Top 12 Best Seafood Restaurants in Virginia Beach

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Blessed with prime access to the bountiful Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach unsurprisingly houses several standout seafood restaurants always stocked with phenomenally fresh catches. Beyond sublime local oysters, rockfish and blue crabs, menus reflect various regional preparation styles and global influences as well thanks to the city’s deserved reputation as a premier culinary destination.

Restaurant NameSpecialty
Catch 31Fresh fish and seafood with ocean views.
Waterman’s Surfside GrilleSignature crab soup and oceanfront dining.
Blue Seafood & SpiritsSpiced shrimp and locally sourced dishes.
Tautog’s RestaurantCozy atmosphere with diverse seafood menu.
Rockafeller’s RestaurantSeafood platters and waterfront seating.
The AtlanticUpscale dining with innovative seafood.
Dockside Seafood & Fishing CenterFresh catch and marina views.
Mahi Mah’s Seafood Restaurant & Sushi SaloonSushi and seafood with beachside vibes.
Rudee’s on the InletSeafood favorites and dockside dining.
Lynnhaven Fish HousePanoramic bay views and oyster specialties.
Captain George’s Seafood RestaurantAll-you-can-eat seafood buffet.
Chix on the BeachCasual beachfront seafood and live music.

The following 12 seafood restaurants selected as Virginia Beach’s finest not only boast perfectly cooked entrees, but also deliver exceptional overall dining experiences through savvy presentation, waterfront settings plus signature cocktails and wines expertly paired to heighten briny flavors.

Waterman’s Surfside Grille

Name and Location: Waterman’s Surfside Grille is a popular casual beachfront restaurant located at 415 Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach, right on the oceanfront boardwalk.

History and Significance: Family-owned and operated since 1989, Waterman’s Surfside Grille has been serving fresh, hearty meals and tropical drinks for over 30 years to visitors enjoying the beach and lively Va Beach boardwalk atmosphere.

What to Expect: The menu features seafood classics like fish tacos, shrimp po’ boys and crab cakes alongside bar food staples like wings, burgers and nachos. A beachfront deck offers al fresco dining with boardwalk people watching.

Visitor Information: Open year-round from 11am daily. Indoor and outdoor patio seating available. Takeout orders welcomed. Happy hour specials run 3-6pm on weekdays with deals on appetizers and cocktails.

Frequently noted as the best seafood restaurant in Virginia Beach, Waterman’s charms guests with a lively upscale sports bar ambiance directly overlooking scenic Rudee Inlet. While all the regular bar fare classics receive praise, make no mistake – seafood rules the menu starring jumbo lump crab cakes with rémoulade sauce taking top honors as a signature must-try specialty.

Fried platters brimming with buttery tender shrimp, calamari, scallops and flounder keep landing on tables while grilled catches like citrus glazed salmon, sesame crusted tuna and Hawaiian swordfish satisfy sophisticated palates. Happy hour features phenomenal deals on oysters sold for just $1 each ensuring patrons enjoy only the freshest local varieties while taking in million dollar sunsets over the marina.

Dockside Seafood House

Name and Location: Dockside Seafood House is located along Shore Drive at 3102 Shore Drive in Virginia Beach, overlooking scenic Broad Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel leading to Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

History and Significance: For over 25 years, Dockside has been considered one of the top seafood restaurants in Virginia Beach, serving the freshest local catches in a rustic maritime setting with amazing water views.

What to Expect: Visitors can savor crab cakes, oysters, clam steamers, fried shrimp platters and daily fish specials, paired with house cocktails. Live music performs nightly during summer on their backyard deck.

Visitor Information: Dockside serves lunch and dinner from 11am daily, closing at 10pm Sunday-Thursday and 11pm on weekends. Reservations recommended, especially for waterside seating.

