There is something innately relaxing about dining beside the water. Whether it’s a river, lake, bay, or ocean, waterfront restaurants add a tranquil touch to your meal. Virginia has dozens and dozens of restaurants with a waterfront view, and picking just a few to highlight was no easy task. Here are fifteen waterfront restaurants that serve up tasty meals with a side of scenery.
The Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery—Cape Charles
No matter where you sit at the Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery, you’ll have a front row seat to the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay. Head Chef Shelly Cusmina serves up the freshest seafood harvested straight from the Virginia waters that the restaurant borders, crafting memorable dishes against an unforgettable backdrop.
The sister restaurant to Tim’s at Lake Anna, Tim’s Rivershore location in Dumfries is on the banks of the Potomac River. The view can be enjoyed from inside the restaurant, the outdoor deck seating area, or the torch-lit Tiki bar located next to the pier. Now that summer is here, the restaurant hosts live entertainment most weekends. The menu focuses on delicious but affordable seafood, steaks, and American favorites like pulled pork and hamburgers.
Island House Restaurant—Wachapreague
Island House Restaurant overlooks the Wachapreague Harbor and the Barrier Islands of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, serving both American and seafood cuisine. In addition to the view from the dining room, guests may also climb the spiral staircase to reach the lookout tower, which offers a panoramic view of the barrier islands. Can’t choose from the many tasty menu items? The award winning crab cakes are a no-brainer.
Willaby’s on the Rappahannock—White Stone
Willaby’s has been serving fresh seafood favorites to Northern Neck locals and visitors for nearly 30 years. Overlooking the Rappahannock, Willaby’s is a convenient spot to grab a bite to eat whether you’re staying in the neighboring coastal towns of Irvington, Kilmarnock, Urbanna or anywhere in Virginia’s River Realm.
Urbanna Seafood & Raw Bar—Urbanna
The tasty options at Urbanna Seafood & Raw Bar, such as the Spicy Tugboat Shrimp and the steamed local oysters, compliment the gorgeous view of Robinson’s Creek off the Rappahannock River. The restaurant often has live music performances on the patio, and with an on-site dock, visitors can reach the restaurant by either car or boat. If you can’t get enough of the seafood while dining at Urbanna Seafood & Raw Bar, the restaurant houses a market as well, where you can order blue grabs, shrimp, scallops, oysters, and other local seafood by the pound or bushel.
photo credit: Todd Wright, @toddwrightphoto
Merroir is a gourmet oyster tasting room on the Rappahannock River at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Their oysters are known as some of the best in Virginia because they harvest them directly from the bay, sometimes just hours before the plate is placed in front of you. In addition to indoor and patio dining, Merroir also offers oyster cruises, where you and up to five other people are given a tour of the Bay’s nearby oyster regions while dining on food that is prepared ahead of time and is waiting for you when you board the boat, providing the closest waterfront dining option possible without treading water.
Chick’s Oyster Bar—Virginia Beach
Chick’s Oyster Bar is a locals favorite in Virginia Beach for it’s laid-back hangout vibe in a rustic seafood shack. Catch the sunset over the Lynnhaven Inlet from Chick’s waterside deck while enjoying fresh seafood and cold brews.
The Boathouse at Rockett’s Landing—Richmond
Located on the James River in downtown Richmond, the Boathouse has arguably the best view of the water and the city skyline. The modern glass walls fold away, revealing a spacious patio with heaters during the cooler nights. The menu is a mix of seafood and upscale American Cuisine, including pizza cooked over wood logs in the open stone oven. Enjoy a glass of wine with your meal; the restaurant’s wine list features many award winning vintages.
Lake Gaston’s Shady Shack Grill and Flip Flop Bar is a popular place to get a casual bite in the area, with a menu that highlights seafood and American. The restaurant underwent construction in 2015, and recently reopened Flip Flops Bar, now twice the original size. The Shady Shack also includes a small market store that sells the lake life essentials, such as snacks, sunglasses, ice cream, apparel, and water inflatables. For guests visiting by boat, the pay-at-the-pump gas station allows you to fill up the tank after your scenic waterfront meal.
The Landing Restaurant—Moneta
The Landing Restaurant is part of Bernard’s Landing Resort and Conference Center on Smith Mountain Lake. While the restaurant is a bit more upscale in both menu and price point, the Pub next door is a more laid back alternative. For those staying nearby on the lake, the restaurant has a boat dock so you can get there via waterway. There is also live entertainment on the weekends to add even more ambience to your meal.
Waller’s Bar & Grill—Moneta
Dine on authentic Caribbean food while taking in the view of Smith Mountain Lake a Waller’s Bar & Grill. A favorite appetizer is the Beer Steamed Peel ‘n Eat Shrimp, but everything on the menu is appealing, both for your stomach and your wallet. We recommend getting a seat under the grass umbrellas to turn your Virginia vacation experience into a true Caribbean paradise.
