Unconventional Diner

4.7
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1208 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 1208 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
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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f
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined 15 hours ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was great. Like the decor and ambiance. Very relaxed environment.

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

Great food!

SK
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

THE FRIES ARE AMAZING, with the sauce. Yum!!
We had them with our brunch.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food atmosphere and service was impeccable!

HR
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

UD just got a Michelin star and it is well deserved! We made a mistake on our open table reservation (autopopulated 2 guests instead of the 5 we had) and the staff were accommodating and got us seated right away despite the error. The food came out quickly, our server was attentive. And for the price point we couldn't believe how good the food was. Definitely recommend the french toast for brunch! We will be back.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Congenial and welcoming staff during every part of the meal from entrance to exit. Great service by Joe and good guidance thru the robust menu. Great all-around experience, highly recommend to those who like to excite their pallet!

OT
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Family meeting up for brunch!
Awesome

C
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Unconventional Diner has been on my To Go List for months. My girlfriends and I finally made it there for my birthday/engagement celebration. The food was beyond my expections. The Mac & Cheese was our favorite dish, but the Baked Brie, Shrimp & Grits (spicy with a hint of sweet), and the "French Dip" Pappardelle were close runners up. All of us said we'd go back, and also want to try their brunch. Kyle was our waiter, and he added lots or personality and spunk to our experience. He provided many of spot-on recommendations for wine and food.

MA
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Nice decoration, very "Brasserie" like. The food is good, original, very well presented. Lots to choose, we decided to share many dishes to try more things. The brie is excellent, the Caesar Salad with Smoked tomatoes is also really good. The salmon with the beautiful zuchinis good and so well presented. The deserts were also delicious, special mention to the Lemon meringue, BEAUTIFUL and really really tasty.
The air conditionning was too high, which was unfortunate, I always think you cannot enjoy the food as well you are cold...
As for the service, our waitress was not really nice, so fast as serving and taking away our plates that hardly had time to eat or ask any questions. Not very nice...
Good experience in a nice environment for sure! I will go back.

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food is always very good. Please change the gravy with the chicken back to the way it was. Nice brown roux seems to have been cut with something else.

OT
Miami
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

Food is amazing from a taste-profile standpoint, but some of the presentations are too “fussy” or unnecessarily deconstructed. For example - the “salad” part of the avocado toast was delightfully tangy with chunks of avocado vs smoother quac style - however it comes as a form on one plate with a basket of toasted bruschetta; but this is not indicated on the menu or offered info from waitstaff.

Also - in most restaurants and bars a “double” in a single drink (or in my case “double tall” should not have been rung as 2 of a single line item; but as a double shot in a single drink (plus any applicable “tall” up-charge for additional mixer; as in my case). Not sure if it is server/bar training or establishment policy, but it overcharges the guest (and in my case will make me pause from ordering alcohol much less multiple drinks on my next visit).

F
Miami
7 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A real surprise...the menu was full of surprises. Simple "diner" meal concepts were elevated with wonderful preparations. Especially good were the kale nachos and the squid ink linguini with crab. The meatloaf was good, but the vegetable elements mixed with the ground meat were a little too big and would have benefitted by finer knife skills. Exceptional artisanal cocktails and very good service. The tables are a little too close to make the dining experience comfortable or private. I would return.

J
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Unconventional Diner just keeps getting better and better! Creative food, carefully sourced, absolutely beautiful, delicious, varied, and attentive staff. The best, always!

r
Washington DC
37 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 2ambience 3

Off the charts, quality food, iffy service, decor non-existent but my guests loved it so thanks. Desserts better than expected but they should work on drink service.

N
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was amazing. Our waiter was very friendly and welcoming!! The food was amazing as well. Very quick service!!

HC
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for dinner and ordered the chicken Parmesan and the Peruvian soup, both were incredible! The handcrafted cocktails were also amazing and coffee at the end was perfect!

SY
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

I had the sopa criolla and it was fantastic!! My friend had the shrimp and grits and really enjoyed it. I will definitely be going back.

