Unconventional Diner

4.7
1003 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 1003 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
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JL
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Corn muffins and meatloaf we're great. Indian inspired taquitos as well as fried rice were less so.

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

I've been here twice and it doesn't disappoint. I'd like to stop by for brunch one day.

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KG
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Food and decor was really good! We went for a Sunday morning brunch and the restaurant was VERY loud and there was loud music playing over all the people. Made note on reservation we were celebrating a birthday but nothing was awknowledged

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J
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Modern twist to original, classic diner dishes. Loved the middle eastern flare in the fried rice!

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j
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The pozole at the Sunday Brunch y is celestial. The srimps and grita, with plantein, pinaple and eggs is superb and the panqueques with Blueberries and lavander mascarpone have to be ilegal. Perfect food

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KM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

If coming from out of town or wanting dinner food without dinner pricing and with a hip upscale look then this is the place for you. If you're thinking a jive diner with hearty meals, you should look elsewhere.

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Houston
13 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 3

Over priced food for the quality. Seems like seasoning could be used to add more flavor. We are at lunch time, was pretty busy. Our waiter seemed stretched to thin. We won’t be coming back.

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M
Washington DC
48 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Delicious food with a great diverse menu. Very loud and energetic which made it a bit hard to talk but enjoyed our evening out.

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DB
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Pleasant surprise. Nice twists on classic food. Close to convention center and metro.

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Service was brusque but efficient. Always tasty!

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LF
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wow. Everything is fantastic. I’m glad I finally made my way here. It’s been on my list since the opening a few years ago. I ordered pretty much half the menu in my excitement. The first few favs are the corn bread, okra and brocollini, mashed pots, braised short ribs sunny egg dessert, the Rocher dessert... in truth, it was all delicious. I’m still enjoying the rest of the food for the next 2 days!!! Brunch is that popular that they serve it daily now. Would love to try the blueberry pancakes and chicken waffle.
Highly recommend.

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O
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We an amazing date night filled with savory food. We definitely will spread the word and return.

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Phoenix
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was great. Service was great. Place is great however the room was very cold. Not comfortable with light summery clothes on.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

Food was unimpressive

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BB
Richmond
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Pot pie bites were amazing. We split the Ceasar salad as well and that was great. For entrees we had the meatloaf and the shrimp and grits. The Caribbean shrimp and grits was a really nice spin on the dish. Meatloaf was perfect. Potato side was SO good. Split carrot cake for dessert. I consider myself to be super picky and we went back the next day. Which, you should not do on a sunday since they are not open. Strongly recommend.

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m
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Great spot for inventive brunch with friends or family during the weekend. My issue is the inconsistency of the menu. Some of the dishes are a hit - chickpea shakshuka, avocado toast - but some of the dishes are a miss - cauliflower salad, Caesar salad, etc. Great service and beautiful locale.

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M
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Brunch menu items were very creative and delicious. Service ok, was never asked if I wanted a second glass of Cava. Food was delicious.

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OT
Atlanta
4 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to, and they are certainly home to the best salad. Their unconventional “dirty Caesar” is out of this world! The pancakes and shrimp and grits are also delightful. It won’t break the bank, but be prepared to tip well because the service is EXCELLENT.

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OT
Miami
5 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

meat loaf was great
salmon not so much

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AM
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Fantastic eats, fun vibe, not as unconventional as assumed but definitely a unique date night spot.

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LR
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved it! Such great, friendly service. Food came out quickly and was plated nicely. Definitely fit the modern/unconventional twist on diners from everything to decor to the fries in a mug with an amazing sauce. Food was SO good, and not overpriced. Some tables were close together with shared benches, but still had a roomy feel and didn't feel crowded or uncomfortable at all. Such a cute dinner spot for two!

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h
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and food
Great place

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OT
Greensboro
2 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I enjoyed dinner with my son. Our entrees were good. My veggies were too spicy for me. Will definitely be back.

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

When my boyfriend and I walked in, we were barely greeted by the hostess. I told her that I had a brunch reservation and she seemed thoroughly confused. After being seated, it took a long time for the waitress to come over and hand us the menu: even though the diner was mostly empty. When we finally ordered, we got the blueberry pancakes and the fried chicken salad which were both absolutely delicious. Overall the food was great especially for the price. However, the service was mediocre at best.