Anna Cabana Restaurant—Bumpass
Anna Cabana Restaurant serves up fresh seafood and American cuisine along the shore of Lake Anna. Sit beside the large glass windows inside for a view of the lake, or take a seat on the deck to enjoy your meal in the open air. Move to the picnic tables on the open lawn area to soak up some sun after eating. Anna Cabana even offers lawn games for customers of all ages to add a little extra entertainment.
Damascus Old Mill—Damascus
photo credit: Patricia Hays, @ph.in.va
The Damascus Old Mill restaurant and inn doesn’t just provide one waterfront view. This restaurant has a total of three outdoor waterfront decks for visitors to take in the Old Mill waterfall and mill pond. After your meal, retire for the evening in one of the Inn’s rooms, only a few steps from the restaurant. Some of the room’s also have balconies with views of the water, providing an entire waterfront getaway.
Located at the Top Rack Marina on the Intracoastal Waterway, Amber Lantern is a fine dining restaurant with a Mediterranean influenced menu. Some of the notable entrees on the menu include the signature crab stuffed shrimp and the Select Fried Oysters. Restaurant patrons get an unbeatable view of the Elizabeth River while dining at Amber Lantern, and the panoramic views are at their best during sunset hours.
Whether you sit inside and gaze out the large windows onto the York River or grab a seat on the patio, you’re sure to find the view from the Riverwalk Restaurant incredible. The restaurant has a casual yet elegant vibe that welcomes visitors, and the decadent menu makes it nearly impossible to choose just one meal. Will it be the Killer Fish Tacos or the Jumbo Scallops & Hot-Honey Pork Belly? You’ll be going home happy either way.
The Jackspot at Sunset Beach—Cape Charles
Serving up one of the coolest waterfront dining experiences on the Eastern Shore, The Jackspot at Sunset Beach is a must. For all the seafood lovers out there, the menu is full of fresh caught oysters, shrimp, crab legs and clams- as well as tasty appetizers, sandwiches, salads and tacos for those seeking something a little more traditional. With a large deck for dining, killer cocktails and a stunning beachside view, the Jackspot makes for an all around one-of-a-kind experience. Be sure to check out their events page as well for fun happenings like brunch on the beach and live music!
Island Shrimp Company—Richmond
Photo Credit: Justin Chesney, @therealjustinc
Right next door to The Boathouse, you will find another waterfront gem, Island Shrimp Company. With epic views over the James River and Downtown Richmond, Island Shrimp Company brings a whole new energy to the Rockett’s landing experience. Low-key beach vibes fill the space with casually charming seaside decor and garage doors that open to invite the view inside. Fun drinks and fried seafood are the specialty here but things lighten up with healthy options like salads and tacos, as well as grilled fish entrees at dinner.
Want more waterfront dining? Here are a few more fan-favorite dockside diners to add to your travel plans:
- Etta’s Channel Side Restaurant—Chincoteague
- The Shanty—Cape Charles
- Mallards at the Wharf—Onancock
- Isle of Capri—Virginia Beach
- Rudee’s on the Inlet—Virginia Beach
- Dockside Restaurant—Virginia Beach
- Rockafeller’s Restaurant—Virginia Beach
- Catch 31—Virginia Beach
- Buoy 44—Virginia Beach
- Blue Pete’s Seafood—Virginia Beach
- Surf Rider Grill Bluewater—Hampton
- The Barking Dog—Hampton
- The Deadrise—Fort Monroe
- The Train Station Restaurant—Newport News
- Crab Shack on the James—Newport News
- Riverwalk Restaurant—Yorktown
- The Restaurant at Smithfield Station—Smithfield
- Captain Chuck-A-Muck’s Ship Store & Grill—Smithfield
- Blue Heron Restaurant—Charles City
- The Boathouse at City Point—Hopewell
- The Boathouse at Sunday Park—Midlothian
- Brock’s Riverside Grille—Fredericksburg
- Windows on the Water—Lancaster
- Chesapeake Restaurant at The Tides Inn—Irvington
- Crazy Crab—Reedville
- Horn Harbor Restaurant—Burgess
- Dockside Restaurant & Tiki Bar—Colonial Beach
- Lighthouse Restaurant—Colonial Beach
- Tim’s II at Fairview Beach—King George
- Madigan’s Waterfront—Occoquan
- Blackwall Hitch—Alexandria
- Chart House—Alexandria
- Bungalow Lakehouse—Sterling
- Tim’s at Lake Anna—Mineral
- Douthat Lakeview Restaurant—Millboro
- Mango’s Bar & Grill—Moneta
- Portside Grill & Bar—Moneta
- Broken Ski Grill—Abingdon