Virginia Beach's Top Seafood Restaurants: A Local's Guide

Dive into a local's guide to the best seafood in Virginia Beach, where fresh catches and oceanfront views combine to offer a dining experience that's as authentic as it is delicious.

11/30/20237 min read

a restaurant with a view of the water
a restaurant with a view of the water

Calling all seafood lovers! If you find yourself in Virginia Beach, you're in for a treat. With its stunning coastline and rich seafood scene, this vibrant city offers a plethora of dining options to satisfy even the most discerning palate. Whether you're a local or visiting from out of town, this comprehensive guide will take you on a culinary journey through Virginia Beach's top seafood restaurants. From understanding the importance of seafood in the area to exploring unique seafood experiences and discovering tips for enjoying the best flavors, we've got you covered. So, grab your appetite and let's dive in!

Understanding Virginia Beach's Seafood Scene

Known for its coastal location and thriving fishing industry, Virginia Beach has a deep-rooted connection to seafood. The abundance of fresh catches from the nearby Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean has shaped the local cuisine and made seafood an integral part of the city's culinary heritage.

Virginia Beach's seafood scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavors and traditions that reflect the city's coastal charm. From the bustling docks where fishermen unload their daily catch to the local seafood markets brimming with the freshest offerings, the city is a haven for seafood lovers.

The Importance of Seafood in Virginia Beach

In Virginia Beach, seafood isn't just another menu option – it's a way of life. The city's love affair with seafood goes beyond mere sustenance; it is deeply intertwined with the community's history and culture. Generations of families have relied on the fishing industry for their livelihoods, passing down traditional fishing techniques and recipes from one generation to the next.

Seafood plays a significant role in the city's social fabric as well. From family gatherings to special occasions, residents and visitors alike flock to seafood restaurants to indulge in the flavors of the sea. The tantalizing aroma of freshly grilled fish and the crackling sound of steamed crabs create an atmosphere that is uniquely Virginia Beach.

Moreover, the fishing industry in Virginia Beach not only supports local businesses but also contributes to the area's cultural identity. The city takes pride in its hardworking fishermen and the sustainable practices they employ to ensure the longevity of the seafood industry. The commitment to responsible fishing practices has earned Virginia Beach a reputation as a leader in seafood sustainability.

Popular Seafood Dishes in Virginia Beach

When it comes to seafood in Virginia Beach, the options are endless. The city's culinary scene boasts a wide array of delectable seafood dishes that cater to every palate.

One of the must-try dishes in Virginia Beach is the succulent crab cake. Made with locally sourced blue crab meat, these golden-brown patties are a true delicacy. The combination of tender crab meat, aromatic herbs, and a hint of Old Bay seasoning creates a flavor explosion that will leave you craving for more.

If you're in the mood for a taste of Southern comfort, don't miss out on trying the famous shrimp and grits. This classic dish features plump, juicy shrimp cooked to perfection and served over a bed of creamy, stone-ground grits. The rich flavors and contrasting textures make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

No exploration of Virginia Beach's seafood scene would be complete without savoring a bowl of She-Crab Soup. This creamy delight is made with blue crab meat, a touch of sherry, and a blend of aromatic spices. The result is a velvety soup that is both comforting and indulgent.

And of course, no visit to Virginia Beach would be complete without savoring a plate of fresh, steamed blue crabs. These iconic creatures of the sea are a true delicacy, and cracking open their shells to reveal the succulent meat inside is an experience that seafood enthusiasts cherish. Whether enjoyed with friends at a crab feast or savored in the privacy of your own home, steamed blue crabs are a quintessential part of the Virginia Beach seafood experience.

a chef in a restaurant preparing food
a chef in a restaurant preparing food
Criteria for Choosing the Top Seafood Restaurants

With so many exceptional seafood restaurants to choose from, it can be a challenge to narrow down your options. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting the top spots:

Quality of Seafood

The freshness and quality of the seafood are paramount in determining the best seafood restaurants. Look for establishments that source their ingredients locally, ensuring that each bite bursts with flavor and freshness.

When it comes to seafood, nothing beats the taste of a perfectly cooked lobster or a succulent shrimp. The top seafood restaurants take great pride in sourcing their seafood from local fishermen, ensuring that only the freshest catches make it to your plate. From the briny oysters harvested from the nearby Chesapeake Bay to the sweet and tender crab meat pulled from the Atlantic Ocean, these restaurants go above and beyond to provide you with the highest quality seafood.

Not only do they focus on the freshness of the seafood, but they also pay attention to the way it is prepared and cooked. From expertly grilled fish to delicately steamed clams, these restaurants have mastered the art of bringing out the natural flavors of the sea. Every bite is a taste sensation, leaving you craving for more.

