If you are a college student like me, and your parents are visiting you on a whim, you may not have prepared a list of places to take them for dinner. However, you don't want to bring them to the usual overused spots around campus, so here is a list of some unique D.C. restaurants to impress your visiting parents with that will make for a special dinner to remember! They are sit-down and pretty popular, so you may need to book a reservation beforehand to make sure you can get a table. 

1. Unconventional Diner

Alexa Boglitz

Located in Mt. Vernon Square, this restaurant is not your typical diner and holds some very unconventional food. The restaurant has a mix of some modern booths with tables in the middle to keep to their name, but otherwise it severely deviates from the typical diner. 

The menu offers a wide variety of foods--from the typical American meatloaf, to the "Mexi-Cali Chili", to the Lebanese fried rice. The portions are pretty large, so I wouldn't worry about going home hungry. 

My favorite thing on the menu was actually the Pot Pie Poppers from the snack section, but everything was absolutely delicious. 

2. Lapis

Alexa Boglitz

Located in Adam's Morgan, this restaurant holds D.C.'s best Afghan food. I had never tried Afghan food before, and this was a lovely first experience. 

The menu is served in small plates, so ideally your family would share them all to get a little taste of everything. However, if you're in the mood for a solo trip or don't like sharing, 3-4 plates should be enough to fill you up. There's also a brunch menu if you would like to try a morning outing!

My personal favorite dish (once again a starter), was the bolani filled with onion and potato. The drinks snagged my eye so I had the lemon lapis ginger lemonade, which was very refreshing. One last thing to note is that the naan is very different from Indian naan, a bit crispier and smaller. Something to keep in mind if you aren't used to it!

3. Tiger Fork

Alexa Boglitz

Right next to Unconventional Diner, you'll find another great restaurant: Tiger Fork! It may be hard to find as it's tucked away in an alley, but once you get inside the decor is gorgeous.

The smallest menu of all the restaurants, you'll want to make sure you crave Chinese food that night, as there is not a wide range of options. However, the food does not disappoint. The Rice & Noodles/BBQ & Main Plates are decent portions (as shown above), and the dumplings are a bit smaller, so you would probably want to get something else along with them. 

My favorite of the options was the Mushroom & Broccoli Dumplings! I also got the Hong Kong Milk Tea cold, just keep in mind that it's not sweetened.

4. Barcelona Wine Bar

Located on 14th street near Logan Circle (and also Cathedral Heights), this is definitely the liveliest of the restaurants. Music was blasting, people were laughing, and wine was flowing. 

If you would like to try Spanish food, this is the place you should venture out to. This menu also features small plates, called tapas, so this might be best experienced in a group to try as much as possible. My personal favorite was probably the cauliflower, despite cauliflower being one of my least favorite vegetables!  

5. Duke's Grocery

Alexa Boglitz

Located at a couple of places throughout D.C. (Dupont, Foggy Bottom, and Woodley Park), this restaurant offers their own upscale takes on classic American foods. If you're in the mood for a burger, but a very good one, this is the place for you. Check out their menu for the full range of options!

If you're not a meat-eater, feel free to order the iconic Impossible Duke's Burger; one could say it is superior to the other burgers because it came with two patties instead of one! The sweet chili sauce and garlic aioli made it even better.  However, if you do prefer meat, the other options will not disappoint.  

Happy eating!