Sure, it’s the touristy thing to do, but who doesn’t want seafood when they go to the beach? Not only is it light and satisfying after a day in the sun, generally where there’s an ocean there’s good fishing, and you’re likely to get something tasty, local and fresh. That said, any vacation destination also includes plenty of tourist trap seafood spots—please steer me clear of anything with the word “buffet” in the title or anywhere that “seafood” means a greasy piece of something fried that probably saw a Sysco box more recently than the ocean.
This doesn’t mean I need to go somewhere fancy. I do love a spot where I can throw a sundress over my swim suit, sidle into a booth, and put down a delicious meal without having to get all cleaned up. This is why Chick’s Oyster Bar at Lynnhaven Inlet is one of my favorite Virginia Beach restaurants. Located right on the inlet with a dock where boats can pull right up, this seafood restaurant captures the casual waterside vibe. Along with inside dining, there’s a spacious patio and even a line of booths right along the dock area so you can really soak up the atmosphere while you dine.
To start your visit, any adventurous diner should order a Chick’s signature oyster shooter. A fresh-shucked oyster combined with cocktail sauce and draft beer goes down easy and primes your palate for more seafood. While you’re there, it’s also a requirement that you order a Crush. A boat-drink lover’s dream, these libations feature freshly squeezed juices combined with varying liquors for tropical combinations that definitely channel vacation. The traditional Orange Crush is a refreshing combination of orange-infused vodka, fresh-squeezed orange juice, triple sec and a splash of lemon-lime soda. I think on my next visit I’ll be going Limeade Crush—vodka, fresh-squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and a splash of lemon-lime soda—doesn’t that sound like summer in a glass?
In terms of food, it’s hard to go wrong if you go for seafood. Chick’s has been open for over 25 years and the seafood menu focuses on fresh catch from area waters. On a recent visit, I decided to mix it up and try the smoked fish dip. Impressively delicate smoked fish was combined with just the right amount of cream cheese to be flavorful and not heavy alongside fresh lemon wedges and classic Ritz crackers.
After the shooters, more oysters were necessary as well, so we went for some fresh-shucked local oysters, which were briny, fresh, and just the fresh seafood flavor one wants at the beach. For my meal, I kept it simple and went for the Chick’s Steamed Combo, featuring oysters, clams, shrimp and mussels simply steamed and served with butter and cocktail sauce.
Other menu favorites include the crab dip, which is warm, creamy and full of lump crab; the tuna bites, which are accompanied by seaweed salad, pickled ginger, and soy-wasabi sauce; lump crab cakes fried, blackened or grilled; and fish tacos. You can even jump on one of the latest food trends with a Hawaiian poke bowl featuring avocado, mango, seaweed salad, greens, radish, pickled ginger and panko tossed in soy sauce and sesame dressing topped with your choice of salmon, tuna or chicken. And, don’t worry, there’s a selection of burgers, wings, and other non-seafood menu items for land lovers.