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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
  • Email: TheHardShell@aol.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.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
Diner Reviews
  • " I did a web search and it had great reviews. I went on their website and saw they had an open table app. I got the app on my iPhone easily. Made my reservation. A very simple process. We showed up walked in a were greeted. I told them we had a reservation with OpenTable they looked it up and it was there. They seated us immediately and the waitstaff was great. We went on a Tuesday night so it was not crowded and the candle lighting was romantic. The food was delicious. We went at 6pm. We had salad, jumbo shrimp and grits and a brownie for dessert. We both ordered ceaser salads and we share the grits. It was just the right amount of food so you wouldn't feel bloated leaving. They had no problem splitting the one plate for us. "
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "Food prep and service were very good best characterized as a pub. Wine list was week without multi national options"
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "Regular visitor to the establishment, came in for family dinner on Tuesday evening, my family said it was the best meal they had ever had, and I agree. Great place, friendly and personable staff, and we will definitely be back!!"
    Dined on 4/1/2014
  • "Nice brunch menu complete with lobster trail. Yum. Great service, large mimosas (no drink specials though). Worth checking out."
    Dined on 4/13/2014
  • "Wife and I got a chance to dine without the kids and easily chose Hard Shell. Had our rehearsal dinner here and used to come every couple months for a date night. Food is awesome as is the service. We always go Raw Bar and are never disappointed."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "We love the grilled shrimp; the best in Richmond! My wife loves the broccolini side and I love the broiled potatoes side. The ambience is romantic and the lighting and sound level is perfect. The service is impeccable and attentive. Parking is free across from the restaurant. Highly recommended for anniversary, birthday or just good food and great location."
    Dined on 4/9/2014
  • "There were 5 people in my party for lunch. Loved eating outside but they messed up my order and by the time they figured it out lunch was served. I insisted everyone else eat before it got cold and they ate very slowly but they were all done by the time my plate came out so I ate alone. I'm not sure how it happened but the dish they brought me for lunch was a repeat of an appetizer we had already been served."
    Dined on 4/2/2014
  • "Service good but portions of food left us puzzled and looking for the rest of the portion. Makes us dubious to go into the city to dine. We had invited out of town guests and don't know if we would've picked this restaurant for our seafood."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "After driving three hours, we were ready for a good meal. Hard Shell exceeded our expectations! The entire experience from beginning to end was a pleasurable experience. The service was top notch and the timing between dishes was superb. The food was hot, great tasting and reasonably priced. The drive was worth the experience and we will be going back!"
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "This restaurant has a prime location if you plan on having a night out on the town after dinner. It was located next door to two happening clubs. The drinks were amazing and fairly priced. The appetizers were equally amazing. I really enjoyed the Jumbo Lumb Crab cocktail. The Pan Seared Scallops and Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna were great too. My girlfriend had the Crispy Fried Oysters and she said they were the best she ever had. There were six in our party and everyone was happy and satisfied with their dinner selection. The only place where The hard Shell may have fell short was the desserts. My party felt that they were average at best. We all plan on returning to The Hard Shell again."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "I am a very picky eater and every time I go to the Hard Shell, I am pleasantly surprised. Great seafood choices. If you are visiting Richmond, I definitely recommend stopping by the Shockoe Bottom location."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Chose this place for dinner with friends for our anniversary. Great atmosphere as we sat near the patio and had a view of all the St Patty's day revelers at the bar next door. Had the mussels as an appetizer did not disappoint and the shrimp and grits entree was delicious. Great place to gather in historic Shockoe section of Richmond. Really enjoyed this and definitely will go back."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "All aspects of our meal were first rate. The wait staff was attentive but not doting. The atmosphere is warm and comfortable. I will heartily recommend this restaurant to friends and relatives."
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "My husband and I tried The Hard Shell for the first time the other night. I had heard that this restaurant had good food but you never know. Well, the food was excellent! Everything was cooked as we requested, except the lump crab cocktail is hot?.....a little weird since I've eaten in a lot of restaurants, including NYC, and never had it preparded like this. Overall our experience was a good one, we'll be back."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "Very enjoyable evening.Quick service & knowledgeable.Great fried calamari & delicious entree of salmon wrapped in crab cake! Yum :-)"
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "We had dinner here before a show. Three of the four entrees were excellent. One was only fair. Our waiter was attentive to our needs."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "This was our first time and it was recommended by a good friend who loves to dine out. We all love Seafood and we have limited Seafood restaurants in Fredericksburg so this was a real treat. It was not very crowded since we had to eat early than usual since we had to play indoor field hockey the next day. Everything was outstanding!"
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "Out of our party of four, there was one decent meal. One 6 oz. filet was returned because it was a poor quality cut. The server said they would cook another for him and comp his dinner. A half hour later, the rest of us were finished eating by the time his new steak arrived. When he cut into it, it had only been seared and was raw inside. He sent it back again to be cooked and asked for it to be brought out in a to-go box. The prime rib special was very tough and gristly; I've had much better at much cheaper restaurants. The remaining person had the rockfish, which the server described as local--somewhere from the Atlantic Ocean. After the marginal quality of the meal, we speculated if local might have meant the James River."
