Prices are for the least and most expensive dishes at breakfast (B) or brunch. Credit cards accepted are indicated by letters: AE (American Express), C (Choice), CB (Carte Blanche), D (Diners Club), MC (MasterCard), V (Visa). Information following the reviews was supplied by the restaurants themselves. AU PIED DE COCHON
One problem with an all- night restaurant is that sometimes by morning everything and everyone looks as if it had been there all night. And so it is at Au Pied de Cochon: at 9 a.m. there are children dozing in the booths and unshaven patrons scattering newspapers helter- skelter. The waiters seem numb and, what's worse, the kitchen seems numb. The menu lists such breakfast oddities as duck ,a l'orange and steamed lobster along with the croissants and eggs benedict, but there is little ordinary stuff -- bacon and eggs and french toast are available, but there are no cereals or pancakes. Prices are low, but no lower than the quality; eggs benedict at $3.75 was a soggy, pale muffin with presliced ham and watery hollandaise; french toast was limp and pale. Even the plain toast was merely the heel of the bread. The sausage -- Italia, with fennel -- had possibilities, but it was cooked hard and dry. And with everything came cold, stiff frozen french fries. Grapefruit juice tasted like acid, coffee had even less taste, and one's inclination after being served such a slovenly mess was to go somewhere good for breakfast.
1335 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 333- 5440. B daily 24 hours $2.25- $7.95. AE, CB, D, MC, V. A VIGNONE FRERES
The comfort of a morning at Avignone Fr,eres is its historic quality; the reds, oranges and purples of the Art Deco era have lasted unchanging on the curved banquettes, and the glass bakery cases look just as they did -- or we think they did -- decades ago. Eating breakfast in such grand high-ceilinged funkiness is sufficient cause for seeking Columbia Road. The food is certainly not. Canned orange and grapefruit juice are not Art Deco camp -- just cheekiness. Everything at breakfast tasted more tired than I was. The espresso was cold, the danish was dry and tasteless, th hash browns were not only greasy but cold, hard and canned-tasting. Eggs benedict was passable, the eggs nicely poached and the hollandaise unobjectionable. Corned beef hash, though, was gristly and greasy. And the sausage tasted as if it had been cooked to a dry, hard crisp -- yesterday. The menu also lists french toast, pancakes, omelets, veal and chicken crepes and a fresh fruit platter, along with the usual croissants and breakfast pastries (rolled by on a cart for extra impressiveness). There are cappuccino and a choice of seven mineral waters. Avignone Fr,eres' weekend menu offers several kinds of crepes, biscuits and grits, but also warns you that to 20 minutes. On a weekday morning the service was far more swift than that, but even at top speed the wait for this food wasn't worth it.
1777 Columbia Rd. NW. 265- 0332. B Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m.-noon, Sat 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. $2.95-$7.75; brunch Sun 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. $2.95-$7.75. AE, CB, D, MC, V. BARON'S GOURMET DELLY RESTAURANT
A tiny delicatessen with tables in the front and counter in the rear, Baron's Gourmet Delly has a few deli specialties all too rare hereabouts: salami and eggs, pastrami and eggs, a platter of nova and whitefish. It also has about the worst whitefish salad -- runny and salty -- that I have ever encountered, along with wilted nova and greasy eggs. All this amid gold and silver wallpaper. As far as the food and mood go, Baron's has slid from its good old days. I did encounter, though, a truly outstanding waitress who constantly refilled coffee cups without hovering, offered advice when asked and seemed to read your mind but still leave you in peace and quiet. If only she could cook.
2643 Connecticut Ave. NW. 332- 3555. B Mon-Sat 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun 7 a.m.-7 p.m. $1.50-$4.95. No credit cards. BOOEYMONGER
Put on your jogging suit one Saturday morning and drive over to Booeymonger if you want to see the true Chevy Chase breakfast: whole wheat bagel (dry for the committed), the Miami Burger for the rest. The latter is a very good and chewy bagel, properly toasted, slathered with cream cheese and layered with lovely, pale, smoky Nova Scotia salmon of quality, with plenty of sliced tomatoes and onions on the side. Good clean fun, though coffee in Styrofoam cups disturbs the picture. Otherwise the glassy, brassy Booeymonger cafeteria has flat, greasy and fairly tasteless omelets, odd egg sandwiches -- such as with swiss cheese, ham, tomato and an ooze of ballpark mustard on toasted english muffin -- and croissants in all flavors that sometimes taste as if they were saved up all week. The best of the lot, besides the lox and bagel (who can ruin a good bagel?), are the home fries, crusty, oniony and well browned, tasting as if they owe much of their character to nobody's having recently cleaned the grill -- which in this case is an asset.
