Just minutes from the Oceanfront, the exciting, vibrant, Town Center of Virginia Beach towers over the landscape, offering an expansive and impressive assortment of upscale shops, restaurants and more..
Locals know that Hilltop is another great spot for high-end shopping and dining in Virginia Beach.
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Just around the corner from the boardwalk is a small marina community overflowing with activity. Rudee Inlet.
Our favorite finds on Atlantic Avenue include entertainment, excitement and culinary delights.
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A Taste of Virginia Beach’s Best She Crab Soup Restaurants
By Elizabeth Rose Engle of Wandering Rose Travels
Seafood fans delight here in blue crab country. This crustacean’s habitat stretches from Canada to South America, but she crab soup is unique to the American southeast.
2018 She Crab Soup Classic Winner, Passion, The Restaurant
There’s nothing like a cookoff to crown the best, and the East Coast She Crab Soup Classic, in Virginia Beach, boasts 10 years of tasting history.
Voted best by the people and critics, Passion The Restaurant reigns as the she crab 2018 winner. Established in Chesapeake’s Greenbrier area in 2008, this upscale eatery serves regional proteins and produce in small plates and meaty mains, complemented by wine and desserts.
Honorable mentions include Kelly’s Gingernut Pub (Cape Charles), Saltine (Norfolk) and Murphy’s Irish Pub and Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant of Virginia Beach.
Best She Crab Soup Restaurants
Then there are the restaurants that locals love and visitors venture to for a tasty, memorable experience.
Freemason Abbey Restaurant
This gem entered the East Coast She Crab Soup Classic Hall of Fame in 2017 after five first-place finishes. Located in a 144-year-old church, Freemason Abbey Restaurant has served downtown Norfolk for 28 years.
Margie and Ray’s
Head south to Sandbridge for seafood specials and all you can eat abundance. Family-run since its 1964 country store beginnings, Margie and Ray’s is a longtime local favorite.
What is She Crab Soup?
Similar to a bisque, creamy she crab soup is a beloved regional delicacy. Famed from Virginia to Georgia, it hails from Charleston, South Carolina.
She crab soup stars the blue crab, an Atlantic seafood staple. It traditionally features female (or “she”) crabs, with their eggs (known as “roe”) enhancing flavor and color.
Sherry and everyone’s take on herbs and spices make this soup special.
More Tide-to-Table Cuisine
The Atlantic, Chesapeake and other waterways provide a wealth of freshly caught and served seafood. Look for local crab, oysters, clams and fish. There are restaurants for all ages, tastes and budgets – from fine dining to delicious dives.
Virginia Beach Seafood
While tasty fish and shellfish are served all over Hampton Roads, you don’t have to go far from the Boardwalk to get it.
Restaurants on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk
- Tautog’s Restaurant: Historic cottage spot for daily dinner and late night eats
- Waterman’s Surfside Grille: Oceanfront home of the famous Orange Crush cocktail
- Rudee’s Restaurant & Cabana Bar: Marina and sunset views with outdoor glider tables
- Blue Seafood & Spirits: Chef-driven 2017 She Crab Soup Classic winner
Don’t Miss The Upcoming Classic She Crab Soup Contest
The 11th Annual East Coast She-Crab Soup Classic cookoff dishes out 2019 honors on April 13 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. at Virginia Beach’s 24th Street Park. The event showcases 20 regional restaurants competing for People’s and Critic’s Choice Awards. Tickets are limited and typically sell out in advance.
Savor Tradition at the East Coast She Crab Soup Classic
By Elizabeth Rose Engle of Wandering Rose Travels
Food is a great way to gain a sense of place, and adding a competition to the mix is a recipe for fun. The East Coast She Crab Soup Classic dishes out the best of a local culinary tradition. Now in its 11th year, this open she crab cookoff includes 20 area restaurants battling for honors from attendees and experts.
The 2019 event takes place on April 13, from noon–2:30 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront’s 24th Street Park.
East Coast She Crab Soup Classic Participants
Presented by the Culinary Institute of Virginia, the competition features regional testaurants vying for the title of Best She Crab Soup. Attendees taste and vote for the People’s Choice Awards, while four regional cuisine experts serve up Critic’s Choice Awards.
Stay tuned for the 2019 tasting lineup publishing this spring. 2018 participants included:
- 11th Street Taphouse Bar & Grille
- Black Pelican Seafood Company Greenbrier
- Blue Seafood & Spirits
- Busky’s Chill & Grill
- CP Shucker’s Cafe & Raw Bar
- Calypso Bar & Grill
- Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant
- Catch 31 Fish House & Bar
- Freemason Abbey Restaurant
- Fish & Slips Marina Raw Bar & Grill
- Irwin’s Fountain
- Kelly’s Gingernut Pub
- Mahi Mah’s Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Saloon
- McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks
- Murphy’s Irish Pub
- Passion The Restaurant
- Soups Plus
- The Surry Seafood Company
- TradeWinds Restaurant
In 2018, Chesapeake’s Passion The Restaurant finished first with the People’s Choice and Critic’s Choice Awards. Calypso Bar & Grill of Virginia Beach and Portsmouth’s Fish & Slips Marina Raw Bar & Grill tied for second and third place.
East Coast She Crab Soup Classic Tickets
The limited number of East Coast She Crab Soup Classic tickets usually sell out in advance. Online tickets cost $20 plus fees through Ticketmaster. The Virginia Beach Visitor Information Center also sells tickets, and only accepts cash or check. Children 12 and younger who are with an adult and not tasting are free.
Location and Parking
Located on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, 24th Street Park hosts top events and entertainment. Parking is available in the 25th Street Municipal Garage at 336 25th Street.
What to Bring
The She Crab Soup Classic happens rain or shine. Dogs and beach chairs are not permitted in the tasting area. Comfortable shoes and sunglasses or hat are advised.
Explore Virginia Beach waterfront dining.
Images from Live! On Atlantic.
Still Hungry for Some of the Best She Crab Soup in Virginia Beach?
Here are the Top 5 favorite spots for this delectable dish:
• Passion The Restaurant (Chesapeake): 2018 cookoff winner
• Freemason Abbey Restaurant (Norfolk): Hall of famer
• Fish & Slips Marina Raw Bar & Grill (Portsmouth): Second/third place finisher
• Calypso Bar & Grill (Virginia Beach): Second/third place finisher
• Margie and Ray’s (Sandbridge): Longtime icon
A beloved regional delicacy from Virginia to Georgia, creamy she crab soup stars the blue crab, an Atlantic seafood staple.
READ MORE ABOUT THE AREAS BEST SHE CRAB SOUP.
From family friendly and casual to fine dining and romantic—you can find a local Virginia Beach restaurant for every occasion.