Equinox Restaurant

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 23 reviews )
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202-331-8118
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818 Connecticut Ave NW (at Washington DC), Washington, District Of Columbia, USA, 20006

Serves meat, vegan options available. Upscale dining by Todd Gray of Muse. Vegan food is given a fair consideration (listed on menu left column) and even offers vegan desserts. All-you-can-eat vegan brunch on Sunday (reservation recommended). The rest of the week the menu is approx. 50% dedicated to vegan items. Multi-course menus with wine pairings available. Location is one block from the White House, short walk from Farragutt West and McPherson stops. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:00pm, 5:30pm-10:00pm, Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm, Sun 11:00am-1:00pm, 5:30pm-8:30pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, American, Western, Buffet, Beer/Wine, Non-veg

23 Reviews

First Review by cookiem

Equinox's All -Vegan Sunday Brunch is a Winner! - Edit

We go frequently and we always take out-of-town friends when they are on visits in DC. The quality of the food (all vegan) is exceptional, the buffet items are refilled often, and chef Todd Gray personally oversees the food and circulates among the tables. Definitely worth the price; actually a bargain!

Pros: Lovely restaurant, comfortable spacing., Service excptional., Food on buffet is all-vegan, varied and delicious.

Cons: I can't think of any Cons.

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outstanding upscale vegan food - Edit

This upscale, welcoming restaurant has fantastic vegan options. Friendly service, great atmosphere (includes a patio with outdoor seating), and about 40% of the menu is plant-based. Very central location so great for both tourists and business travelers. My friend and I went for a delicious candle-lit outdoor dinner and got the tomato-pineapple gazpacho (awesome) hearts-of-Palm "crab cake" and eggplant falafel (delicious). Highly recommended. Note that it's pricey though -- entrees are $20-30.

Pros: substantial vegan options with outstanding quality

Cons: pricey

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Bring your omnivore friends - Edit

We have been to the Sunday vegan brunch a number of times, twice with omnivore friends in tow.
The buffet is not huge, but there are always plenty of seasonal dishes to fill everyone's belly.
My personal favorite, which often gets return placement on the buffet, is the tempura cauliflower. Soooo tasty!
There is usually a tofu scramble station, sometimes manned by the executive chef himself, where you can get your tofu scramble as you like it. Other dishes are refilled frequently so everything is freshly made. There are also labels on things that are gluten free.
It is really nice to have such an upscale experience, paired with personal attention from the executive chef, who has been in house every time I've visited, and often asks for feedback. Occasionally waiters will even bring around an amuse-bouche to the diners.
I'll be going again!

Pros: Rotating menu so it's not the same every time, Ambience, Service

Cons: Reservations are a must-have, pricy

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Good, but at that price it outta be... - Edit

We had a really nice meal here - it is upscale old-school service and decor, which is rare to find in the vegan world. So that felt weird but nice. We were really pleased that the menu contained an entire "plant based" section which was truly vegan, even including deserts. About 3 appetizer oriented items and 3 or 4 mains. The food was very tasty, but this was definitely not health-concious vegan fare; Many items are fried. Tasty, but not so healthy. Overall, though, it was a fun splurge, but definitely a splurge price point too. I would rate this as 4-5 stars for the food and ambiance, but at the $30 entree pricepoint I'm a little more demanding.

Pros: Significant menu items for vegans, Upscale ambiance

Cons: Price, Fried foods dominate

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A 5-Star Restaurant! - Edit

Equinox is our go-to eatery when we visit DC. We know that we'll always enjoy a fabulous meal (they have a separate vegan menu) where each course is well-paired with wine. The menu changes periodically; we appreciate the variety offered by the chef. The restaurant is elegant. Staff are friendly and well-trained. It is easy to make reservations at Equinox via phone or OpenTable. I wish that HappyCow allowed a rating of 5 stars because Equinox deserves a 5-star rating!

Pros: Excellent food & wine pairings, Well-trained staff, Elegant vibe

Cons: HappyCow won't let me give Equinox 5 Stars!

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The vegan brunch on Sunday is amazing and creative! - Edit

Last Sunday's vegan brunch was the best yet. The tofu scramble table included forest mushrooms, butternut squash, and green onions. The cauliflower tempura is always a hit as well!

