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6 best brunches in Virginia you need to try

Brunch offerings at the Nest Kitchen and Taphouse in Newport News. | Photo courtesy Dragon Studio

Unlike most things in life, brunch is deliciously uncomplicated. There’s no end to the variations a good chef can put on the breakfast trifecta of eggs, meat, and cheese, and once you throw in a Bloody Mary (or two), it’s easy to wonder why brunch isn’t a daily ritual. 

And although the meal is generally beloved by diners year-round, Easter brunch is in a class of its own. Some kitchens dish out holiday specials to families in their Sunday best; others say come as you are to those looking for a leisurely meal. 

Whatever ambiance you’re looking for this Easter, the Tidewater region has plenty of choices. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite area brunch spots, featuring everything from vineyard dining to tavern gems to casual hangouts. Be sure to call ahead for more information, including reservations and changes due to COVID-19.  

1. Amici's Pizza Café, Suffolk

Fluffy pancakes and orange juice at Amici's Pizza Café in Suffolk. | Photo courtesy Dragon Studio

Fluffy pancakes and orange juice at Amici's Pizza Café in Suffolk. | Photo courtesy Dragon Studio

Don’t be fooled: Though Amici’s is revered for its brick-oven pizza, its brunch menu deserves equal acclaim for consistent quality and range of offerings. There’s truly something for everyone in this intimate eatery—and each dish is as delicious as the next. Among the top-rated offerings are the pork belly street tacos—a soft taco stuffed with pork belly, scrambled eggs, and potato hash—and the classic chicken and waffles. If you’re craving the namesake dish, try the Amici quiche, a “breakfast-style pizza” made with eggs, sausage, tomato, cheese, and scallions. And, if Easter candy didn’t satisfy, indulge in the southern jumbo cinnamon roll, generously topped with sweet cream cheese frosting. 

Info: 157 E. Washington Street, Suffolk. (757) 923-5300; amicis.pizza.

2. Becca, Virginia Beach

Enjoy an elegant brunch at Becca in Virginia Beach. | Photo by Ashley Thomas

Enjoy an elegant brunch at Becca in Virginia Beach. | Photo by Ashley Thomas

If you seek ambiance and exquisite food, look no further than Becca, a gorgeous garden-to-table restaurant located in the Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club. Billed as “elegant yet never pretentious,” the eatery offers diners locally sourced ingredients in a bright, garden setting. While the menu changes seasonally, you can expect elevated takes on traditional dishes. Recent brunch offerings included local oysters, croque madame, and a garden herb rotisserie chicken crepe, served up with roasted mushrooms, melted leeks, marinated tomatoes, and a bourbon cream. 

Info: 4200 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach. (757) 965-9899; beccavb.com.

3. Freemason Abbey Restaurant, Norfolk

Located in a former Presbyterian church, Freemason Abbey in Norfolk features a divine brunch menu. | Photo courtesy Freemson Abbey

Located in a former Presbyterian church, Freemason Abbey in Norfolk features a divine brunch menu. | Photo courtesy Freemson Abbey

Easter is a particularly fitting holiday to spend at Freemason Abbey, a former Presbyterian church that dates to 1873. Though the pews have been switched out for bar tops, elements of the building’s past remain, including its original stained-glass windows. And the sizable brunch menu will have patrons singing praises. The Benedict dishes—or Bennies—are noteworthy, and the seafood quiche, baked with shrimp, crab meat, mixed peppers, spinach, Swiss cheese, and a dollop of Hollandaise, is a delight. 

Larger plates include the roasted baby back ribs, several sandwich offerings, and the seafood fantasia, which marries shrimp and sea scallops with linguine and lump crab meat. Pair a cranberry-and-apple mimosa with your meal and finish with a house-made brandy bread pudding for an experience that is simply divine. 

Info: 209 W. Freemason Street, Norfolk. (757) 622-3966; freemasonabbey.com.

4. The Gabriel Archer Tavern, Williamsburg

Crab Benedict with poached eggs at The Gabriel Archer Tavern in Williamsburg. | Photo by the Williamsburg Winery

Crab Benedict with poached eggs at The Gabriel Archer Tavern. | Photo by the Williamsburg Winery

Situated at the Williamsburg Winery, the Gabriel Archer Tavern promises visitors a flavorful “farm-to fork” dining experience. The menu reflects the restaurant’s commitment to meals that are both delicious and nourishing, with specials that rotate by the day and the season. Popular items typically found year-round are the crab Benedict, served with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce atop toasted English muffins, as well as the savory shrimp and grits, featuring a poached egg and sausage. Both the rustic dining room and gorgeous, vine-covered front patio encourage guests to relax as they dine, and the restaurant’s proximity to the vineyards invites them to keep their glasses full. The delectable mimosas feature the tavern’s signature house sparkling wine, and during Easter, as well as the fall and winter season, the restaurant typically serves a warm spiced wine. 

Info: 5800 Wessex Hundred, Williamsburg. (757) 229-0999;
williamsburgwinery.com/gabrielarchertavern.

5. Nest Kitchen and Taphouse, Newport News

Breakfast tacos at Nest Kitchen and Taphouse in Newport News. | Photo by Tom Powell/The Addison Group

Breakfast tacos at Nest Kitchen and Taphouse in Newport News. | Photo by Tom Powell/The Addison Group

Located amid the rolling hills of the Kiln Creek Golf Club and Resort, the Nest is the perfect spot for an indulgent meal before tee time. Enjoy brunch in the dining room or on the spacious patio, where you can watch golfers practice their swing. The menu is an index of endless delights; popular dishes include the French toast stuffed with mascarpone, lemon curd, and strawberry rhubarb, and the flavorful shrimp and grits, which packs in gouda grits, sauteed shrimp, and andouille sausage in a delectable Cajun butter sauce. The cocktail menu features more than a dozen concoctions, including the standard mimosas, Bellinis and Bloody Marys, as well as more unconventional options, such as the #Aboutlastnight, a mix of Jameson, maple syrup, and bacon, and the refreshing lavender-honey lemonade. The menu is updated seasonally, and on Easter, the Nest plans a special menu centered around holiday favorites. 

Info: 1003 Brick Kiln Boulevard, Newport News. (757) 988-8585;
breakfasttobeer.com.

6. Mango Mangeaux, Hampton

Enjoy a tasty mimosa at Mango Mangeaux in Hampton. | Photo by Sarrah Harris Photography

Enjoy a tasty mimosa at Mango Mangeaux in Hampton. | Photo by Sarrah Harris Photography

Need a reason to get out of bed on a Sunday morning? You’ll find it at Mango Mangeaux. The lively eatery has reinvited brunch, putting a French-Creole twist on everything from eggs to gumbo to other Southern comfort foods. And mango isn’t in the restaurant’s name for nothing: The fruit makes an appearance in several dishes, including the Mango Mango French toast—thick slices of Texas toast dipped in French toast batter coated with cinnamon and sugar, and topped with a house-made mango fruit dip—and the fish and grits, served with the eatery’s famous mango preserves. For libations, opt for the sampler, a flight of Mango Mangeaux’s most popular mimosas, including the Simply Panache, made with champagne, pomegranate liquor, and mango lemonade. 

Info: 33 E. Mellen Street, Hampton. (757) 224-9189; mangomangeaux.com.

Be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol.

Betsy Abraham is a freelance writer who is always willing to go off the beaten track for a good story or spectacular view. Follow her on Twitter @WideEyedIndian. 

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AAA Travel Alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.

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