Virginia Beach is known for the famous King Neptune statue, fantastic festivals, maritime history, and of course, fabulous seafood restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a heavy brunch, lunch, drinks, or dinner, read on to find out some of our favorite seafood restaurants in Virginia Beach you need to try.
*note: I even contacted some local seafood enthusiasts (okay, they’re just my friends) to see which places are their favorites and why!
What Are the Best Seafood Restaurants in Virginia Beach Near the Oceanfront?
The Virginia Beach Oceanfront has been a well-loved destination for both tourists and locals since the early 1900s. If there’s one thing we know how to do right, it’s seafood. Check out some of our favorite places for the best seafood restaurants in Virginia Beach.
Chix on the Beach
Here, you’ll find a beachfront casual dining experience with fantastic seafood, American eats with a full bar, and indoor-outdoor seating. Try one of their signature cocktails like the Orange Crush–a Virginia Beach staple. Their menu has plenty of local classics like the Surf N’ Turf Shrimp Tacos, the Atlantic Feast of jumbo shrimp, a jumbo lump crab cake, and fried fresh fish.
If you’re craving some Hawaiian favorites, Aloha Snacks has some of the best tuna poke in town! You’ll also find staples like ramen, burgers & other Hawaiian-style eats. In 2019, head chef Jesse Wykle was featured on Bobby Flay’s television competition, Beat Bobby Flay. We won’t reveal whether he did, in fact, beat Bobby Flay, but we will say his inclusion in the competition is a testament to his expertise and talent. I highly recommend the “tropical shrimp stacker” with crispy shrimp tempura cooked to perfection with plenty of tuna sashimi and sticky rice with sweet mango sauce, honey, and sriracha.
Whether you’re in the mood for a breakfast seafood Rockefeller omelet or some pan-seared sea bass at dinner, Mahi Mah’s has extensive offerings taking you from day to late night. While their seafood is delicious, most locals come out for their fun nightlife with live bands and local musicians every week.
Waterman’s Surfside Grille
Listen to the waves crashing as you dine at this true oceanfront staple right off Atlantic Avenue. What started as a small 60’s night club has now evolved into a classic American eatery where you can order seafood fare with a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks! If you’re staying at the oceanfront, you won’t have to travel far for great food, drinks, and vibes. I recommend the “painkiller” cocktail, crabby fries, or the fried seafood platter.
Although it’s one of the newer restaurants on the list, Orion’s Roof has already proved itself as a local favorite. While their Asian fusion cuisine and craft cocktails are certainly a highlight worth mentioning, what really makes this spot worth your time is the incredible rooftop views of the beautiful Cavalier Hotel and oceanfront. Try the fresh local catch or one of their specialty rolls. You really can’t go wrong at Orion’s Roof!
The Atlantic on Pacific
This local hot spot is a raw oyster/craft cocktail bar right in the heart of Virginia Beach’s oceanfront scene. A quick walk from lots of high-end Oceanfront hotels, you can get fresh seafood and creative cocktails just steps away from where you’re staying. Maria Meacher, a local chef who has worked for several restaurants in the Vibe District, sings its praises: “it never disappoints (with) happy hour and all-around great food.” Another local, Mandy Poe, recommends the lobster mac-n-cheese and says she loves their tapas-style portions.
This has been my family’s go-to seafood restaurant for decades. Their outdoor patio dining includes rocking tables right on the Rudee Inlet, so you can see exactly where your food comes from. My personal favorite is a pound of fresh, steamed shrimp covered in Old Bay or one of their crab cake sandwiches (with a side of sweet potato fries). If you’re looking for family-friendly activities in the area, check out Rudee Tours, where you can head out on the water to see some whales or dolphins!
The sister restaurant to famous breakfast spot “Doc Taylor’s,” this uniquely preserved 1920’s beach cottage provides patrons a glimpse of the area’s maritime past while enjoying some of today’s finest seafood fare. You can get one of my favorite shrimp dishes —shrimp and grits. Not only that, you can get delicious dishes like sage and cornmeal-coated catfish, scallops Barca, and crabcake sandwiches. Don’t forget one of their decadent desserts–the famous bread pudding!
Big Sam’s Grill and Raw Bar
This place is a storied eatery and bar with tiki decor serving fish, burgers, and other American eats all day long. Here, you’ll get classic diner-style short-order foodservice done exactly right. If you’re looking for wings, shrimp, drinks, and a good time, Big Sam’s should be top of your list because it’s definitely at the top of the list for the locals.
