virginia beach virginia


Virginia Beach Seafood


virginia steamed crabs


Virginia Beach has a wide range of local seafood available including blue crabs, oysters, shrimp, clams, scallops, striped bass, flounder, sea bass, croaker, spot and more. Virginia borders the Chesapeake Bay, an estuary where Virginia commercial fishermen harvest top quality blue crabs, oysters, clams and fish. Off the coastline, ocean seafood is harvested including sea scallops, lobsters, tuna, mahi, striped bass and other delicacies.

Perhaps the most popular Virginia seafood feast consists of blue crabs, steamed whole and seasoned with a spicy crab seasoning. In addition to steaming, blue crab meat is served in dishes such as crab cakes. Another Virginia delicacy is soft crabs, which are are harvested after shedding their shell and cooked whole while still tender. Soft crabs are served in a number of ways, the most popular being fried and served on a sandwich bun.

Virginia Beach is known for its oyster cuisine. The surrounding area has a rich history of oyster harvesting. The James River is among the top Chesapeake Bay estuaries for wild caught oysters, known for yielding especially high quality product. A thriving oyster aquaculture industry also exists which supplies Virginia Beach raw bars, restaurants and seafood markets with high quality oysters.

Oysters in the shell are sold by the piece, dozen, peck or bushel. Live oysters in the shell are classified as "small select", "medium select" or "large select". Oysters are also sold freshly shucked, in jars or plastic containers by the pint or gallon. Other local oyster products include canned chowders, stews and soups.

Quahogs, or hard clams are available year round in Virginia Beach which are prized for steaming or eaten raw. Most raw bars and seafood markets offer a selection of fresh clams in various sizes. In addition to the small steamed and raw clams, restaurants also serve clam chowder and fritters which are made from larger clams.

Virginia is one of the top states for sea scallop landings, with most of the scallop boats docking in Hampton Roads ports. When boats make port, the scallops are rushed to market, providing fresh, tender morsels for area diners. These ocean shellfish are arguably among the best tasting of all seafood.

Flounder are a popular saltwater fish served in Virginia. They are served as boneless fillets, and are prized for their mild taste. Flounder are served in a variety of ways, the most common being fried or broiled. Virginia flounder are sometimes stuffed with local crab meat and then baked.

Striped bass, also known as rockfish are another popular fish. They have a distinctive flavor and firm flaky meat. Rockfish are served fried, grilled or broiled. Rockfish are sold in sizes from 2-3 lbs up to monster fish of 50 lbs or more.

Black sea bass are offered in finer Virginia Beach establishments. These fish are caught in the ocean and reach weights of 5-6 lbs, although most fish are smaller. The cooked meat is snow white, flaky and very mild tasting.

American lobsters are also popular in this ocean front city. Some lobsters are harvested off the coast, while others are rushed from New England to feed seafood lovers. Most local seafood restaurants offer whole lobster or other meals.

Last but not least among Virginia Beach seafood are jumbo shrimp from nearby North Carolina. White and brown shrimp make appearances in Virginia Beach, rushed across the border when seasonal harvests occur. Visitors sometimes find deals as local vendors offer large, high quality wild shrimp in bulk. These shrimp can be bought for a feast, or frozen for later use.