 Q St., NW; 3312 Wisconsin Ave. , N.W.; 7240 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda
Do you crave sushi without an account? These mid-priced locations with slightly varying menus – in Dupont Circle, Heights Cathedral, and Bethesda – hit the spot. Generous boxes of bento are a bargain for lunch, but the shirachi plates are well worth the (modest) treat.
Ruthie all day long
3411 Fifth St. S. , Arlington
A spacious patio filled with canopies serves up elevated Southern staples with the help of a custom wood-burning stove. Fried cornbread and scrambled eggs give a satisfying start. Smoked breast meat is also a specialty – either on a sandwich or as part of a meat and two (or three) dish.
7271 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda
José Andres’ newest local spot—with a 48-seat patio—celebrates eggs and potatoes, along with other Spanish comforts. At lunch, look for a $30 three-course prize with options like gazpacho, ham and pressed cheese sandwiches, plus a pie for dessert.
3227 Georgia Ave., NW
An informal Georgian plant-lined patio is a surprising escape from the hustle and bustle of Georgia Street, NW. The newly launched weekday lunch menu, with QR code request, offers staples such as khinkali (soup dumplings) and khachapuri (cheese-stuffed bread), as well as sandwiches and lamb burgers.
The pub at Ivy City Smokehouse
1356 Oki Street, Northeast
The seafood restaurant’s association with neighboring supplier ProFish means you know you’re getting a good catch. From the sunny deck, enjoy the crab cakes and fried boys of shrimp. Home-smoked fish – which you can taste with bread – is especially popular.