Virginia Beach Seafood Restaurants in the Shore Drive Area
While the oceanfront is known for its fantastic seafood and nightlife, if you travel on Shore Drive up the coast toward Norfolk, you’ll find lots of low-key local hangouts that serve up undeniably stellar seafood straight from the Chesapeake Bay.
Bubba’s Crabhouse and Seafood Restaurant
Bubba’s brings you some of the best and freshest seafood available on the Virginia Eastern Shore. It retains something of the old Virginia Beach rusticity in ambiance with heavenly food and good desserts. Local seafood-lover Lindsay Bennett emphasized how tasty their scallops are, and I definitely agree.
This beautifully-decorated spot with locations on Shore Drive and off of Laskin Road is sure to have what you’re looking for. Bay Local is home to some unique brunch menu options, like my personal favorite appetizers, the “banging balls” (crab balls with plenty of cheese), and the bay parmesan, spinach, and crab dip.
Chick’s Oyster Bar
If you’re looking for the true Virginia Beach “vibes,” then Chick’s pretty much sums it up. This laid-back hangout with great marina views has rustic clam shack vibes. Later in the evening, Chick’s has a bit more of a bar feel and a younger, more lively crowd. You may want to save this one for an occasion when you can leave the kiddos at home or with a babysitter at the hotel.
The Back Deck
This low-key restaurant located right on the Lynnhaven inlet is one of my friend group’s go-to hangouts. When my friend Nathalie moved to Virginia Beach from New York, she said the Back Deck stood out as the front-runner for a few reasons: the fish tacos, relaxed atmosphere, beautiful sunsets, outdoor dining, good drink specials, and prime people-watching. Another local, Mariel Kondas, recommends the fresh tuna salad. They’re well-known for their killer flatbreads, too.
This low-key eatery & market on the inlet is known for casual, local seafood, pasta, steak, and dockside seating. I highly recommend the bay-fried oysters or fried jumbo shrimp. If you’re looking for fresh-caught seafood that you can cook yourself, their market has plenty of fresh fish and other seasonal bites! You can even charter a fishing trip with Dockside if you’re in the mood to catch your own dinner!
Surf Rider Grill
This marina-based member of a local chain is known for casual seafood dining, a full bar & outdoor seating. Their “world famous crab cake” pretty much speaks for itself. Try the Chesapeake Bay Burger; it’s topped with half of a crab cake and cheese…are you hungry yet? Surf Rider has several locations, and the Marina Shores seasonally closes during the winter but reopens in April. However, you can still visit their East Beach location!
The Best Seafood Restaurants in Virginia Beach All Over the City
In Virginia’s largest city, you’ll find every kind of seafood restaurant you can imagine. You’ll find passionate chefs and restauranteurs who love to use the region’s fresh, local ingredients no matter where you go.
Margie and Ray’s Crabhouse
If you’re looking for blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay, Margie and Ray’s is a local legend. Steamed blue crabs headline the local catch at this down-home excellent seafood spot with a chill, rustic bar. Try any of the seafood platters, she-crab soup, and don’t forget a slice of chocolate pie for dessert!
Just minutes from the Back Bay National Wildlife Sanctuary, Blue Pete’s has been a family-owned restaurant operated by the Cleanthes family since 2011. Their love for the Pungo area, good people, great food, and the country lifestyle is evident in their commitment to making Blue Pete’s a place for locals and visitors to come together and enjoy themselves in a relaxed and natural setting. Try the Loaded Lobster Bowl or Back Bay Breakfast!
Here you’ll find American dining & cocktails in a rustic 1939 building with a heated patio & old-school vibe. When you go to Steinhilber’s, you’ll be taken care of by their highly-knowledgeable wait staff. If you’re looking for a romantic dinner spot where you can hide away for a quiet evening with raw oysters, white wine, and unique high-end seafood dishes, Steinhilbers is unbeatable.
Want to eat seafood with the locals? You don’t get more of a low-key hometown diner feel than this stop off Laskin Road. There’s a reason you’ll see the dining room filled with regulars! Diners love the Oysters Rockefeller, crab cakes, the soft shell crab sandwich, and of course, the friendly staff.
Nestled in the heart of the Great Neck area (my old stomping grounds), Coastal Grill is well-loved for its high-end dining, perfect for business dinners, romantic dates, and any fancy occasion you see fit to celebrate. Not only is their seafood incredible, but they also have a great wine list!
Who Has the Best Virginia Beach Seafood? Find Out for Yourself!
Which of these Virginia Beach seafood restaurants are you most excited to try? With seafood that’s sourced right from local waters, you know you’re getting the best! Don’t forget to leave a great review if you love what you find!