5252 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 686- 5805. B Mon-Fri 8-11:30 a.m., Sat, Sun 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 95 cents-$4.50. No credit cards. (Also at 3265 Prospect St. NW. 333-4810.) BREAD & CHOCOLATE
The clean, serene Swiss look of these brown-and-beige bakery-caf,es makes you feel healthy right from the start. So the simple, nutritious breakfast menu suits. You can have a boiled egg or birchermuesli -- that creamy grainy cereal mixture embedded with plenty of diced fresh fruit, from pineapple to pears to apples to summer fruits in season. Prettily served on flowered china, breakfast here culls few complaints: the muesli lacked nuts, the brie on the cheese plate lacked character and one waiter lacked understanding of the food ("Brioche? Isn't that a cheese?"). Small flaws, though, when service is basically pleasant, the espresso and cappuccino are strong and aromatic, the crusty breads are wonderful and the croissants are as delicately flaky as the best anywhere. Just remember that Bread & Chocolate stars as a bakery far more than as a pastry shop: Stick to the breadstuffs.
5542 Connecticut Ave. NW. 966- 7414. B daily 7:30-11:30 a.m. $1- $3.75. MC, V. ? BREAD OVEN (19th Street)
If substance is your choice over style, the 19th Street Bread Oven is a good place to exercise it. The weekday breakfast choices are limited to continental-style. The fruit salad is fresh. And the breads are highly professional: flaky, buttery croissants with a variety of fillings; butter-rich light brioches; crusty walnut rolls; bland but delicately textured danish. The coffee, whether espresso, cappuccino, au lait or regular, is freshly aromatic, strong but not bitter. And the dining room is serene enough to allow concentration on your morning paper. The problem is that the self-service is awkward, the procedure unclear and the help lackadaisical. The price is right, even with butter charged by the pat, but the quality is not. (Omelets -- cheese and/or bacon -- are gently cooked, well stuffed and of excellent quality, but are only available on weekend breakfasts.) So if good eating and an urban chic crowd mean more to you than putting your service in somebody else's hands, you'll understand why breakfast at the Bread Oven can become an addiction.
1220 19th St. NW. 466-4264. B Mon-Sat 7:45-11 a.m.; brunch Sat 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed Sunday. AE, D, MC, V. BRISTOL GRILL
Most hotel dining rooms are oases of tradition; the Bristol's is modern, with bright abstracts on the walls, but no less comfortable for it. Service in these early months is excellent, with fresh orange juice poured into your stemmed glass as you sit down -- with a thoughtful warning that it is refilled frequently. The menu covers all bases, from lox and bagels to eggs benedict to Texas-style french toast with cinnamon. And the birchermuesli is probably the best in town, sweetened with honey and coconut, yogurt adding a tart balance, and plenty of almonds and walnuts for crunch, with a few strawberries as buried surprises. The cooking is careful -- scrambled eggs are softly curded and buttery -- and garnishes are uncommonly good, from the skewer of fresh fruit with the main dishes to the butter rosette in a tiny glass bell. Unfortunately, the hash brown patties are heavy and dry, the sausages taste like breaded meat mush and the croissants taste stolid. Roast beef hash is middling -- crusty but also damp and too finely ground. If you like ham, order it here, for the portion is about what you might serve a whole family at home. In other words, the Bristol is not flawless but can do a lot to get your day off on the right foot.
2430 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 955-6400. B Mon-Sat 7-10:30 a.m. $4.25-$7.50; brunch Sun 11 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. $6.50-$10.50. AE, D, MC, V. BURGER KING
The best to be said about Burger King's breakfast is that there is not much to be said about it. It is not terrible, just greasy and bland. The orange juice is cold, the coffee hot and the deep-fried french toast faintly sweet and pleasant. Hash browns don't taste of potato, but they are nicely crunchy. Sausage oozes grease and tastes more of salt than of meat; on a small crescent- shaped Croissan'wich with tasteless soft smear of egg and film of American cheese it is . . . filling. The crucial quality of such an indifferent breakfast becomes the service, and after I repeated my order three times and the cashier still got it wrong, I decided that Burger King is worth the trouble only if you drive through for your breakfast, so that it is the least trouble a breakfast might be.
