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“Thursday dinner”
Review of The Hard Shell

The Hard Shell
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Ranked #42 of 1,612 Restaurants in Richmond
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $40
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: 14th St
Description: Opening its doors in 1995 in downtown Richmond, Virginia’s Shockoe Slip, The Hard Shell has created a loyal following and has been repeatedly voted “BEST SEAFOOD” in the city by Style Magazine and Richmond Magazine.The Hard Shell strives to offer the highest quality seafood, steaks and more in a warm, inviting and relaxing atmosphere and to provide outstanding customer service to each and every customer.
Silver Spring, Maryland
2 reviews
“Thursday dinner”
Reviewed August 13, 2012

Food was excellent, staff was great (especially Evan and Alex), GM was amiable. We would recommend this establishment to anyone visiting Richmond.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Bill S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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291 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Saint Charles, Missouri
Level 6 Contributor
196 reviews
124 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Blasé service.”
Reviewed August 8, 2012 via mobile

Every trip to Richmond we try to eat at the Hard Shell. There is an extensive seafood selection and a wide variety of oysters to choose. There rib eye is also excellent. On this visit, patronage was sparse, the bar tender more actively engaged watching the Olympics than pouring drinks and our waiter catonic.

A leather tough, burnt filet was presented as "medium" pink in the middle. It took 10 minutes to catch the waiter's attention to return the steak. Another was prepared, but well after the rest of our party had finished. Our waiter repeatedly walked past our table, ignoring different requests for coffee and finally the check.

We all left the restaurant disappointed. I will add that I've been here multiple times and this is the first time I was unhappy with the experience.

Thank Nineunder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Poor Service”
Reviewed July 8, 2012

Visited for our anniversary. Food was lukewarm, likely due to the fact that the waiter allowed it to sit at the window for at least 10 minutes so he could refill waters at the next (very large) table. We had been several time before and enjoyed the food but haven't been back since such poor service.

2 Thank potentialtherapist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Virginia
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Food excellent, service average”
Reviewed July 7, 2012

The company that I work for likes to bring job appicants to the Hard Shell during their interview days, so I've visited this restaurant a few times. Consistently, the food is wonderful. I've had most of the seafood, including the crabcakes (excellent), mussels (very good), and shrimp (very good).

However, for some reason, the service is just average to below average (which is disappointing when you are trying to show off the city to job applicants). It's happened enough times, that I believe it's a training/management issue, rather than a particular waiter issue. Drinks are slow to be refilled, bread sometimes has to be requested, dirty empty appetizer plates are left on the table, etc. I've visited for both lunch and dinner, on different days of the week, so it doesn't seem to just be an issue with the "busy times." Only one time that I visited, out of more than 10 times, has the service been good. On the most recent visit, in addition to the issues I listed above, the waiter also didn't smile at us once and neglected to tell us the complete list of specials (which we heard from the waiter at the table next to us).

I want to reiterate that the food is quite good (bravo to the chefs); however, the service leaves more to be desired. I would recommend this restaurant to others, but I would caution again having high expectations for both food and service, as you may be disappointed with one of those.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank kiddoc330
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
“Wonderful Restaurant”
Reviewed July 4, 2012

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! We ate here 4 times during our trip to Richmond. We also held a rehearsal dinner here. The food was excellent from the appetizers, to the fillet, to the crab cakes, to the salmon, not to mention the killer key lime pie and cheesecake! The staff was beyond friendly and efficient.
The manager, Tommy, was the easiest person you could ever hope to work with to plan an event. He went way above and beyond to be sure that everything was perfect for our dinner.
The other meals we had were excellent. We had the steamed shrimp, panini, burger, crab cakes, shrimp potstickers, calamari, lobster dip, she crab soup, lobster chowder, salads, and more. All were excellent.
You can't go wrong with a meal at The Hard Shell on E Cary St in Richmond!

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank suchamom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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