The Hard Shell - Bellgrade

4.3
1398 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 1398 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.6
service
4.1
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
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
12 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 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!

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RM
Richmond
1 review
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.

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CB
Richmond
1 review
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
203 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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JM
Seattle
50 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.

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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).

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KM
Richmond
1 review
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

The menu has changed a bit and it seems like some of the really appealing appetizers are gone. The food was mediocre this time and we were disappointed compared to other visits. The service was outstanding though, and the noise level was acceptable. We liked the newly renovated interior.

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r
Richmond
36 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was our first visit in a very long time. We were pleasantly surprised with the atmosphere, quality of service and the food selection. While it is predominately a seafood restaurant, there are items for the non fish eater.
My partner had the surf and turf. The steak was very tasty and quite tender. The lump crab well prepared and tasty also. The vegetable (brocollini) was a little tough.
I had the salmon with a garlic honey sauce, roasted red potatoes and fried Brussel sprouts.. The salmon was tasty, moist and nicely cooked. I was pleasantly surprised with the fried brussel sprouts. They were great.
This would be a great place for a romantic evening or business dinner. The atmosphere was nice and noise level was moderate.
We will definitely be back.

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JD
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Third time we've been here but the first on a Saturday. Serious mistake on our part. Reservations were for 7 PM and they were honored. Had trouble talking to my wife across the table. The noise did not die down until the earlier crowd began leaving at 8 PM. I think we'll revert to a midweek seating next time.

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J
Richmond
9 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

My wife and I enjoyed a nice meal with friends here on a Saturday night. We made a reservation and the seating was ready soon after we arrived. The booth was comfortable and roomy enough for the four of us (Seniors). The food was all excellent and the She-Crab Soup was the best I have ever had. The waiter provided good service all night and easily accommodated a couple of request for "side substitutes". All and all a pleasant night and well worth going back.

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R
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

I would have rated the experience higher, but the noise level was so loud and distracting from our conversations (because it was so loud) than it takes away from the dining and conversing experience. Even our 15 year old granddaughter thought it was a bit too loud. We all had to lean forward and talk louder than normal just to be heard across the table. It is amazing, because as you look around you do not see or hear anyone in particular talking loudly, but collectively it is a disturbing loud drone. We also noticed that there are no sound absorbing materials used anywhere in the restaurant, so all noise seems to reverberate to everywhere. We have not crossed it off our list of places to frequent, but would never go there again with another couple or anyone that we cared about having pleasant conversation without raising our voices well above normal, no matter how good the food and service may be. Thanks!

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B
Richmond
18 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Other than noise level, it was great. Our waitress, Laura, was excellent. We would request her again.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Great service, great food and drink. Really enjoyed it!

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B
Richmond
17 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Hard Shell is one of Richmond’s better seafood joints, offering good meals at reasonable prices in a boisterous atmosphere.

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MM
Richmond
1 review
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

We were disappointed in the food. We both had excellent meals on New Year's Eve. The service and the food was great. Not so on this visit. I duplicated the same meal I had on New Year's and it was like I was in a different restaurant. The spinach was inedible, the mashed potatoes were lukewarm and the Salmon was dry and tasteless. And to top things off our clumsy waitress completely spilled a small plate of ranch dressing all over my partner' with no comp offer.

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RW
Richmond
6 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

At my request, my wife treated me to lobster at the Hard Shell for my birthday. The service and friendliness was excellent. The renovation to the interior was pleasing. The lobster and crab cake was very good. Overall a real pleasure. Will be back soon.

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JA
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Disappointed in the seating. 6:30pm reservation for 5 in half moon table in lobby. Cramped. Food was very good. But ....cramped.

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SH
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

It was extremely loud. Couldn’t even hear what the person across the table from me was saying

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