    Dined on 3/4/2014
  • "We each ordered something different and all dishes were great! The waiter was prompt and attentive. I mentioned on my reservation we were celebrating a 50th Birthday but the staff did not mention it...this was disappointing."
    Dined on 3/2/2014
  • "Dinner was superb. I had a hankering for seafood and Hard Shell did not disappoint. I had multiple appetizers and a tray of assorted seafoods. Absolutely delicious. Also, they don't skimp on the alcohol with mixed drinks. I'd definitely do this again. One thing though, the young man who brought water to the table declined the pleasantry of responding hello when I spoke to him. I thought it was rude. However, our waiter was fantastic."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Loved this place. Service was decent, food was great! I am looking forward to going back when the weather is warmer."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "This was my second time eating here. I ate here the previous weekend and HAD to bring my husband to see want I was so excited about! Love this place!"
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "We were five and seated near the door. One of our group complained of a draft. The staff opened up the back room for us and it was like a private dining experience. The food was excellent and the waiter did a very nice job of describing the dishes."
    Dined on 2/25/2014
  • "My wife and I spent our 2nd anniversary dinner with the staff of The Hard Shell and enjoyed our experience from the time we walked in the door! Great staff, delicious food, and quality drink menu. The only thing that was a negative for us was it was very dark, we would have liked it to be a little brighter for a dinner at 6:30 pm. All in all I would recommend this place to anyone."
    Dined on 2/25/2014
  • "We had an early dinner to celebrate my wife's birthday at the Hard Shell. It was early so there were few clients in the restaurant . Music was light and allowed easy conversation. Service was fast and polite. The food was exceptional and delicious."
    Dined on 2/20/2014
  • "My table was ready when I arrived and the server was attentive throughout the night. Food was fantastic and the kitchen was able to accomodate our requests for slight changes to the usual sauce options. Staff was friendly, knowledgable and happy to help us have an exceptional dining experience. I can't wait to go again."
    Dined on 2/24/2014
  • "This my third time there and haven't been disappointed yet. We had a group of 8 and our reservation was on time, our server was great and the Food was excellent."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Waitstaff was very attentive and accommodating. My husband ordered the NY Strip, but was not pleased with the quality of the steak for the price charged.....fatty/grisly. I had the blackened Mahi Mahi which was very good. The coconut rice was good, too, although a little undercooked. Key Lime Pie was great!!!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Hardshell is one of our top dining spots for special occasions and fine dining!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "My partner and I enjoyed this lovely restaurant for our valentine's day dinner. It was perfect for a "candle light dinner for two", just what we were looking for."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Soft spot for Hard Shell. Not pretentious and consistently very good"
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "We went to The Hardshell after seeing it pop up on The Richmond Magazine's "Best List" time after time. I'd say for seafood lovers this is certainly one not to miss. We dabbled in all aspects of the menu: calamari, raw oysters, surf and turf, fresh rockfish, and mixed shellfish. I really enjoyed my rockfish and my husband thought the mixed shellfish was just okay. The couple we were with enjoyed their dishes too. They oysters were delicious and I'd highly recommend them. They are in close competition with the oysters from Rappahannock's raw bar."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "Food was FANTASTIC! Calamari was out of this world. Can not wait to go back! !"
    Dined on 1/28/2014
  • "Very hospitable and accommodating - we asked to be moved away from the door (cold air from patrons entering & exiting) and the hostess moved us right away. I was able to order the fried calamari rings only (really good, not rubbery at all)! Our main dishes arrived hot and beautifully arranged. And it was the perfect portion (or in some cases more than enough). We left full and happy!"
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "Really great experience. Everything was fantastic. Will definitely go back."
    Dined on 1/19/2014
  • "We went to the Hard Shell for snow crab legs Which are on special on Sunday . The food was great in a place with great ambiance."
    Dined on 1/19/2014
  • "All food was cooked and seasoned great. The chef knows what he is doing for sure. We had the lobster tails entree and chicken entree."
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "A very enjoyable meal. The friendly and efficient service really added something extra. Not only were our seafood choices--shrimp and scallops and one of the Monday night lobster specials--very good, even the accompanying vegetables were well above usual restaurant offerings. When I mentioned that we were celebrating my brother's birthday, our waitress told him to order any of the desserts "on the house." Several large groups raised the noise level but not to the point of being distracting. I noted on the two block walk from where I parked to the restaurant that several other restaurants were virtually empty, while the Hard Shell was packed. This tells you something."
    Dined on 1/13/2014
  • "We had a great dining experience. The lobster bisque was perfect. My crab cake platter was delicious. My husband had oysters first and swooned! Richmond, thanks for the memory!"
    Dined on 1/12/2014
  • "First time at this restaurant and found an extensive seafood menu. Had the SheCrab soup; could have been hotter and a bit more crab. It was creamy and good. All the entrees were tasty and the shrimp/scallop dish got rave reviews from our friend. Had the brownie for dessert and it was yummy. I would return just to try some other dishes."
    Dined on 1/11/2014