Centrally located where Atlantic Avenue meets the Cape Henry boardwalk, Dockside Seafood Housecouples optimal convenience with extraordinary Chesapeake Bay bounty thanks to an owner who also operates a local oyster farm and fleet of fishing boats. Guests seated along floor to ceiling windows admire yachts swaying on the docks while indulging in fried, broiled, grilled and steamed specialties harvested straight from nearby waters.

Beyond a raw bar piled high with clams, mussels and oysters perfect for slurping down naked or as shooters, menu highlights include she-crab soup, jumbo lump crab imperial stuffed flounder and braised whole rockfish delicately herb crusted served alongside fresh caught crab and hearty sides to match hearty appetites. Live bands keep energized vibes rocking suited to such a lively scene.

Citrus

Name and Location: Citrus Restaurant is a fine dining establishment specializing in seasonal American cuisine located within the Marriott Residence Inn at 3217 Atlantic Avenue in the popular 31st Street area of Virginia Beach.

History and Significance: Led by Executive Chef Ian Lykins since 2018, Citrus has developed a reputation for culinary excellence, earning awards and praise as one of Virginia Beach’s top upscale restaurants blending southern coastal flavors and refined techniques.

What to Expect: The contemporary menu highlights regional ingredients through entrées like Chesapeake rockfish or Airline chicken breast with local vegetables and thoughtfully-crafted sides. An extensive wine list complements the dishes.

Visitor Information: Citrus serves dinner nightly, with brunch offerings added on weekends. Reservations strongly recommended. Valet parking available at the hotel entrance. Attire is business casual.

Touted as the best hotel restaurant in Virginia Beach, Citrusdelights with refined preparations masterfully presented inside the elegant Hilton location. The menu carefully balances classic regional dishes like jumbo lump crab cakes and fried oyster po’ boy sandwiches alongside creative seasonal plates taking cues from various coastal cuisines found worldwide.

Examples include lobster and white truffle flatbread, Mexican style shrimp ceviche with mango salsa and pan fried barramundi fillets in brown butter caper sauce. Drop in during daily happy hours to take advantage of half priced shucked oysters and rotating craft cocktail specials or come for Sunday brunch when a decadent seafood buffet overflows with cakes, roes and shellfish awaiting diners armed with plates ready to pile sky high.

Blue Seafood & Spirits

Name and Location: Blue Seafood & Spirits is a casual neighborhood seafood eatery situated mid-city at 2301 Parks Avenue in Virginia Beach, within close proximity to both the oceanfront and bayfront sections of the resort city.

History and Significance: Opened originally as Blue Pete’s in 1985, the restaurant has offered fresh local Virginia seafood prepared New Orleans’ style for almost 40 years now, earning a local following for dishes like gumbo ya ya, jambalaya pasta, and build-your-own po’ boys.

What to Expect: Daily catches like tuna, mahi and salmon join classics like fried oysters or shrimp and grits on the eclectic menu accented by Cajun spices and flavors. House Hurricanes provide the signature cocktail. Live music performs weekend nights.

Visitor Information: Blue serves lunch and dinner from 11am daily, closing at 10pm Monday-Thursday, 11pm weekends. Moderate pricing with daily happy hour from 3-6pm featuring deals on appetizers and drinks.

Another renowned player found along crowded Laskin Road’s abundant restaurant row, Blue Seafood & Spirits sets itself apart through phenomenal happy hour specials running extensive. Oysters flow from the raw bar at just 50 cents apiece and clams go for a single dollar paired with discounted drinks like signature crushes featuring freshly muddled fruit.

Beyond bargain bar bites, full priced entrees shine as well especially sausage and lobster stuffed shrimp swimming in savory tomato basil cream sauce. Shellfish towers make deciding impossible unnecessary since these towering platters contain selections of clams, mussels, shrimp and fresh regional oysters ideal for sampling multiple briny delights from local waters in one celebratory presentation.

Steinhilbers

Name and Location: Steinhilbers is an old-fashioned delicatessen, bakery and restaurant located in Thalia Acres at 2134 General Booth Boulevard serving Virginia Beach for over 70 years.

