The Hard Shell - Downtown

4.6
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1201 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Seafood
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. With a new fresh look; The Hard Shell features sleek booths, lots of light and a vibrant city feel. The Hard Shell has Richmond's widest variety of fresh and local seafood. A raw bar in now the focal point of the restaurant located where customers can view the extensive selection featuring oysters, clams, shrimp, crab legs, lobster and much more. The Hard Shell menu items include signatures such as filet mignon, shrimp and scallops, and more. Private dining reservations are available. Dress is casual.
What 1201 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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LB
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

The appetizers were good but the rest of the meal was ok except for the crab legs that did not contain much meat. Definitely overpriced for the quality of food that was delivered.

CB
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful meal with friends and family over family weekend at Richmond. Tucker was amazing in accommodating a late change in adding to our large group.

K
Richmond
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was great the only complaint I have is that they knew upon arrival that we were there celebrating our anniversary and didn’t do anything special in light of the occasion, which was very confusing since they ask you to tell them if you’re there for a special Occassion but other than that everything was great

P
Richmond
9 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Had Sunday brunch...food was OK but not outstanding. She crab soup had many lumps of roux that were unpleasant to eat and the fries were over cooked. Website menu had many different types of mimosas as well as virgin cocktails listed but waiter at the restaraunt was not helpful nor did he offer any menu of brunch cocktails. Breakfast items were good as was the salad. Crab cake sandwich was so-so. Parking was free in the garage across the street but you have to ask for a sticker on your ticket to take advantage of the parking. It was an adequate brunch but there are a lot of other places that are as good or better.

TE
New England
7 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Great service, great ambience, great soup and lobster. Two of our steaks were way overdone

OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Oysters. We arrived a little early and they were Bery Accommodating!

S
Richmond
15 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding in all aspects plus free parking across street

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Service was great. The food was just okay.

OT
Richmond
5 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The seafood was great. The prices were actually a little lower than some of the other “higher end” places we have been, but the food was equally good....or maybe even better. It was a little noisy, but it was a busy Friday night I enjoyed it! We will definitely come back.

l
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Outside seating was very nice and comfortable. Good value for the money we spent.

C
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First and foremost, our waiter, Dennis, was awesome. Very attentive and right there when we needed him. Really excellent service. The oyster sampler and scallop appetizer were excellent. the roasted oysters had a bit too much cheese for me. She crab soup was delicious (3 of us ordered that.) My whole lobster was perfectly cooked and the key lime pie and carrot cake were the sweet ending.
I was disappointed to learn that they don't participate in the local Oyster Shell Recycling Program. I volunteer with them and Dennis gave me a card with the names of people to call which I'll pass on to their staff person. Other than that, a lovely and delicious evening.

k
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

One piece of my lamb was medium rare not medium well, but the server fully explained the situation and offered to make it right the comped part of my bill to my surprise. I was just informing her!! So superb customer service. Would recommend to everyone.

JA
Richmond
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Very great atmosphere and friendly staff..Love the broiled oysters

TB
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great meal... Blackened Mai Mai was delicious as was the grilled shrimp and scallops. Tim, our waiter, did an outstanding job....thank you!

MD
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was great, waitress gave me a bigger table with more privacy due to the dinner being a business meeting. Service was good, suggestions on appetizers was great and main dinner was also great.

Only issue is flies, had a few buzzing around near the front window and at bar when i was waiting to be seated. Realize with open air patio dining, makes it easier for flies to get into restaurant.

RE
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Hard Shell was good overall but the menu was very limited. Unless all in your party liked or craved the same things you were out of luck. Not a lot on the menu for the person with a limited range of tastes.

GN
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

It was my first time at the Hard Shell. I was in town with my bf for work training. Since it was his birthday during the week he was here I can along to celebrate with him. The ambiance is nice. The food was just ok. We had the lobster dip to start that just tasted like cheese dip. He had a seafood pasta, which was recommended by the waiter. He didn’t really like it. I had the stuffed lobster and it was decent. The drinks were just ok. The waiter was nice but forgot to put our order in. He then promised a free round of drinks, which we never got. He charged for all the drinks. He then promised a free dessert when he found out it was his birthday. The cheesecake was good. I didn’t make a big deal about the free drinks, but don’t promise them and then change to a free dessert.

