Unconventional Diner

4.7
954 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
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 954 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
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Filters
MA
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

The food was outstanding starting with the Bloody Mary followed by the fried chicken sandwich and ending with the chocolate hazelnut cake. Each bite was heaven.

Report
Helpful
KP
New England
20 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful food! Started with pancakes for table. They were sweet but excellent.

Our table had chicken & waffles, avocado toast, eggs & Brussel sprouts and eggs Benedict! All were plated beautifully and ❤️ the unique take on avocado toast.... would definitely return here again on our next visit To DCA

Report
Helpful
P
Charleston
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 2

Food was great - especially the brussel sprout and egg dish for brunch. However, the entire staff - from the hostess to the person who filled our water glass to our waitress - was so disconnected and exuded a lack of warmth, that we would not return. They all seemed like unhappy robots.

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was amazing

Report
Helpful
SS
Charlotte
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I've recommended all my friends! My favorite restaurant.

Report
Helpful
JG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The food was very good. Big portions for the money you're paying. Even though there were a lot of people at the restaurant, the waitress was still very attentive to my guest and I. It was a little loud, so it was hard to hear. Still very good restaurant and convenient location.

Report
Helpful
LL
Richmond
12 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Not sure what all the excitement is about. Food was okay; the noise level was very high. You have to shout to be heard.

Report
Helpful
n
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Arrived early. Ordered a club soda at bar. Hostesses & bar tender could not have been nicer. In fact every staffer I made eye contact with either smiled or said hello. As it got closer to reservation time I saw a couple of free tables I didn’t like & one I did. I mentioned this to the hostesses & they accommodated me. Waitress came right away and took drink order. Drinks came quickly & waitress took our food order without making us feel rushed. Food is incredibly fresh.

Report
Helpful
LT
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I went to Unconventional Diner with my spouse and parents. We all LOVED our food. The menu is marked with common allergens/intolerances/preferences (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, etc), so it was easy to find menu items that worked for everyone. The waitstaff was attentive and friendly. We had a booth by the window and it was very comfortable. I would like to note that it is very loud at UD, and it was hard for my dad to hear (he has hearing issues in noisy places). The host said there was a "quiet section", but it was full. If you are going with anyone who is hard of hearing, then I would recommend calling ahead and asking for a table in the quiet section.

Report
Helpful
OT
New England
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We continue to be so impressed with this neighborhood gem!

Report
Helpful
OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Victoria our server is/was the best.

Report
Helpful
RW
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Very loud restaurant, but excellent food. Service and location was great

Report
Helpful
OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food, amazing service. Keenya was awesome!

Report
Helpful
SG
Miami
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

omg so gooood!! I love love love our waitress Acadia, she took so much care of us! great recommendations on food and drinks, I was left SO stuffed afterwards. BEST service and food in DC, ask for Acadia!

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on June 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dinner with my son was wonderful!

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Wouldn’t seat us until two members of the party showed up, though tables were open. Got there early and took advantage of happy hour at the bar!

Report
Helpful
FD
Washington DC
27 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Unconventional Diner located adjacent to the Convention Center is a great spot for lunch. The menu offers a wide variety of traditional comfort foods with unique twists. As an example, the Lemongrass Coconut Maza Ball Chicken Soup. It was outstanding and a meal unto itself. The lunch hour seemed a little quiet but it was very welcome. It is a bright, airy space with something for everyone.

Report
Helpful
M
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went to celebrate my friend's birthday with brunch. We all fell in love with the decor, service, and food. I an vegan, this is what lured me to the place. I ended up eating the pancakes because it had a V next to it which I assumed was vegan but learned it was vegetarian. I was not too upset because the pancakes were delicious. However, I recommend that being made a little more clear.

Our waiter Katarina is wonderful! She is patient, helpful, thoughtful, and kind. My entire group of friends felt in love with her. Delicious food, perfect ambience, plus exceptional service made our time there the best we have ever had at a restaurant. We do brunch often. I will go back but will not eat the pancakes. I highly recommend them for non vegans.

Report
Helpful
MD
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I've been to Unconventional Diner twice for brunch and both times were great experiences! The service there is always wonderful, servers are knowledgeable and friendly. Make a reservation as it is pretty crowded on the weekends.

On this last trip I brought my fiance while he was in town visiting. He loves shrimp and grits and has a place in DC that is his favorite. After one bite of the Caribbean Shrimp & Grits at Unconventional Diner he said it replaced his older favorite. I took a bite and they were delicious. I preferred it over my meal and kept sneaking bites. I had the Benedict Biscuits & Potatoes with smoked salmon. It was good, the biscuits were delicious. I guess I was in the mood for something more savory which the shrimp and grits were. We ordered a side of the fries with sexy sauce and they were delicious. We also had peach bellinis which were great!

On my last visit I had the Lomo Saltado which I really enjoyed! I almost got it again but decided to try something different. The sauce can be a little much and luckily the waiter gave me a heads up so I had light sauce. It was still great and I can see how it could be overpowering if I had the regular portion. I don't remember what my friend had on this trip but she enjoyed it. We left full and happy!

