CoVa Dining Guide: Waterfront Restaurants

A guide to some of our Coastal Virginia Magazine staff and food writers’ favorite restaurants 
The Porch on Long Creek

On the Waterfront: Local restaurants that offer some of the best vistas of our local waterways

In our Dining Guide section, we feature some of our favorite dining establishments in the region, selected and listed by cuisine type, theme or geographic area. In this edition, it’s all about the waterside views. 

Amber Lantern There is not a lot of waterfront dining in Chesapeake, but Amber Lantern is unique and not just because it’s accessible by both boat and helicopter. Situated atop a secluded marina down Bainbridge Point, this fine-dining Mediterranean restaurant offers stunning Elizabeth River views.

Big Sam’s For a great locals’ scene in Virginia Beach, head to the south end of the Oceanfront for a trio of well-loved seafood restaurants with amazing views of the Rudee Inlet—Big Sam’s, Rudee’s, and Rockafeller’s. The first of these is a casual, family-friendly, tiki bar-inspired café and raw bar that’s open all day every day.

Blue Pete’s Restaurant Twenty minutes from the Oceanfront hustle, the locals know where the real waterfront festivities go down in VB and that’s Blue Pete’s, located in historic Pungo since 1972 on Tabernacle Creek. Wash down great seafood and steaks dockside with a Witch of Pungo cocktail and jam out with live music and special events.

Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant Over by the Lesner Bridge and Lynnhaven Inlet are many locally loved seafood establishments. Bubba’s is one of the oldest, having started as a bait and tackle shop more than 30 years ago. Along with its next-door sister, The Back Deck, these casual eateries offer breathtaking views of the Lynnhaven River.

Buoy 44 For the best views of the Chesapeake Bay and bridge-tunnel, check out beachy Buoy 44 off of Shore Drive. This easygoing seafood grill with two bars and deck seating is a great place to pop in for lunch, happy hour, or dinner after a day of floating on the water.

Chick’s Oyster Bar Named after Chic’s Beach, the local name for the beach community of Chesapeake Beach, Chick’s Oyster Bar is a fun, clam shack inspired restaurant where it always feels like spring break. Hang out on the vast Lynnhaven Riverfront deck for epic sunsets and epic party vibes.

Ocean 27

Crab Shack on the James Located at the end of the James River Bridge on the Newport News side is Crab Shack, an airy, family-friendly restaurant connected to a fishing pier. Its wraparound windows and huge, screened-in deck allow for jaw-dropping views of sunsets on the river and Huntington Beach.

The Deadrise Named for a traditional Chesapeake Bay fishing/oystering boat, this casual seafood joint is located above the Old Point Comfort Marina on Fort Monroe and offers westward views of Mill Creek, the James River and the HRBT from the small dining room and covered deck.

Decoys This spacious, duck hunting themed seafood restaurant from M&M Hospitality restaurant group offers beautiful views of idyllic Bennett’s Creek in Suffolk from the dining room’s many picture windows and ample seating options on the wraparound deck, which also boasts a tiki bar, marina and members-only pool.

Dockside Located between Bubba’s and Chick’s in the Lynnhaven Inlet area is another local favorite, Dockside; a family-friendly restaurant that is also a wonderful seafood market, wine shop and fishing dock. Sit out on a dockside picnic table to enjoy a fresh catch the way it’s truly meant to be enjoyed.

Fish & Slips One of the only restaurants in Portsmouth with water views, this laidback, almost divey raw bar atop a marina on Craford Bay offers breath-taking panoramic views of the Elizabeth River, as well as Olde Town and Portsmouth Naval Hospital, and Waterside and Nauticus on the other side.

Island House Restaurant Make a right on Wachapreague Road from US-13 on the Eastern Shore and keep driving until you hit the Island House Restaurant (or just boat right up to the marina, passing by Hog Island on your way up). Besides the food, this rustic-chic restaurant’s views of Virginia’s Barrier Islands are absolutely worth the trip.

Isle of Capri On the second floor of the Holiday Inn North Beach is one of the only truly fancy restaurants at the Oceanfront. With its upscale Italian cuisine, formal dining room and gorgeous views of the Atlantic, Isle of Capri is worthy of a classy date night, important business dinner, or major special occasion.

Oscar’s Oceanside

Longboards There are surprisingly few places in Norfolk for waterfront dining, but the Longboards in East Beach has everything you’re looking for in a beachside restaurant: burgers, wings and seafood; tiki bar drinks; and wraparound deck seating with beautiful views of Little Creek, the marina and sunsets.

Merroir One of many celebrated restaurants from Rappahannock Oyster Company, Merroir overlooks the site of their Rappahannock River oyster farms in Topping. Their expansive lawn has plenty of patio and picnic tables on which to enjoy some of the area’s absolute best local cuisine.

Ocean 27 Seated on the beautifully landscaped patio of this 27th Street destination, you feel like you are practically on the VB Boardwalk. Bring family and friends for cornhole and other games to enjoy along with their “seafood, burgers and cocktails served in a playful, indoor/outdoor atmosphere.”

