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
©Genevieve Walker Switzer
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.
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.
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.
Mahi Mahs—Virginia Beach
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, Mahi Mahs is located right on Virginia Beach’s Boardwalk, only steps away from the sand and surf. While the menu includes American dishes like steaks and burgers, the real standout items are the seafood and sushi. On weekends, sit on the patio for live entertainment while you watch the sun set over the ocean.
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.
Indigo Landing overlooks the Potomac River from the banks of Daingerfield Island. The restaurant’s windows flip up at the bar, giving customers access to the view and open air during warmer summer months. The open patio area is shaded by trees and umbrellas, and you’ll often see sailboats idling up and down the river past the restaurant. Although the dinner menu can be a little pricier, Indigo Landing is open for lunch, with seafood favorites such as the Broiled Crab Cake Sandwich and standard fare like the Grilled Chicken BLT.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Want more waterfront dining? Here are a few more fan-favorite dockside diners to add to your travel plans:
- Sunset Grille Kiptopeke—Cape Charles
- Isle of Capri—Virginia Beach
- Mallards at the Wharf—Onancock
- The Boathouse at Sunday Park—Midlothian
- Surf Rider Grill—Virginia Beach
- Dockside Restaurant—Hopewell
- Blue Heron Restaurant—Charles City
- Tim’s at Lake Anna—Mineral
- Lynnhaven Fish House Restaurant—Virginia Beach
- The Barking Dog—Hampton
- The Train Station Restaurant—Newport News
- Rudee’s on the Inlet—Virginia Beach
- Riverwalk Restaurant—Yorktown
- Chick’s Oyster Bar—Virginia Beach
- Broken Ski Grill—Abingdon
- Catch 31—Virginia Beach
- Captain Chuck-A-Muck’s Ship Store & Grill—Carrollton
- Deadrise—Fort Monroe
- Rockafeller’s Restaurant—Virginia Beach
- Blue Pete’s Seafood—Virginia Beach
- Mango’s Bar & Grill—Moneta
- Madigan’s Waterfront—Occoquan
- Blackwall Hitch—Alexandria
- Brock’s Riverside Grille—Fredericksburg
- Seabreeze Restaurant—Gwynn
- Chart House—Alexandria
- Bungalow Lakehouse—Sterling
- Crazy Crab—Reedville
- Windows on the Water—Lancaster
- Douthat Lakeview Restaurant—Millboro
- Portside Grill & Bar—Moneta
- Dockside Restaurant—Virginia Beach
- Tautog’s Restaurant—Virginia Beach