From the Chesapeake Bay to the Elizabeth River, Norfolk is surrounded by water – we have 144 miles of shoreline to be exact. This directly correlates to the abundance of fresh seafood available in our restaurants. You can find seafood in almost every form including deep-fried, raw, baked and sautéed, pleasing everyone’s seafood flavor palate. Below are the best places to enjoy seafood in our waterfront city.
456 Fish, located downtown on Norfolk’s “restaurant row,” is famous for its potato chip-crusted crab cake. The entrée is served with a huge scoop of garlic whipped potatoes, locally sourced vegetables and a special “Inner Beauty” remoulade.
Freemason Abbey encompasses the three pillars of our city – astounding art, rich in history and a thriving culinary scene. The building that Freemason is housed in was once a church and dates back to 1873 — making it one of the oldest establishments in the city. You will see that the restaurant’s stained glass windows are stunning works of art and original to the building. Most importantly is their delicious seafood dishes. Most known is their award-winning She Crab soup with other scrumptious dishes on their menu including the Seafood Fantasia (shrimp and sea scallops sautéed with peppers and onions, tossed with linguini in a white wine Old Bay cream sauce and topped with lump crab meat).
Hilton Norfolk’s The Main hotel houses three restaurants including the popular seafood restaurant Saltine, located at street level. Saltine offers an airy, open environment, with garage door windows that open to the main streets of downtown Norfolk. We recommend their VA Blue Crab Cake appetizer served with a gazpacho aioli and their Norfolk Rockfish Chowder entree (mussels, corn, clams, lardons, tri-color potato with a grilled baguette garlic herb aioli and kale).
This downtown bistro has been open since 1992 and offers rotating seasonal menus. Chef Todd Jurich uses only the freshest ingredients from local vegetable gardens and Virginia produce farms. The Bistro holds the Triple AAA Four Diamond Award and serves hand-harvested oysters from Virginia’s Eastern Shore that are served on the half shell, fried or in his famous oyster stew.
A bi-level seafood restaurant that is tucked away off Granby Street is Big Easy – as locals call it. They have a speakeasy-style atmosphere in their downstairs dining room with a full mahogany bar and a more upscale scene on the upper level. No matter which floor you dine on, their menu offers delicious fresh seafood with a cajun creole twist.
With beautiful, sweeping views of the Elizabeth River, Stripers offers a variety of fresh catch seafood inside the Waterside District. Their outdoor patio makes for the best ambiance when slurping down an oyster or snacking on their bacon-wrapped scallops. Entrees range from light Mahi Tacos to more filling dishes like their Seafood Pasta (shrimp, scallops, mussels, tomatoes and spinach in a white wine butter sauce over penne pasta and served with toasted bread).
Located in the heart of Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood, AW Shucks is an unpretentious, shanty seafood restaurant where all the locals can be found. Their laid-back atmosphere makes slurping down a fresh oyster acceptable. Their seafood selection is endless and their raw bar is extensive with locally caught oysters, shrimp, crab, clams and mussels. Also, don’t pass on their desserts — they are homemade, always changing and completely worth the calorie intake.
Chelsea, North Colley and Beyond
Off the Hook’s casual atmosphere makes a great place for family dinners with their menu being extremely accommodating. They have fresh, raw, steamed and fried seafood. Order their Shrimp Tacos which are dished beautifully and served with hush puppies — making the perfect mix of tastes for a southern coastal town! For the land lovers, Off the Hook has a great selection of meat entrees.
Ocean View and East Beach
Sitting on the docks of East Beach Marina is Longboards, where their Hawaiian tiki decor will make you want to relax and sip a Mai Tai all day long. Their seafood dishes range from fish tacos and seafood platters to their Big Fish Sandwich (fried wild-caught Atlantic cod, lettuce and tomato topped with sunset remoulade sauce). Or go all-in with their Crab and Bacon Burger which is topped with bacon and their famous crab dip.
Looking for a water view with your seafood? Then head to Stony’s! They have a great screen-in outdoor space to keep the summertime buzzing of bugs away from you while you dive into their Seafood Mac N Cheese (lobster, scallops, crab and shrimp tossed in cajun cream sauce). Also a hit with the locals is their fresh catch sandwich!