Imagine smooth, creamy grits that satisfy every comfort food craving that you could possibly have. Then, think about crisp, flavorful shrimp that brighten up coastal cuisine. Combine the two and you get the ultimate dish: shrimp and grits. 

Growing up in Virginia Beach, I was used to seeing shrimp and grits on nearly every menu, whether for brunch or dinner. It's a given that every local restaurant has fresh seafood options, so when I moved away, I gained a newfound appreciation for my city's cuisine. 

Of course every restaurant claims that their version is the best. Some come with peppers, some with bacon, and some with extra cheesy grits. I like to think that I'm a bit of an expert, having tried dozens over the years. 

The best of the best feature flavorful grits, perfectly cooked and seasoned shrimp, and some kind of fresh vegetable or herb. I've found that my personal favorites also have a second type of protein, like bacon or chorizo sausage to add fat. Because let's face it, fat equals flavor

Here are some of the best shrimp and grits dishes you'll find near the beach.

Big Sam's

Big Sam's has been a family-owned favorite of locals since 1996. It's located in Rudee Inlet, where fishing boats bring in a constant stream of fresh seafood.

The atmosphere is why their breakfast grits with jumbo shrimp, sautéed pepper and onion, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheddar taste so good. If you're stopping by for lunch or dinner, make sure to put in an order for their specialty old bay chicken wings.

Eurasia Cafe & Wine Bar

Eurasia is an epic date-night location with an equally epic dinner menu. But you won't find your typical bowl here. This upscale version comes with a fried gouda grit cake, curry country sausage, roasted red peppers, basil, and old bay butter. 

No Frill Bar and Grill

Although the outside of No Frill may trick you into thinking it's a plain old diner, you'd be making a big mistake passing up seafood here. Not only are their ahi tuna salad and pitas delicious, but their shrimp and grits are some of the best.

These pack big flavor with pan seared shrimp, andouille sausage, green onions, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, cheese grits, and herbed crostini to soak up all that delicious sauce. 

Bay Local

My all time favorite brunch location, Bay Local, is a local's favorite. If you want a table, you'll have to arrive before 9am, but, trust me, the early alarm is worth it. Their "Just Right" dish features sautéed onion and peppers over cheesy grits with applewood smoked bacon and smoky sausage. 

#SpoonTip: Add chopped sautéed scallops for only $1.99 extra.

Coastal Grill

If you're looking for classic, simple seafood preparations, there's no better option than Coastal Grill. They've been serving locals for 25 years.

Their tried-and-true version of shrimp and grits comes with peppers and andouille sausage, but my favorite part is the heavy-handed application of old bay seasoning

Bella Monte

Bella Monte, a local Italian food and wine destination, is my family's go-to for a celebration dinner. While their cioppinno is my personal favorite, my little sister always goes for the shrimp polenta.

This Italian homage to the southern dish features polenta, jumbo shrimp, house-made sausage, pancetta, roasted red peppers, and a cream sauce to top it all off. 

Tupelo Honey Cafe

Tupelo Honey may be a chain restaurant, but it's based in Asheville and that gives them a step up on Southern cooking. Combine that with Virginia Beach's seafood niche and you've got the perfect equation for shrimp and grits. 

Tupelo's unique twist to modernize this classic twist is the use of goat cheese in the adluh flour grits. Peperonata provides the perfect contrast to the rich creamy grits to highlight the shrimp. 

#SpoonTip: Make sure you order some biscuits to soak up the extra sauce. They're some of the best.

The Bee and the Biscuit

Housed in an original 1919 cottage, this hidden gem is located in Virginia Beach's farm country. At The Bee and the Biscuit, brunch is fit for any meal of the day.

"The Pungonian Shrimp & Grits" named for the rural Pungo area of Virginia, focuses on the details in generous portions. You can expect a delicious bed of stone-ground grits with spicy shrimp, cheddar, green onions, and herbs on top. 


Located in a 1920's cottage at the heart of the Virginia Beach resort area, Tautog's is committed to serving up fine dining quality seafood in a casual atmosphere.

Tautog's offers big flavors without relying on another meat. Enjoy some live music on Thursday nights with shrimp sautéed in house-made peach bbq sauce over jalapeño cheddar grits, a classic combination.  

eat: An American Bistro

I saved eat: An American Bistro for last because they're technically an honorable mention. It's not because their menu packs any less flavor. Nope. It's because their shrimp and grits does't actually have shrimp.

Eat offers a one-up. Scallops and grits. You're going to want to try this one for yourself ASAP, but for now, just imagine it. Scallops and roasted corn grits with old bay popcorn, hominy corn relish, and lemon brown butter. 

Now that I've officially announced my love for shrimp and grits to the world, at least everyone will understand why I've developed such a passion for the dish. Growing up in Virginia Beach gave me instant access to the best of the best.

Next time you're in town, enjoy shrimp the way they were meant to be eaten. With grits.