Given its location on the southern edge of Chesapeake Bay in the Atlantic Ocean, it stands to reason that Virginia Beach would be synonymous with fresh and delicious seafood. For centuries, the Chesapeake Bay area has been the source of delicacies like Lynnhaven oysters, blue soft-shell crabs and rockfish.
The Visit Virginia Beach website notes that the bay’s rich waters, along with the hundreds of coves that wind through the city, provide a seemingly endless supply of great seafood. Today, dozens of restaurants in the area Southern Virginia cities showcase their oceanfront location in venues that range from fun waterfront cafes to stylish dining establishments.
Some of my favorite dishes on a recent trip to Virginia Beach were the crab soup, the succulent crab cakes with chopped crabs, and the sushi creations made with local ingredients. I found that the restaurants all along the famous Virginia Beach Boardwalk, as well as places in the Chesapeake Bay area to the north and the Rudee Inlet area to the south, served up delicious variations of all the local favorites. .
Regardless of your favorite seafood, there is definitely a restaurant on the beach that serves it as a specialty. Here are seven of the great places to try seafood in Virginia Beach.
My trip was organized by the Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau, but my opinions are mine.
1. The Steinhilber restaurant
A Virginia Beach staple since 1939, Steinhilber’s Restaurant is known as the oldest family-owned restaurant in Virginia Beach and is also home to one of the community’s most famous dishes: Jumbo Fantail Fried Shrimp with its signature remoulade-style sauce.
Don’t be surprised if you hear about the shrimp dish before you’ve even had a chance to visit the iconic restaurant; it is a well known local favorite which was featured in the local newspaper. While the large, crispy golden prawns live up to the hype, they are far from the only dish worth trying at Steinhilber’s. Other delicious appetizers include the mix of fries with squid, prawns and cherry peppers, as well as the crab soup made with sherry.
Steinhilber’s is also known for its seafood specialties like East Coast oysters, grilled tuna, and sautéed crab cake, as well as a great selection of steaks and chicken.
Housed in a sprawling building in the Thalia neighborhood of Virginia Beach, Steinhilber’s is bordered by a large, manicured lawn that leads to the Lynnhaven River – all serving as a worthy backdrop to the stellar menu.
Pro tip: For a wonderful al fresco dining option, ask to be seated on Steinhilber’s large patio which features fire pits, string lights, and water views.
2. Waterman’s Surfside Grid
Another Virginia Beach staple is at Waterman’s Surfside Grille, located along the 3 mile long boardwalk and a short walk from the sandy beach that faces the Atlantic Ocean.
Waterman’s has been a mainstay of the beach for over 40 years, serving up favorites like the rich bisque known as crab soup and crab sandwiches, which make for a hearty and tasty lunch.
Or for something lighter, consider the great choice of salads, including the endless summer salad made with greens, mango, jicama, feta, red pepper, almonds, avocado and pickled onion, or the salad of Greek salmon composed of blackened or grilled salmon, romaine, kalamata olives, tomatoes, pickled onions, feta, cucumbers, capers, banana peppers and grilled pita.
For dinner, Waterman’s is famous for its seafood selections like local chunk crab cakes or the Imperial Virginia Crab Classic, a rich and creamy crab dish.
Pro tip: If an orange cocktail is on your Virginia Beach favorites list to try, Waterman’s is the place to do it. According to the restaurant’s menu, Waterman’s has been serving their original crush of freshly squeezed orange juice, orange vodka, triple sec and a touch of Sprite since the family restaurant opened in 1981.
3. Mahi’s Seafood & Sushi
Billed as the rebirth of an iconic Virginia Beach restaurant, Mahi’s Seafood and Sushi now operates from the DoubleTree by Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront along the south end of the boardwalk.
The new take on the place that was known as a local favorite for over 2 decades, Mahi still offers fresh fish, local oysters and the restaurant’s famous crab cakes. Along with a huge selection of sushi, the menu also includes a number of seafood entrees such as the Shrimp Cocktail, Rockefeller Fried Oysters, and Crab Shrimp Dip.
Choices for lunch and dinner include seafood classics like Seared Mahi, Lobster Mac and Cheese, and Giant Crab Cake, as well as a range of sushi selections such as tuna, salmon or yellowtail sashimi.
