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The Hard Shell - Downtown

4.4
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1291 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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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. Menu items include signatures such as filet and lobster, shrimp and scallops, lump crab cakes. Patio request honored when possible but tables are first come, first served. Private dining & reservations are available. Dress is casual.

Support The Hard Shell - Downtown during COVID-19

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
Social Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
Personal Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
What 1291 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on October 17, 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience3

Scallops were great. The shrimp was way over cooked. You could tell just by looking at the shape. Tough and hard to chew. Definitely not worth $29 for three shrimp and three scallops.

P
Promethius
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on October 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had a really nice time was able to have a conversation w/o yelling staff did not rush us at all.

ER
vipElleinRVA
Richmond
9 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience5

Had a very nice experience! A bit too much cabbage with the shrimp & scallop entree.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was chill

D
David
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always love this place. The service is great, food is wonderful, and such a good vibe.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Made reservations for 8 for my birthday and it was perfect. Service was great and the patio was lovely.

g
gloriab
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious but I guess they were having an off day. Steaks for 2 of our people went back twice. Server was very patient. Manager was on top of it. Comped the steaks and gave us gift cards. Very nice people and patient. I will definitely go back.

C
vipClarkburg
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Hard Shell is our go to for the freshest, best prepared seafood. They always have a creative special or specials on raw bar selection. Always a nice experience. Wine list is good, not too over the top. Cocktails are spot on. Servers are friendly and accommodating. If that’s not enough, they validate parking across the street.

B
Brendan
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a delicious and delightful lunch. Oysters were nice and fresh and our server kept the drinks flowing. Highly recommend.

NW
NatashaW
1 review
Dined on September 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We share crab legs and a filet, we had the truffle fries as an app and each had 2 drinks and shared a dessert all for less than $100! Don't let the small price tag fool you, everything was to die for! Great Service and great ambiance for the perfect date night!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Baltimore
2 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very quiet, ambient atmosphere. Perfect for a romantic date night. Food was delicious and our waiter was very attentive. Will be going back when we are in town again!

BT
BrendaT
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I cannot say enough about this cool hideaway! Everything was wonderful. from beginning to end. Food was fantastic, staff was fantastic. Everything was just perfect. Thanks for making our anniversary perfection!

ER
vipElleinRVA
Richmond
10 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and nice outdoor seating! The service was excellent also!

CE
ChuckE
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Wonderful evening! Our server was outstanding - very friendly and attentive without hovering.

l
viplove2dine
Richmond
18 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We enjoyed a fantastic meal with exceptional service. Can’t wait to go back!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Calamari was awesome, steaks were great. Pasta dish was good.
Nice job of good clean service during COVID

OT
OpenTable Diner
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Friendly staff. Inside and outside seating, plenty of parking across the street. Great selection and well prepared dishes. Kudos to the management and staff for such a great meal.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Kansas City
6 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Prompt, attentive wait service. Excellent menu and great meal. Always a good experience.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Kansas City
7 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Greeted promptly, great atmosphere, prompt, informative and attentive waiter service. Very good food and drink.

DM
DeborahM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food! Great location! Great friendly service!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on August 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My service was superb! Thank you Dennis and Kristin for your stellar service! I had the Rockfish which was cooked to perfection! Can’t wait to go back again!

L
Leslie
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Large salad starter along with amazing brussel sprout app. Great seafood dinner for two and served quickly. Manager was very pleasant and wiped down the seats and tables thoroughly prior to being seated and waiter named Jesse was very nice and efficient. Would def. return!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on August 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I were driving South from NJ & stopped in Richmond for dinner. This restaurant had great seafood in a lovely setting.

h
viphard2please
Richmond
23 reviews
Dined on August 15, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

the small things were forgotten like cocktail napkins but love the heavy silverware and cloth napkins. Overall a good experience.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2020
Overall2food2service2ambience4

This was not a bad experience, but it was not great. It was clean and inviting. Service was acceptable. One dish, shrimp and scallops needed seasoning. The 2nd dish, crab pasta, was off, perhaps too much lemon, too much liquid. It could also be the taste preference of my party just didn't match the chefs vision.

FH
vipFredH
Washington DC
107 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience3

We were visiting Richmond for the Wine Expo and had dinner at Hard Shell Friday night. Liked the menu so well we returned for lunch the next day. Great seafood, creatively prepared and friendly informative servers. We will be back when in Richmond.

SD
SteveD
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fully enjoyed our meal. Have always been totally satisfied with this restaurant and continue to go back because of that. Taylor, our waitress was fantastic and they provided us with a free dessert to help us celebrate our anniversary!

SR
ShannonR
Richmond
1 review
Dined on February 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was great!!

E
vipEbdy
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on February 29, 2020
Overall2food1service2ambience3

Our food was absolutely a disappointment! The raw oysters appetizer was good. However, the rockfish, mahi mahi , and salmon were way over cooked and so old and gross. The scallop dish was swimming in grease. The entrees as a whole were over salted as if it was an afterthought so they dumped salt all over the plate to finish. Will NEVER go there again especially with all the other wonderful choices downtown.

RH
RylandH
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

She crab soup was a little watery but everything else was great!!

CR
CheriR
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great find! Busy but not too noisy. Food was excellent. Service was impeccable. Definitely will be back.

M
vipMomo3
Washington DC
19 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Service in particular was very impressive as we came in rather late. We loved the menu - lots of choices for a later light dinner. And the raw oyster platter was great!

ML
MichaelL
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Great spot for a good time with one or an entire party

OT
OpenTable Diner
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Hands down one of the best meals my husband and I have had in a long time! Service was kind and quick, and the food was phenomenal. Highly recommend this place if you’re in the mood for dinner in the city, and want exceptional service.

BB
BreBre
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall2food2service2ambience4

I told the waitress that we would need to leave by 600pm. There was 10 of us. We all arrived at 445. Place our order at 505. Did not get our order until 615 and some of the order was not right.

R
vipRjon
Richmond
51 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I have not been in over 15 years. It was a great return. The small plates were perfect for a Valentines dinner. Great service and vibe. Parking across the street was key.

MH
vipMarlaH
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2food4service1ambience3

We booked a table for 2 for Valentines Day 1 month prior. I was offered a tiny table crammed in some corner with 4 other couples. No room what so ever!! So, I asked the greeter for another table and she was extremely RUDE about accommodating us. Gave us nothing but attitude!! I explained to her that the location was unacceptable and shouldn’t be offered to anyone. Needless to say, we waited an extra 1/2 hour at the bar for a better table or she said for someone to get up and leave!! Then there was the waiter, nice personality but missed the mark and several things and wasn’t very attentive. In addition, there was an extra long wait for our dinner to be served. For the reasons mentioned we won’t return nor recommend - food wasn’t bad but the service was poor!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Richmond
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Seems like every time we go the food just keeps getting better and better. Also had our wedding rehearsal dinner here last May and everyrhing was perfect!

JT
JenniferT
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Apps, entrees, and drinks were incredible. It is on the pricey side (~$50/person with drinks) but the food is very high quality. Service was excellent. Highly recommend for a nice date night, out of town guest who wants great seafood, etc.

BM
BeckieM
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We enjoyed having lunch at the Hard Shell restaurant. The atmosphere was upscale yet casual and relaxing. The she crab soup was excellent and reasonably priced. The service was prompt and friendly, not rushed. This is a great place to catch up with friends.

FAQs

The Hard Shell - Downtown offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (804) 643-2333.

The Hard Shell - Downtown is rated 4.4 stars by 1291 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.