The Hard Shell - Downtown

4.5
1096 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 1096 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
4.4
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Quiet
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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TM
Baltimore
6 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service, food and ambiance!

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S
Charleston
12 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food. Small space. Steaks not over cooked.

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GH
Richmond
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
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 4 days ago
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
7 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
6 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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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Loved the food but with oonly a hard full of people in the restautant at 6pm our waiter couldn’t even hear me when I was ordering. That being said I would definately go back. Its a great place.

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OT
Toronto
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect dinner, terrific staff

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OT
Birmingham
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, drinks and service! Will definitely be back!

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TS
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

It was New Years eve and quite busy. Everything was very good. Probably better on a quieter day when it would seem less hectic and rushed.

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RV
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had the pleasure to have a seat at the bar for our NYE dining experience.
We had excellent service provided by our lovely female bartender.
We enjoyed prompt cocktails, lucious raw oysters from Tangier Island and our beloved shishito peppers!!
Our entres: Ribeye and Rockfish...superb and perfectly plated!
We love the new decor and it was just an all around excellent way to bring in the new year-2019!!
Thank you for all those that worked that evening to fulfill our dining experience.

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

New Years Eve

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

The food was terrible we started off with king crab legs... never again worst crab legs ever.

then order our main course my salad had brown leaves in it
Then had a soup and thought they can’t screw up soup... had to wait 20 mins for soup he forgot about us and the soup was just nasty. He never checked on us until the very end of us eating probably the worst experience ever

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JA
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved our experience at the Hard Shell! It had been many years since we had been here and so glad we came back. The food was delicious, service impeccable and the ambiance elegant.

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BD
Washington DC
33 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Solid 3 stars. Great atmosphere, friendly service, good food, but nothing extraordinary.

We came here on New Year's Eve. We started with lovely apricot old-fashioned cocktails while we perused the menu. Here is the rundown on the food.

Appetizers:
Shishito peppers - very generous portion and mildly spicy peppers. Good but would have been great with more char and some finishing salt.
Calamari - again, very generous portion with lots of tender "rings". A bit heavy on breading but quite tasty. Great tartar and Asian inspired sauces for dipping.

Entrees:
Filet mignon and lobster - excellent. Perfectly cooked medium rare steak with generous lobster tail. Solid mashed potatoes underneath. Asparagus was plain and just ok.
Lobster stuffed with crab - OK. The lobster was great but the crab meat stuffing was runny and a bit strong. The potato croquette on the side was divine. Crispy outside and creamy, well-seasoned inside. Broccolini on the side was fine.
Ribeye - good. The steak was perfectly cooked medium rare with an excellent herb butter. Not as tender as some ribeyes but for the price nicely done.
Brussels sprouts- tasty but were served lukewarm.

We tried the much-touted key lime pie and were disappointed. Tasted like cheesecake. Our waiter said others commented the same recently. Maybe a change in recipe? He was kind enough to take off the bill although we did not ask.

The only other consideration was the kitchen rushed the entrees. They came right as we finished appetizers. We noticed this with other tables as well. Maybe it was due to New Years Eve rush.

Bottom line is we had a very enjoyable dinner and had none of the service issues other reviews cited. The food is standard seafood/steaks.

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OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

New Year’s Eve with friends, excellent meal, service, ambiance!

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