Unconventional Diner

4.7
541 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.
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 541 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
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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1
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OT
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

Good food but horrible service.

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OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food and service. You have to try the pot pie poppers and the fried chicken was excellent. Overall great experience. My only complaint was the restaurant’s open dining plan make for loud conversations.

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MT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Very good and will be back. No Bombay Gin but server recommendation (Heman?) was fine. Ordered a shareable salad for 1-person first course. Ordered Brussel sprouts side as main. Very good but should only be served as side. My husband’s cheeseburger was best anywhere.

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CB
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Phenomenal

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

Refreshingly delicious take on conventional food concepts

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

It was perfect. The bartender, I believe his name was Felix set the bar for the night. The food was amazing!

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

Delicious food, great service, amenable to food sensitivities and restrictions, reasonable prices!

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ML
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

The food was great, the service was uneven. The drinks came out late because a large table had ordered drinks right before us so 2 mimosas and 1 bellini took forever to make and get to us. The food, once ordered, came out 5 minutes later however. Once we were served everything, our waiter disappeared for a long time and we sat with empty drinks waiting and waiting to reorder before he made it back to us. Created a very disjointed meal. The food was awesome though.

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e
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Despite the name, we found the food fairly conventional - pretty good but nothing special. The waiter was slow in taking our orders, but the food arrived very quickly after we did order, minus the cornmeal muffins we ordered. They didn’t include them in the bill. We were actually happy they left them off the order given the large portion sizes.

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p
New York Area
20 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our 2nd time here and it was just as good as the first time. The food is great-tons of things to choose from whether you're vegetarian, vegan, meat eater, etc. The wait staff is friendly, knows what they're talking about, the hostesses are awesome too.

I recommend this restaurant to anyone and everyone.

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AM
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I have been here a couple of times now and it never disappoints! Wonderful food, wait staff that knows what they are talking about and not too crowded. Chicken parm, meatloaf, kale nachos and the okra are all amazing. Prices are a little high but you are paying for great quality food so it is totally worth it.

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C
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

My first visit here shortly after opening was underwhelming, so I avoided it for several months. I recently had dinner here with friends, and we loved it. The menu is both creative and comforting. The space can get loud, but the experience is unique.

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E
Washington DC
52 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was a great meal for my group threat had a mix of adventurous eaters and not. The waiter was very excited about the food, which was refreshing.

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OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and drinks!

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p
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

It was fine, I guess, but I wouldn't recommend it. The entree salad was the size of a side salad, what little there was was drowned in ranch dressing, and the total for that and a cup of coffee was $25. I had high hopes since they named themselves "unconventional". But it turns out that's just because they're adjacent to the Convention Center.

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MU
Washington DC
130 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Outstanding food in all respects. Have never had a dinner here where we and our guests didn't walk away saying that the food was just amazing. Innovative twists on "comfort food" and terrific desserts. Menu is diverse enough to please anyone; service is uniformly good; and price is reasonable considering the downtown location and superb food quality. What's not to like? It's a noisy and somewhat informal decor, so if you are looking for a quiet and romantic meal in luxurious surroundings, that's not this place. But it's perfectly handsome. Our main complaint is that at busy times, even with a reservation, you might have to wait 30 or more minutes since they overbook.

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EG
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding as always -- the most delicious brunch food in the city. It blows my mind how this place elevates flavors in unexpected, memorable ways

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The best food EVER. I had the chicken and waffles. I WOULD HAVE LICKED THE PLATE IF I WASN’T IN PUBLIC.

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OT
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

One of the best restaurants in DC. One downside is that we got sat 30 minutes after our reservation but the manager and wait staff were very accommodating and gave us a free round of drinks. Will definitely be back

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 5

Food and decor were excellent.

We had a reservation. Arrived 15 minutes early. Weren’t seated till 15 minutes after our reservation time - they had forgotten and skipped over us. A freed up table sat empty for about eight minutes while the hostess peeked at it over and over. Finally, to her credit, she went and set the table in her own for us.

After sitting for about ten minutes we finally got to order appetizers and cocktails. Unfortunately, we had finished our delicious apps before the cocktails came. Our neighbors had arrived after we were sat. They had ordered dinner and started eating their meal before our cocktails came. They arrived after our dinner was placed on the table.

A manager apologized when we notified her of the faulty service and she comped us on the bill. We appreciate it. She was embarrassed and apologetic.