Many locations. B daily 6-11 a.m. (hours may vary slightly). 60 cents-$2. No credit cards. CAPITAL HILTON: TWIGS
Soft chairs and crisp bacon are the best of Twigs -- crisp Irish bacon, that is, like Canadian bacon with a tail, lean and smoky and among the best breakfast meats in town. I wish I could rave equally about the rest of the menu, for it sounds so tempting: smoked salmon and sweet onion omelet, creamed chipped beef, corned beef hash, malt or blueberry butternut pancakes, mango bread with raspberry farmer cheese. But on the table was ordinary stuff. Shiitake mushroom omelet was a dead ringer for plain old cultivated mushrooms in overcooked and rubbery eggs. Crepe-thin pancakes were swamped in rather good maple butter. Mango bread was sheer and unexceptional cake, looking and tasting garish with raspberried cheese. And danish came dry and caky. For soft and spacious plushness, certainly give Twigs a try. And expect frequent coffee refills with pleasant enough service. But if you hope beyond the routine, Twigs may disappoint.
1001 16th St. NW. 393-1000. B Mon-Sat 7-11:30 a.m. $2-$9; brunch Sun 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $19.95. AE, CB, D, MC, V. CHAUCER'S
A little breakfast of quiet satisfactions is at Chaucer's, in the downstairs elegance of wood paneling and old brick, chandeliers and skylight. Soft baroque music wafts over the tables, set with white cloths and flowered china. Little pots of sweet butter and of exceptional strawberry jam wait ready for your croissants (half flaky, half doughy; one plain and one almond) or marvelous toasted raisin pumpernickel. The continental breakfast, at $4.50, also includes orange or grapefruit juices that are truly fresh and decent coffee readily refilled. Otherwise the menu is small and does not aim for cleverness; it's just fresh fruits, cold cereal, omelets or plain eggs, waffles and breakfast meats that include steak and Canadian bacon. Nice additions: your toast can be whole wheat, your hot beverage herb tea or hot chocolate with whipped cream.
1733 N St. NW. 296-0665. B Mon-Fri 7-9:30 a.m., Sat 8-11 a.m., Sun 8-10:30 a.m. $2.25- $6.50; brunch Sun 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. $2.50-$9.75. AE, CB, MC, V. CHURRERIA MADRID
Worried about authenticity? At Churreria Madrid, the hour it opens would be enough to reassure you. It doesn't open until 11 a.m. for breakfast, which is certainly Spanish. The namesake specialty is crusty little teardrop-shaped doughnuts, fried to order and sprinkled with sugar, to be eaten by the dozen, perhaps dunked in some fine, rich hot chocolate. If you like a more substantial breakfast, you can have fried eggs atop a mound of wonderful oiled rice and accompanied by fat spicy chorizo or ham, both large portions at a modest price, accompanied by good crusty bread. There is also a tortilla espa?nola, a thick wedge of room-temperature omelet layered with potatoes. And you might try a side dish of fried, sweet, ripe plantains with sour cream, or maybe some black beans and rice. Coffee is American or a strong little demitasse of espresso or cortado, with foamed milk. Service is matter-of-fact and the surroundings are luncheonette-bare. But one goes to Churreria for the food itself: hefty, hearty and authentic.
2505 Champlain St. NW. 483- 4441. B Tues-Sun 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $1-$8.65. Closed Mondays. AE, MC, V. CLYDE's OMELET ROOM
Even if longevity didn't give it extra points, Clyde's would win many a breakfast competition in Washington. First, it is a cozy and cheerful room, with sunny yellow checked tablecloths and its huge espresso machine polished bright as a sun. The decor is simple: a few flowers and the omelet-making in the corner are its main adornments. There are newspapers to read and fresh orange juice in a stemmed glass to drink. The omelets are soft and moist, very carefully done, with their fillings -- various cheeses, potato and onion, sour cream and chives, spinach, mushrooms, bacon, ham, hollandaise -- woven through them. The fillings are fresh, real and good, but sometimes the balance is off in the salt or the hot pepper overdosed. Clyde's also makes decent muffins in a changing array of flavors, toasts its english muffins crisply and saut,es potatoes and onions nicely. The menu includes eggs benedict and florentine, and french toast, as well as plain old eggs with bacon, sausage or Canadian bacon. In all, the food is good and the coffee, though weak, is constantly refilled. My only complaint is absentee servers, who neglect you once they deliver your order, forget to bring the jam selection and can only with difficulty be roused to bring you your check.
3236 M St. NW. 333-0294. B Mon-Fri 7:30-11 a.m. $2-$6.25; brunch Sat, Sun 9 a.m.-4 p.m. $3.95-$7.95. AE, D, MC, V. FLORIDA AVENUE GRILL
It's a classic, this soul food diner with the counter stools and booths packed from the wee hours on. You can have breakfast as a sandwich or as a platter, your mountain of eggs with peppery-hot sausage or scrapple or ham or bacon. And for less than $5 you can get enough food to fill you for the day: dense and pungent corned beef hash, onion-sharpened salmon cakes, superlative hot cakes with lightness inside and crustiness at the edges, short and light biscuits, saut,eed apples that are deliciously caramelized and as sweet with seasonings as with sugar. The hash browns are on the soggy side, so grits are a better bet. And if your appetite is gargantuan, you can get a couple of pork chops with gravy to fill the crevices. Hefty, hearty, homey -- breakfast at the Florida Avenue Grill first makes you vow to get there more often, and then makes you wonder why there aren't a dozen more such soulful diners in this big semi-southern city.
