Unconventional Diner

4.7
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1409 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 1409 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
4.5
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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SC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Good food, interesting variety and options. Great flavors and spices.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great and original dishes. Waiter was knowledgeable, attentive and didn’t evaporate busy on a very busy night.. good buzz. Great experience

PM
Washington DC
64 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Always a great meal and pleasant experience.

OT
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Always a treat to eat here. This time I had the fried chicken and it was delicious. My friends liked all their dishes. Service was quick this time but a little brusque. Overall a great place highly recommend

LN
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Totally forgot about Restaurant Week - but was a fun new find! Great service and a delicious meal! Highly recommend.

l
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service3ambience4

The food was very good. The waiter wasn't particularly pleasant. He was not rude, but not very welcoming. Given it was a busy lunch time during a massive conference nearby, I understood he was overwhelmed, but not smiling to your customers left a bit of a sour experience given everything else was superb.

RT
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Surprisingly good variety of entrees for a “diner.” Excellent food quality with rich flavors. Will dine here again when I return to Washington, DC.

MP
Salt Lake City
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

One of the best dining experiences in DC at the moment.

M
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent “food with a Twist”. Accommodating wait staff. Lovely meal with an active toddler. Plan to come again my next time in DC!

OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food was good, but I asked for a place where there was a smidge more privacy and we were out very close to other diners. They really didn’t listen to the request.

SK
Washington DC
151 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely lunch on my birthday in between visits to 2 museums.... interesting food with modern twists

S
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience5

We had a wonderful time celebrating our daughters' 15th birthday at Unconventional Diner! The food was beautifully presented, creative, and delicious, and the atmosphere was fun and lively without being overzealous. Highly recommend!

K
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Waiter got the order wrong and wasn’t friendly. Restaurant was super loud

ER
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Our server Ashley was phenomenal. The best service I ever had in life so far! The burger was delicious. The fried chicken was the star. It was crispy and juicy. The breast was moist and perfect. I am not sure if they fry it that perfect every night but that night it was wonderful. The chicken Parmesan is a good dish. The fish sticks were ok. The tostados were good. Do not order the greens. The carrot cake is a must for dessert.

H
Washington DC
43 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

So good. You must try everything once.

ED
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Enjoyable cocktails. We had kale nachos, iceberg salad, pappardelle, and chicken parm. Delicious and well presented. Ashley’s service was great. We’ll definitely return.

KT
Washington DC
116 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Four of us enjoyed an early (5:00) dinner here on a Saturday. We were seated right away and our waitress was delightful. One of us ordered a bloody Mary and liked its spiciness. We shared shitake spring rolls and french fries that were OK. The siracha-glazed meatloaf and the falafal were OK - good tzatziki though. The shrimp and grits were spicy and delicious! The Smith Island carrot cake was also very good. So, because some dishes were OK and other good, we gave it 3 stars. We'll go back and try other things - it was pricey but it is in a pricey part of town, so they have to cover their rent somehow I'm sure.

DC
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great brunch! Wonderful service, excellent food, and very reasonable prices. The portions are quite large. The fried chicken sandwich is so good and meaty, and the fries are to die for. Everything that came by us out of the kitchen looked delicious. Looking forward to trying another meal there in the near future.

S
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great meal and service. Worth the trip.

s
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Delicious and creative.

NR
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved this place! I had the pink panther cocktail and the pancakes, and it was all so good. An easy, fun place for brunch! Service was also great. Will definitely come back here :)

J
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall4food5service3ambience3

Food outstanding! Wonderfully creative dishes. I’d go back for the food.
Waitress nice but not on the ball. Approaches the table, drops something off before we can point out our coffee cups are empty. Yes please a refill. My dish came with the suggestion of naan. She walked away before I could ask her about it. Very nice person but just not paying attention to the idea of service.

AW
Baltimore
5 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The name of this restaurant perceives it, the food was definitely unconventional but in a great way. We enjoyed our meal selections... I will be back, the shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles were my favorite. The waffles were made out of cornmeal but just right. Don’t let me forget the blueberry pancakes....😋

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall4food5service2ambience3

Poor service and undesirable table location.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Overall it was a great first experience , love the fact that the restaurant had natural lighting and cool places to take pictures !! Also the food was really good .., different but really good . I was surprised ! Me and my friends came in for brunch .... we are the host team at Charlie Palmer steak and we enjoyed ourselves a lot

OT
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Great service and nice ambience. The French toast and avocado on toast were our favorite dishes. The lamb merguez was a close second but the blue berry pancakes were a bit dry and could have done with a bit more blueberry purée or some sort of syrup.

AM
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

So much fun! We really enjoyed our meal. The appetizers were tasty and really creative. From the Chicken pot pie bites and Moroccan cigars to the incredible mini lox and bite size bagel pieces. The paparadelle pasta dis, chicken parm and the chickpea stew were all delicious. Very rich. Highly recommend the Apple cobbler and ice cream for dessert!

LG
Washington DC
25 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Menu was fun and interesting. It was hard to carry on a conversation because of the noise level.

G
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Felt ignored by the waiter, but perhaps UD was understaffed after the holiday. Long wait to give drink order, so we also ordered our meals. Asked for salad dressing on the side and it came on the salad, but waiter never checked back with us until he asked if we wanted dessert so no opportunity to tell anyone (and wouldn't have wanted to throw the salad out). No one offered to refill our empty ice tea glasses. Would be nice to have new menu items and an option for coleslaw that doesn't include hot peppers.

OT
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on January 2, 2020
Overall4food4service2ambience4

Birthday celebration. The waitress was standing in the back in full view chit chatting. Had to flag other waitresses down on 2 occasions.

SB
Sydney / NSW
2 reviews
Dined on January 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a great place to eat! Dinner was wonderful, with inventive twists on American classics. The cornmeal muffins and habanero butter were a delight.
Came back for breakfast - it filled up pretty quickly at 9am! Equally as delicious.

OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on January 2, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Brunch date with my wife and wow the atmosphere and food was amazing. Our waitress was cordial could’ve def been more attentive and personable but didn’t go there for her. 8.9/10 rating from me, will def be back.

OT
Orlando
7 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious! We enjoyed our chicken and waffles, kale salad, burger and chicken sandwich!

VN
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

really good and creative brunch menu. Brussels sprouts were off the chain.

OT
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience1

Not worth your time. The food was okay and overall experience left our entire party with a sour taste in our mouths. Celebrate NYE here. We arrived a few minutes earlier than our reservation and waited over thirty minutes to then be seated. When we finally sat down, we were rushed to order since the kitchen wanted to close. Music was turned off and overall ambiance was killed with super bright lighting. The food was certainly unconventional but not always in a good way. Skip this place and try a different one! Disappointing.

d
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was such an amazing way to spend my moms birthday! we were with a lot of friends and the food was incredible - will be coming back soon

AJ
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food is consistently delicious!

T
Washington DC
77 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It's our go to place to eat. The food is delicious, the staff provides excellent service and the prices are a steal!

OT
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

It was superb! As a chef and teacher myself, I appreciated the thoughtful approach to every detail.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Sexy sauce was very sexy