HC
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A seafood lovers dream! We come here every year after Lockn' to feast like kings. Highly recommend!

BB
Richmond
6 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Birthday dinner

CK
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent seafood in a modern but comfortable atmosphere. Booth was perfect and fun for our party of 5. Salmon entree was excellent and so were other meals of calamari, crab cakes etc.

OT
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

There is a reason this restaurant is the “Best of” every year. We’ve had many of the menu items and all are outstanding. Serve is very attentive. If there is a con, it is the level of noise. We will continue to frequent this restaurant because it is just that good!

DG
Richmond
1 review
Dined on August 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fresh seafood always!!Cooked to perfection! So glad I made reservations because I didn’t realize Monday night is Lobster Special night and the restaurant was full!

S
Richmond
16 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding in all respects plus free parking

OT
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and atmosphere were both amazing. We are outside and it was the perfect evening

OT
Orlando
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Family Gathering

RD
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Anniversary

PH
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We joined friends who recently moved to Virginia on a trip to Richmond to visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. Luckily, we found information about The Hard shell and enjoyed a fabulous dinner there during our visit! The restaurant was charming, beautifully decorated and the food was amazing! Our server Alex answered all our questions and give us good suggestions about the different dishes. Two of us had the evening special: rack of lamb and lobster tail, which was thoroughly enjoyed. My fish was fresh, perfectly cooked and served with mushroom risotto and asparagus! Wonderful! My husband's steak was equally delightful. We highly recommend this excellent restaurant.

L
Richmond
55 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was fantastic, food was fabulous and we will visit again!

SC
New England
14 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Abasolutely delicious! One of the best means I’ve ever had. The quality of the seafood was very good and the dishes were delicious.

I highly recommend the mussels, lobster dip, snow crab legs, lobster tail crab cake dish and the crab cakes. Yum!

JL
Baltimore
39 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Food was pretty good and cocktails were fun. But the cloth-upholstered chairs were a bad choice. They were filthy with stains and other people's hair. It was really unappetizing to have to sit in dirty chairs to eat your meal. They need to make more of an effort to keep them clean.

LF
Richmond
1 review
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Easy access, parking almost directly across the street. Very friendly and attentive staff without being too pushy. The food was wonderful. I ordered the crab appetizer which was very good. The stuffed lobster I ordered and the asparagus were spot on. Last, but not least... the carrot cake was to die for. I wouldn't order the cocktail I had again, Blanche Deverue (?)only because it's great when it first comes out but if you don't drink it quickly and the ice begins to melt it has very little flavor. All in all.... a great experience. Will definitely be back!

b
Jacksonville
60 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Excellent wait staff , food delicious, good find and easy walking distance from our hotel

OT
Nashville
1 review
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a special dinner as both of our mothers were in town. Wonderful food and service.

S
Richmond
16 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding in all respects. No complaints. Validated parking across the street appreciated

OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. Definitely will be back!

AP
1 review
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waiter, Alex, was super knowledgeable of the menu and explained various dishes. He was very friendly and took good care of us. The food was great. We will be back to try something else. 😊

SK
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great seafood, excellent location and super service. I always have a great meal at Hard Shell on Cary

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A perfect spot for great food and drinks. Really enjoyed every minute at this restaurant. Excellent service from the waiting staff; very polite, respectful and professional. Also perfect ambiance and environment and great views of people walking up and down the street. Highly recommended.

LK
1 review
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place was amazing! It was a last minute decision on a drive from NJ to Florida. The host was professional and accommodating! Our server was not only beautiful, but super efficient. I loved the whole experience!

GW
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 2service 5ambience 5

The truth is: the calamari was mediocre - all about it's breading, the wedge's lettuce had too many rotting leafs, the pasta's salt and parmesan overwhelmed the seafood to the point of making the crab superfluous.

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