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15 Things You Must Eat in Virginia Beach

    Welcome to Virginia Beach! Whether you’re staying at an Oceanfront hotel on the Boardwalk or you’ve rented a beach house in Sandbridge for your Virginia Beach family vacation, your seaside trip won’t be complete without some delicious meals. With dining options that range from casual beachside shacks to upscale waterfront restaurants, Virginia Beach offers something for every palate and preference. What local specialties should you try while visiting Coastal Virginia? What are our favorite spots as former Virginia Beach locals? How do you choose from the amazing restaurants up and down the Boardwalk during your family trip to Virginia Beach? Here’s a (former) local’s guide to the best places to eat in Virginia Beach.

    Signature Dishes in Virginia Beach

    When we travel to a new place, we always love to eat local signature dishes. In Virginia Beach, a few local specialties immediately spring to mind: she crab soup, oysters, soft shell crab, and the orange crush.

    She Crab Soup

    This rich tasty soup will be familiar if you enjoy seafood bisque and includes Atlantic blue crab meat from female crabs. It also traditionally includes a small amount of dry sherry. Order a cup of she crab soup at restaurants like Waterman’s Surfside Grille, Chix on the Beach, Rudee’s on the Inlet, Steinhilber’s, Rockafellers, Becca, and The Hunt Room.

    Oysters

    Oysters served both raw and Rockefeller are popular menu items at seafood restaurants in Virginia Beach. Check out this fresh appetizer at restaurants like Hot Tuna, Steinhilber’s, Rockafellers, Becca, Rudee’s on the Inlet, The Hunt Room,

    Soft Shell Crab

    When they’re in season, soft shell crab is a favorite among both locals and visitors in Virginia Beach. If you visit outside of soft shell crab season (usually May to September), crab dip and crab cakes are also popular and delicious menu items here. Rudee’s on the Inlet, Waterman’s Surfside Grille, and Commune are all great places to order soft shell crab. And Bay Local Eatery even serves a Bloody Mary topped with a fried soft shell crab.

    Orange Crush

    The orange crush is a signature Virginia Beach drink, perfect for a hot day at the beach. Many Virginia Beach Oceanfront restaurants offer a crush on their menu, but the orange crush from Waterman’s is the original. Other great options for crush cocktails can be found at The Shack on 8th, Chix Seaside Grill & Bar, Hot Tuna, Bay Local Eatery, and Rudee’s Cabana Bar.

    Our Two Favorite Eats in Virginia Beach

    When we moved away from Virginia Beach, there was a short list of restaurants we had to visit ‘one more time.’ And no trip back to Virginia Beach is complete if we don’t pop into these two spots: Lolly’s Creamery and Pungo Pizza.

    Lolly’s Creamery

    This local Virginia Beach ice cream shop has 3 locations. One is at the Oceanfront and another is in the nearby Vibe Creative District. Choose one of 7 classic flavors (Cookie Monster is Ryan’s favorite) or one from their rotating seasonal menu. They release a new small batch flavor just about every week, so there’s always something new to try at Lolly’s!

    Pungo Pizza

    This classic and casual family owned pizza restaurant is near Sandbridge Beach and a lot of local Pungo farms, so it was a frequent stop for us. Strawberry picking in Pungo? Spending a couple hours at the beach? Pumpkin picking day? If we drove out that way, we always stopped at Pungo Pizza. Their garlic knots are a must-order.

    Must Eat Breakfast in Virginia Beach

    The Bee & The Biscuit

    This brunch spot is one of the few restaurants near Sandbridge Beach and it is a POPULAR spot, even during the off season! Go early and prepare to hang out in their lovely garden patio while you wait for a table. I love their Benedicts and their beautiful mason jar lattes.

    Pour Favor Coffee

    This coffee shop offers a variety of seasonal flavors and serves coffee flights with hot or iced drinks of your choice. In addition to coffee, they have a selection of sandwiches and desserts.

