The Hard Shell - Downtown

4.5
1107 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 1107 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Food was excellent but it was rushed and the servers didn’t get the hint we needed more time to talk as it was a business dinner

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PR
1 review
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

The oyster sampler was very good... however the crab cakes were not really what I would call lump. Very good service tho and nice to sit outside.

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were here for a work dinner. It was delicious. The oysters were incredible and the service was professional.

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

When entering the restaurant the hostess wasn’t very welcoming. Our server was great. The food, drinks, and environment was amazing.

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EJ
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I took my boyfriend here for his birthday after reading reviews online and it was absolutely perfect. I made a reservation and we were able to walk straight in. Our waiter was very knowledgeable and friendly. The food was delicious. We ordered the crab cakes for our appetizer and for our entrees we had the Teriyaki Glazed Salmon and the Crab Pasta and for dessert a slice of carrot cake. We were both blown away with the flavor profiles and the ambience of this quaint little restaurant that’s tucked away in Downtown Richmond. We will definitely be back and this time I can’t wait to try the creme brûlée.

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v
Baltimore
7 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Everything was great! The weather was just warm enough that we could dine outside. Very pleasant. Wish I could remember our waiter's name, he was great!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Birthday lunch

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SC
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

W took my nephew for his graduation from the police academy/birthday celebration but was very disappointed. The crab soup had no flavor, the meals were not warm, we were overall disappointed.

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DK
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food & service. I’d recommend it highly.

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

My family and I drove down to Richmond from Brooklyn, NY to visit friends last weekend and found The Hard Shell online. What a charming restaurant! We had the she crab soup (far above average), Iceberg wedge salad (my sister said it was the best she had ever had), fried oysters (lightly battered and beautifully garnished), fish tacos (best I’ve ever had, and thank you for doing them with grouper and not tilapia), crab cakes (great), and lobster pasta (my brother in law loved it). The ambiance was bright and comfortable, the service was first rate (I don’t want to be picky but I’m Italian-please teach the waitstaff how to pronounce gnocchi correctly), portions were quite generous and good value for the price. We will be back next time we come down south!

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TM
Baltimore
8 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service, food and ambiance!

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S
Charleston
12 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food. Small space. Steaks not over cooked.

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GH
Richmond
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Alex our server was very pleasant and prompt with our requests. Other staff who assisted were great as well. Every dish we had was fantastic. From the lobster pasta, grilled salmon and rockfish, everything was flavorful and spot on. The highlight of our evening was the Banana Pudding! This desert needs to be on the menu permanently!

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EA
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went for my birthday and it was amazing! Will definitely be back and recommend to anyone!

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OT
Orange County
14 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and ambiance. Fish was fresh and cooked in different ways that most people would truly enjoy. Steamed clams.....amazing

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

IT WAS GOOD BUT FOR THE PRICE THERE IS BETTER IN TOWN TO ENJOY TOP NOTCH SEAFOOD.

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

We really love coming there! Food is ALWAYS good, service quick.

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WM
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service is pretty amazing went here for a first date definitely won’t be last

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OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and amazing food

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C
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Food was great, good service and atmosphere. I will definitely eat there again

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

What a fantastic restaurant with amazing food, nice atmosphere and good service. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because they couldn’t make a dirty martini because they were out of olive juice which seems pretty standard for a restaurant. But that certainly didn’t take away from the evening. I will be back.

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OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My husband and I always enjoy a trip to Hardshell. Great food, drinks and ambiance.

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e
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Everything was delicious! My husband and I really enjoyed our night out.

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KP
Pittsburgh
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Hard Shell was fantastic! Everything was fresh and delicious. The wait staff could not have been more attentive to our needs. It was such an enjoyable experience.

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OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

The shishito peppers were a disappointment, but everything else was great.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Valentine’s date

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

All my food was wonderful, as always! However, we brought guests for their first visit and it wasn’t a great experience for them. The medium steak was cooked well and was very fatty. The other guest loved his food except, the clams were full of sand. I thought he was exaggerating so I had one. He was correct.

I tried to get them to pay, but, they were not comfortable doing this.

Again, my wife and I had another great meal, just wish their first time would have been better.

Jim Squares

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

Wonderful! This was my first time at this restaurant and I highly reccomend this location! Even though it was a busy holiday the staff was attentive and friendly. They were able to accommodate my allergies without issues and present a beautiful and great tasting meal. I can't wait to go again.

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

I went there with a guest at lunchtime. The food and service was great. I had a reservation but really didn't need one. A little pricey for lunch but we were in Downtown Richmond.

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AM
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I had not been to Richmond in years but wanted to enjoy a nice seafood dinner. What a wonderful surprise to find The Hard Shell! The food was excellent, the service was outstanding and I encourage you to put this restaurant at the top of your list when in Richmond!

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GG
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

The food was good, not worth what we spent but it was acceptable. The ambiance was good.

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JP
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a family birthday gathering on a Friday night. The wine was really good, the food was great and the service was outstanding!!

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BH
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Great food, very good service. Somewhat noisy but that's the vibe there.

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CQ
Poconos
1 review
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food is some of the best we've had. I had the ribeye, which I thought was a risk as this is a seafood place. The risk was well-taken - this was one of the best steaks I've ever had, and I'm a beef-eater from Nebraska. My wife had crab with linguini, and we shared crab cakes. Phenomenal. Service was also the best we've had - very attentive without being overly so. Drinks were good - beer was cold. Place was kickin, even on this Wednesday night. Nice vibe. Kudos to the chef, the manager, and the great folks that make the Hard Shell run like a fine-tuned machine.

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OT
Richmond
9 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding in all respects

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SP
Dallas
1 review
Dined on January 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome food and service! I am definitely going back for more.

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

Tonight was a birthday celebration for me. It was the first time experience for my dad and he loved everything! Everyone loved their food. I had the Imperial Margarita )

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OT
Memphis
8 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, service and atmosphere.

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M
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We came to Richmond to attend an late evening show at the Quill Theatre and decided to have dinner prior to the start of the show. We looked at several restaurants on the web site that were reasonably close to the theatre. We decided to try this restaurant due to its location and menu selections. It did not disappoint us. The dinner we chose was great and Jesse, who greeted and sat us at our table, and Hannah, our server were excellent with superb customer relation skills, very friendly. Even the manager whose name escape me was very helpful and attentive to our needs. We will recommend this restaurant to anyone who will be visiting the Richmond area. We definitely will visit again should we be in the area. Great job!

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KB
1 review
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A very nice little gem stowed away in downtown RVA. The service was genuinely pleasing in a very real, non phony way. Also the ambiance is very nice for a romantic evening with a significant other or even a formal business meeting. The food exceeded expectations as well. Dishes were hearty but also very health conscience. If you're looking for a nice, mildly fancy, good meal with great service I would highly recommend the hard shell.

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