Ambiance and Location

While the food takes center stage, ambiance, and location are also essential in creating an unforgettable dining experience. Whether you prefer a waterfront view, a cozy and intimate atmosphere, or a lively downtown vibe, Virginia Beach has a range of options to suit every mood.

Imagine dining in a charming seaside restaurant, where the sound of waves crashing against the shore provides a soothing soundtrack to your meal. The salty breeze gently caresses your skin as you savor each bite of your perfectly grilled fish. The ambiance transports you to a world of relaxation and tranquility, making your dining experience truly memorable.

For those seeking a more lively atmosphere, Virginia Beach offers a vibrant downtown scene with seafood restaurants that are buzzing with energy. The lively chatter of fellow diners, the clinking of glasses, and the laughter that fills the air create an electric atmosphere that adds to the enjoyment of your meal. Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or simply enjoying a night out with friends, these restaurants provide the perfect backdrop for a fun and lively dining experience.

Customer Service and Reviews

No dining experience is complete without exceptional customer service. Pay attention to the reviews and recommendations from locals and tourists alike. Seek out restaurants with a stellar reputation for providing friendly and attentive service.

When you walk into a top seafood restaurant in Virginia Beach, you are greeted with warm smiles and a genuine desire to make your dining experience unforgettable. The staff are knowledgeable about the menu and are more than happy to offer recommendations based on your preferences. From the moment you step through the door to the moment you leave, you are treated like a valued guest.

Don't just take our word for it, listen to what others have to say. Locals and tourists alike rave about the impeccable service they receive at these top seafood restaurants. From the friendly waitstaff who go above and beyond to ensure your needs are met, to the attentive managers who personally check on each table, the customer service at these establishments is second to none.

Exploring Virginia Beach's Top Seafood Restaurants

Now that you know what to look for in a top seafood restaurant, let's dive into some of the best dining destinations in Virginia Beach:

High-End Seafood Restaurants

For an upscale dining experience, head to Ocean Eddies Seafood Grill located in the heart of the city. With its elegant ambiance, attentive service, and delectable dishes such as grilled lobster tail and seared scallops, it's a must-visit for seafood connoisseurs.

Mid-Range Seafood Restaurants

If you're seeking a balance between quality and affordability, check out Sunset Grille nestled along the boardwalk. Serving up generous portions of fried shrimp, oysters Rockefeller, and steamed clams, it's the perfect spot to satisfy your seafood cravings without breaking the bank.

Budget-Friendly Seafood Restaurants

For those on a shoestring budget, look no further than Salty's Seafood Shack situated in a charming neighborhood. Indulge in their famous fish tacos, crab cake sandwiches, and creamy clam chowder – all at prices that won't leave a dent in your wallet.

a restaurant with a large window and a ceiling fan
a restaurant with a large window and a ceiling fan
Unique Seafood Experiences in Virginia Beach

In addition to traditional dining, Virginia Beach offers some unique seafood experiences:

Seafood Markets and Festivals

Immerse yourself in the local seafood culture by visiting one of Virginia Beach's bustling seafood markets. Explore stalls teeming with fresh catches and get a glimpse into the vibrant fishing industry. Don't miss the annual Seafood Festival, where local vendors showcase their mouthwatering creations.

Seafood Cooking Classes

Take your love for seafood to the next level by enrolling in a seafood cooking class. Learn from expert chefs who will teach you how to prepare mouthwatering dishes using the freshest local ingredients. It's an interactive and educational experience that will impress your friends and family back home.

Tips for Enjoying Seafood in Virginia Beach

To fully enjoy the flavors of Virginia Beach's seafood scene, keep these tips in mind:

Best Times to Visit Seafood Restaurants

As a popular tourist destination, Virginia Beach can get crowded during peak hours. To avoid long waits and secure the best dining experience, consider visiting seafood restaurants during off-peak times, such as weekdays or early evenings.

Seafood Pairings with Local Beverages

Enhance your seafood experience by pairing it with local beverages. Opt for a refreshing local craft beer or a crisp glass of Virginia wine to complement the flavors of your favorite seafood dishes.

Sustainable Seafood Practices in Virginia Beach

Support restaurants that prioritize sustainable seafood practices. By choosing restaurants that source their ingredients responsibly, you're not only enjoying a delicious meal but also contributing to the conservation of marine resources.


Your seafood adventure awaits in Virginia Beach! From understanding the importance of seafood in the area to exploring the top seafood restaurants and indulging in unique culinary experiences, you're in for a treat. So, grab your fork and embark on a flavorsome journey throughout this vibrant coastal city. Whether you're dining at a high-end establishment or savoring budget-friendly dishes, Virginia Beach's seafood scene has something to satisfy every seafood lover. Discover the rich flavors, embrace the local culture, and create unforgettable memories. Dive into the delectable world of Virginia Beach's top seafood restaurants today!