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Party Size
For 2
Date
Today
Time
7:00 PM
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You must make reservations at least 5 minutes in advance of the time at Unconventional Diner.
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Booked 117 times today

Unconventional Diner

4.5
235 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Top Tags:
  • Comfort Food
  • Creative Cuisine
  • Casual
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 235 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
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  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
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4.0Dined 3 days ago

Food was delicious! One of those places that won’t seat you until your entire party is present which is always a pain, but otherwise good service.

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4.0Dined 3 days ago

Food was delicious and carefully prepared. Ambience was delightful. Service fantastic. Prices a little bit high.

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3.0Dined 3 days ago

The dessert was amazing; the food was just okay. Each plate has a little too much going on. They revised the famed kale chips, and they're now burnt crumbly kale leaves. The server was not particularly attentive and it took a couple of reminders to get our drinks. I probably won't go back, and if I do, it will just be for the dessert, which was some of the best I've ever had. We ordered the carrot cake, the coconut creme pie, and the chocolate raspberry cake, and all were downright phenomenal.

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3.0Dined 4 days ago

The food is different and good. The cocktails are great. Problem is we waited one hour over our reservation time to be seated. This is the second time here and last time they were late as well. We had $20 taken off our bill which is nice but I much rather they don’t overbook so much. We were very crabby by the time we were seated. The food is interesting. Very different which is refreshing. It is very good also. The noise is unbearable - very very loud just from people talking. Too bad.

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4.0Dined 4 days ago

Loved the fois pb&j and the squid ink fettuccine with crab

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4.0Dined 5 days ago

Definitely want to go back and work my way through the rest of the menu. The meatloaf and the Ropa Vieja were both fantastic, as were the Moroccan Toquitos and the Fois Gras with PB & J (sounds weird, try it). You can judge a good restaurant by its side dishes and the two we had were great. Definitely pick the carrots. Only downside was that the dessert menu seemed a bit ordinary, but you should be filling up on all the other amazing stuff anyway.

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Great restaurant for lunch or dinner! The chicken parm was delicious and the meatloaf was pretty good. The mashed potatoes were amazing!!!

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Unconventional Diner was the perfect choice for a friends' celebration when the friends have pretty divergent tastes and preferences in food! There was more than enough choice and everything we ordered was delicious. Service was very attentive but not intrusive and we all left vowing to revisit so that we could try other items that looked so tempting.

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5.0Dined 6 days ago

Love everything about this place. Keep up the good work.

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5.0Dined 7 days ago

Great food and wonderful waitress - she made. Everyone feel wecomed and at home

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4.0Dined 7 days ago

Unconventional Diner proved to be a perfect fit for my foodie relatives. It was pretty loud and casual there, so the ambiance wasn't "fine dining", but the food certainly was. Our table was split between meatloaf and fried chicken and everyone enjoyed their entree. Was disappointed that they took the pot pie poppers off the menu, because I was really looking forward to trying those. But everything else was a perfect fit.

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3.0Dined 7 days ago

The appetizers were good, even quite good, but the entrees were poor to ok. We were disappointed.

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5.0Dined 7 days ago

Brunch food was delicious. We tried a few different things - the burger, posole, and smoke salmon - and they were all tasty. The cocktails were great as well if not slightly overpriced ($14 for essentially orange juice and vodka). Will definitely be back to check out dinner.

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1.0Dined 7 days ago

Service was horrible.

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5.0Dined on May 18, 2018

Anniversary & Birthday celebration. Forget everything you may think about the menu selection. Every dish has a creatively delicious take on traditional offerings. This is not your parents diner. Even though I’m a parent and it’s definitely mine.

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4.0Dined on May 18, 2018

Would have been 5 stars if it weren't for the slow service. Came in at 830 and waited around for water and drink order, then food order seemed rushed. Also, they never brought a side that we ordered.

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3.0Dined on May 17, 2018

Service was so sloooooooooooow. Waited 10 Mins for ketchup and half the table was eating burgers and fries. Might have been a one off but service was terrible. The food was pretty good, some things better than others. our food was cold because it was left sitting... we could see it at the pass for a good 5-6 Mins before someone picked it up.

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3.0Dined on May 17, 2018

Very loud - not recommended for a business meal.

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4.0Dined on May 17, 2018

Pretty good food, very friendly staff, great ambiance. Some menu items looked better than others.

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5.0Dined on May 16, 2018

Food and service were stellar! Love this restaurant and wish it were closer to my house and easier to get a last-minute reservation.

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5.0Dined on May 16, 2018

A lot of thought went into the design of the space, aside from building a kitchen that prepares excellent food. Great bar scene. I have gone back a few times. Ate at the bar with a friend and had a great time. The staff has been trained to bring their A-game for service with pleasant personalities. Bartenders are pros.

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4.0Dined on May 15, 2018

So many tempting things on the menu! Salmon was very tasty, perfectly cooked, and the flan was exceptional. Highly recommend. Bar staff was also very friendly and mixed some great cocktails.

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5.0Dined on May 15, 2018

Our waiter made this very good meal, an excellent experience. He was energetic, helpful, friendly and good-natured. The kale nacho appetizer was super! And the coconut cream pie for dessert was also fabulous! An odd thing, but the chairs are not very comfortable. Would nevertheless return.

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4.0Dined on May 15, 2018

Don't get me wrong---Unconventional Diner missed out on a five-star for food only because the braised pork dish---ropa Viejas---was a bit tough. But it was also very flavorful. Big surprise of the evening was the fois gras PB&J, a delicately layered dish of fois gras "custard," grape jelly and shavings of very subtle dehydrated peanut butter. Add quarters of toasted white bread and go to town! We also enjoyed, once again, the meat loaf.