History and Significance: Founded by German immigrant Bill Steinhilber in 1952, the family business has spanned three generations as a beloved neighborhood market and gathering place, gaining particular renown for authentic German foods and freshly-baked breads, pastries and cakes.

What to Expect: In addition to take-home specialty foods, Steinhilbers serves hearty sandwiches, soups and salads daily for dine-in lunch alongside bakery cases filled with European tortes, strudels and other signature baked sweets. Breakfast offerings and German dinner specials added seasonally.

Visitor Information: Steinhilbers is open 8am to 6pm Tuesday through Saturday year-round, adding seasonal Sunday-Monday hours. Modest counter-service pricing with special kids’ menu available. Phone orders welcomed for bakery items or custom cakes.

In business for over 40 years Regel and Steinhilbers owns bragging rights as Virginia Beach’s oldest seafood establishment. What began as a mom and pop carrying on family fishing traditions grew into the ultimate neighborhood eatery filled with regulars craving flawlessly fried platters, generous sandwiches and scratch-made chowders and soups utilizing recipes perfected through generations.

While the humble atmosphere and decor seem capped in a prior era, focus remains squarely on serving up the city’s freshest catches cooked to crispy yet somehow still juicy perfection then splashed with housemade tartar sauce that keeps devotees returning frequently to indulge cravings unable satiated elsewhere. On weekends lines often snake outside attesting this gem withstanding tests of time continues charming new generations through consistent tried and true preparations.

Rockafeller’s

Name and Location: Rockafeller’s Restaurant is an upscale surf and turf establishment situated within the historic Cavalier Hotel at 4200 Atlantic Avenue overlooking the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

History and Significance: Originally opened in 1965 within the iconic Cavalier on the Hill hotel, Rockafeller’s has been revitalized after the historic property’s recent restoration, continuing its signature blend of exceptional service, seafood and steaks befitting its luxury quarters.

What to Expect: The sophisticated menu includes seafood towers, crab cakes, fine cuts of meat, and an extensive raw bar alongside craft cocktails and highly-curated wine selections, served amidst rich wood-paneled rooms evoking the grand hotel’s storied pedigree.

Visitor Information: Reservations strongly recommended. Smart casual attire required. Valet parking available through the hotel entrance. A dress code applies after 7 PM. Open Tuesday through Sunday 5 to 10 PM.

Another enduring Virginia Beach classic restaurant overlooking scenic Rudee Inlet, Rockafeller’s offers views of fishing boats unloading bounty soon starring on carefully crafted plates inside this expansive two story establishment. Gorge on jumbo fried shrimp, tender steam pots overflowing with salty Old Bay seasoning or go bold scooping their phenomenal lump crab imperial baked blissfully with three cheeses into waiting mouths.

It being the house specialty and all, don’t miss happy hour when their oversized spicy Diablo Rockafellers oysters get shucked for just $1.50 alongside extended drink specials as the sunset over the bay transitions into lively evening energy both inside and out on the bustling boardwalk just steps past the entry.

Tautog’s

Name and Location: Tautog’s Restaurant & Pub is situated along the Lynnhaven Inlet at 1516 Starfish Road in the Bay Island neighborhood of southern Virginia Beach, offering casual waterfront dining with a beachy vibe.

History and Significance: Family-owned and operated since 1992, Tautog’s has built a loyal local following over three decades for hearty, homemade comfort foods, island cocktails, and live entertainment, welcoming guests like a “Cheers” bar where everyone feels like friends.

What to Expect: Expect super fresh seafood dishes alongside American pub grub favorites served in a laid-back environment with tiki decor and regular live reggae music outside on the bayfront deck once the weather turns warm.

