Brunch Review: Bar Civita

While spring break was in full swing, I found myself reminiscing about something I enjoyed before finals in the fall. I spent one unforgetable morning with two ladies who were perfect company for a Sunday morning brunch. We packed into the back seat of an Uber and headed out to Woodley Park for some glorious brunching. With the recent spring weather, I've found myself dreaming about this meal and how delicious it will be again when patios open for the outdoor brunch season

The chef-owned Bar Civita is a recently opened Italian American restaurant tucked away on a side street near Connecticut Ave. It opened in April 2015, but only started serving up brunch in October. The outside isn’t impressive, but once you open the door you know you’re in for a treat. We were eager to see what this brunch had to offer.

The restaurant is small, with a fully stocked bar along the left wall. There is a tiny patio with two tables for the warmer months, but we snagged a cozy seat indoors next to the window. Bar Civita opens for brunch at 10:30 a.m., so we were first to arrive on the scene. Other people slowly piled in, and by noon it was fairly crowded.

The staff was nice, refilling our cups of water before we even needed more. Our waitress didn’t seem to know too much about the menu, especially when we asked for clarification of what the seasonal vegetables were, but she was friendly. Our food took much longer than it should have, especially considering we ordered with only one other couple in the restaurant.

My friend and I started off our meal with some coffee, despite the absence of a coffee menu. We were delivered two gorgeous French presses, which our waitress pressed for us at the table. The coffee was in the top five cups I have ever had, with a smooth sip and sweet flavor. We discussed how impressive the coffee was, and I would go back in a heartbeat just for another cup.

One of my friends ordered the Belgian waffle, topped with blackberries and Marasca cherry cream, accompanied by a side of maple syrup. She thought it was good, nearly cleaning her plate, leaving the out-of-season blackberries to the side. The seasonal fruit topping was a bit disappointing.

My other friend struggled to choose between the Irish smoked salmon and poached eggs or the Civita Bar steak and two eggs. Our waitress wasn’t much help in deciding, but she finally chose the salmon dish. My friend is dairy, nut and gluten free, so she skipped the caper hollandaise sauce due to her food allergies. She raved about the dish nonetheless. The plate came with roasted, autumn vegetables of carrots, kale and potatoes, topped with two eggs poached to perfection. The smoked salmon at the side paired beautifully with the veggies and eggs. She cleaned her plate easily, commenting on how the eggs were poached much better than her usual microwave poached eggs in her dorm.

I went for the two poached eggs florentine. The dish came out with bright, vibrant colors. A delicious piece of toasted house made fennel rosemary bread is topped with kale, two poached eggs and smothered in a parmesan lemon hollandaise. A garnish of arugula and pickled onions were placed on top for the perfect finish. The bread was toasted so it wasn’t too crunchy or too soft, and I was impressed with how well it held up between the hollandaise and egg yolk. The eggs really were spectacular, and the hollandaise sauce was fairly light. The kale was cooked just enough to have a bite, but it wasn’t bitter at all. I left wondering when I could come back and eat it all over again. 

The star of the meal was our finale of Bar Civita donuts. With the check in our hands, a manager came over with a platter of two glorious pastries. It was unclear what kind of confusion happened, but we somehow ended up with the complimentary plate.

I dug in. The manager told us donut flavors change weekly depending on seasonal ingredients. The first was a lemon crueler, which was out of this world. The crueler was still warm from the oven and was light and airy inside. The topping wasn’t overpoweringly lemony, and had a scrumptious sweet glaze. The second was a cherry donut. The girls and I weren’t too fond of cherry flavored treats, but I gave it a try anyway. The donut itself was incredible, with pockets of air creating a lighter pastry, but the frosting killed the enjoyment. The cherry was far too sweet, and I couldn’t finish my half.

Brunch at Bar Civita is great option. The restaurant was welcoming, unique and quite delicious. It was the best choice in the area for a delicious brunch, especially as we passed by the long line up outside Open City right next door. It’s an off the beaten path restaurant that is definitely worth checking out. The food was beautiful, and tasted just as good. The prices are more than reasonable for the quality, and I look forward to brunching there again.

Bar Civita

2609 24th St. N.W.

Washington, D.C.