Unconventional Diner

4.7
439 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!
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
American
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Hours of operation
Breakfast/Lunch (No Reservations)
Mon–Fri: 7:30am–3pm
Brunch (Reservations Recommended)
Sat-Sun: 10:30am-2:30pm
Happy Hour (No Reservations)
Mon–Sat: 5–7pm
Dinner (Reservations Recommended)
Mon–Thu: 5-10pm
Fri-Sat: 5-10:30pm
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Phone number
(202) 847-0122
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
David Deshaies
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Across from Blagden Alley
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Public transit
Mt. Vernon
Additional
Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Wine
What 439 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
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 4

Our server was not attentive. He took forever to take drink and food orders. When he finally did take orders, he disappeared. Our food took a very long time to come out, which is weird because it was a mezze platter and cheese dip. When we finally got our food, we felt rushed because someone came by every few minutes to take our plates even though there was very clearly food left. We were never even able to order our entree because the server didn’t come back.

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MD
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really interesting flavors, and a fun atmosphere. Would recommend to a friend.

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p
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The most awesome waiter ever!! Gave us lots of info and led us in the right direction.

Everything we ordered was amazing including the kale nachos and I HATE kale!

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NO
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The experience was certainly unconventional, from the atmosphere to the food and the servers. The food was delicious, I had the squid ink pasta, my husband had the "French Dip" papperdelle and our friends had the meatloaf and fried rice. The portions are generous, but the prices are a bit steep. Our waiter, who was quite a character, sold the heck out of the goat cheese dip and so we had it. It was good, but not something I would order again.

The noise level was better than I expected after having read several reviews that complained about it. Speaking in a raised voice was a must but it seems with few exceptions, dining in DC has come to that!

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BL
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Unconventional Diner has been on our list to try to a while and we were very pleased with dinner. Great service - loved the crab linguine and caesar salad. We are eager to go back and try more things on the menu!

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b
Washington DC
41 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Third time at Unconventional Diner. Fun dining option in crowded DC dining scene.

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H
Washington DC
25 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

"Choose something you have never eaten before" Those were the words of our server and they were right on point. We went for brunch and were not disappointed. The Chick Pea Shakshouka was amazing, spicy but not too spicy and really yummy. The Corned Beef Hash was also delicious. We also tried the French Fries w/special sauce and the grits. Will definitely come back!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great experience, it was our first time dining there the brunch selections was delicious I order waffle and chicken the waffle was a cornbread waffle and a chicken breast with granny gravy very flavorful. My fiance had the biscuit benedict with smoked salmon and potatoes and we shared a side of grits with cheese that was perfect.the coffee was hot and fresh the mimosas was perfect.The atmosphere was good although a little noisy from a lot of chatter from other diners. We will definitely go back. Our server was professional and attentive and managment came around to assure our experience was good,really appreciated that.

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JD
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our third trip to the UD - everything as always is excellent!

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EC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waiter,Salah, was amazing. He really set the tone for the whole meal. His descriptions made our mouths water in anticipation. Every dish he recommended was fabulous. We were 5 very different types of eaters...from picky to foodie and everyone left the restaurant happy!

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HH
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So many great options for vegans/vegetarians. Great food, with inventive new twists. I loved the Cauliflower and Falafel salad and already can't wait to reorder it.

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BD
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Noisy noisy noisy. Very good food. Great great server!!!!

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CB
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is the best brunch I’ve found in DC. The food was very tasty, Brussels and fried eggs were a must. Service was great too, we had a friendly waitress which is a rare find in DC. Will definitely return! Cute and fun ambiance for brunch.

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HA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Very good food! Plates are small and a bit pricey. Ceiling was dripping water on my friend (likely from AC).

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FP
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The restaurant truly holds true to its name. They take traditional dishes and put a swing on them thats full of flavor! The chicken and waffles were amazing and my husband got the corn beef hash which was also packed with flavor! We will definitely be back and bring our family with us!

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AG
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The hostess greeted us with the special request I had put in my reservation and I was very happy about that. The food is a new take on classic dishes, and it was excellent!

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J
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this restaurant! The food was excellent and arrived as billed! Our waiter was very attentive and had great recommendations when it came to the menu! The restaurant lives up to all the reviews and then some!

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S
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent and interesting food, wonderful, warm and attentive service. A lovely and serene interior and ambience. A great spot for Sunday brunch for six people. We had an excellent experience overall and will be back regularly!

