Unconventional Diner

4.7
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1281 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 1281 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
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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AJ
London
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Food was good. As usual with most DC brunch places, it was a bit noisy for table conversation.

KS
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I’m we went for Sunday brunch to celebrate my one year wedding anniversary. I was so pleased with the staff for acknowledging the note I left with the reservation. I plan on having my 3 year old’s birthday brunch there next month! I’m hoping for the same awesome service!

ES
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

The restaurant was amazing! We went for my birthday brunch and it was perfect. The food, the atmosphere and the location was perfect! The only rough thing about eating there is an outside factor (parking) it took over 15 min to find something which lead to everyone being late. OVERALL I would go again!!! But using uber and metro would be a must on the weekends!

C
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall4food5service2ambience5

Amazing brunch food. Service was a bit of a mess though.

AB
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Delightful meal - comfort food taken up a notch. We shared the Pot Pie Poppers, Baked Brie and Fried Chicken - all excellent. Yummy, satisfying and plenty of food for 2. The cocktails were fun, but the food was the thing. The service was competent, quick and efficient, if not overly friendly. The ambience was upbeat, fun, and lively -but not noisy. All in all a great night.

JT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food2service3ambience3

As a whole dishes were beautifully prepared and displayed but flavors were very bland in both appetizers as well as main courses ordered. I ordered a sidecar as a cocktail and the mix was far off of the mark.

P
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic and innovative menu, everything that we ordered was delicious.

DC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food3service5ambience4

I’m ambivalent. good comfort food but fairly heavy handed in seasoning. Delicious cocktail and great server.

GC
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Fantastic brunch. Food was amazing in presentation and flavors. Great staff. We will definitely go back again and again.

JB
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was sublime and the service impeccable

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food and service!! Good pricing considering the neighborhood. Our server, Kyle, really took his time with us.

DH
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Modern concept of an old-style diner, but with 5-Star menu of food & beverages. From appetizer (baked Brie) to the meals (shrimp & grits and crab pasta) with side (amazingly light corn bread muffins) followed by dessert (cheesecake cloud) we had a fabulous time. Ask for Ashley

NF
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful chick pea stew!

PW
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience2

Amazing food, fabulous service!

S
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Unconventional Diner has one of the more “unconventional “ menus I’ve seen in DC in recent years. And the food is consistently unconventional and delicious. The wait staff is knowledgeable and friendly and helps you decipher the menu and decide how much to order, a service not found often enough in restaurants. The chicken parmigiana is not like mom’s —it is different and better. Caribbean shrimp and grits was just what you would expect and probably a dish you won’t find in other restaurants. The shiitake spring rolls are crunchy and full of flavor. The portions are generous, but don’t leave without trying the apple cobbler. It’s large enough to be shared by the entire table, and just in case you have a large crowd and want a second dessert, the lemon meringue is top rate.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was delicious and the service was friendly and not overly solicitous.

OT
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very cool experience. Love the offering of vegan and non-vegan selections. The beet juice is amazing! Overall great experience.

KS
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This menu is really cool. Highly recommend for those looking for something for Brunch beyond the usual variations of eggs, meat and potatoes. Brunch cocktails are something quite new and different, too.

ET
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Good food, but not blown away as I was expecting. Was also very hot and stuffy inside. Would tell recommend someone give it a try, though.

S
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall3food5service2ambience3

Excellent food, shrimp and grits was amazing!! Service was very poor and slow..

JR
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience4

Four of us had a lovely Sunday brunch as Unconventional Diner. Interesting menu, delicious food and an attractive place to eat. We will be back!

JS
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food, excellent drinks, and fun wait staff. Two thumbs up!

R
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall2food3service3ambience1

Very cold, sat next to drafty door. Coffee was more sweet, than coffee flavored. Thanks

LA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience2

This was our second visit to the diner. We ordered a mix of old and new dishes - love the light batter of the fish sticks and their Safran aioli ans the kale nachos were fun and so much more interesting than real nachos. The French dip pappardelle is also one of my favourites on the menu - full of flavours. The place was however freezing, quite uncomfortably so. Upon departure we made a comment to the manager/ front of house person and she said they had had trouble with their heater. I would have appreciated being notified of it earlier, with an apology or reassurance. It was hard to enjoy the evening fully. Overall a good place for some classics and some really fun takes on classics but more of a family place than date night (lacking in ambiance with the decor and harsh lights). We will be back as a family !

k
Washington DC
124 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Just terrific! Loved the broccolini and okra, the Shiitake spring rolls, the great chicken parm Florentine, the fried chicken, and fantastic carrot cake and pistachio ice cream. Thank you, Chef David Deshaies!

