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Seafood Dives in Virginia Beach & Wiliamsburg?

We are heading to VA Beach & Williamsburg in early May. Our favorite places are rustic seafood dives/shacks (ex. "Old Florida"). Not big fans of fancy places and/or places located in strip malls. On the water would be ideal. Looking for places that might have good prices for seafood and beer. Thanks for any information you can provide.

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  1. One would think that Virginia Beach would have great dive seafood restaurants, alas, we do not.

    The closest thing to your request would be Margie and Ray's in the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach. It's not on the water, but the ocean is a few miles away. They're famous for their Hurricane Margie platter - says it feeds 2, but can really feed 4..fried shrimp, scallops, crabcakes, clam strips, fish, french fries, coleslaw and hushpuppies for $36. They also have the steamed/broiled version of the platter as well.

    Margie & Ray's Restaurant
    1240 Sandbridge Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456

    1. I second Kris' recommendation for Margie and Rays; great "dive" atmosphere. Three other good spots would be Charlie's Seafood, Croakers, and Tautog's.

      Charlie's Seafood also fits the "dive" description, has been around for 63 years, and is now being run by the offspring of the original owners. Known for crab bisque.

      Croakers is not far from Charlies, and is another good local seafood place. Good mixed grill.

      Tautog's is in an old beach house near the ocean. Reasonable pricing, and parking in back which is rare near the beach.

      Charlie's Seafood
      3139 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23451

      1. you are pretty out of luck in Williamsburg in my experience - it's pretty much all strip mall, plus 3 "fancy" places

        1. I live in Williamsburg and have never had good seafood anywhere nearby. One restaurant that served raw bar fare is now closed. Tourist places are the only ones that serve seafood (Captain George, Bonefish and Red Lobster) If someone knows of something nearby please do post!

          1. A couple of additional choices:

            Sandbridge Island Restaurant serves both solid seafood and quite good pizza (go figure). Right on the beach at the end of the road in Sandbridge (even further out than M&Rs). Very nice raw bar, and good selection of well prepared fried choices.

            Other choice, which will be open in May, is the seasonal Surf Rider Grill at the north end of VB inside the Marina Shores marina. You sit right next to the boats in the marina, and boats traverse on their way to and from Back Bay. Three don't miss items here -- one is the crab cake consistently chosen as the best in VB. Second is the broccoli side dish, made special by the buttery hollandaise like sauce served alongside. Third is the hand butterflied fried shrimp. I was raised along the gulf coast, and have devoured fried shrimp in most states in the south. These rate among the best I've ever had -- and I am a fried shrimp snob.

            Surf Rider Grill
            2100 Marina Shores Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23451

            Sandbridge Island Restaurant
            205 Sandbridge Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456

            1 Reply
            1. re: 23451bum

              I would concur with Surf Rider - though we went to the West location near Norfolk. I got the broccoli, it was very fresh and quite plentiful (2 large heads) The homemade hollandaise was quite good, very tasty. buttery, lemony, separating slightly as opposed to a sauce out of a packet that some places might go with.

              At Surf Rider West, the fried oysters were very good, and the fried shrimp were good to very good the cocktail sauce was good and spicy. The shrimp cocktail was tasty as well. The crabcake was not quite traditional, it was more like a gratin of crabcake. But different here doesn't mean worse, and was pretty tasty.
              I would assume this is in-line with the Surf Rider at Marina Shores.

              It was much better than Margie and Rays, IMO. Margie and Ray's was ok, a decent seafood dive and they do their own cooking. I like the rolled paper table coverings and big bottles of tartar sauce and cocktail sauce - no little "snifters" of sauce at M&R's. But perhaps because was at the tail end of the lunch rush, but the fried food wasn't quite right, not quite up to snuff. Wasn't as greasy as I was afraid it might be based on some other reviews, but definitely not ideal either. Still, it was reasonable, and our server did a good job taking care of us, and the kids meals were cheap, in fact it was not that expensive considering.

              Also I will say, M&R's is down right near or at Sandbridge, and considering how few restaurants there are there, they could probably get away with charging more.

            2. A.W. Shucks is in Norfolk but it's our go seafood place. It's divey and rustic. T I grew up in Va. Beach and now teach in Williamsburg, so I'm pretty familiar with the Hampton Roads seafood offerings.


              I agree that all the Surfriders offer good seafood (great crabcakes), and Charlie's is certainly rustic, but I haven't eaten there in years. Waterman's in Va. Beach is on the water but is more of a faux Old Florida shack. We go there when we want to take someone to a Va. Beach restaurant, and we know they won't care that much about the food.
              Oh! Just remembered a shack but it's in Smithfield--Captain Chuckamucks! Really fun place.

              1. Baja Cantina is a small (kinda sketchy-looking) dive BAR with excellent fish tacos. It's located right off 23rd Street at the Oceanfront. They normally have about 3 fresh fish choices daily (sometimes Grouper, Wahoo, Tuna . . .). They are the best blackened although you can get fried or grilled. The best part are the hot sauces. They have 3 house hot sauces--watch out for the hottest! The chips & salsa are good & freshly made too. They have lots of beer to choose from--some on draft as well.

                Baja Cantina
                206 23rd St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451

                1 Reply
                1. re: CrunchyK

                  I tried Baja, and yes it is sketchy. I would also stop short of calling their fish tacos excellent. Two observations: the food is OK, and it's incredibly cheap. I loaded up with the tacos, had a couple sides, 2 beers and the bill came to like $15. All right, faint praise. But if you're hungry and tight of cash, great place. Seems there's a place in Lynnhaven, believe it's called the Dockside. It was passable as well

                  Baja Restaurant
                  3701 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456

                2. Head on up to Mathews to try out Sandpiper Reef, right on the water. www.sandpiperreef.net
                  The BEST fried oysters, fresh fish and crabcakes in the region. It is well worth the drive!

                  1. I would have to recommend Chicks Oyster Bar at 2143 Vista Circle. They have a good happy hour from 4 pm. - 7 pm. .49 cent clams, oysters, and wings. Plus drink specials it is directly on the water and even has docks for boats to park at. If you arrive by boat they will come out and serve you at the boat. I would have to say the inside is exactly what your looking for its very clean but at the same time has that old run down feeling. I bring my family every time they come to visit. You can even check out their website to see it and check out their specials and menu.

                    1. Bubba's on shore drive- best broiled crab cake and is on the water and you can watch boaters go by you can even tie up at bubbas and order from your boat,

                      Charlie's Seafood on Shore drive has the best she-crab soup but have not been in a long time and definately a dive but not on the water.

                      Surf Rider Grill (Marina Shores location) a tie with Bubba's for a great broiled crab cake also on the water but not as good of a view as Bubba's.

                      Tautog's is at the beach and is in an old beach house- different menu than most seafood places.

                      avoid the buffets like captain george's and thumbs down to lucky oyster -feels like a wanna be franchise next to a strip mall(not at the beach)

                      must have breakfast at the Belvedere a locals spot. located in one of the last remainging original beach motels on the north end of the boardwalk