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

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.6

service

4.7

ambience

4.6

value

4.4

Noise

Moderate

94% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (26)
Special Occasion (19)
Good for Birthdays (17)
See All
Cozy (16)
Good for Anniversaries (12)
Good for Groups (11)
Casual (10)
Fit for Foodies (10)
Quiet Conversation (10)
Romantic (10)
Handcrafted Cocktails (8)
Business Meals (8)
Neighborhood Gem (8)
Healthy (8)
Worth the Drive (7)
Bar Seating (6)
Creative Cuisine (6)
Fun (6)
Great for Lunch (6)
Great for Outdoor Dining (6)
Pre/post Theatre (6)
Late-night Find (5)
Local Ingredients (5)
Notable Wine List (5)
Authentic (4)
Sunday Lunch (4)
Great for Brunch (3)
Great Beer (3)
Afternoon Tea (2)
Comfort Food (2)
Hot Spot (2)
Paleo Friendly (2)
People Watching (2)
Seasonal (2)
Afternoon Coffee (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Live Sports (1)
Organic (1)
Quick Bite (1)
Spicy (1)
Tasting Menu (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
Waterfront (1)
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904 reviews
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 (Richmond)·Dined 3 days ago

Excellent service. Great seafood!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
·Dined 5 days ago

I came for my birthday, we weren't given free bread (I saw in comments later that was included) and the place wasn't that full so not sure why that happened. The mashed potatoes were bland, but the lobster was cooked good. There were several pieces of cartilage in my crab cake, at least 8 large pieces and I stopped eating it because I got tired of taking the pieces out of my mouth after every bite. I told the waiter and he said that it was because it was fresh crab, and I told him I have had plenty of 'real' crab cakes without all that cartilage. I hope they take more time in picking through the crab meat as other restaurants do, because nobody likes eating cartilage, shell or bones. It would be strange to have a salmon cake with fish bones in them so why are they okay with serving cartilage in the crab cake? The service was quick, but I would gladly wait for better food.

Tags: Good for a Date
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food2
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined 6 days ago

They were understaffed when we were there but all employees helped out the single waiter on staff to get things done. The lobster dip was not very good (or lobstery) but everything else was very good (but I don't know if I'd go so far as to say great). We had the she crab soup - good but almost too creamy (floury) tasting, scallop appetizer (this may have been the one great selection), and the grilled lobster tail with spinach and asparagus sides.

The service was very good and friendly given their predicament, the food was very good, the manhattans were well poured. All in all, a very good experience.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Bar Seating, Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals, Handcrafted Cocktails, Pre/post Theatre
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Richmond)·Dined 6 days ago

It was a great night. The food and service were great!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on January 11, 2018

Great dinner and wonderful service! Such a cozy atmosphere! Would definitely recommend!

Tags: Tasting Menu, Great for Brunch, Fun
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on January 9, 2018

The food was average. The recommended She Crab bisque was a little on the thin side. What was most disappointing is the fact that it was happy hour, there's no separation from the bar to the restaurant, and they would not honor the happy hour prices at our table. I can't say we would return, as there are better restaurants in the area.

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food3
ambience4
service2
value3

 
·Dined on January 8, 2018

The service overall was timely and the food was delicious. While the server was nice the only off putting thing was the server must have come up 10 times in 15-20 minutes trying to take the check, we were clearly still talking and drinking wine and told him we were good but he kept circling to the point it became laughable and awkward and my date was a little offended because it came off a bit unprofessional. Mind you I worked in restaurants for 8 years so I know how the process works but if there is no sign the check has been looked at or a card placed and waiting for a server I would tone that down as that did create a negative experience at the end of our evening. I know it seems small but in the mind of ppl that are on a date or friends night out, we don’t want to feel rushed when we are spending 70-150 depending on the occasion. That is all.

Tags: Paleo Friendly, Organic, Notable Wine List, Healthy, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience4
service3
value4

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on January 7, 2018

Awesome great food

Tags: Great Beer, Great for Brunch, Quiet Conversation, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Richmond)·Dined on January 2, 2018

Great seafood, friendly staff, cozy atmosphere on a cold night, great cocktails.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Good for Groups, Cozy, Quiet Conversation, Sunday Lunch, Handcrafted Cocktails, Bar Seating, Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 1, 2018

I love seafood, especially oyster,crab and lobster. They probably have most fresh oyster I ever eat. Best value for your bucks! Will go again if I was in Richmond.

