The Hard Shell - Bellgrade

4.4
1410 reviews
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$30 and under
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Seafood
2nd location for beloved Richmond legend! The Hard Shell offers a variety of fresh and local seafood entrees and appetizers as well as an extensive raw bar menu featuring oysters, clams, shrimp, mussels, crab legs, lobster, and much more. The Hard Shell also features items such as filet mignon, roasted chicken, vegetarian dishes and gluten free options as well.
What 1410 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.6
service
4.1
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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AR
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and customer service. I have been there 4 times.

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C
Charlotte
6 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

From out of town and have eaten there several times. We went there to celebrate two birthdays. I ordered the Mahi. The fish was overcooked and so over peppered that it was not edible even after scrapping the peppers and spices off the fish. I returned the fish and the replacement Mahi was not overcooked. But between the lingering and off-putting effects of the spices in the mouth and stomach, I essentially lost my appetite so I did not eat much of the replacement meal. As it was a meal with my family to celebrate two birthdays and everyone else was enjoying their dinner, I did not make an issue and request to see the manager. For compensation I was offered a free desert and and it was only after we were leaving that I realized the restaurant had not even acknowledged the birthdays.

The Hard Shell - Bellgrade
Responded 2 days ago

Good morning, My apologies on our missteps that evening. I understand how frustrating it can be and we will absolutely use this critique to continue to improve. Birthdays are very special occasions, and given that you are from out of town, our ability to make up for this experience is more of a challenge. Would you please email me so we can discuss our options? Thank you again for the feedback. bellgrade@thehardshelldotcom

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SA
Richmond
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Staff was very warm/welcoming, restaurant was clean, bright, and modern. Food was out of this world. From the appetizers to the main course (best steak I’ve ever had!) everything was top notch!

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GG
1 review
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My first time ...It was fantastic..Took a date and she thought it was special..

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OT
Washington DC
57 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This is a very good restaurant with an extensive selection. The oysters on the half shell were excellent. I had the rib eye because I was in a steak mood but my 3 companions had seafood. Everyone was pleased with their choice. Service was very good too. Will definitely be back and highly recommend.

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JM
Richmond
10 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the new fresh look of the restaurant...open and airy. The quality of service was exceptionally as was the food. All in all, an enjoyable experience.

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PB
Poconos
7 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had blackened mahi and it was excellent, my wife had the grouper tacos and they were excellent also.

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CD
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Hidden treasure with fabulous choices. Generous potions and sweet treats.

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PJ
5 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

They took us at our reservation time, was happy to do separate checks, food was hot and delicious!!! Parking is a dream.

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RH
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Food ordinary , nothing outstanding including the special which the server didn't know what fish was to be included. Service was ,unknowledgble about selections, inatinitive, got lost several times . Won't last long if they keep operating like this.

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OT
Richmond
6 reviews
Dined on March 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Rockfish and seafood pasta was great. I asked for my Tuna to be “medium “ which turned out to be overdone. Brussel sprouts were the best!

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was the second time we have eaten there and we enjoyed it both times. The food is good and the staff are pleasant and professional. We really enjoy Monday which is lobster night. We will be back and bring friends. We are here from Pennsylvania.

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GW
Richmond
13 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Sarah was great! We always enjoy Hard Shell, it is one of our go to spots!

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TF
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Fabulous Atmosphere!Friendly Professional Staff! Food could be in larger portions!

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JC
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The newly renovated restaurant has a wonderful bright ambiance. Food is still wonderful too.

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W
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

the food was delicious. Would definitely go back for the food. The server (Bryce I think was his name-he was skinny and gluten free by choice) told us when we sat down that it was still happy hour and asked us if we wanted either apps or drinks. When the bill came, neither the drinks nor the apps were at happy hour prices. When we asked about that he said the happy hour was only at the bar. This was not mentioned anywhere on the signs. It would have been fine if he hadn’t said we were still in happy hour when we sat down in the dining area.

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BF
Memphis
35 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere! Great food! Will definitely be back!

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SW
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Oysters,oysters, oysters!! Oh yeah. A wonderful fried oyster dinner. Very delicious in an unrushed and friendly atmosphere. We tried Blake’s recommendation for a new wine (Firesteed Pinot Gris). Very nice with those yummy oysters. This may be my new “go-to” restaurant.

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OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

First time since remodel. Very disappointed in noise level. Took a lot away from our usual enjoyment of the excellent food and service.

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OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

My only issue has to do with the Happy Hour policy. In order to take advantage of Happy Hour, a patron must be in the designated area. I was annoyed. Having a more expensive meal than the Happy Hour food at the bar should have allowed the privilege of Happy Hour prices for beverages for all dining patrons.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best oyster at Happy Hour in the area! Wonderful bar staff! Highly recommend this place to a seafood lover.

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AC
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I planned a surprise birthday dinner for my husband and the service was AMAZING!!!! Delicious food, great service, the staff was extremely helpful, they sang Happy Birthday with us, and just created the BEST birthday experience ever!!! Thank y’all SO much!