This brunch included an wonderful quinoa combination, eggplant and mistake mushroom, radicchio salad, vegetable skewers, and one of my favorite new additions--vegan pizza slices. This might have been a pesto version with just the right balance of veggies. So good! I still dream about it.

The pistachio hummus is my new favorite, especially with lavash chips. Sesame crackers could be paired with 12-15 different kinds of toppings, including olive tapenade and red pepper hummus.

The desserts were exceptional. The whoopee pie had sweet tofu, so good it rivaled the best whoopee pie at a Portland, Maine bakery. The cannoli was gone before I could get one, but the double chocolate cupcake was a hit as well.

We are always greeted warmly by Chef Todd Gray and his wife when the doors open for brunch. He later circulates through the restaurant, bringing us a new creation. This time it was falafel with a new twist.

Since it was a birthday celebration for my husband and I, we also received handmade sorbets of mango, coconut, and blood orange. The first two flavors were our favorites. Also we enjoyed the chocolate Happy Birthday wish.

This restaurant is our go-to for birthday and anniversary celebrations, other big moments. I am a vegan and my husband is not. This all-you-can eat $35 Sunday brunch is one we both thoroughly enjoy. This is gourmet cuisine in an elegant setting, with all the food displayed as a feast for the eyes.

I leave each time with new ideas for vegan recipes, reminded that vegan food is far from boring. It can be exceptionally good! Chef Gray gives it the gourmet touch, beautifully combining different flavors.

This has to be one of the best Sunday vegan brunches in the country. And the menu change on a regular basis, surprising us very time.

We already have reservations for an upcoming holiday, which is also when we will celebrate our anniversary. Reservations are a very good idea.

I should note that the regular restaurant offerings do include vegan and vegetarian dishes. There may be a vegan tasting menu as well. My husband and I have tried the Sunday brunch at least five times but haven't tried the regular menu yet.

We just feel so lucky to have an upscale vegan brunch in D.C. The all-you-can-eat part makes us love it even more.

Pros: Gourmet cuisine, very creative, All-you-can-eat vegan cuisine at its best, Cauliflower tempura, tofu scramble always.

Cons: The vegan brunch is only on Sundays., The tofu scramble station used margerine., Raw vegans will find only salad, fruit to eat.

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fine dining with vegan menu - Edit

This is a great spot for a date or an elegant fine dining option. They have at vegan menu, and the chef and his wife are very active in the vegan community. I wish the whole restaurant would just be vegan though! They have a separate vegan menu, with several options. It's not cheap, but the food is very beautiful and well prepared and divinely delicious, and the service is excellent, so it's worth it if you are looking for a splurge.

Pros: fine dining option, chef & his wife active in vegan community , separate vegan menu

Cons: not all vegan -- regular menu is very meat heavy

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Awesome plant based tasting menu!! - Edit

I will definitely be back to this restaurant! There is a plant based section on the menu, and a vegan tasting menu. I had the fried artichokes, bucatini pasta and tiramisu, they were SO good!!! It was a nice restaurant too, especially for date nights, and close to a metro. I would highly recommend this restaurant!!!

Pros: vegan options, quality, great service

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Vegan Sunday Brunch - Edit

what a treat to have an all vegan brunch - non-vegan and kids enjoyed as well-
my favorite part was the granola crusted french toast - has been years since I enjoyed a crusted covered french toast back in the late 80's on Nantucket.
great environment and friendly staff
make a point of experiencing this.

Pros: variety of items, all vegan, staff

Cons: only Sunday brunch, coffee not the best - but okay

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A stunning culinary experience - Edit

I have never tasted such excellent vegan food in a restaurant that serves meat. Bravo. I will return again.

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delicious - Edit

The food was delicious and service wonderful. More upscale and pricier but was a lovely find during our trip to DC.

Pros: vegan, taste, presentation

Cons: price for size

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Great Fine Restaurant! - Edit

We all know it's hard to find a fine-dining restaurant that serves vegan food. The whole left side of the menu is vegan. We had the "tasting" menu where we had 5 different dishes, including dessert. Each was so complex and yummy! The server was helpful and attentive.

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Sunday vegan brunch is worth a visit - Edit

I have been to the vegan brunch twice now and thoroughly enjoyed it. The food is high quality and thoughtfully put together. Their deserts are great (I eat gluten free and each time Todd's wife brought me sorbet with a heavenly chocolate sauce from the kitchen). It's a great experience I highly recommend.

