The first week I got to D.C. I learned that there were two things every Washingtonian loves: brunch and happy hour. It made sense— this is a young city where everything is expensive and everyone works strange hours. So it wasn’t surprising at all to hear that people typically go for a drink between 5 and 7 to get half price cocktails or drafts, and on the weekends everyone sleeps in.
My internship is a rare one where I get out at 3:00 and I’m home before 4:00. Convincing myself to go back out after changing into leggings and trying to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy isn’t the easiest thing in the world. So, no happy hour for me yet.
But brunch— brunch was something I could get behind. Anyone who knows me knows I constantly skip breakfast, so combining two meals into one is heaven for me!
I’ve done two Sunday brunches thus far, both at the same place, Alba Osteria. Typically it’s a pizza place, but on Saturday and Sunday mornings they’re home to a famous brunch. Their menu ranges from pure breakfasts of pancakes or waffles to solid lunches like pizza.
I love this place. In the last two weeks it’s become my brunch spot. The food is amazing, but they’re really famous for their “bottomless brunch.” For $35 I can order as many meals and drinks as I want. It’s perfect for any mimosa or bellini lover.
This first week I didn’t do bottomless. I didn’t know the portion sizes, and realized I’d have to order two meals and three drinks for it to be worth it. I can barely finish my meals in restaurants normally, so I didn’t take the chance. I ordered poached eggs that came with a slice of salmon on top and French fries, and it was amazingly good.
The next week however, I went with a larger group of girls from my internship and went all in. But of course when you go bottomless you have to have a game plan. I started with pancakes, which were thin and you only got two. Then I moved on to the poached eggs again because I was still dreaming about them from the week before.
The drinks were easy to keep up with because waiters circled looking for low glasses to refill. But you don’t have to be 21 or drink to do a bottomless brunch, but it definitely helps make it worth the price. I am, however, still unclear on whether they allow you to take home any food you don’t finish. I haven’t had any leftover food thus far, and I heard a rumor that sometimes they allow you to wrap extra food and sometimes they don’t.
Brunch, especially bottomless brunch, is best in a large group, with plenty of time set aside. Conversation never stops and you can end up sitting there long enough to get almost hungry again. We gave ourselves two hours, and it just barely enough time for me to make the Chinese New Year parade after.
Definitely make a reservation before going, because the line gets long around 12:30 for a table. But don’t fret, you can take all the time you need. What I love about this staff is I never felt pushed to hurry for my table. They’ve allowed us to continue our conversations, uninterrupted, and when we’re ready to go we ask for the check.
PHOTO CRED ON THUMBNAIL: Mirabai Siegel