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3.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Let me start by saying I love dinner at Unconventional Diner. Just amazing. So we were really excited to try brunch.
But, disappointing for several reasons. First, we had a waiter with no soul. Absolutely could care a less about us or our experience. Yet we could see her engage with other tables, so don’t know what was the issue. We were nice and not snotty. Second, the food was average. Which is fine most places, but heck, this is Unconventional Diner! Eggs Benedict was tepid and ages were poached hard. Grits were awesome but an upcharge (trying to figure out why grits cost more than potatoes). French toast was one thick slice-one-with a lot of goo.

So probably won’t do brunch there again when the world of Le Diplomate is available and so so good.

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

It was unconventional and very good
Fried chicken and the appetizers soared
Fun place

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4.0Dined on May 12, 2018

My chicken parmigiana was just okay. However companions chose specials that they loved. The desserts are stellar.

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

Unconventional Diner had all your comfort foods served their way. Everything we had was delicious. We would love to go back again to try other things on the menu. This is definitely "a keeper".

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5.0Dined on May 7, 2018

What a great experience! I noticed this gem had high ratings, and seemed a good compromise that my family would enjoy. Jasmine, our server, was funny, courteous, and efficient. We tried the Chicken Pot Pie poppers... that is an interesting twist. My mother raved about the miso glazed salmon, and the boyfriend (a Southerner) was impressed with the fried chicken. I tried the Sriracha meatloaf, on Jasmine's recommendation. She wasn't joking... it's my new comfort food go-to. The gravy was perfection for the potatoes, and to cut down on the spice from the glaze. They've also got a good wine list, and cocktail list. The Rhubarb sundae... I love rhubarb, so I'm biased, but it was REALLY delicious. Mum and Man said it was the best meal we had all week, and I agree.

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3.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Perfect service and creative menu offerings! Portion size appropriately modest and served attractively. Dessert - coconut cream “pie” - was my favorite part of the meal. Appetizers and entrees were good, not anything to write home about. It took me a minute to remember what I ordered. This is a better restaurant for creative panache than for taste or texture in my opinion. Would definitely enjoy eating here again but will not seek it out.

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4.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Really fun space with high quality food. Always great to read through a menu and be torn between multiple choices! The service was solid though drinks lagged. All in all, will be back!

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1.0Dined on May 4, 2018

Overwhelmingly underwhelmed. The dinner started on a strange note. We ordered cocktails, very simple ones, and even tasted the gin that they had (clear color) before ordering martinis. When the drinks were served by the same person who took the order and brought the taste, the gin martini was in a tumbler and brown in color and the cosmo had an unusually brilliant pink color. I told the server my drink was whiskey, then she stared at me, and asked me whether I liked it. I said, well, I ordered a gin martini up with a lemon twist(?). Also, the cosmo was undrinkable--there was no evidence of lime or cranberry flavor or sweetness. When the gin martini came back, it tasted watery like the glass was not emptied out or was overshaken. Plus, the restaurant had the nerve to charge $15 for a martini with one ingredient! The food courses proceeded no better. I asked the server if she had any favorite dishes on the menu, then she proceeded to tell what the biggest sellers were. The dirty caesar was a mess with so many ingredients that it seemed more like a plate of slop than a salad. The swiss chard lasagna had a good flavor but otherwise monotone and unremarkable. I did enjoy the ropa vieja though. The server must have realized that the experience was off, but given the deer in the headlights reaction, I am not sure. No manager inquired of our experience during the meal or upon our exit, which is odd for a new restaurant. I think the management should at least look at what is going on at the bar. I am not encouraged to return, which is disappointing, since we welcome another option in the neighborhood.

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5.0Dined on April 29, 2018

Took my parents for brunch - everyone raved about their meals. I had the Pozole and it was absolutely delicious (though, I could have used some bread to sop up all that delicious broth!). My mom had the Caesar Salad and loved it. My dad and husband got the Chicken and Waffles and nothing was left on either plate. I managed to snag a taste of the cornmeal waffle - HEAVENLY. Definitely will be returning to try more offerings!

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5.0Dined on April 28, 2018

Excellent. Standout dishes so far: pot pie poppers, collard greens, cornbread with the butter, chicken parm. Pastas are house made and exceptionally fresh. Need to go back for the fried chicken and caesars salad.

But the service made the meal even more enjoyable. Zohair was fantastic - accommodated our requests and guided us well.

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5.0Dined on April 28, 2018

Great brunch. The food is creative and delicious. Excellent beer selection.

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5.0Dined on April 28, 2018

Great brunch, easy on the wallet, fun and gorgeous atmosphere.

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5.0Dined on April 27, 2018

Had an amazing time, with a funny waiter, great food and good special treatment for the birthday girl!!

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5.0Dined on April 26, 2018

Food was delicious, but it wasn’t a very large menu. I am gluten free and there weren’t too many options; but they did accommodate me. Very nice staff.,

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5.0Dined on April 26, 2018

We brought winemaker Danie Steytler who makes the Kaapzicht Chenin. He loved the food, said our server (Sala?) was the best he's ever had, and thought the wines were well priced on the list. The carrot cake dessert was outstanding.

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5.0Dined on April 25, 2018

The menu is interesting, imaginative and fun. Lots of choices for vegetarians as well for people who wanta robust meal. Cool surroundings and excellent service

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