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F
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 2

Delicious food but parking was horrendous, restaurant was very loud and ambience in the back dining room had left the building. Loved the food and the novel tastes and combinations the chef creates, but experience overall wasn’t good enough to return or recommend to a friend. Maybe it will improve with time

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k
Washington DC
115 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Tasty food. Solid service. Great prices.

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MC
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great good, generous portions. Noisy but not as bad as many other places. Food was delivered quickly & hot.

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KG
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

5:15 dinner on a Saturday night made for a great dinner in the Shaw neighborhood. This was our second visit. Started our meal with great cocktails and the Mezze which was awesome. My wife enjoyed the Fried Chicken and the "French Dip" Pappaedelle was very good. We managed to split a very artfully executed lemon meringue pie. The staff is very friendly and the decor makes a pleasant dining environment. This was very much worth the drive from Silver Spring, MD.

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BA
Louisville
5 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Third brunch in 4 weeks... what can I say, it's a great meal with solid service.

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MG
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food variety was great, had a bit of everything while still being unique. The food in general was very creative and absolutely delicious. We loved the small portions, perfect in size and great for wanting to try multiple menu items and sharing. Awesome experience!

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LR
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food. Loved our waiter. Knew the menu and made excellent suggestions. Looking forward to going back

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g
Toronto
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Sat at very comfortable bar - Felix - working bar, rocked it -very engaging and top drawer recco’s on all fronts. Highly recommended.

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PB
Washington DC
56 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Went for dinner with my brothers this week. We all enjoyed it. I had the meatloaf - which was delicious. I had some of my brother's french fries and I liked those a lot. I had the Pot Pie Poppers and they were quite bland and boring. My one brother really enjoyed the Fish Sticks and their take on aioli/tartar sauce. Other brother liked the Mujaddara but found the falafel over fried and unappetizing. Service was very good.

Still there is a lot to explore on the menu and I'd be happy to head back and try more.

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HD
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Portions were small for a diner. Food was good, but definitely unconventional.

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OT
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Would definitely come back! I had the pancakes with a shake, and my sister did the Brussels sprouts with fried egg and a mimosa. Pancakes came three in a stack with a yummy blueberry sauce and candied ginger, as advertised. YUM. Just enough for be satisfied but not make me wish I wore elastic pants. The shake was fruity but not to sweet, again, to my liking but maybe not to others. Our food came out super quick but that may have been because we had one of the first reservations of the day. Even so, service was pleasant and attentive both by the host and our own waiter. The restaurant is light-filled with two different dining areas and a bar in between. There were several two and three-tops, as well as slightly larger groups of 5-6 people, so a good mix, which also added to the noise level but not to a point where I was speaking louder than normal. Thanks for having us! We’ll be back!

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CG
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was really good and Carlos was the best waiter ever, his service was professional and friendly!

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T
Washington DC
47 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing selection of items on the brunch menu! So many creative connections of ingredients! Can’t wait to return to try the rest of the menu!

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JF
Baltimore
2 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Unique menu items. Their juices are delicious. Appreciate the vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free options. Our group enjoyed it.

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DC
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great spot! Not a fan of brunch usually, but I enjoyed brunch at Unconventional Diner tremendously. Definitely worth going back to and I WILL be going back for dinner to try the corn bread muffins.

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f
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Kyle, our server was excellent. He recommended tasty items and had a wonderful demeanor.

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JG
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We ordered the cornbread muffins, salmon, chicken Parmesan, and a side of mashed potatoes. Everything was delicious! We are so glad we tried this place and look forward to our next visit.

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K
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Just wasn't impressed by the menu. Moreover my drink, a variant on the old fashioned, was undrinkable and the service, while pleasant, was really slow.

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BA
Louisville
5 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Two visits back to back weekends. Great diversity in delicious foods. Better than the food is the service. A solid place for a weekend brunch with friends.

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KE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

The food an ambiance was great but there was such a long wait even with a reservation that takes off big points for me. The menu is full but does not give clear descriptions so you must rely heavily on the waiter to explain. Our waiter was nice and attentive but she did not do a good job of explaining the menu.

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S
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had a wonderful time celebrating my husband's birthday last Saturday night. I love that there is a wide range of food that can accommodate everyone. If you are trying to eat healthy, indulge, go vegan, paleo, keto - there are options for you. The portions are also really large so you don't need a full entree unless you are starving. Great food, great service in a great location. We'll be back!

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M
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sensational food. Pot pie popovers, fish sticks, chicken parm were all really delicious. Service was informed and very attentive. Its understandable why its always busy.

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