Unconventional Diner

4.7
610 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Unconventional Diner serves inspired dishes that blend soulful comfort with haute technique. The menu is studded with imaginative delights that echo the restaurant's name, from French fries with "sexy sauce" to spring rolls with "Franch" dressing to a meatloaf "nothing like anyone's mom's.” Chef David Deshaies, a much-praised protege of Michel Richard, is the culinary force behind this highly anticipated spot in Shaw. Craft beer and cocktails add to the alchemy for diners looking for an entertaining (and delicious) culinary experience.

For parties larger than six, please contact the restaurant at 202.847.0122.

There are no reservations required for Breakfast/Lunch Monday through Friday as it is Quick Service and we have plenty of space!

Please note we do not seat partial parties. We will only hold reservations for 15 minutes.
What 610 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 17 hours ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent on all fronts!

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b
Washington DC
61 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely fabulous meal in all aspects!

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MM
Baltimore
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Unconventional in all the right ways, this "diner" serves up food that demonstrates a talented chef can take traditional dishes in new and amazing directions. "Tasty," a word often used in diner descriptions, barely describes the flavor explosions your palate will experience. Friendly staff, an open kitchen, and a lively atmosphere all contribute to an enjoyable dinner outing!

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J
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Variety on the menu was great, with interesting new takes on old favorites. Had the Lebanese fried rice with falafel, which was delicious. Service was friendly, but staff was a little overwhelmed with a convention center lunch rush.

Wish I had time for the $22 restaurant week three course menu...

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KH
Austin
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Glad we could make reservations for lunch. Waiter made suggestions for this meat and potatoes girl and I loved it all. Will definetly go back

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DY
Atlanta
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The restaurant is an unconventional gem. Me and my staff enjoyed the excellent food and service.

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E
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

I had the Brussels sprouts and eggs and loved it. It was quite filling. My friend had the lox and said it was excellent, albeit small. We shared the Ferrero Rocher tart and enjoyed it. Negatives: the restaurant is pretty noisy; if I go back, I may aim for off-hours. The server brought us a bill without asking whether we wanted dessert; he otherwise was very good.

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M
Baltimore
16 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

High quality and delicious food for brunch in a hip environment. Good service. Restaurant was noisier then I prefer. Overall a very good experience.

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K
San Francisco
118 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The Unconventional Diner certainly is unconventional! Even the more familiar-sounding dishes are executed with a novel twist. The array of appetizers is very interesting. We tried the kale nachos and spiny crab, which were both very good with distinctive flavors. The Peruvian soup was hearty and warming on a cold night, with a nice blend of spices and textures. The chicken Florentine I found to be a bit heavy and with a somewhat gloppy interior - but still tasty. The carrot cake and tres leches cake were both a bit disappointing. Maybe we were just too full by then.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and great prices

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AO
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great for brunch and for a big group-everyone loved their food and we had no issues!

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b
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service. 3 of us went for brunch, everyone loved it.

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HR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Crazy good food. Best French Fries in DC. Highly recommend the Fried Chicken and Chili.

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E
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

Our waiter was nice and attentive and the food was fine. However, the hostess was rude and attempted to rush us out the door while we were still finishing up with our meal. Our waiter apologized but she ruined our evening. We had been there for not even one hour and were asked to give our table back. Unfortunate experience and will not be going back or recommending this place to anyone.

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AH
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really good food and consistently great service. Cocktails are yummy too!

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S
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place for happy hour. Food was delicious. We had the pot pie poppers and Morrocan taquitos off of the happy hour menu. Loved my cocktail (the Blues) and beer selection. Chicken parmesan was delicious as well. Friendly and competent server.

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GS
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Reservation was at 8:15 on a Wednesday. I arrived a few minutes before my friend (who was on time to the reservation) and had a lovely chat with the host for a couple of minutes. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she had noticed my 'special request' for a quiet table – I often make that note but never know if it's noticed – and she gave me the choice of two tables.
Drinks: My friend ordered the Solstice Celebrator and, even though she typically likes a sweeter drink, she appreciated the bitter undertone of the Aperol-like bitter red aperitivo. I ordered the 187mL bottle of a Brut sparkling and thought it was excellent. I would order it again in full size if they offered it.
Food: We shared the Moroccan Taquitos and Pot Pie Poppers to start and then the Lebanese Fried Rice with Falafel and Hummus. The taquitos (4 per serving) were good and I enjoyed their presentation (standing up in a glass). The pot pie poppers were tasty but bland. The fried rice was good.
Service: As mentioned, the hostess was excellent. The server was good and didn't mind giving us a few extra minutes in the beginning, as we had spent time catching up and had hardly perused the menu. Towards the end of our meal, which lasted about 1h20 total, he seemed to disappear, although we didn't need anything except a water refill.
Overall: I would come back for a modern interpretation of comfort food in a pleasant atmosphere. Better for a dinner with friends than a romantic evening or special celebration.