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food5
ambience4
service4

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on December 31, 2017

The facility, staff, service and food met all of our expectations. Thanks to The HardShell for a great dining experience.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 30, 2017

Cuisine was very good, came up short with the scallops (we both shared 3 scallops?). Place was cozy, but not private. Felt "surrounded", but overall we had a wonderful evening.

Tags: Late-night Find, Cozy
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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on December 30, 2017

Family Holiday Dinner
My family loved this restaurant and cannot wait to return for another visit!! Staff , food was perfect treat

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on December 30, 2017

Food was fantastic, service incredible and great atmosphere

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Savannah)·Dined on December 28, 2017

Coat check, plus. Validated parking, plus. Tasted things I have never had before, plus. Had my favorite beer, plus.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on December 24, 2017

Fabulous from start to finish. Great food and great service.

Tags: Bar Seating, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on December 23, 2017

Very good food and great service. Parking garage right across the street. We will be back

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on December 20, 2017

Everything was great and the noise level was high but it was a busy lunch time and the restaurant was quite full...food is ALWAYS delicious!!

Tags: Fun, Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion, Seasonal, Quick Bite
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on December 17, 2017

great seafood menu especially the oysters and crabs.

Tags: Business Meals, Healthy, Fun, Vibrant Bar Scene, Local Ingredients, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Quiet Conversation, Sunday Lunch, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Great for Brunch, Good for a Date, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Good for Groups, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Bar Seating, Live Sports, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
·Dined on December 15, 2017

I loved the fish and chips. I told our waitress that it was the best i have EVER eaten. Seriously, i can afford steak and lobster but the was better. The cod was flakey and delicious and the fries were crispy just how i like them. My wifes lobster and crab was also great👊....

Tags: Good for Groups, Fun, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Bar Seating, Good for a Date, Afternoon Tea, Worth the Drive, Authentic, People Watching
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on December 15, 2017

We enjoyed! Noise level a little high. Great food

Tags: Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on December 13, 2017

My wife and I eat at the Hardshell on Huegenaught many times. She took me out for my 60th birthday to the Downtown location and it was awful. The food was inedible and cold, the noise was way to loud and overall we had a terrible experience. I could never recommend this location to anyone.

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food1
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (Indiana)·Dined on December 12, 2017

I asked what dish was Richmond on a plate and I was recommended the crab cakes......and I was not disappointed. First time in VA.....glad we stopped here!

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on December 12, 2017

Bobby was fantastic and provided outstanding service. The hostess was also a delight. Lunch was wonderful a nd full of flavor. I will be back again.

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on December 12, 2017

Nice place great price and great good. 1/2 dozen of Chesapeake, cup of lobster chowder, and lobster and shrimp linguini. Loved it!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Cleveland)·Dined on December 11, 2017

Wonderful food! The salmon was steaming hot when it got to me and the brussel sprouts were perfect!

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on December 2, 2017

Recommended by friend. Stopped in for a late weekend lunch. Excellent food. Exceptional service. Well informed and friendly staff. Fairly priced. Paid parking nearby. Not sure what the atmosphere is later in the day but this is a restaurant that should definitely be tried for lunch.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Business Meals, Fit for Foodies, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on November 27, 2017

We just wanted a couple apps and shared an entree. The lump crab cocktail was good, but the rockfish was overcooked. Nice ambiance and good service.

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food3
ambience4
service3

 
·Dined on November 25, 2017

Extremely fresh seafood, muscles, clams, shrimp, crab, etc. Good drink selections and a nice atmosphere.

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food5
ambience5
service4

 
·Dined on November 22, 2017

my colleague had the fish tacos, made with battered cod, kinda soggy.
but I had the she crab soup (awesome!) and some fresh raw bar items, overall great tasting food.

Tags: Comfort Food, Healthy, Seasonal, Business Meals
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food4
ambience4
service3
value3

 
·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

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