Pros: high quality food, nice setting, with a personal touch

Cons: vegan brunch on Sundays only

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Excellent upmarket choice for vegan food - Edit

It's not a vegan/vegetarian restaurant but the food is amazing. My daughter and I went twice in one week, first for dinner and then for the 100% vegan bruch which had a tofu scramble station which was great fun. The only issue was that we were so full. I could have kept going back and back.

The owners, Chef Todd Gray & Ellen Gray were super friendly and came to the table more than once.

It's not cheap so beware but the price matches the quality and presentation of the food. It reminds me of the presentation that I would see in Millennium (no Oakland) and Mesa Verde (Santa Barbara).

I'm going to upload photos of everything we ate.

Pros: Excellent food, Friendly and approachable owners, 100% vegan brunch

Cons: Not cheap but you get what you pay for!

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Perfect for Vegans, Vegetarians, Gluten-Free, and Others - Edit

A ++++ in every way. I had the vegan 5-course tasting meal, my husband had a combination vegan/regular menu tasting meal all paired with an interesting assortment of different wines. My husband, who is gluten-free, was given options that were either already gluten-free or could be modified for his restrictions. Everything was delicious, beautifully presented, and nicely paced. I won't even suggest any one dish because they were all so good. We look forward to going back for dinner and for the vegan brunch. Perfect for celebrating (it was my birthday) or just for an evening out. Go! You will love it!

Pros: amazing food, accommodating and flexible, lovely venue

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Very Disappointed - Edit

Very disappointed with the Equinox restaurant. We met the chef at the bar and were really impressed by his enthusiasm - sadly, the staff did not share that enthusiasm and did not deliver a customer friendly experience. My friend and I wanted to enjoy the Vegan Tasting menu that the chef had recommended. My friend inquired if the Vegan Tasting menu was gluten-free. The waiter responded no. My friend had to ask what else on the menu is GF. There were limited options. She ordered the artichoke. Because of that fact, I was not able to order the Vegan Tasting menu being alone. We learned later on that the Vegan Tasting menu could have been adapted to be gluten-free but it was never offered to us.

Cons: Poor service, Not customer focus

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Leslie22124 04 Sep 2015 - The vegan tasting menu is definitely available for a single diner, but since there are so many courses, if the entire table doesn't order it, your food can arrive out of sync with the other diners' food. But if your friend only ordered the artichoke, that wouldn't have been an issue.  


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A Great Special Place for Vegans & Omnivores - Edit

For a vegan dining with one or more omnivores, this is one of the best restaurants to go to--at a price, of course. (Most of the people I know are non-vegan, including my SO, so this aspect is important to me.)

For a first visit, try the "Chef's vegan tasting menu." A 5-course, market-based meal with smaller-than-entree sized portions. ("Chef's market tasting menu" is available for omnivores.) Each menu is also available with wine pairings with each course (at about twice the price).

Great presentation, fresh, in-season ingredients, wonderful recipes (at premium price), & great service.

Equinox recommends that all at table get a tasting menu since it can take close to two hours for meal.

(As someone else wrote, I would also give it 5 stars, but only vegan-only restaurants can receive them on Happy Cow.)

Pros: Great, in-season foods, Vegan & non-vegan menus (for "mixed"), Great service, location

Cons: Expensive, In heart of DC (mass transit best)

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WOW! - Edit

Wow is just one of the words to describe the experience. My friends and I had one of the best meals, drinks and service at this restaurant. We ended up sitting at the bar and we were so glad we did! Our bartender was so interactive and knowledgeable. Make sure to try a cocktail with their blood orange syrup, they make it fresh! For my starter, I ordered the Charred California Jumbo Asparagus (Braised Leeks, Aged Cashew Cheese, Black Truffle Vinaigrette). The cashew cheese was scrumptious. Wish I could buy a block of it to take home! Reminded me of Gorgonzola, which I haven't had in over 5 years now so this was a nice treat.
For my main, I ordered the Red Wine Casareccia with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms (Brussels Sprout Petals, **Cashew Cream**, Baby Carrots) - flavors blended together perfectly. Absolutely delicious dish. The chef came out and spoke with us for a few minutes, informed me of their vegan brunch that takes place on Sundays. I am literally dreaming about it now! I can't wait to go back!

