Richmond >Food & Dining > Hard Shell
1411 E Cary St, Richmond, VA | Directions 2321937.534147 -77.431973
Mon. - Thu., Sun. 11am - 10pm;Fri. - Sat. 11am - 11pm
Neighborhoods: Shockoe Slip
Our favorite place in Richmond – We've been there several times and the food is always great!
I'd give it six stars if I could – Hard Shell is one of the best seafood restaurants I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. I travel all over the country and especially love seafood and Hard Shell is one of the best in the U.S. I had the Hard Shell pasta, with lobster, shrimp, mussels and scallops and it was awesome. The seafood was tender, cooked just right and the broth was light yet very flavorful. The friendly service was prompt and attentive. I couldn't ask for more in a dining experience. I will definitely visit there again the next time I'm in Richmond.
Best filet and crab legs! – We've only been there once but it was just plain awesome! My husband and I went on a Saturday night...thinking we would have to wait...we were seated pretty quickly. We had a great waitres very nice and attentive. We both ordered their filet, shared the crab legs with a bottle of wine. We ended up right under $100 bucks. Great food, great service and wonder ambience! Definitely will go back and will share with friends and family!
At least he crab cakes were good. – I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this was definitely not what I was expecting. I just moved from Palo Alto, CA to Richmond and I really had high hopes for the great restaurants that are here. Hard Shell is not going to be one of my favorites.
Right off the bat there was no hostess at the front when I walked in and I had two different waiters look at me before a third finally helped me. After sitting down, no one came to take my drink order, so waiter #3 came over and offered to get me something while I waited for my waitress.
I ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from Whitehaven Vineyards and it tasted like Martinelli's sparkling cider. My waitress finally showed up and I ask whether the lobster chowder or she crab soup was better and she assured me the she crab was better. I'd really hate to taste the lobster chowder because the she crab was pretty gross. The flavor was fine, but the texture was more like melted cheese with 2 lumps of crab meat.
The main reason I went to Hard Shell was for the crab cakes. I figured a seafood restaurant would have some of the best. The crab cakes were really good and they're about the only reason I would go back. They were really moist and hardly any filler. They were served with dried up rice and thin asparagus.
I guess being from CA I know more wine than I should and the wine list was decent, but the prices were outrageous. They had a $17 bottle of Frogs leap Sauvignon Blanc for $42. That's just crazy.
Fabulous! – I'm not very downtown savy, but this place is pretty easy to get to. The website has directions, which is a plus, because using the other direction websites are confusing and wrong most times. Once there, I was very impressed. The atmosphere was great because it can go a couple different ways, dressy or casual, and neither party feels over or under dressed! It's priced to be dressy, yet the place looks casual. The first time I went the service was great, the food was great and the whole experience was just leaving me wanting more. So The next weekend I went back for Fathers day. I went on saturday nights, both times and around 8 is when it gets busy. I like dinner around 6:30, and it is a good time to go. You can make reservations, or walk in. Yea, the menu is kinda pricy, but you are getting quality seafood cooked to perfection alongside great steaks or veggies that are so tasty it makes you chew slower to actualy taste your food and not just eat. I love the atmosphere, with the brick walls, wood floors and outside dining I will be back sooner than later. the food was better than expected, the lobster dip is a must order and the cheese cake is the perfect ending to a mouth watering dinner. The service was perfect the first time I went, being an ex-waitress of 3 years, and so so the second time. But both times the parking was free, the food was perfect and the atmosphere is just one of those you have to experience!
Great Ambiance... terrible food and service – Nice ambiance... kudos to the designer and owner for creating a great setting for an excellent meal... Unfortunately, nobody told the management or the Chef... terrible food and service. My grilled fish was completely overcooked until it was dry and hard on the outside... and yet it still smelled as if it was sitting around for several weeks. The wait staff didn't care... she aknowledged that it was bad, snarled her lip up at it and walked off.
I dine out as I travel several days each week and enjoy a nice dining experience. This was one of the worst I have ever experienced for a fairly high-priced meal. I didn't mind the prices in the menu when we first entered the restaurant, but charging what they did for a truly disgusting meal was criminal.
I still cannot believe the response I got when I showed the fish to the staff. She finally removed it when I told her I could not eat it... never offerred any comp or to take it off the bill.. never offerred to bring something else. That turned out to be a good thing, since I ended up getting sick about an hour later.
something fishy here – Extremely pricy. Not much selection on the menu. Extremely noisy.
User review by markhambr – A group of 8 went on a Wednesday night and were glad we had reservations. The restaurant was very busy and we had trouble hearing more than 1 people down the table. Everyone enjoyed the food and the service was very good.
Just Plain Worth It – Sometimes you just need to go out and spend a few bucks, and when that happens you want to make sure it's going to be worth it. The Hardshell has a great selection for any seafood lover, the rawbar is terrific, and the lobster stuffed with crab for under 25 dollars is unbeatable. This place has a great atmosphere for people who want a fancy meal in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. The live jazz only adds to the flavor of the great seafood you'll get here.
Lobster, we love you. This sweet treat from the sea turns into a culinary creation. – The Scene
The good news: The Hard Shell doesn't have any tacky stuffed fish hanging on the walls. The bad news: The restaurant's interior looks a bit like an upscale barbecue joint with its subdued brick walls and chalkboard menus--but don't discount the fabulous patio. It offers a great vantage point for watching Shockoe passers-by.
Experimenting with seafood becomes an art here, and you'll be thrilled it does. Try the hard shell pasta, the herb-fried oysters or the lobster--it's all unforgettable. The steam bar menu is available on a daily basis, but anyone who doesn't love seafood still has options. This is undoubtedly better than Red Lobster, so splurge a bit and take your sweetie out to a real seafood restaurant. If you can score an outside table, more points for you.
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