Visitor Information: Tautog’s serves lunch and dinner daily from 11am-2am, with happy hour specials weekdays 3-6pm. Reservations not accepted given the small size and popularity. Arrive early on show nights.

mFamilies soon discover kids love visiting Tautog’s nearly as much as adults thanks to casual surroundings boosted by an on-site confectionery churning out salt water taffy in wild flavors like banana split and s’mores from viewing windows inside the sweet shop. Parents meanwhile indulge in mind blowing scratch made chowder stuffed to bursting with clams and potatoes then dripping in melted cheese and smoky bacon bits on top because portion sizes run generously here always.

Catering to families makes sense given co-owner Michael standing as a longtime Virginia Beach fishing boat captain ensuring the vessels he helms supply only the best rockfish, tuna and mahi mahi that later lands on guests plates either blackened, bronzed or ginger glazed then served alongside drool inducing sides like cheesy grits and hushpuppies so addictive diners often request bags to go.

Lynnhaven Fish House

Name and Location: Lynnhaven Fish House is located at 2350 Starfish Road in Virginia Beach alongside the scenic Lynnhaven Inlet, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay.

History and Significance: Family owned and operated since 1978, Lynnhaven Fish House has spanned over 40 years as a local staple for the freshest seasonal seafood sourced straight from Virginia’s bountiful waterways and expertly prepared, paired with panoramic water views.

What to Expect: A daily rotating menu dictated by each day’s catch joins signature dishes like she crab soup, charbroiled oysters and jumbo lump crab cakes, enjoyed on the waterview deck or inside the warmly nautical dining rooms.

Visitor Information: Lynnhaven Fish House serves lunch and dinner seven days a week year-round, closing at 9pm Sunday-Thursday and 10pm on Friday/Saturday. Reservations are strongly recommended, especially for outdoor deck seating.

Ask locals where to find the best crab cakes and they undoubtedly point visitors towards Lynnhaven Fish House. This immensely popular casual eatery actually operates four locations across Virginia Beach yet first timers best visit the original on shore drive flaunting a glassed-in patio overlooking waterfront docks. Authentically prepared dishes star on a straightforward menu offering fried seafood platters and po’boys along with flawless broiled and blackened dishes for lighter alternatives.

However most tables inevitably hold orders for plate sized house specialty crab cakes, ideally the all lump meat version which gets deferred to as “heart-attack on a plate” though worth every indulgent calorie especially when dollops of rémoulard sauce supply tangy kicks to already outrageously fantastic flavors. Go at off-hours to avoid waiting or grab seats at the bar to watch shuckers in action prepping fresh local oysters to be rapidly devoured by other bar patrons.

Baxter’s Sports Lounge

Name and Location: Baxter’s Sports Lounge is a popular neighborhood sports bar and grill located mid-city at 1136 Independence Boulevard close to the Pembroke Mall area of Virginia Beach.

History and Significance: Opened in 2012, Baxter’s has become a go-to local spot for game day watch parties and lively nights out, keeping crowds energized with plenty of affordable drinks, pub fare classics like wings and pizza, arcade games, pool tables and dancing.

What to Expect: Casual, come-as-you-are atmosphere with majority big screen TVs broadcasting sports from multiple angles atop each booth and bar side. Events like trivia and karaoke nights add to the festivities.

Visitor Information: Baxter’s hours run 11am-2am daily. Happy hour specials offered 4-7pm Monday through Friday featuring discounted appetizers, beer, well drinks. All ages welcome but 21+ only after 8pm.

Frequently found atop “best of” seafood lists, Baxter’s spices up sports bar settings through Cajun preparations adding Southern flair to their satisfying entrees. Shrimp étouffée ladled over fluffy rice soaks up unlimited refills while sweet heat glazes bronzed salmon getting dunked bite by succulent bite into accompanying remoulade dipping sauce. For less adventurous eaters the menu offers fried platters and sandwiches like classic lobster rolls too though half the fun lies in experimenting amongst Baxter’s craveable favorites.