    Duck Donuts

    This made-to-order donut shop started in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and quickly spread to Virginia Beach with multiple locations, including one at the Oceanfront. My favorite donut is chocolate frosting and bacon, and I also love to order off the seasonal menu. But if you’re feeling extra adventurous, they even offer breakfast sandwiches served on a sliced donut!

    Citrus

    So many yummy menu items to choose from at this breakfast and lunch café: the fried chicken and waffles, French toast options, and blueberry pancakes. They even have a soft shell crab eggs Benedict!

    Honorable Mention: Handsome Biscuit

    This casual biscuit restaurant is located in Norfolk, Virginia, but the breakfast sandwiches are just too tasty not to mention.

    Must Eat Restaurants in Virginia Beach

    Here are our favorite dinner spots that we would recommend for your family trip to Virginia Beach or for a special night on during your Virginia Beach vacation.

    Waterman’s Surfside Grille

    Waterman’s is our favorite Oceanfront Virginia Beach restaurant. We’ve attended multiple weddings and parties here in the Attic space and we also celebrated our 11th anniversary here.

    Chix on the Beach

    We’ve also celebrated an anniversary here, and as it’s a sister restaurant to Waterman’s, we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed! 

    Steinhilber’s

    This family owned restaurant is coming up on their 90th birthday! If you go on a mild night, enjoy their outdoor seating and the views of the water. With seafood and steaks, there’s a variety of delicious choices. They even grow many of their own seasonal vegetables!

    Cavalier Hotel Restaurants – Becca & The Hunt Room

    While I have not eaten in the Cavalier’s restaurants, I attended an event there and the catering was excellent! Becca serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a beautiful bright dining room while The Hunt Room is a moody contrast with dark wood and leather, serving dinner and drinks.

    Commune

    Located in the Vibe Creative District, this farm-to-table restaurant is a great choice for breakfast or lunch.

    FireBrew

    Located not far from Sandbridge Beach, FireBrew offers a variety of delicious dishes, many of which are cooked in their 600+ degree open flame fire deck oven. Eat here when you’ve had enough of fried seafood and want something fresh and different!

    Other Virginia Beach Restaurant Recommendations

    Here are a handful of other Virginia Beach restaurants that come highly recommended by locals that I never had a chance to try:
    Bay Local Eatery
    The Shack on 8th
    Bro Fish Tacos
    Dough Boy’s Pizza
    Hot Tuna
    Esoteric
    Orion’s Roof
    Lager Heads
    Rudee’s on the Inlet
    Rockafeller’s
    Three Ships Coffee

    Fun Things To Do in Virginia Beach

    You’re probably planning to spend a lot of your Virginia Beach vacation at the beach, but here are some other fun activities your family might enough during your visit.

    At the Oceanfront

    Seasonal festivals and concerts on the boardwalk

    Bike rental on the boardwalk

    Mini Golf – King Neptune’s, Jungle Golf, and Pirates Paradise

    Atlantic Fun Park

    Lost Planet amusement center

    Escape Room

    Virginia Legends Walk

    iFly Virginia Beach

    Virginia Beach Search & Rescue Museum

    Naval Aviation Monument Park

    Rudee Inlet Stand Up Paddle

    Fisherman’s Wharf Marina

    Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

    Elsewhere in Virginia Beach

    Murals in the Vibe Creative District

    Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center

    The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium ropes course

    Motor World

    Ocean Breeze waterpark

    Adventureworks Zipline

    Seasonal – Strawberry picking, peach picking, pumpkin picking in Pungo

    First Landing State Park

    Cape Henry Lighthouse

    Norfolk Botanical Gardens – in Norfolk, 30 minutes from the Oceanfront

    Virginia Zoo – in Norfolk, 30 minutes from the Oceanfront

    Find more Virginia blog posts:
    4 Day History Lovers Virginia Road Trip
    4 Day Hiking & Off-Roading Virginia Itinerary
    Charlottesville 3 Day Itinerary
    Lynchburg 3 Day Itinerary
    Roanoke with Kids
    Big Levels Off-Roading
    3 Virginia Campgrounds
    15 Things To Eat in Virginia Beach

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