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“Surprise Surprise”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of The Hard Shell

The Hard Shell
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Ranked #45 of 1,603 Restaurants in Richmond
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $40
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Romantic, Large groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Business meetings, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Television, Waitstaff
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.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Surprise Surprise”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2013

We found out about the restaurant through Open Table. We were seated upon arrival. The restaurant is not very large, but has a very good atmosphere and mood. The service was excellent. The food was very good and the portions were adequate. I ordered the Rockfish entree and had the She Crab soup. Both were good. Good prices. We will go back again.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Cris j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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276 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
255 reviews
138 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
“Not what we expected!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 14, 2013

We went to the Hard Shell to celebrate my husband's birthday (I had made reservations via the internet). Upon arrival, the noise level was very loud to us (we are senior citizens, but still very active). I told the host we had reservations but didn't think we could stay because of the noise; when you walk in the doorway, you enter a large room and bar. The host immediately had us seated in the side room, in the back (it's like a large sun room with lots of windows) and we were the only ones there....that was wonderful.....away from the noise. Our waitserver, John, was very personable and efficient and he made our dining experience very pleasant. Now, for the food...we both liked the She-crab soup, but it was a cream-base and we are used to it being in a vegetable base. The fried oysters were wonderful....fried just right and beautifully presented on the oyster half-shells with a dill sauce drizzled over them. The crab cakes were supposed to be jumbo lump....the meat was shredded and was not all white lump - we live in Maryland Blue Crab country and know what jumbo lump means. The disappointing thing was the Caesar Salad; it had a terrible tasting (we think bottled) dressing....we could not eat it. Management did bring my husband a huge warm brownie with ice cream and whipped topping (free of charge) and we thought that was nice. The staff deserve five stars.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank travelexplorer27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lohja, Finland
Level Contributor
156 reviews
92 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Hard Shell had me at "oysters"”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 31, 2013

Went on a Saturday night. Got there earlier than our reservation. The kindly sat us early. The place was quite full, and live music. The wait staff was rockin'. Oysters were good. She crab soup was cold, had to be sent back twice (once because it came while we were still on appetizers - bad form; the next because it was room temp.). Dinner was good. I had snow crab, which were fine as you'd find in most places. Would go again, maybe on week night instead.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Vikingbymarriage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
32 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Not what I expected but doable”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 9, 2013 via mobile

My fiancé and I ate here during Richmonds restaurant week. We had three courses for about 25 dollars so it was a good deal. The starters were the lobster bisque and a garden salad. They were good. The main dishes I was not impressed at all. I ordered the fried oysters and he ordered the shrimp and grits. The grits were runny we like ours with a thicker consistency and it was probably 4 shrimp in it. My oysters came in the same setting as water grill. Fried oysters but back into the shells circled around my plate with a creamy aoli type sauce. The spinach and potatoes were in a circle dish in the middle. This way of serving oysters is outdated and generic to me. I can have a much better plate of oysters again from Croakers off hull street. The dessert we both had the creme brûlée. Not impressed the top was more burnt and made the taste awful. The creme brûlée at Cine Bistro is 10 times better and it's a trio of different kinds. I tried the Hardshell hoping for the best but I'm afraid it fell short. For seafood I still recommend Croakers or another spot for my guest at the Westin Richmond.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Qtess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
88 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Monday is Lobster Night”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 8, 2013

We were pleasantly surprised to find The Hard Shell in Richmond. The food was good, service was not bad, and the ambiance was nice. If you prefer quiet dining, come early. We got there around 6:30 and it was very pleasant, by the time we left at 8:30 it was very loud.

Visited May 2013
Thank MaxineInVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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