I definitely recommend and will be back for brunch and would like to come back for dinner too.

Report
Helpful
MW
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Went for brunch. Not a huge menu, but interesting items. Wish they had more choices for dessert!

Report
Helpful
T
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

Went for brunch. Server was very absent. Food was good for the price but nothing extraordinary

Report
Helpful
C
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food, great service and overall wonderful experience <3

Report
Helpful
TH
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Upscale comfort food with a modern twist. The mushroom spring rolls were OK; mixing a few veggies in with the mushroom filling would have been an improvement. The kale nachos were meh; not very flavorful. The meatloaf with sirocha glaze was delicious, and the accompanying potatoes were the highlight of the dinner. The miso salmon was fine but scarce on any accompanying side dish. The Caesar salad was very good and a generous portion, as was the roasted cauliflower salad with Tahini dressing.

Report
Helpful
FF
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Delicious food. This place has good dessert game!

Report
Helpful
JP
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Great for lunch. If anything, the service was too quick. We could have stayed a bit longer but everything cam out so quickly that we felt obliged to head back to work.

Report
Helpful
CC
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food is delicious and the menu offers creative changes to many traditional dishes. This is a great place to great a great meal without having to spend a lot of money. The staff is professional and very accommodating. We had a wonderful experience.

Report
Helpful
P
Washington DC
367 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Unconventional Diner is an excellent example of how a well managed, chef driven restaurant with a large menu..can..actually be very good! We like just about everything he has conceived and executed on the menu—and we find the wine list fairly reasonable, given the inflation these days. While we enjoy so many things, we especially like the fish sticks, the chicken, even the meatloaf!, and the chicken poppers. The fries are also spectacular. This is a restaurant where you can have a true gourmet dinner—or—something much more simple. Excellent—all the way around.

Report
Helpful
GM
Nashville
10 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

One member of our party has a peanut allergy. Server asked chef and was very professional in her response. We always appreciate restaurants that get food allergies. Food was excellent. Moroccan grits was a huge serving. Lebanese rice was excellent and flavorful. Cheeseburger and fries were super fresh. All food came piping hot.

Report
Helpful
SH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Recommend the chickpea shakshuka! All food and drinks ordered were delicious!

Report
Helpful
KR
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Loved the food and ambience at brunch! The place is really cool. And, the food is creative, interesting and very tasty. Our favorite dishes were: the avocado toast (certainly unconventional, unique and delicious), the lomo saltado (which my boyfriend but I wish I had), the chickpea shakshuka and the BACON!!!

Report
Helpful
HH
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

A pleasant surprise for brunch. Found Unconventional Diner on Yelp with very highly rated reviews and decided to give it a shot. A new favorite. Came on a Sunday around noon, quite busy (the noise level is quite high). Would suggest making a reservation to avoid waiting. The staff were pleasant and attentive without being overly nosy. Food was spectacular. My mom and I split the blueberry pancakes and the hash–best of both worlds. Can't wait to come back and try everything else on the menu because it all looks delicious!

Report
Helpful
VT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing! We tried the chicken and waffles, french toast, and blueberry pancakes. All were delicious. I make a point to always try chicken and waffles if it's on the menu and I was very impressed!

Report
Helpful
OT
Miami
2 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

I was visiting the DC area and saw great reviews for this place. My family and I enjoyed our meal. The twist to old time favorites was great. The Mac & Cheese was to die for! Fried Chicken, Shrimp & Grits, Curry Stew and Pot Pie Nuggets were also very tasty and well presented. Service was good. Ambiance was nice but restaurant with all it’s hard surfaces was a bit loud. I would recommend this place

Report
Helpful
SM
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The food and service were ok but wicked expensive for what you get.

Report
Helpful
OT
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Hands down, Best Shrimp and Grits I’ve ever had.

Report
Helpful
T
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My wife and I had brunch with our friends here and the food was great! Our server was very excited about their menu and walked us through some of her favorites with so much joy! I ordered the blueberry pancakes which were fluffy deliciousness sent from Heaven! The menu was pretty comparably priced and, though a bit over air conditioned, the ambiance was great! Bring a sweater and be sure to bring your appetite, cuz you’re going to love the Unconventional Diner!

Report
Helpful
c
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

I had been here for lunch earlier in the week and had a great experience and decided to try it for brunch. I ordered the Biscuits Benedict with homefried potatoes. It looked great, but was too salty, which made it more one-note. The Inka-boost juice was great, though, and the service and ambience was nice. I would recommend this place and would come back again, but would just choose something different for brunch next time.

Report
Helpful
d
Washington DC
28 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

fourth visit and yet to have less than stellar meal choosing different dishes every time.

Report
Helpful
RB
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

This my second visit to this restaurant and most likely the last.
The food is unremarkable , the sound level extremely high, I had to huddle with my lunch partners to have a conversation and the price is high for what you get.
The only positive thing I have to say is that the decor is quite nice .

Report
Helpful
AS
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food, comfort dining with an imaginative twist.

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
24
null