The Hard Shell - Downtown
The Hard Shell - Downtown

The Hard Shell - Downtown

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://thehardshell.com/
  • Phone: 8046432333
  • Hours of Operation:
    Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am - 3:00pm; Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:00am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm -10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,JCB,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Steak, Seafood
  • Executive Chef: Chris Chaisson
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Private Party Facilities: The private dining room accommodates parties up to 55 guests. The Hard Shell offers custom menus and bar packages to suit every event. The private dining room is the perfect place for dinner programs, wedding functions or celebrations.
  • Private Party Contact: Leandra Dunlevy 8046432333

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 14th St
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: The Hard Shell validates parking after 5pm daily in the garage at the corner of 14th St. and Cary St. directly across from the restaurant.
A word from The Hard Shell - Downtown
Located in downtown Richmond"s historic Shockoe Slip, The Hard Shell Restaurant is known to locals as one of the best seafood restaurants in town.

The Hard Shell has Richmond's widest variety of fresh and local seafood as well as an extensive raw menu featuring oysters, clams, shrimp, mussels, crab legs, lobster, and much more.

The Hard Shell also features such items as filet mignon, baby back ribs, and many vegetarian dishes.

The Hard Shell is open for lunch and dinner daily as well as Sunday brunch. Every Sunday is all you can eat crab legs and Monday is lobster night. Private dining reservations are available. Dress is casual.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
The Hard Shell - Downtown reviews from OpenTable diners
81 reviews since July 3, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.1
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (31)fit for foodies (29)great for outdoor dining (27)special occasion (25)romantic (22)good for groups (18)great for lunch (11)great for brunch (6)notable wine list (6)late-night find (6)kid-friendly (5)hot spot (5)vibrant bar scene (4)scenic view (3)Show More
  • Deborah
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    Went for the first time for restaurant week and it was so good had to bring family from 75 miles away for dinner 2 nights later. Will be a regular customer!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • first time date
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Excellent went during restaurant week great staff greater food . loved the she crab soup . my girlfriend enjoyed it as well
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The Hard Shell
    PapiEatsOut
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Great food, service and location!! The restaurant week menu was great! Enjoyed every single course! My girlfriend and I had to take dessert to go because we were so full. The crab cake, poached lobster and and lobster dips are outta this world.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Restaurant Week
    BistroVIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    We were there for Restaurant Week. Unfortunate no Creme Brulee was available. The food otherwise was alright. Last time I was there I thought the she crab soup was so much better. It didn't taste as much of crab than of floury creme soup that was used for thickening, not much crab taste.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing
    Lisaland
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    My only regret is that I waited so long to try this restaurant! Faulous meal, excellent service. Will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    My wife and I went there for our anniversary and we both enjoyed the food and atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    Great Service, great Food!! Would definitely go back!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • One of our favorites!
    TP11512
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    The Hard Shell never disappoints. it's one of our family's favorite places to go. I try She Crab soup every place that offers it, and, to me, theirs is the best. Visited this time during restaurant week, and appreciated the quality and types of selections offered. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner once again. Highly recommend!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Loved this place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    This was my first time at The Hard Shell. The food was great!! The scallops and lobster tails are wonderful. I can't wait to go back. The atmosphere is very romantic with soft music.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • My Review
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    Been there a couple times, but figured for resturant week I would give it a try. One thing I would have to say is the wine prices are to high! The resturant is good but not rememberable and thats usally why I dont come back more often.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nothing special
    New2Richmond
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    Went here on Sunday for my wife's birthday who loves fish & seafood. According to multiple sites (tripadvisor, open table & web search) all highly rated The Hard Shell as one of the best seafood restaurants in Richmond. The restaurant has a bar feel, nothing more. The food was ok, my wife thought it was far from being the best she has had. I got the steak which was alright, very tender but the sauce they used on the steak not great, would've tasted better seasoned with just salt & pepper. In the reservation I explicitly stated it was for her birthday however no effort was made by the restaurant to make the dinner special. No acknowledgement by the restaurant of her birthday, no special seating, nothing. Oh & the seats are hard wood.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Food, nice time!
