Unconventional Diner

4.7
887 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 887 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
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had an awesome breakfast and great service. The manager was in the dining room ensuring that customers received their food and coffee efficiently, and checks arrived without a long wait. We will be back! We will try either a lunch or dinner.

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d
Washington DC
25 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great service, great food & drinks. Wait staff are knowledgeable about the menu & can help you make a selection of undecided.

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ED
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

While I've had friends go to Unconventional Diner and love it, I thought it was just okay. The food wasn't anything extraordinary. You could really get the same brunch food from any of the hundred other restaurants in DC that serve brunch and the food will taste better. Our server rarely checked back on us to make sure we were okay; we constantly had to look for him when we needed him.

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OT
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A truly amazing place. Service was impeccable (thanks,Jack!) , food delicious and beautiful. Inspiring food in a comfortable place. You’re missing out if you visit DC and don’t try this place!

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

The food was amazing! Super casual and for a great price.

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n
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

My guests loved the food so much that they are going again tonight, this time I'm their guest.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and service were great, and we really appreciated the attention from the servers during Mother’s Day. Great job and will come back again!

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RJ
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 2

banquet seating in room that backs to convention center is VERY uncomfortable. If you have back issues, choose the chair. Noise level is very, very high. I could hear my neighbors' conversations better than my own. Be warned that you can't have a private conversation because you will need to yell. Food was terrific, although the ginger beer was too watery and bland. Not sure what brand it is but I don't recommend it.

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YW
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Service was very good--our waiter was on the ball (he seemed to be covering a lot of tables!). The food was tasty, well-prepared, and different enough to be novel. We appreciated that the we were seated in a quieter area, as we had requested. It's a big space with a lot of hard surfaces, so can get pretty loud.

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ML
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was delicious, each course was delicious - not overly complicated but the flavors were outstanding

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was my first time dining at Unconventional Diner and it didn’t disappoint. The food was amazing and service was exceptional. I’d definitely return for dinner again.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service and food

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Yummy and flavorful

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RB
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

The food and drinks were great, but the waitress was incredibly rude and in every interaction seemed to want to rush us out of there. I had two friends visiting from out of town and we made a 12:00 res for a leisurely Sunday brunch and the staff seemed angry when we hadn't decided what to order, then rushed to clear our plates before we were finished. Very disheartening, since the food was great. I wouldn't go back unless it was a much less crowded time or I was looking for a super fast meal.

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F
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 1ambience 4

The hostess was extremely rude and condescending. She treated our son who is 2.5 years old as an inconvenience. We had a reservation for 5 but when she realized one of the 5 was a toddler she changed our table to a 4 person table. We also called ahead as we were running 10 minutes behind and her response was we would lose our table if we showed up 15 minutes late. I doubt I’d go back because of how she treated us.

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r
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was delicious and quite creative. Derive was excellent.

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G
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Birthday!! And they brought ice cream with a sparkler!! Loved it!

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LF
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Do not be deterred by the prospect of a diner - this is a very modern, progressive, foodie diner that caters to all tastes. Food is great, as was the service. Decor/ambiance is wonderful as well. Plan to return!

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p
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place!!!! Food and service is great!!! We had a new server and she was awesome.

I will say food is fast-in that way it’s a conventional diner!

Otherwise the best!!!

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DS
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Always a good choice. Really good food. Distinctive liquor selection.

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W
Washington DC
116 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Excellent food and service

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GD
Baltimore
32 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was outstanding and management was very nice. We were running late and they tried to accommodate me and my party.

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Y
New York Area
26 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As a first timer at The Unconventional Diner, I loved it! The upscale twist of “comfort food” was unique and delicious! The Dirty Cesaer Salad was amazing!

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T
Washington DC
70 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Unconventional Diner has something for all tastes. At first I wasn't sure if I would like it because it was a diner. However I've been twice and can't wait to return. The fried crab ball (can't remember the real name) is a great appetizer. The entrees that we've enjoyed include fried chicken, meatloaf and the chicken parmesan. Everything is flavorful and the prices are incredibly low.

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K
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Simply outstanding in every sense...except for the high noise level. Everything ordered hit a home run. Wonderful server, too. Will recommend and return in a heart beat.

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F
Washington DC
46 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good service, great food too. A little upset I didn’t get the Benedict for brunch because it seemed like the chef poaching the eggs was on his game this morning, but I’ll be back to try it out. Great coffee too, which is rare.

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CG
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was one of the best dinners I’ve had in DC. I got the miso salmon, which was cooked perfectly, and paired so well with the lemon sauce and zucchini. My boyfriend got the Chicken Parmesan Florentine and I swear that was some of the beat pasta I’ve ever tasted. Would highly recommend!

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J
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

The food was delicious. We got poppers, fries, chickpea stew and chicken parm. It was really busy on a Friday so there was 45 minutes between placing drink orders and entree orders. We sipped our cocktails and enjoyed poppers and fries though.

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J
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good and tasty food. Very friendly waiter and reasonably priced.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Love the space, the ambience, the casual feel with slick service with amazing food and wine!

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JS
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Interesting menu. And while the two things I had weren't fabulous, I would give the Unconventional Diner another try. Dirty Caesar was so-so and I expected the burger to be better based on the reviews. It was good - just not amazing. Fries and service were very good, so that counts!

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PS
Washington DC
74 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

For lunch, we had the crispy chicken sandwich and chickpea stew. The chicken sandwich was above average. The stew had a choice of proteins, the server strongly recommended falafel. The falafel clashed unpleasantly with the red curry sauce and ruined the dish. The server did not come by to ask how our dishes were or respond to gestures to come over so we could request a replacement. Not a great first experience--but several dishes passing by looked good so we think this restaurant can do better.

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F
Austin
20 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great experience.

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EV
1 review
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Happy hour high-top tables secured good deals and great restaurant quality service.

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B
Austin
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really enjoyed eating here for the first time for Sunday brunch. Lots of creative takes on diner food!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

We were both sick after eating here. The service was slow and not polite. Not going back.

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D
Baltimore
8 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The noise level was horrible. We asked to have the music turned down, which happened slightly. When the music is loud, people speak louder. The acoustics in this restaurant just can’t handle the noise. I love the food but would think very hard before returning because I could not hear my companions easily. It’s really a shame. The food quality and service are really great.

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c
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Nice bright place. Interesting menu. Fried chicken was very good a Cole slaw was different and delicious. Sons pappardelle was good. The waiter was nice and on his game, but I dinged a star on service bc the meal came out a minute after the appetizer. It made the little table feel full and I felt rushed.

My advice is to dine here, but order your appetizer with drinks. Have them come back for your dinner order so you have a nice pace.

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d
Atlanta
9 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Everything we had was really good. The service was excellent and we were surprised how reasonable the price was.

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FQ
Baltimore
8 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing service!!!

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