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  • The Hard Shell - Downtown

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The Hard Shell - Downtown
The Hard Shell - Downtown

The Hard Shell - Downtown Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://TheHardShell.com
  • Phone: (804) 643-2333
  • 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: Seafood, Steak
  • 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 (804) 643-2333

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.
Foodspotting photos
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Diner Reviews
  • "Hard Shell delivers consistently good quality food with excellent service. I am never disappointed."
    Dined on 8/27/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/26/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "We had a party of 7 and everyone loved their meal!"
    Dined on 8/1/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/27/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "Great food but the service could be a little fast. The wine list was adequate."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "The seafood was good. The service was really good. The calamari was very tasty."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "Celebrated our anniversary with Lobster dinners! Just enough food and great service. Will come back again."
    Dined on 6/30/2014
  • "As always the food and service was idea and excellent, Richmond take note on service from here"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "the general manager was extremely accommodating and even sent over complimentary champagne for our special anniversary."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "This was our third visit to the Hard Shell and the food was excellent as always. I thought both entries were well prepared and to our order. My concern was the service was very slow. I know the Restaurant had several groups in but you know those in advance and you staff for them. I think the slow service hurts the Restaurant and this was the only time we experienced this. We will go back, the food is just too good."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Went with friends was first time there..everyone was so pleasant and food was terrific"
    Dined on 6/9/2014
  • "This was our first dinner at The Hard Shell. Good raw oyster appetizer. Perfectly cooked tuna main. Great experience overall."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "In celebrating our 35th anniversary we wanted to try a new place and had never eaten at the Hard Shell. It was a Monday night so the restaurant was quiet but not lonely (at 6:30). We had an excellent meal with very good service; attentive without being intrusive. All in all a good experience. We'll go back."
    Dined on 6/2/2014
  • "Food was very good for the most part, but the crab leg special was not the best choice. Ribs and Rockfish were very good. "
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "My favorite place to go for seafood in Richmond VA. They especially do well with oysters on the half shell, bringing all the right "go-withs," like horseradish, cocktail sauce, Tobasco, melted butter and crackers. Service is excellent as well."
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "Walking around shockhoe bottom with wife and family to find a good place to eat while in town for weekend- used Opentable the entire time for the reviews after reading outside menus- we all agreed HardShell offered us the best options for us who are foodies. The food was mostly wonderful soft-shell crabs, bread, salads and the seafood pasta. Lobster chowder was a bit funky and my daughter ended up eating off her sisters pasta plate. Love the wine selection and prices but had to pour my own wine after the opening pour- unusual for a nicer restaurant. Waiter was average at best- seemed better suited for a chain. "
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "I enjoyed my time at The Hard Shell. This is a wonderful place for a date night. Also, the food was excellent."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "Excellent meal. Great staff. Our server, Brian S, was outstanding. I dine out qiut often and he is one of the best waiters I have had. I would highly recommend this restaurant."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "Went there with my wife for dinner. Appetizers (crab cakes and shrimp potstickers) were really good. Overall, I can say that the seafood was great. The server was quick and friendly. However, one of the main dishes we ordered included a side dish that was unavailable. Normally running out of a side would not be a problem at all. In this case, however, the side was the factor that led to choosing this dish over others. Rather than informing us that the dish was unavailable, the server brought us the order with a substitution that was quite disappointing. When asked about it, the server stated that they didnt have what we ordered but made no offer to remedy the situation. There was no apology either. In the end, I wouldn't return."
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "We celebrated my son and daughter-in-law's 3rd anniversary at the Hard Shell. The food and atmosphere were outstanding. "
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "Delicious food and drink helped us celebrate my son's college graduation. Wish I could remember our servers name because she was outstanding. Sadly our visits to Richmond are over but will surely recommend to others :-) "
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "Food was well-prepared and presented. Service was OK but waitress seemed rushed without even a "Happy Mother's Day." Next time I would ask for a table in the back dining room as the bar room is loud."
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "Wonderful Sunday Brunch at a reasonable price. Great Service"
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "The food was flavorful. However, the preparation left a lot to be desired. My wife could not cut her eggs benedict with a steak knife. To their credit they did not charge us for the meal. "
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "The food was outstanding! Had a combo of scallops, shrimp and oysters as an appetizer. All were cooked to perfection and had a great flavor. The Mahi Mahi as an entree was very good also. Was our 1st visit there. Definitely worth a 2nd visit. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Took my wife there for our anniversary dinner...we had a great time. Staff was friendly and knowledgeable about other businesses in the area. We will be back. "
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "The food was excellent! We went on a Sunday during the bike races in Richmond, VA. Nevertheless, we had an awesome experience! The service was professional. Our waiter was very attentive and knew the menu well. I will visit here again. "
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "My date and I both enjoyed the food, ambiance, and location! "
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "The food was excellent and covered everyone from seafood lovers to seafood adverse! The room was quiet enough for a conversation even when relatively full. The service was excellent. You should eat here!"
    Dined on 4/27/2014
  • " Good reviews made us look forward to trying the Hard Shell. Ambiance was not ok,as we were seated near the kitchen and watched all the food come out. Cold, breezy table from the fans and vents. Too crowded to change. Tried restaurant week menu: she crab soup, shrimp and scallops, & key lime pie & bread pudding (the Creme brûlée ran out early) Rarely saw our overwhelmed server, who never checked to see how our food was. We watched our food sit for a long period before being served thus the mediocre temperature of the food. Great she crab soup but barely warm. Shrimp and scallops were cooked perfectly but food turned ice cold quickly. Stir fried veggies were mostly cabbage. Most of evening spent waiting for our server. Sadly Unimpressed! "
    Dined on 4/26/2014