Pro tip: Mahi’s has a refreshing outdoor patio that overlooks the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean.
4. The Atlantic on the Pacific
Offering a small plate menu and an upscale raw bar, The Atlantic on Pacific is known as the perfect place for a romantic dinner for two. The Atlantic on Pacific bills itself as an oyster and artisanal cocktail bar located in the heart of Virginia Beach’s waterfront.
The restaurant celebrates seafood from the east and west coasts and strives to support local and regional fishermen, crabbers, oyster farmers, farmers and producers.
Raw Atlantic sea bass is the undisputed star of the show, featuring seafood groupings such as The Bay with oysters, clams, snow crab clusters, prawns and lobster tails, as well as Carolina peeled and eaten shrimp and raw or steamed shrimp. clams. A variety of savory sauces like hot Atlantic sauce, traditional mignonette, pomegranate mignonette, and green curry and coconut sauce are also available.
The menu also includes roasted oysters, crab cakes, steamed green curry mussels, and Virginia blue crab hushpuppies.
Pro tip: In addition to its seafood choices, The Atlantic offers an extensive wine list and a menu of creative cocktails such as a ‘new fashion’ with bourbon, amaretto, lemon, cherries, marmalade. of orange and bitters, or the “Johnny Appleseed” with Irish whiskey. , apple cider, lemon, ginger beer and spicy vanilla.
5. Restaurant and marina at the quayside
Presented as a true family restaurant, the Dockside Restaurant and Marina is the perfect place for a relaxing alfresco meal of peeled and eaten shrimp, raw oysters or freshly caught specialties grilled, charred, fried or stuffed with meat. crab.
Dockside, which is located in Lynnhaven Inlet in the Chesapeake Bay district, is known for its unparalleled freshness. For something special, try the raw sea bass which offers steamed jumbo shrimp, steamed clams, and East Coast or Lynnhaven oysters served on a half-shell or steamed. Dockside also has some great value sunset specials like a crab cake platter, half a pound of steamed shrimp, or a salmon platter served with fries and seafood. coleslaw.
Pro tip: Along with its restaurant, the Dockside is also a fishing hub offering fishing trips, bay cruises and a seafood market.
6. Orion’s roof
Orion’s Rooftop, perched 183 feet above the Atlantic Ocean in the Marriott Oceanfront, showcases not only the beautiful beachfront setting, but local seafood as well. Emphasizing Asian fusion, the menu offers everything from Asian street food and sushi to wok specialties and fresh fish dishes.
The view is breathtaking and the cuisine lives up to the setting. Highlights include crab cake, served with a small arugula and Asian tartar sauce, special sushi rolls like maki my radish with salmon, tuna, crabmeat, avocado and green onion, and local redfish. toasted with grated daikon, soy, ponzu, sesame cream and toasted rice ball.
Pro tip: In addition to its lunch and dinner offerings, Orion’s Roof also has a late night menu with savory bites like grilled yakitori chicken skewers, a spicy tuna roll and a grilled corn elote with spicy chili, aioli. with wasabi, cotija cheese and fresh lime.
7. The Rockafeller restaurant
Located at the end of scenic Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, Rockafeller’s Restaurant has served ocean views and fresh seafood for over 30 years.
The family-run establishment works with fishermen, oyster farmers and farmers to source fresh, local foods. It specializes in regional specialties such as crab soup, Virginia oysters on the half-shell, and crab cakes.
Highlights are the crab cakes served on a bed of rice and topped with a tarragon corn relish and habanero cream sauce, the shrimp and crab quesadilla filled with shrimp, crab, baby spinach, cream cheese and onions; and signature crab and shrimp hush puppies made Southern style and served with a chili dip.
Pro tip: Rockafeller’s has a weekend brunch that features seafood specialties such as a seafood omelet filled with scallops, shrimp, tomatoes and green onions, and topped with homemade Hollandaise sauce and eggs. Crab Benedict.
For more information on things to do in Virginia Beach, see Beautiful Virginia Beach: Best Places to Eat, Stay, and Play. Or for off-season things to do, check out How to Spend a Fall Weekend in Charming Virginia Beach.