OT
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service. Highly recommend this spot!

ES
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Tried it for the first time just for brunch and loved it. Immediately recommended it to my sister for her birthday dinner who enjoyed it at least as much as I did. Definitely an energetic, younger crowd, so be prepared to speak up to make sure everyone hears you.

F
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The food and service was good. There are an array of dishes, which are hard to choose from and honestly, you can't go wrong. I had the Moroccan Grits and have no regrets. The highlights of the dish were well seasoned cheeses grits and 3 lamb merguezs. I'll be back.

R
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Love Unconventional Diner--especially the fried chicken. But on this particular occasion, I got the salmon. Mistake. Go for something else on the menu. Everything else I've had there was delicious!

a
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

It’s a bit pricy but we had great food snd service. Moroccan taquitos are served like long breadsticks. They are flavorful and crunchy and served with a tasty harissa salsa. My Lebanese fried rice was full of plump raisins and crunchy almonds an topped with two fried eggs cooked for the right amount of runny yolk. My daughter had meatloaf which she said was very flavorful and nicely unusual with the Sriracha glaze. My Hotel California was nice but had too much salt. Warning - there is no parking nearby. Take metro or reserve parking (SpotHero).

l
Portland
106 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Unconventional Diner was outstanding in every way, especially the taste and quality of the meals we ordered.

R
New England
6 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome breakfast! I got the brussels and eggs and it was so so good. Great portion sizes and delicious. Bloody Mary was excellent! Overall great meal with great service!

PN
New England
5 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Great place for friends to meet for brunch. Creative food and amazing beverages. A bit too noisy for a work brunch but a small group would be ok. Be prepared for brunch only menu.

MT
New England
96 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

Best part of this place was my server, Acadia. impeccable people skills, perfect timing, and always a smile in spit if how busy she was.
she recommended first two items i review here.
Chicken pot poppers. excellent chicken pot pie bites in size of a tator tot, though you dont get that many.
shrimp and grits very tasty. spicy. shrimp, and kielbasa - nice blend of flavor and presentation.
avacado toast best ive ever had.
chunkt, red onion, egg yolk and other ingredients with a small bagette of toasted multigrain.

YS
Washington DC
27 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Enthusiastic knowledgeable server. We wanted to try everything on the menu, and went with his favorites which didn’t disappoint. The eggs and bacon dessert was a special treat.

TB
Las Vegas
3 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2019
Overall4food5service2ambience4

The menu was very diverse offering something for everyone; however, many of the dishes required required guidance from first time diners. The waitress was not helpful and had a very somber disposition. She did not greet us warmly and we felt our questions were problematic for her rather than an opportunity to showcase the food. We loved our dishes but did not get a warm and welcoming feeling based solely on our waitress.

OT
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

I asked if I needed a side with my meal. I really did not and I left most of the collard greens that were not all that nice anyway.

AD
Denver
4 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Curious twists on comfort food. Not sure if it all works, though. Sometimes feels as if they're trying too hard with both food and service. Pot pie bites were very good when hot but as they cooled, the texture suffered. Chickpea stew was packed with flavors, one of which (alas) didn't sit well with me. (Harissa, perhaps?) Chicken Florentine arrived as a party accompanied by pasta what was a bit too al dente. But, but, but -- the dessert we had? Wow! Pistachio ice cream and mango-passion fruit sorbet were *superb*, flavorful and creamy. I'd give UD another try when I return to DC -- and would be sure to try other dessert options.

DC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Great overall dinner experience. Plan on returning for brunch.

KG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Food was excellent, water was prompt, patient, and explained the dishes. Only quibble is that the sound lovel was a dull roar, making it difficult to hold a conversation, even with the person sitting right next to me. I get that some noise makes a restaurant 'lively,' but please, put in some sound-adsorbing tiles in the ceiling or something.