Pros: amazing vegan food, vegan brunch on sundays, great service

Cons: pricey

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Great Sunday vegan brunch. - Edit

As much as it is more aesthetically pleasing to go to an all-vegetarian restaurant, I dine with my wife, who likes vegetarian food but also eats meat. Equinox is the best non-vegetarian restaurant that we have found to satisfy us both, especially the Sunday vegan brunch.

Ellen and Todd Gray and the staff are very welcoming to vegans. It is nice to go to a restaurant where I am not asking about vegan options with the dumbfounding "But you eat fish?" response.

I of course enjoy the Sunday brunch the best, but also like that the restaurant always has at least one vegan appetizer, entree and dessert.

I would have given Equinox 5 starts, but Happy Cow only permits up to 4 stars for restaurants that are not completely vegetarian.

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FIRST Class Service & First Class VEGAN Food - Edit

My family and I were lucky enough to have an early dinner on New Year's Eve at Equinox on Connecticut Ave. in DC. We had never been there before. We got the chef's tasting menu so we could experience several items on the menu. From the decor of the restaurant to the 5 star service to the 5 star food, I have to say it was a great experience. A tad pricey but a true foodie experience. Loved it! Worth my 4 hour drive.

Pros: Great food, Great Service, Great atmosphere

Cons: A tad pricey

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Missed the Mark - Edit

I wanted to love this restaurant. In short, it's a 3-star meal in a 5-star setting.

It started with the coffee. At $30 per person for brunch, I expected a quality cup of coffee. This tasted like the watered down version you get at Denny's. I noticed they had iced coffee on the menu for $5 more. I thought you must have to pay for the good stuff so I ordered that. Nope, same Denny's coffee, just on ice. That's $5 I'd never see again.

The stuffed french toast was palatable but nothing to write home about. The bread used was too thick and dense - it was a multigrain with sunflower seeds. The chef could have pulled this off if he would have included a light, airy vegan whipped cream inside with the fruit or had the whipped cream as an optional side but none was to be found.

The tofu scramble station is a brilliant idea and one I hope to see replicated and used more often. I was told the chef would be manning the station and make scrambles to order. Unfortunately, the entire time we were at brunch there was no one at the station.

The saving grace was the cous cous salad which was amazing. Also, the bread that they brought to the table was phenomenal. Those are the only positive things I can say.

The dessert consisted of a selection of mini-muffins. Perhaps they tasted wonderful, I don't know. They didn't look that appetizing and by this point in the meal I'd been let down enough times that I didn't bother to give them a try.

All of this said, the staff was outstanding and that's what saved the day. Everyone was very friendly, welcoming and attentive. The service was top notch and the environment is first class. I wish the food was too.

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Vegan Brunch! - Edit

Chef Todd and Ellen Gray have moved the Vegan Sunday brunch from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, to Equinox! Now, not only do they offer a vegan tasting throughout the week, they offer a 100% vegan brunch on Sundays! Delightful to say the least! They have also set up a Tofu Scramble station in a similar fashion to an omelette station, in which Chef Todd Gray prepares tofu scrambles on demand! Delicious, and much more variety on the buffet than at the museum. Highly recommended!

Although the hours in the happy cow description don't reflect Sunday hours, they serve brunch from 11:00-2:00 every Sunday.

Pros: Delicious, 100% Vegan Sunday Brunch, Tofu Scramble Station (Sunday Brunch)

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Upscale dining with fair selection of vegan dishes - Edit

This place is by no means vegan, but Chef Toddy Gray certainly had his kitchen make vegan dishes a mainstay. With no other vegan upscale restaurants with cooked food at this caliber, Equinox is a great place for a special occasion if you have budgetary constraints.

The entrees and first courses are fresh and reflect the season's selections. However, I wish there were even more focus on the vegetables over the grains. Still, it's a great touch to a meal to be in an establishment with such high standard for service and quality.

What I like best is real vegan dessert offerings beyond the staple ice cream or fresh fruit! We shared and had both of the desserts offered that night as vegan dishes I love rhubarb!!

Pros: Vegan desserts, Excellent service, High quality everything

Cons: Price, Meat on menu

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