Happy hours make that pursuit especially affordable thanks to insane deals like $4 wine, $2 domestic beers, $6 martinis and 75-cent oysters at the bar. Later as DJs get crowds pumped watching wall-to-wall sports coverage on dozens of HDTVs, dine from the late night menu holding down more substantial munchies like seafood mac’ n’ cheese or jambalaya pasta alongside racks of Baby Back ribs for the table to share.

Coastal Grill

Name and Location: Coastal Grill is a family-friendly seafood eatery and locals’ favorite located across Shore Drive from the bay at 500 Shore Drive in northern Virginia Beach.

History and Significance: Serving since 1988, Coastal Grill has earned a following for dayboat fresh seafood, hearty dishes and indulgent desserts served in a cozy, nostalgic setting evoking the old fishing camps that once dotted the seaside community.

What to Expect: Creative takes on coastal and southern classics like tortilla crusted flounder, lump crab imperial pasta and bread pudding with bourbon sauce, enjoyed fireside or on the dog-friendly patio. Breakfast served weekend mornings.

Visitor Information: Coastal Grill opens daily at 5 PM, closing at 9 PM Sunday-Thursday and 10 PM Friday-Saturday. Reservations recommended, especially for patio seating. Extensive gluten free and children’s menus available.

Inside this neighborhood favorite run by two actual couples, visitors taste extra passion served up on every thoughtfully composed plate. The wine list gets carefully curated to offer food friendly glass and bottle pairings complimenting entrees like miso glazed sea scallops or Cuban mojo spiced mahi mahi tacos stuffed overflowing with mango salsa and shredded cabbage inside warm pressed tortillas. Small seafood centric plates satisfy lighter appetites reserving stomach space to indulge in their famous peanut butter silk or coconut cream pies capped in fluffy mile high meringue.

Two Happy Hours run daily opening up signature rolls like lobster and avocado crammed full with sweet meat then sliced to share alongside chilled seafood towers stacked with East Coast oysters and Gulf shrimp. Dependably relaxed vibes draw repeat customers back frequently for flawless dishes benefitting from a perfectionist kitchen crew dedicated keeping consistency and quality on lock.

Commune

Name and Location: Commune Restaurant is a contemporary modern American eatery located within the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront near 40th Street at 4201 Atlantic Avenue, offering seasonal regional cuisine and handcrafted cocktails with sleek ambiance.

History and Significance: Led by Executive Chef Stephen Atanasoski since 2018, Commune sources top local ingredients to create globally-inspired share plates and entrees aligned with eclectic preparations and visceral plating that stimulate the senses as much as the palette.

What to Expect: Dishes like the Hamachi Crudo with green apple and lemongrass or Long Island Duck with farro risotto showcase the chef’s finesse with flavors and textures. The extensive bar program mixes unique seasonal libations.

Visitor Information: Dinner served nightly 5:30-10pm. Cocktails and small plates offered until midnight on weekends. Reservations strongly recommended. Business casual dress code enforced. Valet parking available.

Veering towards modern luxury, Commune accommodates special occasions like rehearsal dinners or anniversaries inside sleek blue and grey studded interiors equally matched by exquisitely crafted dishes. Locale sourcedrockfish gets prepared sous vide then drizzled in beurre blanc with fresh veggies while plump sea scallops sear delicately on cast iron skillets then finish furnace hot atop wilted spinach and crisp pork belly adding sinfully satisfying crunch.

Their raw bar serves up both East and West Coast oysters ideal for slurping down not obscured by heavy toppings so those delicate briny juices sing loud and clear with each smooth salty sip. Expansive walls of windows prevent ever forgetting you’re still oceanside even while immersed in sophisticated meals suggesting Commune offers the ultimate refined dining destination forlocavore-loving foodies.

Big Sam’s Inlet Cafe

Name and Location: Big Sam’s Inlet Cafe sits along the Intracoastal Waterway at 300 Winston-Salem Avenue in Chic’s Beach, overlooking scenic saltwater marshlands and the Alanton neighborhood of Virginia Beach.