We will try again, but maybe not during the holiday season at eight pm. They don’t seem to be able to handle the crowd.

Thanks!

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C
New England
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great meal selection! Something for everyone. The chicken pot pie popovers were outstanding. Big “shoutout” to the staff. Everyone was so accommodating! Definitely would return.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Yummy! Pot pie poppers awesome as were the brussel sprouts and Mac n cheese

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OT
Orlando
5 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service and food outstanding!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

This is the second time I’ve come for dinner and I haven’t got pass ordering the fried chicken it is that good!! The greens are phenomenal to say nothing of the biscuits and gravy which were fantastic! Our waiter Reginald is always great! He is very knowledgeable of the food. I have had him before on previous visits. Overall great dining experience!

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OT
Denver
6 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had the Moroccan Taquitos that were delicious. They were light and crispy and the Harissa sauce was creamy and spiced perfectly. The Lebanese fried rice was equally tasty. The chicken parm Florentine was ok. The side of pasta was perfectly cooked tough and very tasty. The portions are substantial - even the “snacks” and shareable plates are very generous. I was seated promptly and the wait staff was very attentive. Highly recommend and will go back to sample other items on the menu that look delicious.

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KV
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

We were seated right away in a table of our choice by friendly hostess. Our waiter was very attentive and helpful. We enjoyed the cornbread and the cauliflower. Note that the cauliflower shareable is actually a salad which isn't exactly clear in the description. The potpie poppers had very little chicken and would not get these again. The chickpea stew was our favorite and the salmon also good. I was a little disappointed in the dessert menu. I might go back for brunch, but not for dinner as there isn't much on menu for non-meat eaters.

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R
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Super friendly staff. Food is delicious, with a single caveat: if you prefer simpler dishes, make sure check with your server or ask to hold the sauce.

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J
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ever since it opened, almost a year ago, Unconventional Diner keeps surprising me with creative, healthy, fresh food; professional, friendly staff; and a lovely environment. Why surprise? Since it became an overnight sensation after that first week, I expected diminished quality. Au contraire: It gets better every time!

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MS
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really awesome place with cool takes on different dishes and healthy food options you can eat and not feel guilty about.

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DS
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Always great food. Always very good service. I have hosted private parties there with excellent results. They take the bar seriously. Hand-picked, superb selection of liquors and excellent wine list.

They basically took an used space in a corner of the Convention Center and turned it into an outstanding and unconventional restaurant and bar.

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PC
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

I've been hearing and reading great things about Unconventional Diner and finally got a chance to try it out with my hubs and a couple of friends for Sunday brunch. Our server, Reggie, aka "Reginald Dessert" was hands down the funniest and most gregarious server I've encountered dining out. I sincerely hope he's an aspiring comedian because he had us in stitches the whole time. Not only is Reggie blessed with his quick wit, he knows the menu backwards and forwards and his recommendations were spot on. The food was great and I'd definitely recommend the lomo saltado and breakfast hash if you're going for brunch. Will definitely return and don't forget to ask for Reggie!

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BC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious. The service was excellent. We throughly enjoyed our dinner.

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DS
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food was very tasty. Service was outstanding and they recognized our wedding anniversary occasion.

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OE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 5

Very tasty food but SMALL portions and HIGH prices.. Thumbs down for overall value.. unless my partner insists, I will NOT be returning..

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 5

Family in town for thanksgiving

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DL
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the food and the servicer at Unconventional Diner. It never disappoints!

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SJ
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

We celebrated Thanksgiving here. It was nice for the adults. Unfortunately it did not cater too well for the children. The 3 year old received mac n cheese plate that was so hot I couldn't even eat it. They also did not bring out the kids food as quickly as I had hoped. However the cocktails were nice and the food was good and had a great flavor combination. I would come back on a date night. Sans children.

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G
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

Not sure if it was because it was Thanksgiving, but the menu items were very limited. Not a wide variety to choose from.

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N
Mexico City
31 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

This was my third visit to the Unconventional Diner. The food has been delicious each time. They had an excellent Thanksgiving menu, which I enjoyed with two friends. I really liked the chicken soup with a matzo ball, the turkey with mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, and cranberry sauce, and the pumpkin pie. I was not thrilled with the atmosphere in the bar section because I don't like to watch TV when I'm in a restaurant. Next time I'll request a table away from the bar.

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A
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went to this restaurant for the three course Thanksgiving dinner. It was the best Thanksgiving dinner we have ever had. We will definitely be going back.

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