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AS
Atlanta
15 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place is my favorite in DC. They have the best food for vegans and gluten free. BTW- its tastes fantastic! Thank you for being so good!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fourth of July

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M
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved it all ❤️

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KB
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing place. Everything was delicious. Our favorite was the Sloppy Joe Tostada.

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RT
Detroit
5 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

They weren't lying about the name. This is certainly not conventional. They really like to take humble things and provide a creative twist.

You know what chicken pot pie tastes like, right? They manage to pack all the best of your mom's pot pie into little nuggets of awesome.

Spring rolls are often greasy, but the shiitake mushroom spring rolls are light and bursting with mushroom flavor.

Ropa vieja is one of my favorite Cuban dishes, but this one is more of a Middle Eastern fusion, with pickles and saffron rice. Terrific.

The miso salmon would be standard (but perfectly prepared) if not for the pickled zucchini with pine nuts. Very nice.

And, the food arrived incredibly quickly. It took maybe 10 minutes from the time we placed the order to get our entrees. This would suggest pre-made food anywhere else, but it was clearly made to order here.

This isn't cheap, but it's worth the trip for a - you know - unconventional dining experience.

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SE
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

cool ambience, good service, outstanding brunch food! The chicken and waffles really knocked it out of the park. Also had a smoothie which was refreshing and a nice change from the usual coffee/mimosa options (although they offer those as well). Would definitely return if I’m in the neighborhood!

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AL
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place was just wow, awesome. I hardly go out to eat cause usually when I do its so-so. Either the food isnt that great or the service is bad or the vibes just arent there but this place had it all. Every dish we ordered was amazing. We tried the chickpea shakshuka, brussels sprouts and eggs, the biscuits, and the lemon blueberry pancakes. All dishes were A worthy but my favorites were the Brussels sprouts and pancakes. Every dish was colorful and plated beautifully. Our server was so sweet! she brought my friend a sparkling candle for her birthday. Shoutout to Vera the AM for killing it as per usual.

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EB
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such a fun dining experience! Greta for groups! Absolutely loved the Peruvian soup and the pot pie poppers.

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OT
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was the first time dining at Unconventional Diner for all 4 members of our party. Service was friendly and seamless from start to finish. Everything on the menu seemed so appetizing we had a hard time making a choice. Fortunately our waiter suggested popular items as well as his personal favorites to help us make up our minds. Truly everything on the table - and we tried 8 dishes between us - was so ridiculously delicious. Comfort food elevated is an understatement! We tried to pick favorite dishes, and agreed that the best combo was the fried chicken with sides of collard greens and the mac’n’cheese. Every one of us would recommend the Diner. In a sea of obscenely expensive and/or and mediocre dining options on the DC scene, this is absolutely delicious food that doesn’t break the bank.

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G
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Birthday dinner. Surprised by hot peppers in the coleslaw. Had to ask for refills for empty glasses. Birthday girl enjoyed her meal.

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PM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Cornmeal muffins were awesome! Highly recommend the Chicken Soup. Sharing an Iceberg lettuce salad was a great start.

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JL
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

Food was disappointing but great vibe. I'd give it 3.5 starts.

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SJ
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent, the service was amazing and the food was prepared swiftly. What more could you ask for?

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MK
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really good, creative, light-filled, just quiet enough to talk (well, not actually quiet, pretty noisy, but conversation isn't impossible at all). Food (avocado toast) was great. Good coffee. Great atmosphere.

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OT
Washington DC
33 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Showed up 15 mins early, wasn’t seated until 15 mins after my reservation. The food was excellent. The cauliflower appetizer turned out to be a salad with more salad than cauliflower, but the taste was excellent. The fried chicken, excellent. The biscuits, excellent, the corn muffins, excellent. The Ferraro rocket dessert, excellent. Great service to start, it faded in attentiveness overtime. I won’t drive in special to eat there, but if I’m going to be in DC anyway, definitely the first place I’d go.

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SB
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very interesting menu choices. Food was great! Service from Kyle -outstanding!!

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