About The Hard Shell - Downtown

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.

1411 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Seafood, Steak

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday
Lunch 11:30 - 4:00
Light Fare 4:00 -5:00
Dinner 5:00 - 10:00

Sunday
Brunch 10:30 - 3:30
Light Fare 3:30 -5:00
Dinner 5:00 - 9:00

Cross Street:
14th St

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(804) 643-2333

Website:
http://www.thehardshell.com/

Parking Details:
The Hard Shell validates parking after 5pm daily in the garage at the corner of 14th St. and Cary St. directly across from the restaurant.

Executive Chef:
Chris Chaisson

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

The Hard Shell - Downtown Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.5

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.5

service

4.5

ambience

4.3

value

4.1

Noise

Moderate

94% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (26)
Special Occasion (16)
Good for Anniversaries (15)
See All
Casual (13)
Cozy (13)
Good for Birthdays (12)
Fit for Foodies (12)
Good for Groups (12)
Great for Outdoor Dining (12)
Romantic (10)
Neighborhood Gem (9)
Creative Cuisine (7)
Pre/post Theatre (7)
Worth the Drive (7)
Handcrafted Cocktails (6)
Late-night Find (6)
Local Ingredients (6)
Business Meals (5)
Healthy (5)
Notable Wine List (5)
Quiet Conversation (5)
Fun (4)
Sunday Lunch (4)
Authentic (3)
Bar Seating (3)
Great Beer (3)
Happy Hour (3)
Great for Lunch (2)
Paleo Friendly (2)
People Watching (2)
Afternoon Coffee (1)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Comfort Food (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Hot Spot (1)
Quick Bite (1)
Spicy (1)
Tapas (1)
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874 reviews
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·Dined on November 13, 2017

This was our third visit from out of town (the Williamsburg area), and it's well worth the drive to Richmond. Lobster Night (Monday's) was excellent. Food and service are consistently exceptional.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Healthy, Romantic, Paleo Friendly, Late-night Find
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on November 12, 2017

Great atmosphere service was friendly and fast but no pressure! We ordered the salmon cakes for the special appetizer a little small but the taste was great! Nice potion size for the main dishes. Will be coming back soon!

Tags: Good for a Date, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 10, 2017

Fish/shell fish was perfectly cooked and we are picky!!!! Fantastic food and service!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Austin)·Dined on November 10, 2017

Great lunch! Good seafood selection! Enjoyed oyster P.O. boy and wife had California club! Great service!

Tags: Afternoon Tea, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch, Comfort Food, Quiet Conversation, Business Meals, Special Occasion, Cozy, Worth the Drive, Casual, Afternoon Coffee
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlantic City)·Dined on November 6, 2017

The food is amazing. It was my birthday dinner and the manager comp'd my dessert. Very friendly and great customer service.

Tags: Cozy, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Baltimore)·Dined on November 1, 2017

Had a group of clients out for a lunch, great food and service, menu with variety, good for all!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Nashville)·Dined on October 28, 2017

We visited hard shell while in town for a wedding. Were told by the Omni hotel it was the best food in town. Really enjoyed the bar atmosphere while waiting for a table. We did notice while at the bar that probably 2-3 parties were sending food back, but didn’t think much of it. When we sat down, we noticed 2 more tables send food back while we were seated. We ordered the Shrimp and Scallops, and the crab pasta. They weren’t bad, but extremely underwhelming. Lobster chowder as an appetizer was outstanding- would recommend that to everyone. Overall, really nice ambience and enjoyable atmosphere, but the food was disappointing on the whole. I do think it may have just been an off night for the kitchen staff.

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food2
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Mississippi)·Dined on October 27, 2017

I love this place. Such good fresh seafood. Oysters are fabulous.
The options for Restaurant week were the best we had!
We live in Mississippi, where we have great seafood, but I always go
back to the Hard Shell when we come to town to see our family.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups, Fun, Handcrafted Cocktails, Healthy, Great for Outdoor Dining, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 27, 2017

We loved our dinner at The Hard Shell. The wine selection was great, the service was quick and courteous, and the food was fresh and well portioned. We will definitely visit again and will tell friends about our great visit!