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EW
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

The service is very good, and the food is wonderful! My only 'complaint' if you could even call it that is that the food is incredibly rich, a bit too much so. The food options are wide-ranging and unique, with many veggie options. I can easily see this being a neighborhood staple for me.

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The food was delicious-elevated comfort food but everything was done perfectly. Unfortunately we were too full for dessert!

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VA
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved my first meal at Unconventional Diner. I went for dinner with a friend on Saturday night. It was very busy and a bit loud in the dining room. We had a 7:15 reservation and were seated within 10 minutes after that time.

I ordered the "French Dip" Pappardelle (Wagyu Brisket | Beech Mushrooms | Horseradish Cream) and my friend got the Meatloaf (Sriracha Glaze | Mashed Potato | Morel Gravy) and we shared the cast iron brussel sprouts. The tikki masala sauce on the sprouts was sooo delicious and they were cooked perfectly. My pappardelle was to die for. It was so tasty and filling. I tasted my friends meatloaf and it was very good too. The sriracha topping (instead of traditional ketchup on top) was a new experience. It was good and not too spicy. I also ordered a Rye Old Fashion cocktail, which was very good. It was a little heavy on the ice, but the Filibuster Rye that the bartender defaulted to using was a good choice.

We also ordered dessert. I got the pistachio and chocolate ice cream and she got the raspberry-lychee sorbet. I enjoyed both ice creams, but wish the pistachio had nuts in it. They were both VERY rich and creamy though, especially the chocolate. My friend said the sorbet had more lychee flavor than she imagined it would have, but that it was good.

I would definitely go back again, recommend this place to others and say that the food was excellent.

I included a picture of the "French Dip" and brussels in the background.

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The server and service was beyond amazing! The food was also delicious and worth every bite.

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G
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love Unconventional Diner's unique menu! The spiny crab was INCREDIBLE, and they have a ton of vegan/gluten free options! Highly recommended and have been a few times!

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SS
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A friend recommended Unconventional Diner, saying it was great. She was wrong: It is positively superlative! Went for Saturday brunch and savored the oatmeal and then the fried eggs and Brussels sprouts. Each was a culinary revelation. Bravo!

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BR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

CREATIVE SELECTIONS AS WELL AS PREPARATION. FIRST TIME HERE AND WILL MOST DEFINITELY RETURN TO TRY OTHER SELECTIONS !

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OT
New York Area
23 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great vibe great food and service. Plan to go back again and again.

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G
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was good and we were there at an off time so it wasn’t busy (therefore not loud). Service was good. But I don’t like brunch because I don’t like eggs so twice I’ve gone and had the same salad due to lack of other options (this was 4 pm New Year’s Day).

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RC
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome food. The best chicken and waffle I have ever eaten.

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AW
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I don't know how I could have missed such a gem for so long! The menu was creative and it was impossible to decide between the many options. Best French Toast I've ever had. The Moroccan Grits were stupid delicious. I'm now stuck between ordering the things I know I love and the ones I'm dying to try. The service was lightening fast and perfectly refined.

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S
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Unconventional diner continues to provide a great dining experience. The food is creative, the service very good and the space is abundant with energy. A great neighborhood spot.

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SM
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A fabulous New Year’s Eve dinner with friends! Always a good time. I especially loved the special NYE menu!

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JS
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Absolutely fantastic value— wonderful food, reasonably priced & welcoming service. First rate experience!

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DD
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Always delicious. Fun food and drinks.

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SA
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Third visit to the unconventional diner. Friendly service. Excellent food.

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OT
Adelaide / SA
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food and service - highly recommend.

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OT
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great place that is fit for both foodies and those looking for comfort food. Not expensive on a relative basis, and doing a great job with a very varied menu that can appeal to just about anyone. Love this place, will be back!

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BJ
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere and great food. Fried chicken is was awesome. Highly recommend.

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DB
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food. Interesting menu. Wonderful waiter.

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e
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food and a diverse menu. Everything on the menu and on tables nearby looked tempting.Plus, its super affordable.

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t
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Incredible delicious innovative food. My FAVORITE new spot!!!! get the dirty caesar salad :)

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

N-A

Nothing to add

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