    Mikey
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    This was my husband's and I first time eating at The Hard Shell and we were impressed with the food and service. The atmosphere was great and not too noisy. Our server was very friendly and helpful with suggestions. Also, our food and drinks came out fast, hardly no waiting time. If your looking for a nice date night, good food and drinks, with no pressure of a "stuffy" atmosphere The Hard Shell is where is would go!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful !
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Very nice and quick service. Perfect to sit on the patio and watch the RVA nightlife. Awesome food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hardshell was superb, date night!
    Rudy
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Hardshell was superb as always, table by the window, jumbo grilled shrimp to perfection, large double portion of bronzed potatoes and creamy key lime pie. Wife dined on fried oysters, fresh vegatables, and warm chocolate pecan pie to top off the awesome dining experience. One of our best meals there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • JSI10000
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    The food was very good and the service was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Prime Rib Night
    pmrthirdVIP
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Tuesdays are Prime Rib night. 3 course meals each with prime rib and pairing along with salad and dessert. I opted for the prime rib with 6 oz lobster tail. Everything was well prepared and I enjoyed both. Miss their oyster night but today's meal was very good. Server was attentive to my needs, routinely checking in.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Dcdb
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    excellent food and experience......................................................................................................
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • consistently great
    GailVIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Hard Shell was great as always!! Our server Brian was friendly and enthusiastic. The food is always great, well priced and met the needs of everyone in our party of 7. It was the same last year when we had 15! Shrimp and scallops were great as was the grilled tuna (done perfectly rare as requested) and the simply grilled mahi mahi and crab cakes were also fantastic. So much and prepared perfectly
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • highly disappointed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Service was horrible! Food was pricey, ( our bill for 2 people was $95). However, that would not of been a problem if it hadn't been some of the most tasteless, ill prepared food I've ever eaten! The scallop pasta was less than a cup and most of my scallop shells were empty! The oysters were the size of a half dollar at best. Not to mention my waiter had no knowledge of the menu, didn't make eye contact, and we had to constantly ask other waitresses or the hostess for refills and assistance! In addition, when asked if our meal was okay, we said, "No, not really." Our waiter just said, "oh, okay." Never would I consider returning or recommending this restaurant to anyone!!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food and service
    Hanoverian
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    Been awhile since I ate at the Hard Shell. Won't wait as long again. Good food and good service.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food and prices
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    My wife and I really enjoy the food there (especially the surf and turf). I also like the atmosphere (a little dark but quaint)
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Never Disappoints
    Blfofoodie123VIP
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Hard Shell delivers consistently good quality food with excellent service. I am never disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tuesday is Prime Rib Night
    Travel2Richmond
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Tuesday is Prime Rib Night with a three course dinner and choice of Prime Rib alone or two surf and turf choices. Great Deal for the Downtown Richmond Dining Scene. Outside dining was great on a pleasant later summer evening. Both seafood and steak selections were great for our entire party. Great bread selection with your meal.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Loverichmond
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Our table was ready when we got there.it was in a corner,which we usually do not prefer,but the waiter did an excellent job of serving us. The margaritas were too small for the price.food was different,but good. We have eaten there several times and will continue to.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First bad experience
    3timer
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    I have been to HS multiple times and this was the 1st dissapointment. Poor appetizer, crab pasta with NO crab, and a piece of fish that was just more than 2 fork fulls. Hope this trend reverses. The Shell may get 1 more chance but thats about it. Moderate prices with reduced food portions does't cut it in todays competitive market. Love the atmosphee, but the food is what counts.
    Special Features:
    late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    We were disappointed in the food. Rockfish was prepared bland and our shrimp was way over cooked. Service was good. we like the Midilothan location better.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great seafood experience!
    jc2014