Tags: Authentic, Romantic, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Notable Wine List
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food4
ambience5
service4
value3

 
·Dined on October 25, 2017

We went to this restaurant for Restaurant Week and thoroughly enjoyed it. The portions were perfect and the food was delicious.

Tags: Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on October 23, 2017

Although noted for seafood (my wife's shrimp was excellent) I had an outstanding steak perfectly cooked that melted in my mouth. A definite do again.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 20, 2017

My husband found this place while surfing the web. We were visiting Richmond for our first grandchild's birth, and decided to celebrate. It is most certainly a fun and lively spot with good fun and service.

Tags: Fun, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on October 19, 2017

Lovely atmosphere with terrific food! Great wine, delicious oysters and seafood .

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 11, 2017

I had a number of people in from out of town for a meeting. Some live near the coast and are very picky with seafood. The meal, drinks, and service were all OUTSTANDING. Everyone has been talking about dinner for the last few days saying how great everything was.

Tags: Romantic, Neighborhood Gem, Happy Hour, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 9, 2017

Oysters very good. Lobster average. Crab cake good.

Tags: Local Ingredients
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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (E. Tennessee)·Dined on October 7, 2017

Hard Shell was a good experience. We sat outside and that was seemingly a good idea at the time, but when the food came the flies swarmed around us. I think having an air source like a fan would have helped keep the flies away. The service was very good. We started with the calamari and shared a cesear salad. My date had the fish special, which was tasty and I had the tuna poke. We ordered the key lime--it was average. I wish I had ordered the creme brûlée. We were from out of town--I don't think I would rush back there.

Tags: Casual
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food4
ambience2
service4
value2

 
·Dined on October 2, 2017

Very nice restaurant. Great outdoor area. Loved the drinks and the service was excellent.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on September 29, 2017

I had the Shrimp and Grits and the flavor was amazing. The waitstaff was on point as well.

Tags: Late-night Find, Sunday Lunch, Healthy, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Good for Groups, Cozy, Romantic, Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 25, 2017

Had a good time here. A little hard to find but convenient to the parking garage where they validate. Food was very good as was the service. Will recommend.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
·Dined on September 24, 2017

We loved our dinner at Hard Shell BUT the slamming and dropping of plates throughout our dining visit was obnoxious at best. We did let the hostess know that this was not acceptable and she promised to let management know Hopefully they will remedy this as everything else is wonderful! Great food and service.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Sunday Lunch, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

 
·Dined on September 24, 2017

Food was good, service was subpar. Left pics & review on yelp.

Tags: Good for Groups, Special Occasion, Cozy
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food4
ambience4
service2
value3

vip
 (Birmingham)·Dined on September 20, 2017

Enjoyed our oysters, crab cakes, and mussels. I was a bit disappointed in the available beers.

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food4
ambience4
service5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on September 7, 2017

Brian (s) was my server and he was fantastic. Attentive without being overbearing. He was very knowledgeable. I had the ceviche which was sorry fresh. I feel like the line it was made with was probably either a little old or out of season but overall it was pretty tasty. The oyster poboy was on point. The batter was savory and the pirates were fried to perfection, crispy on the outside and perfectly moist on the inside. The bread it was served I was delicious too! I wish I had ordered dessert but I was so full. Hand cut fries for the win! Will definitely be returning.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
·Dined on September 3, 2017

My boyfriend and I weren't from the Richmond, VA area so we googled seafood restaurants and The Hardshell came up. We were so impressed with the staff and how friendly and accommodating they were! The food from the appetizer to the main course was absolutely Superior A+++ quiality!! We can't wait to return!!!!

Tags: Cozy, Romantic, Tapas, Worth the Drive, Good for Groups, Late-night Find, Notable Wine List, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on September 2, 2017

Delicious meal! Everything was perfect! Steaks, salmon, mahi mahi, shrimp and scallops, crab cakes- all wonderful. Service was professional and efficient. Loved it. If we are ever back in the area, we'll eat here again for sure!