1100 Florida Ave. NW. 265-1586. B Mon-Sat 6 a.m.-1 p.m. $1.95- $4.95. Closed Sunday. No credit cards. FOGGY BOTTOM CAFE
Such a nice way to wake up! Freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, very good coffee kept refilled, in a room carpeted for quiet and color. The bare wood tables are large enough to accommodate a hefty breakfast and the newspaper, and are set sufficiently far apart that you needn't listen to your neighbor's yawns. On the walls are handsome botanical prints. On the plate are scrambled eggs of particularly good flavor, a generous mound of crisp bacon, nicely pungent sausage. The french toast is thick and made from your choice of breads -- french, raisin or brioche. Unfortunately it also may be soggy and oily. For the fitness conscious is granola with skim milk (or whole or cream), for the dieter low-fat cottage cheese with tomatoes and rye toast. The croissants are doughy but served with good apricot and strawberry jams in glass jars. The fruits are ripe, the teas are Twining's. In all, the amenities and pleasantness run high at Foggy Bottom Caf,e -- and so do the prices, at $4.50 for continental or $7 for most full breakfasts.
924 25th St. NW. 338-8707. B Mon-Fri 7-10:30 a.m., B Sat, Sun 8-10 a.m. $4.50-$6.95; brunch Sat, Sun 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $5.95-$10.95. AE, CB, MC, V. HAY-ADAMS HOTEL, ADAMS ROOM
Even with lowered air fares and the decline of the pound, it is not quite worth going to London for breakfast, but the Hay-Adams Hotel is next best. The sunny Adams Room, papered with yellow watered silk and overlooking the White House, is quiet and inordinately cheerful. And this is probably the only dining room in town that serves breakfast at tables with floor- length flowered cloths. The coffee is good, and tastes even better in such pretty porcelain, but can't match the tea for ambiance: a fat china pot comes with an arrangement of tea bags and lemon. Except for the serving of bags rather than loose tea, there is little fault to be found on the breakfast table. Orange and grapefruit juices are freshly squeezed, and the muesli comes crowned with circles of strawberries. Scrambled eggs are softly cooked into moist, layered curds. Kippers are plump and smoky but not oversalty. And biscuits are as tender as could be. There are also fruit plates and seasonal berries, a "yogurt selection" and waffles with strawberries or pecans. On the rich side are eggedict or creamed chipped beef; on the homey side are huevos rancheros, grits with country ham and red-eye gravy, chipped beef or corned beef hash -- an excellent ungreasy version. There are brioches, croissants and muffins in various flavors. And on the favorable side, the service is formal and expert. But I'd rather my jam weren't in little jars, and I regret that the waiter forgot my hash browns, and I wish the prices weren't quite so hefty ($3.25 for juice!). Furthermore, the smoked salmon looked beautiful and was cunningly garnished, but was more oily than one would have wanted. Beyond the nit- picking, even the plain old scrambled eggs and bacon at the Hay-Adams are smashingly good.
800 16th St. NW. 638-6600. B Mon-Fri 6:30-11 a.m. $7-$18.50; brunch Sat, Sun 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $12.50-$22.50. AE, CB, D, MC, V. HERB'S
Scene at Herb's. She: "Ahem, excuse me, but did you order those scrambled eggs you were served?" He: "No, I ordered them over easy. Did you get mine?" They exchange plates across their two tables. In silence they only nibble their respective eggs, not because enchantment has robbed their appetites but because the eggs are dry, the potatoes are mushy, the toast is flattened -- though the bacon is crisply good. Would romance have flourished with malted waffles or granola? Certainly it would have had no chance with the wet, fishy Nova Scotia salmon blanketed by sliced onions that had turned brown and hard tomatoes with dried- out edges. He leaves his grapefruit juice, she her orange juice. It is not flirtation that has soured, merely the juice. And their lingering is not for striking up an acquaintance but only because the waiter has forgotten them once the checks are presented.
2111 P St. NW. 333-4372. B Mon- Fri 7-11 a.m. $2.75-$5.25; brunch Sat, Sun 8 a.m.-4 p.m. $3.25- $9.50. AE, CB, D, MC, V.