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Find the best seafood in Virginia Beach

When Captain John Smith visited Virginia Beach in the 17th century, he was wowed by its immense gastronomic offerings—he noticed, for example, that oysters lay “thick as stones” in the Chesapeake Bay. Smith and his posse were able to catch entire schools of fish, simply by submerging frying pans in the water.

Wanna try this yourself? Sure, no one’s stopping you. Although, pro tip: Today, unlike in Smith’s time, it’s probably easier just to hit up one of Virginia Beach’s many mouthwatering seafood restaurants. (Save your frying pans for another adventure.)

Here are four can’t-miss spots where you can partake in the bounty that’s made Virginia Beach a true foodie destination.

1 The Back Deck

Photo: The Back Deck via Facebook 

Fish simply tastes better when it’s consumed while gazing out upon the water, and The Back Deck delivers. Tacked onto a seafood market, the nautical dive bar relies on the owners’ private fishing fleet, which bring in fresh catches daily. Wash it down with local brews or wines and cocktails, and you’ll understand why this place is perpetually packed.

2 Terrapin

Photo: Terrapin via Facebook

Baskets of fish and chips are fine, but sometimes life calls for something a bit more refined. At Terrapin, Rodney Einhorn, formerly of Le Cirque in New York City, handles Virginia Beach fish with a deft, elegant touch: Lynnhaven oysters are drizzled in strawberry mignonette; desserts look like tiny works of art. Order the tasting menu to get the full experience—Einhorn does right by duck and steak, too.

3 Doc Taylor's

Photo: Doc Taylor's via Facebook

Wake up and smell. . .the crab cakes. This homey spot, once a doctor’s office, is open for breakfast and lunch, so go early to get your fill of catfish and she-crab soup. It’s cheap, cheerful and known for its strong Bloody Marys, which are a real steal at $2.50 a glass. Bottoms up!

4 Pleasure House Oysters

Photo: Pleasure House Oysters via Website

There’s eating oysters—and then there’s eating oysters while standing in the middle of an oyster farm wearing waders with water swirling around you. Take a dip directly in the Lynnhaven River during an oyster farm tour and enjoy with your BYOB wine. It’s truly bivalve bliss.