The Hard Shell - Downtown

4.6
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1213 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 1213 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
4.6
food
4.7
service
4.6
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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PP
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent service. Kitchen handled a food allergy well.

OT
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
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.

LH
Richmond
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was absolutely amazing! Cooked and spiced to perfection. We went for our anniversary and received a complimentary glasses of champagne. Our waitress was professional and knowledgeable about the food and wine list. I had lobster and scallops and my partner had filet mignon - both were excellent choices paired with the potato croquette and asparagus with truffle oil. We completed our dinner with creme brulee that was to die for. I was pleasantly surprised at the freshness and quality of the seafood. We are from Va Beach and were skeptical of going here for dinner but it way exceeded our expectations. I highly recommend dinner here.

SS
Washington DC
29 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We sat on the patio, which was comfortable and quiet. The food was excellent. Steak was perfectly medium rare. Asparagus was al dente. The staff were attentive but unobtrusive. Great ambience.

RW
Richmond
10 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service in an easy, relaxed atmosphere. The patio is a great place for a quiet conversation. The lobster stuffed with crab cake was terrific! I see why this place is consistently chosen as the best place for seafood in Richmond

LB
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience3

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
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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
Overall4food5service5ambience5

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
Overall4food4service4ambience4

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
10 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

S
Richmond
15 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding in all aspects plus free parking across street

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Service was great. The food was just okay.

OT
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall4food4service4ambience3

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

C
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food3service5ambience5

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
Overall4food4service5ambience5

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

TB
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall3food4service4ambience4

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
Overall4food3service3ambience4

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Birthday dinner

CK
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience3

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
3 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding in all respects plus free parking

OT
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Family Gathering

RD
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Anniversary

PH
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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