The Hard Shell - Bellgrade
Responded on March 9, 2019

Hi Alexis! Thank you for the kind words, I'm happy to hear you enjoyed your birthday celebration with us and had a great time. Regards, Chris Franklin

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RM
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The She Crab Soup was wonderful as were the crab legs. The crab pasta was good not great but the fried oysters were a major disappointment.

The Hard Shell - Bellgrade
Responded on March 9, 2019

Hi Raymond, Thank you for taking the time to offer your feedback. We appreciate your perspective, and I would like to apologize for the fried oysters not being outstanding as they are definitely one of our most popular and typically, well-received entrees. We hope you'll come see us again and give us another chance to serve up a better entree. Thank you, Chris Franklin

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CB
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 1

Since the remodel a menu change everything has been subpar

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OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Energetic is not the word I would use for the sound level, as it was much too loud for conversation. Otherwise, a lovely experience.

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LM
Richmond
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

VERY GOOD FOOD AND EXCELLENT SERVICE BY BLAKE! Friendly, casual atmosphere.

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s
Richmond
205 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

This was my first visit since the renovation and I have mixed views about the changes. It’s more light and modern but I liked the feel of old wood and leather that made it seem a little upscale. The new decor in my opinion makes it look like most of the other trendy restaurants recently opened in the area.

The food, however, is still excellent and the service is still outstanding. WE split a dozen Chesapeake raw oysters and we both had crab cakes. The side that came with the crab cake was delicious- a mix of chopped corn and sweet potato. Yummy.

This will continue to be a favorite stop but I hope I warm up to the decor.

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OT
Richmond
10 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Enjoyed the evening inspite of an intruder who almost spoiled our evening. But thanks to our middle school teacher and the manager who were very nice and cooperative and averted further damage.

Appreciate the concern and attention given to us. Thanks

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AT
Seattle
55 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food and service, friendly staff, good portion size for the price of the meal. Enjoyable evening and good place to celebrate Valentine's day.

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BO
Richmond
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Although crowded on Valentine's Day, the service was professional and timely. The food was very good and represented a good value.

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H
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The crab soup is to die for, and our entrees were excellent as well. I have eaten here many times and have never been disappointed. I have recommended The Hard Shell many times.

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PS
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Service is good and ambiance is nice. The room was somewhat noisy. The Rib Eye steaks were soaked too long in the marinade which ruined a nice hunk of meat. The steak had a funny taste of mint to it. I'd expect it from a chain steakhouse but not a restaurant like this.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Waited what seemed like forever for our first cocktails because they ran out of an ingredient. Rather than tell us, they made us wait while the manager went to go buy more. Then they tried to bring the bottle of wine we had ordered while we still had our cocktails and after our dinner had already been brought out. Not good service and the food was only mediocre.

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m
Richmond
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

Very disappointed by the food. First open table has a very outdated menu. 2 lbs of crab legs for 20 and many other soups and salads. Got to restaurant and. 2lbs was 36 and only 2 soups and other items not available. So they did honor price but the crab legs were very small and 2 were cold. We never got bread. Crab cakes were very bready and dry. I was so sad because your restaurant used to be high end place to dine. Now it is a chain restaurant with mediocre food and service.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I visited for our first wedding anniversary. We both enjoyed our meal. Everything was wonderful!

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JJ
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food and service was fantastic! The place is rather noisy, though (at least where we were sitting). Would not consider it to be an intimate dining experience, but will definitely come back.

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R
Richmond
9 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Following the recent renovations made at The hard Shell, I have to say that we were very pleasantly surprised with the same high quality food (I always get the Maine Lobster Combo) and brilliant wine list. The Silver Oak Cabernet was a real complement to our fresh oysters and array of properly cooked and presented seafood options. As always (and we have told the management several times over the years), to us, the service is the most important element of our nights out. We were, once again, not disappointed in that we had Blake as our server. As a veteran server, he remembered most of our "must have" order and proved his value in properly decanting our wine; ensuring that proper condiments were at hand; and treating us in a 5-star manner. A trip to The hard Shell is always worth the effort but, if you want a real fine dining experience, request Blake.

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w
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

New menu not as good as before. too bright. too noisy.

The Hard Shell - Bellgrade
Responded on February 9, 2019

Hi William, I'm sorry to hear you did not enjoy your recent visit and our changes. We do value guest feedback, and I would love to hear some more about some of the items you miss. We do have some fixes in the works to dampen the noise levels. Feel free to send me an email here at the Hard Shell. Thank you, Chris Franklin

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was excellent, we had the lobster and crab cake, both of which exceeded our expectations. She crab soup was delicious and the service was excellent. Noise level was something that could be improved on with some sound deadening panels or “white”noise.

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PM
Richmond
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

While we enjoyed the menu and the service was good, the noise level was over the top. I could hardly hear my wife and we had a table for two.

We are old customers and were checking out the recent renovations. The high ceilings without baffles and the stone wall at the end of the room are the likely culprits.

We will return, but only if it is not crowded. I guess we picked a bad time (Friday at dinnertime).

The Hard Shell - Bellgrade
Responded on February 9, 2019

Hi Paul, Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We are definitely aware of the louder acoustics, and have some fixes in the works. We value your business, and hopefully we'll see you back again soon.

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