Tags: Casual, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on September 2, 2017

The lobster dip had a little too much full for my taste. Loved the simply grilled part of the menu. Overall fantastic dining experience and I will go back

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Romantic, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Casual, Good for a Date, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Groups
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food4
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (New England)·Dined on August 31, 2017

Very enyoyable evening. Staff was very responsive and food was outstanding.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on August 25, 2017

The vibe was nice, but when I arrived the only seating available was outside or at the bar. They were preparing for a private party and failed to contact me to advise; I had a reservation. Fortunately, it was a nice day for sitting outside. Unfortunately, the fly's ran my son and I inside to the bar. Having to swat fly's through my meal sort of ruined the moment. We moved inside to the bar, and surprisingly there were a couple of gnats there as well, though it was much better. Having said, the food was very good and I would go back. Just not in a pinch.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Late-night Find, Quick Bite
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food4
ambience3
service3
value4

 
·Dined on August 21, 2017

Everything was fantastic , however the steak I had (ribeye)was super salty so I would say that needs improvement.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Good for Birthdays, Happy Hour, Good for a Date, Good for Groups, Good for Anniversaries
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food3
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on August 15, 2017

Food was excellent and we like the redecoration since the last time we were there.

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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
·Dined on August 14, 2017

When visiting RVA we always try and make it to the Hard Shell for dinner. The food is always tasty. Our service this particular evening was not so great. She seemed to be preoccupied and was not attentive. We had to flag her down to get her attention and she did not make a point to check on us. It's unfortunate.

Tags: Casual
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food4
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on August 13, 2017

Everything was great as usual except for our reception. The gentleman that greeted us and sat us was not very pleasant at all. He made it seem as though it was a chore to be there. Disappointed with that aspect as it was the first time my parents were there.

Tags: Sunday Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on August 10, 2017

This place was awesome. Everything thing was fresh. I had the steam little neck clams (Steamers). And the jumbo lump crab pasta with a glass of The curator.

So good

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 8, 2017

Recommended to us by the bartender in our hotel, plus I had seen it while touring the Shockoe Bottom area, we were very happy with our meal. As usual, parking in Richmond is something to consider. There is a lot across the road which made it really convenient but the machine was malfunctioning so we watched the car the entire time we ate - not very relaxing. My cocktail arrived very differently than expected but was quickly rectified. The oysters were fresh and delicious and each of the items we ordered were very tasty and well-prepared. I had the lobster quesadilla - wow. I think it's something I would look forward to eating at least once a week (Monday is lobster night). We ordered dessert - key lime pie and cheesecake - neither was memorable...so I didn't feel badly only having a bite of each. The interior is beautiful and interesting and I will look forward to coming back again next time we're in Richmond!

Tags: Business Meals, Notable Wine List, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on August 6, 2017

We happen to be in Richmond for a conference and wanted to make last-minute brunch reservations on a Sunday morning. Most places were already booked but the hard shell had openings. In fact we were the only ones when we first arrived. We were immediately greeted and seated. Coffee and Bloody Marys with great. My husband ordered the steak and eggs and found the steak to be a fairly tough cut. I had the crab omelette which I really enjoyed. Both entrees included biscuits, fruit and home fries. The biscuits and home fries especially were delicious. We also ordered a side of chocolate chip pancakes to share. They were great. I would definitely come back next time we are in Richmond. I'd like to try their dinner menu.

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food4
ambience4
service5

 
 (Tampa)·Dined on August 2, 2017

The time of day we went was at the end of happy hour. It was difficult to carry on a conversation without elevating our voices as everyone else did. Nice place but I would pick a different time of the evening next time. As we finished dinner the crowd lessened and much nicer ambience.

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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on July 31, 2017

This visit was my second and was well worth it. I would recommend this place highly.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem, Casual, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on July 31, 2017

Our server, Brian, seemed rushed. Barely heard what we had to say before rushing off. Seemed to be more attentive to others. The ceviche was just ok, pretty heavy on the lime. The crab cakes were just ok. The creme brulee was eggy the consistency was not smooth but more like tapioca. and The imperial margarita was the highlight, which is pretty sad.

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food2
ambience3
service1
value2

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on July 22, 2017

Was pleased that the interior has been updated since our last visit quite a while ago; much brighter and inviting. Food was very good, but did not get near enough for the very high prices. Would only go for a special occasion. Server was professional and efficient. Could have used a little more attention from him.

Tags: Good for a Date, Special Occasion
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food3
ambience4
service4
value2

 
·Dined on July 22, 2017

Did not go to the one downtown. The one in Chesterfield. Great out there. Worth the trip!!

Tags: Healthy, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Cozy, Worth the Drive, Romantic, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

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