T
Washington DC
76 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Unconventional Diner is a treasure of great food w/excellent staff for a very reasonable price.

BM
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

I had a 12:30 reservation on a Saturday and This place was bustling with people which I took as a good Sign. The food was absolutely amazing and full of flavor. They have a very eclectic brunch menu and all my friends enjoyed our meals. Service was slower than I would have liked but the food was sooo worth it. I’ll certainly be back

LD
Atlanta
66 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

The food was quite good. The service was rather impersonal and perfunctory.
It took a good 15 minutes from when we were seated for someone to come and take our order.
Once the order was placed, it came quickly. However, a side of bacon that was ordered for one of our party was not brought and the waiter had to be flagged down to ask for it again. Also, one person asked for eggs over medium and was given over easy. Not sure if it wasn't communicated to the kitchen or if it was a kitchen problem. No one was checking back with us to make sure everything was okay (was it as you ordered, do you need more coffee, etc). The food itself was quite tasty and imaginative.

LR
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Caribbean and soul food inspired menu. I really enjoyed the shrimp and grits. It was bursting with flavor.

EN
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Great food!

CD
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 5

Overpriced and overrated - seems like a yelp scam! Food was average and service was slow. I will say that the ambiance is beautiful.

SG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

This place was just ok. I had been expecting a lot
More creativity and new takes in dishes, given all the positive review in the press. Instead, the food was good but not great. The service was very attentive.

B
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 3

Was expecting a wonderful experience based on Sietsema’s recommendations. Was very loud with dining room only 1/4 full. Once large loud group left it was much better. Was glad we went for late lunch and not dinner. Food was good but got old iced tea!! I asked if it was fresh brewed before ordering. Not undrinkable but not good. Chicken and waffles was delicious! Would only go again if was at the Convention Center.

d
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Really unique (and varied) menu. Nice setting. Tasty food.

DD
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food is delicious and imaginative, very glad we finally got to this innovative restaurant! Only drawback was that it was extremely loud.

OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Food was good; menu eclectic.

JG
Washington DC
54 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

I went around 2pm, hoping I could get the amazing meatloaf with siracha glaze, but they were still serving brunch. Not to worry! I had an “eggs jam edict” which was so good I nearly licked my plate. Two soft-boiled eggs came on top of a chive biscuit, covered in bacon jam. Must have been at least 3,000 calories, but worth it.

AM
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great space and ambiance, delicious brunch items, exciting cocktails and friendly service. Definitely want to return for dinner sometime soon!

BB
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So many brunch items to choose from and it was tough to choose just one dish but we all loved our selections. Our table had the chicken sandwich, chicken and waffles, blueberry pancakes and the avocado toast. Service was attentive and accommodating, which made for a lovely start to our Sunday. The only thing left to do was to make another reservation for another brunch.

U
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was great, service even better. Very pleasant young man who cared about our experience. This was from brunch visit but already planing to come back for dinner. Restaurant looked very clean and energy was great, even it was a busy brunch.

AA
New England
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing ambiance, food options, drinks, and quality.

OT
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always love it here. Quick seating with a reservation and every dish we’ve tried from the menu is delicious!

JC
Phoenix
3 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Unique, varied, delicious and creative dishes combined with an inviting atmosphere and good service. I recommend this experience highly!

S
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First off, the staff was fantastic (Kyle is awesome). My food hit the spot. Overall a great meal and great experience.

f
Birmingham
3 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

Our server Kyle was wonderful!

TP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great service and food! The menu offers variety and the staff work collaboratively to serve guests. We look forward to returning.

OT
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 3

Meet up with my mentor for brunch and the food was amazing. The service was not the best. We sat next to some very nice people who gave us little bit of background about the diner and the owner(s). Overall, I would come back again and spread the word to others.

J
San Diego
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Noise level is high- which is perfect for a loud laughing toddler! Highly recommend this place. Great service, amazing food, and good times! Definitely recommend making a reservation, as wait times can be up to 2hrs long, even at 0930! Enjoy!