Unconventional Diner

4.7
820 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 820 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
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Phoenix
1 review
Dined 13 hours ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service and amazing food! We loved the pot pie bites and Brie snacks. Everything we had was delicious and unique with great flavor. This restaurant is a must if you’re in the area.

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

The meatloaf was the best I ever had! And the pink peppercorns on the carrot cake were such a great contrast.

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CM
Chicago
18 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great dinner! Salah was our waiter, and he recommended a series of dishes with creative, and sometimes funny, explanations for each. We basically followed his recommendations and were not disappointed. We had the okra and broccolini, squid pasta with crab, French dip pappardelle, chicken Parmesan and sunny eggs. We both also ordered the manhattan transferred, which was a fantastic cocktail! Our 8 and 9 year old children loved everything we ordered too!

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JT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

would recommend for most part Biggest distraction was extremely noisy at lumch time on Sunday. everyone at table had to yell at each other

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A
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We really liked the food, especially the broccolini and okra, miso salmon and the pappardelle with brisket. The Smith Island carrot cake and lemon tart were amazing Elsie.

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M
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great menu - something for everyone. The restaurant is very large, and you do have to speak quite loudly to hear other people at your table. The bar is really nice, but there was only one bar tender, so it took a very long time to get a drink and then pay. Definitely make a reservation.

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r
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

Arrived at 8:45 PM reservation for Friday dinner. Very busy at that time. Took 23 minutes for us to be seated. Table top had only been partially cleaned. The food was good as usual. In the 6 or 7 other times at Unconventional Diner, things were not so chaotic and service good.

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m
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 3

We made reservations but still had to wait one hour to get table. We expected better than that

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DC
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

A truly wonderful experience. The food was outstanding and service was on point. Thought they worked you in and out in a timely manner without feeling rushed. Everything we had was delicious, but the broccolini and okra was especially good. Salah was out server, and he was outstanding and gave us spot on recommendations. Highly recommend!

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t
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Love this place. Great if you are chillin at the bar or having dinner. Cute for date night as well.

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T
Washington DC
295 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Enjoyed sharing this "new" find with a friend. We all loved the kale nachos and the seafood entrees (shrimp and grits and miso salmon) were excellent. Service provided by David was perfect.

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O
New England
10 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Undoubtedly, the best meal I’ve had in 2019! And one of the best meals I have ever had. Five stars across the board.

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CH
Richmond
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Meeting with old friends.

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L
Washington DC
99 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

I liked the ambiance: relaxing, yet friendly. The lunch menu offerings are creative and quite tasty, though options are limited compared to dinner menu. The corned beef hash was the best I've ever tasted. Salads combine interesting flavors. Service was mixed. Waitress not that attentive, but the servers made up for it.

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RA
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A delightful spot to meet with friends for lunch in this sunny spot downtown. I ordered the Moroccan grits. The grits were quite good, lamb merguez, lightly charred broccolini, some pickled onions and radishes topped with a sunny side up egg. Solid breakfast/brunch choice. My lunch date had the peruvian soup - sopa criolla - which was a hearty melange of angus beef, potato, fried egg and queso fresco. All in all quite a lovely meal. The waitstaff was helpful and attentive. If there was one item at this restaurant that could be improved it would be that the UD serve a basket of bread at the table. Particularly with dishes with runny eggs, and a soup, a simple basket of bread served at the table would have been quite a welcome improvement. Also, I found it rather of interest that when I went to book a table on a Tuesday for a Wednesday lunch, Open Table showed that there were only 3 tables left when I booked, but the following day when I showed up for lunch, there were less than 10 tables seated for lunch, and the majority of the tables were empty. The food was quite delicious if they started serving bread, I'd make this a regular spot for brunch, as this place is right in my neighborhood a couple blocks walk from home.

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j
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our daughter chose this as our destination for her birthday dinner. She and her sister had been before, but it was a great choice. We'll be back!

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G
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Colorful food in a colorful location! My daughter had lentil fried rice with falafel, and said the falafel were the best outside of Israel. All of our meals were good.

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Literally my favorite restaurant in all of dc. I’m a jersey girl so you know food is crucial. I’ve eaten a lot of places when i make my way down, but nothing compares to unconventional! Double cheeseburger is worth every bite and whatever that special sauce is, finger licking good. Also tried some sort of crab cake and goodness was that delicious. Basically, take all my money! Love love love.

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j
New Orleans
28 reviews
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Lunch with visiting friends. Server was friendly and professional; general service was courteous and efficient without being overbearing. Food was delicious and creative, a nice change from trendy.

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CG
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Loved the atmosphere and unique brunch menu. Our experience was poor due to bad service. Our waitress took our order and did not come back to our table until we were finished with our meal ( a runner brought our food out). I was going to order another side and drink, but she never came.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved it! Very unconventional

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VT
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 4

Although we arrived 10 minutes early, we had to wait 25 minutes after our reservation time to be seated. The manager kindly provided us with champagne to make up for the wait. Later, when he came by to ask what we ordered, he made judgmental comments about our decisions and did not provide recommendations when we asked for his suggestions. Although the food was good, the uncomfortable interaction with the manager definitely tarnished the mood. I personally would not go back and would recommend that people try to go mid-week when it is less busy.

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GJ
Washington DC
40 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Very energetic to deafening. The space needs some sound absorbing tiles on the ceiling or something. Food was unique takes on familar foods. They temporarily lost our reservation but were very apologetic when they realized their error.

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WK
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and even better service. Only downside was the noise level but still a fun place that I’ll recommend to others.

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DC
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

The space is a little bare bones but nice, and the food was delicious.

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n
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love Unconventional Diner. Service is terrific and there are so many delicious menu items, it's difficult to choose. Always order too much!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such an amazing meal and great service! Loved the chickpea shakshuka

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RG
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The brunch menu was extensive
The grits were the best item I ate
Asked for eggs over easy but they were served hard cooked
The B. sprouts were too spicy
My husband enjoyed the Cobb salad
Coffee was better then some

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K
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

One of the best lunches my family has ever had! We all LOVED Unconventional Diner. Absolutely recommend.

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s
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The staff was extremely patient with us. We were a party of 7 for brunch and were running a bit late but they got us seated as soon as we were all there. The food was exceptional and reasonably priced.

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LL
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved this place! Great service, great atmosphere inside, and a really unique and delicious menu. The fried chicken and mashed potatoes are a must.

Would definitely recommend and hope to be back soon.

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P
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Server was very knowledgable and friendly. Food was OUTSTANDING! Ate there twice in two days and going there again tonight.

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OT
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My mom came from out of town and I’m so glad I thought to bring her here. The menu has so many unique options and she’s still talking about the baked brie. Our waiter, Marco, was great as well. He gave us many recommendations and great service. They were even able to squeeze us in for brunch so we could come back.

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y
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such a great meal! Wonderful ambiance, amazing service, had a fabulous time. Will be back again soon!

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R
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent. I will be back on my next visit back to DC.

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MG
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious dinner with family to wrap up our visit to DC.

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KP
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The fried chicken was enough to feed the entire table. I enjoyed the collard greens. Everything else was very tasty too. I will return!

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C
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 3

Friendly restaurant in an up and coming neighborhood. Lots of comfort food with a modern twist.

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

It was amazing Andy the Bartender is the best

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Enjoyed! Would attend again, crazy for large groups.

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