Ocean Eddie’s Savoring a snack and a beer on the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier in the summertime while gazing out at the Atlantic is a bucket list experience for any tourist or local visiting the Oceanfront, and for that there’s Ocean Eddie’s—a landmark seafood and snack bar that’s been around for decades.

Ocean House Waterfront Restaurant Summertime people watching on the VB Boardwalk is a pastime of its own, and there are few better spots to do it than the perch of a colorful bar stool at Oceanhouse’s open air second-floor deck, a hidden gem with seafood, drinks, bar bites, games, covered gliders and more.

Ocean View Fishing Pier Pop into the full-service restaurant on the fishing pier during your next fun-filled beach day in Ocean View and treat yourself to some of the only beachfront dining in Norfolk. Choose from surprisingly large lunch, dinner and drink menus and enjoy expansive Chesapeake Bay views from the indoor dining room or spacious upper deck.


Oscar’s Oceanside For a glam girls night out, big birthday dinner or an impressive first date, try Oscar’s located right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Oceanfront. This upscale contemporary eatery offers an eclectic menu featuring steak, pasta and seafood, plus fabulous cocktails; not to mention sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery Located next to the marina and resort at Kings Creek in Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore, this breezy, modern seafood eatery has a sleek bar, casual yet chic atmosphere, and ample indoor and deck seating. Westward-facing windows allow for stunning sunset views on the Chesapeake Bay.

Orion’s Roof & Tulu Head up to the 23rd floor of the Marriott Oceanfront Resort to Orion’s Roof for sushi, Asian-fusion cuisine and probably the best view at the beach. Or stay on the main floor for Tulu, a breezy bar-and-grill restaurant with a more relaxed atmosphere and American cuisine.,

Rudee’s on the Inlet

The Porch on Long Creek (Photo at top of page) This bright, airy seafood and sushi restaurant is a perennial favorite for its chic summer house vibes and panoramic views of Long Creek. The beautifully appointed dining room is centered around an open kitchen and features a sleek bar, but the water views are the real star here.

Rockafeller’s This local gem situated on the Rudee Inlet has been around since 1989 and a favorite of visitors and Beach residents ever since. With its classic Old Beach décor, casual atmosphere, beautiful marina views and regionally focused dinner menu, it’s a great spot for any occasion.

Rudee’s on the Inlet Located right next door to Rockafeller’s is Rudee’s, which has been around even longer, since 1983. This local favorite features a full-service outdoor cabana bar (with TVs!) right in the marina and covered outdoor “gliding tables” both of which make for a truly unique waterside dining experience.

The Shanty A summer beach or boat day on the Eastern Shore feels incomplete without a stop at The Shanty, a bustling bar and seafood restaurant on the Cape Charles Harbor with a surf shack inspired dining room and plentiful outdoor, marina-side dining. Come as you are to this casual, laid-back eatery.

Smithfield Station This upscale seafood restaurant situated on the Pagan River is part of a Coast Guard Station-inspired resort hotel that boasts a boardwalk, riverfront cottages and replica lighthouse that is iconic to Smithfield. Snag an outdoor table to really soak in the slowed-down riverfront vibes.

Steinhilber’s This legendary, old-school seafood and steakhouse in Thalia Acres has been the site of special occasions and celebratory dinners in Virginia Beach for over 85 years. One of the oldest family-owned restaurants in the region, it offers a refined yet rustic dining experience and unique water views of the Thalia Causeway.

Surf Rider Now with six restaurants in Coastal Virginia, this longtime favorite has been serving traditional, down-home seafood fare for over 40 years. Its locations in Poquoson, Bay Point Marina in Norfolk, Bluewater in Hampton and Marina Shores in Virginia Beach each offer a beautiful and unique viewpoint of a local waterway.

The Surry Seafood Company Located on Grays Creek near the Jamestown-Scotland ferry dock is The Surry Seafood Company. Like Smithfield Station (a sister business), this 100-seat restaurant from Pack Brothers Hospitality is connected to a marina and hotel, and offers excellent riverfront dining on the spacious deck.

Water Street Grille

Water Street Grille Of the few eateries at Yorktown Beach, Water Street Grille offers arguably the best views of the York River, especially from its outdoor dining areas. The diverse menu includes tapas, pizza, and other comforting entrees, as well as a great craft beer list… but the views are the real draw here.

Waterman’s Surfside Grille Down at the south end of the Oceanfront, this landmark renovated Old Beach cottage turned Surfside Grille offers probably the best Orange Crush at the beach and plenty of VB history in black-and-white framed photos along with panoramic views of the expansive Atlantic.

YROC Coastal Bar & Grille This Gloucester Point favorite, formerly known as York River Oyster Company, offers incredible views of Sarah Creek at the mouth of the York River, especially from its covered outdoor bar and dining areas. Open all day, every day, it’s a great place to gather with family and friends.

Please note this is a partial list compiled by Coastal Virginia Magazine editorial staff and contributing writers. Look for more listings of local restaurants in future issues!

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