The Hard Shell - Downtown

4.5
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1244 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 1244 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
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MW
Richmond
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Good, fresh seafood. A little too salty. Waitress was friendly.

JP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The hostess, our server, the food, everything was wonderful! I absolutely loved the scallop and bacon appetizer.

s
Columbus
1 review
Dined on January 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good food, great service and nice location.

M
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent seafood, drinks and service. It was a quiet Sunday evening with couples, families and groups all enjoying the casual, quiet calm of a well run, attentive service. We could not have had a better time. Thanks to kitchen and front of house crew.

OT
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious and the service was impeccable

LM
1 review
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall3food2service5ambience4

Service was great, however, I ordered the fish tacos and ate 1, fish was mushy, not at all what I expected. My husband ordered the crab cakes, cakes we good but side dish was not as good as told. Very disappointed in food.

U
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall1food2service1ambience3

We went for our anniversary and it wasnt a nice experience. Didnt quite feel welcome by our server. Food was great. Would have much rather went to Texas Roadhouse to have our anniversary dinner. Expensive doesn't always mean better.

First and last time going here.

e
Richmond
6 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great experience --- one of our favorite places for downtown dining1

NH
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

New Year’s Eve

KC
Richmond
11 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A great restaurant to spend New Year’s Eve! Received phenomenal service from Alex! Food and drinks were great!

OT
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4food5service1ambience4

Waitress totally ignored us. We ate early to avoid the meal rush. Everyone else was being tended to by other wait staff. I think ours was out back on her phone. No apology when we finally asked if we could have a new waitress. Someone found her and sent her out to us. Bad beginning to our special evening.

LM
Richmond
6 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was our 2nd time there. We decided to do New Year's since our first experience was so nice. This time the service was outstanding. I would definitely want Alex again. The food is always delicious and the drinks are creative and wonderful.

CE
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Good food, service and ambiance.

ML
Hawaii
2 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Quality of the food and presentation were excellent. Attentive service overall it was a good experience

DM
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Christmas Eve dinner was ok but just ok. Our friendly server and the raw oyster sampler were the hits of the evening.
Next came 2 bland bowls of lukewarm she crab soup which were white as snow, not a hint of spice. Before our spoons hit the soup, our entrees came.
We split the mahi-mahi, and the portion size was right, but it was only ok, not the usual dining experience from The Hard Shell. We skipped our usual wine, coffee, and dessert. The restaurant was not crowded, so the noise level was not an issue. Would not recommend anymore.

VB
Richmond
16 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Met for Christmas Eve lunch with family, some from the DC area and the rest from Va Beach. What a fabulous find! All of the food was fantastic. Excellent calamari and baked oysters. Many of us enjoyed grouper fish tacos. My Dad has a beautifully cooked steak. Great place!

JN
1 review
Dined on December 23, 2019
Overall3food5service2ambience4

Food was very good, but the service was not great. We were rushed by our waiter throughout the meal and the table we were seated at was tiny. We asked for a different table and were told the other tables were being held for reservations, but another couple was moved to one of the larger tables 10 minutes after we asked. Plus all of the tables were still open when we left. All of this honestly I would have gotten over except that the waiter was not personable at all and tried to take my plate “to box it up” while I was still holding my fork. We had been there less than 45 minutes at this point. I had the distinct feeling that we were an inconvenience for him. This was supposed to be a special date night out since my husband and I are rarely off on the same day and I wish we had gone somewhere else.

DA
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bartender super friendly. Food delicious. Happy hour a must.

BG
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall1food1service2ambience5

We sat amongst large parties- not surprised given the holiday season it was busy. We weren’t told the specials but the table next door was. We barely finished our appetizer when the meal was at the table. The servers were not considerate as they rushed to set the next table & were very loud doing so. The crab cakes had a lot of filler- I’ve had so much better. We waited to dine here for a long time & were sorely disappointed by the service & quality of food.

OT
Detroit
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Had an 8PM searing for four. Several items on menu they were out of. Same with beer, whiskey items.

BF
Charleston
80 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Overall, our experience dining here was very good to excellent.

There were a couple of mild criticisms. We had the She Crab soup, which was good, but could have benefited from a bit more crab and a splash of sherry, the scallop appetizer was very charred, but the interior did not taste overcooked.

On a more positive note, the crab cocktail was generous and delicious. The king crab legs were very fresh tasting ( not overly briny) and perfectly cooked, as was the Hard Shell pasta dish. It was full flavorful, but not too spicy. The food overall was very good, if not excellent.

The service was attentive and professional. The atmosphere has a hip vibe, but the room can get quite loud when crowded, making it difficult to carry on a conversation without raising your voice.

We would definitely recommend the restaurant and look forward to dining there again.

G
Richmond
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Been one of our favorites since late 1990’s. Now that we live out of town, it’s the first place we visit when we have the chance to be in Richmond.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was a nice and quiet

KS
1 review
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

It was a first date, everything was perfect but after eating my stuffed lobster I was still hungry ! $27 and was starving when I left, other than that no complaints

k
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall1food1service5ambience5

Cold food, this place just keeps getting worse

S
Richmond
16 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding in all aspects. Validated parking across street is a plus

d
Washington DC
42 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely first rate. From fantastic food to friendly and professional service, the Hard Shell was exceptional at every level. We are looking forward to returning to Richmond to enjoy it again (and again)!

AC
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great seafood and service. We will be back. Celebrated our engagement! She had 24 oysters and salad. I had seafood linguine and crab soup. Very delicious.

l
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food as always. Great happy hour!! Highly recommend

T
Raleigh
24 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great Location! Our server, Pierce was responsive, professional and accommodating. Everyone enjoyed their food from the appetizers to the main courses to the desserts. A variety of seafood dishes were ordered. No complaints....

PP
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent service. Kitchen handled a food allergy well.

OJ
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great lunch of crab soup and BLT.

OT
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Ate at the bar and had great service!

Food always solid

Wish they would bring back happy hours on Sunday - I’d come more often

T
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a fabulous place! Food was great and the ambiance very nice! Can't wait to return! :)

SH
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Perfect for date night! The food was amazing. Service was awesome. We want to go back and try something else really soon.

OT
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Most amazing restaurant downtown. My significant other and I were so blown away by the establishment and the food was everything. The alcohol selection was astonishing Will be returning soon.

L
Richmond
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I loved the meal and the waitress was so kind. We had an amazing night out.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was very good and we went on the restaurant week. Service was great and not rushed.
We really enjoyed our dinner

KM
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very relaxing late lunch on the patio. Our server was great and so was the food.

OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2019
Overall3food5service5ambience5

Took a small group of six for a business dinner on a Wednesday evening. We were not aware it was Restaurant Week, which meant they were very busy. The food was excellent. Our Server was very good. I didnt give a perfect rating because we must have lingered too long after we finished and we were asked to leave, because they had others waiting. It was understandable that they needed the table, but very inconvenient to try and take a group out and be asked to leave. Would go back again myself, but will not book another business or group dinner there.