History and Significance: Family-owned since 1985, Big Sam’s signature move is steamed seafood, dishing up spicy shrimp, crabs, clams and crawfish by the bucket or in classic Lowcountry boils, earning renown as one of the most authentic venues in town for Southern coastal cooking.

What to Expect: Daily caught fish, oyster roasts, handmade hush puppies, key lime pie and other Southern staples fill out the menu, befitting the restaurant’s casual, sunny, waterside location far from the tourist crowds. Live music on summer weekends.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 AM to 9 PM. Closed Mondays. Cash only. Reservations are not accepted. Arrive early on live music nights given limited seating.

Positioned perfectly overlooking scenic Rudee Inlet right off the boardwalk downtown, Big Sam’s Inlet Cafe steals the show serving award winning seaside cuisine prepared from cherished family recipes. Views alone would sufficiently satisfy patrons even without the drool worthy dishes being carefully plated featuring ridiculously fresh regional catches like she crab soup and jumbo lump crab cakes plus slow roasted prime rib carving stations for weekend dinners.

Oysters get shucked to order from an always stocked raw bar while specialty libations like Orange Crushes spiked with vodka start leisurely extended mealtimes. The second floor Captain’s Quarters works well for more private dinners or standing up informal receptions on the covered open air rooftop terrace overlooking swaying boats in the marina best seen at sunset right when live music cranks up keeping the summery good times rolling.

Four Moons Tavern

Name and Location: Four Moons Tavern overlooks the Lynnhaven River at 845 Lynn Shores Drive in a renovated 1930s beach cottage tucked within a neighborhood enclave of Virginia Beach.

History and Significance: Opened in spring 2021 by hospitality veterans, Four Moons brings a cozy neighborhood feel with seasonal New American cuisine sourced close to home and emphasize sustainability, all enjoyed creekside under the four lunar phases.

What to Expect: Ever-changing menus dictated by the day’s catch and area farms bring dishes like rockfish ceviche, pork osso bucco, diver scallops or Carolina trout, complemented by house cocktails and natural old world wines.

Visitor Information: Four Moons opens Wednesday-Sunday nights for dinner around 5 PM. Reservations strongly recommended via Open Table. Street parking available nearby otherwise valet offered.

This new futuristic beach cottage style build only opened in 2021 yet already won accolades as one of the premier oceanfront restaurants thanks to Mediterranean inspired seafood shining on a succinct seasonal menu. Sublime dishes flow out the exhibition kitchen like slow braised whole branzino wrapped in fig leaves sharing plates with plump butterflied fried shrimp and tender squid dusted lightly in chickpea powder then served alongside lemony hummus perfect for swiping up every last drop.

Their raw bar offers East Coast varieties like salty Malpeques and sweet Belons ideal for slurping straight then chasing with refreshing grapefruit sours or peach wine spritzers. What truly sets the locally owned Four Moons Tavern apart lies in their extraordinary attention towards responsible ingredient sourcing, utilizing only sustainably harvested seafood from trusted providers ensuring every plate aligns conscientiously with their principles upholding environmental stewardship first and foremost.

Conclusion

With such phenomenal variety, deciphering the very best seafood restaurants in Virginia Beach challenges given the abundance of worthy options cooking up sublime surf and turf dishes across this seaside city. Every establishment highlighted stands out through masterful culinary commands turning beautiful bounty from the sea into next level entrees able to satisfy even the pickiest gourmands.

Traversing from north to south to west sampling your way through the top dozen means experiencing this Atlantic side destination’s diverse culture while supporting independent owners passionately maintaining prime dining on shore regardless of accolades and hype. Just follow directions towards the water till enticing aromas pull you inside whichever restaurant boasting the day’s catch lands the most irresistible then prepare for flavor revelations that’ll have you hooked like a starved sailor instantly ready to sign on for second helpings.

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