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    We planned a family gathering at Hard Shell, and having never been there, did not really know what to expect. The reviews were great, so gave it a shot. At first, we were seated in a booth designed for 4 people, and there were 6 of us. the men in the group were not small, and my brother was half off the edge of the bench! After a few minutes, the manager accommodated us at a half booth, half table. This was definitely more comfortable for all. The service was very good and the food great, with one exception. The lobster was a little tough. I would definitely go back, though. The crab cakes were good and so was the she crab soup. lobster bisque was outstanding. Calamari very tender and cooked perfectly, with very tasty dipping sauce.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delish
    Hurleygirlie
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    We had a party of 7 and everyone loved their meal!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First time in Richmond
    TreborGT
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Was sent to Richmond for work and was looking for a great dinner spot. On a recommendation i ended up at the Hard Shell and it was very good. The menu was a good mix of everything. I had the Hard Shell Pasta which was mussels, scallops, shrimp, clams, and lobster over linguini with a terrific red sauce. It was terrific. Great beer and wine selection as well. The service was excellent. This is a definite go-back restaurant if you like seafood.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ups and downs
    Jeanne
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    We went to the Hard Shell while we were visiting Richmond. We went based on reviews (which were variable), and because we wanted good sea food. Our experience seemed very similar to the previous reviews. The service and atmosphere were good (although, it was very cold where we were sitting and wished we could have been sitting outside - but was told no seats were available). But as for the food...it depended on the order. The lobster dip appetizer was above average, while the chips it came with were great. My shrimp and grits were ok, but lacked any detailed flavor. But my husband's crab pasta...AMAZING! So, like I said, nothing was bad, but the great was variable. We would not likely return to the Hard Shell again.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Mouthwatering dishes
    Frenchy
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    The nut encrusted salmon with tarragon sauce is the best salmon dish I have experienced. The chef knows how to prepare salmon perfectly and the blend of mustard, tarragon, spinach is savory and oh so delicious. I tasted other dishes at the table and all were very good. The presentation of each dish was well crafted. The ambiance and the quality of food served at this restaurant made for a very enjoyable meal out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • firsttimeinRVA
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    Great food but the service could be a little fast. The wine list was adequate.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Brunch/lunch
    Lovesfood
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    We took my Mom for her birthday and she loved the seafood. We also had brunch items, salad and soups - all delicious! The teenagers thought it was a very cool place. Our waitress was very attentive and nice. Great service.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food & service
    Fun2dine
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    The seafood was good. The service was really good. The calamari was very tasty.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 47 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 3, 2014
    • Overall Rating4
    • Food4
    • Ambiance3.9
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 477 reviews are from the The Hard Shell - Downtown reviews archive.
  • Anniversary dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/30/2014
    Celebrated our anniversary with Lobster dinners! Just enough food and great service. Will come back again.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great
    awesomeVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    As always the food and service was idea and excellent, Richmond take note on service from here
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Anniversary dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    the general manager was extremely accommodating and even sent over complimentary champagne for our special anniversary.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not What I Remembered
    Foodlover
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    Second time there, oysters and apps were good. Disappointed with the rest of the meal. With so many other choices in Richmond will probably not go back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Was great last time, but...
    RandomDiner123
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Went for an anniversary dinner. Had been there a few months prior, and everything was awesome. This time everything was overcooked or undercooked, temperature inconsistencies. Overall just a humongous disappointment. We won't be going back this time. It's a shame, because this was the first restaurant I remember liking when I moved to RVA several years ago, and I had enjoyed each (admittedly rare) visit up until now.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Pleasant Father's Day Brunch
    Javauno
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    The Hard Shell provides a great brunch selection for a reasonable price in a casual atmosphere. Our table for 7 was ready when we arrived and no pressure regarding time. Service was fast and friendly. Everyone had a great time.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.