Tempt your appetite with freshly caught oysters and crabs in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Located on the southeastern coast of the state of Virginia, Virginia Beach is a popular beach holiday destination offering exciting water sports, beautiful beachfront accommodations and a five-kilometer boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants, bars and attractions. Local restaurants specialize in freshly caught seafood – particularly the native Lynnhaven oyster and several species of crab. Here are some tasty ways to sample these local delicacies.
Lynnhaven oysters were historically treasured by royalty for their size and salinity. Today, this species of oyster is being repopulated in the Lynnhaven River and enjoying a resurgence in dining popularity. A guided tour is a fun way to get a behind-the-scenes look at the local oyster industry and sample fresh oysters along the way.
There are several Virginia Beach companies that lead guided tours to oyster hot spots. Try oysters paired with wine or beer on “The Ultimate Virginia Oyster and Brew/Wine Tour” led by Taste Virginia Tours. Get up close to the oysters’ natural habitat during a stand-up paddle board ride with Ebbing Tides Eco Tours. If you want to get hands-on with oyster harvesting, indulge in a tasting tour or even dine on oysters at a table right in the river, book an outing with Pleasure House Oyster Tours.
Sipping wine and sampling fresh oysters and other delicacies during an oyster tour
Feasting on Fresh Crab
Blue crab is another Virginia Beach specialty, best enjoyed at a waterfront restaurant. Blue crab is frequently steamed and seasoned with Old Bay seasoning (a typical seafood spice blend of the USA’s Mid-Atlantic region), often with boiled corn on the cob. Soft-shell crab, another variety of crab, is in season from May to September. You’ll find it stuffed in fish, steamed, served on a sandwich or even used as garnish for a Bloody Mary cocktail.
In April, the annual East Coast She-Crab Soup Classic celebrates another common species of crab: the she-crab. Local restaurants compete to see which one serves the best she-crab soup. There’s much debate among chefs as to whether she-crab soup tastes better with or without crab roe. Attend the festival and you can judge for yourself.
Local Virginia Beach crab seasoned with Old Bay and ready for a feast
Oysters and Crabs in Restaurants
You’ll find oysters and crab on the majority of Virginia Beach restaurant menus, but there are a few top picks to add to your dining plans.
Be sure to get a reservation if you want to try Rockafeller’s at Rudee Inlet, a busy seafood restaurant with a gorgeous waterfront location. Tautog’s Restaurant, housed in a converted cottage home, features inventive seafood dishes such as a fish burrito and crab nachos. Bubba’s Seafood & Crab House is located directly on the Lynnhaven River and is known for its Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and fresh seafood. You can have seafood for breakfast at Margie & Ray’s Crabhouse; try the soft-shell crab benedict, a dish with English muffins, poached eggs and a creamy hollandaise sauce topped with fried crab – yum!
Dining on crab cake sandwiches with a Chesapeake Bay view
Catch a flight into Norfolk International (ORF), located 20 minutes from Virginia Beach, or Newport News/Williamsburg International (PHF), about 50 minutes away. Norfolk International offers shuttle service to Virginia Beach for a fee. Both airports have rental cars available.