Chicago >Restaurants >
Seafood >Half Shell, Inc.
676 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061441.932911 -87.646508
Mon-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm Sun 12pm-10:30pm
Neighborhoods: Lincoln Park, North Side
Great food - great local ambiance – As the other reviewers state- this place has great food. Fried oyster appetizers were clean and crisp. King crab legs were GREAT seemed like every table had an order. Huge pieces of succelent meat. The fried shrimp were A+ as well. Great portions with both being served on bed of french fries.
Very small dining area and cramped tables- I wouldn't exactly call it romantic more of a dive bar that would be uninteresting if not for the food.
Total bill was $75 for appetizer, 2 entrees and 4 beers.
I've been here more than 200 times. I WORSHIP this seafood dive bar, best value in town – My Pop used to sneak me in here when it was a biker dive bar in the 70s/80s when I was a youngster and The Turk was the Boss. So aside from many fond memories it is one of my favorite value-for-money places in Chicago AND the best seafood place I have been to and I have been everywhere, from up to downscale. When you enter the Half shell you think you are going into a cave--it is in a basement and has a few tables with Christmas lights left up year round. The service is no frills, and luckily the menu doesn't change much. The shrimp are large and excellent and when softshell crabs are in season (usually in June) they actually prepare them correctly which is saying something about their seafood know-how since most restaurants I have been in (even ridiculously overpriced Loop and river North places), do not prepare them properly. The women's restroom has a bathtub in it. May this place stay open forever. My favorites--softshell crabs in season (usually June), fire roasted clams, and the crab specials. If you don't like seafood don't go--aside from a few side dishes (decent house salad), it's seafood served with a lollipop and lettuce leaf, and there aint much else (there's tenderloin & shrimp too). It's a romantic place, but also they will accommodate kids (but they have to like seafood AND not run around since it is dark!).
They wash their oysters before serving! Absolutely horrible. – I went one day at lunch time and ordered a dozen raw oysters at the bar. The oysters were the worst I've ever had.
The kitchen actually *washed* the oysters, removing all of the nectar!
I've never ever seen this done at any restaurant before. The oysters were rendered plain, with hardly any taste. They were fairly fresh, but were so bland that I ate 3, paid up, and left. I will never ever go back to this place again. Absolutely horrible.
UNBELIEVABLE Neighborhood Seafood Joint! – I stopped into Half Shell tonight and can honestly say it's the second best seafood I've had in Chicago - slightly behind Dirk's Fish and Gourmet Shop on Clybourn. The difference? Price! Half Shell, as a RESTAURANT, was about ? more affordable than Dirk's - a retail seafood shop. AMAZING! I'll definitely be back to Half Shell, but, per the handwritten messages from the owner posted on the door I won't think about wearing a tank top, sporting a baseball cap, or paying with anything other than cash. Make sure you don't either or else you'll be asked to comply with house rules!
Secrets are always best kept – I've been going to the Half Shell since 1972. When west of Halsted, was considered dangerous (or German). If you like dives, if you like seafood, you will like this. I am surprised that it's just since 1968, I would have pinned it earlier since my much older brotherinlaw introduced it to me in '72..... well before any of you reading this were born. Yes, "were". Subjunctive.
Don't take any cutesy-wootsy people here, though. We want to keep it cool. For eg, John Cusak (ugh) think's this joint has been here since the 80s. Duh.
Love the food hate service – My friends and I went out to Halfshell last Friday night we has excellent food! The portions were big and the taste was amazing. The only problem service is in the toilet
This Diversey dive may not look like much, but it serves some of the best--and cheapest--crab legs in town. – The Scene
Set back from the street and down a narrow flight of stairs, Half Shell hides in a dark, low-ceilinged room decorated with Christmas lights and nautical-theme bric-a-brac. Regulars drink steins of draft beer at the bar--Chicago accents abound--while straight-talking servers nonchalantly go about their business.
If you don't know about Half Shell, it's because Chicago seafood lovers know how to keep a good secret. And who wouldn't be protective of such huge, perfectly fried shrimp and succulent king crab legs? The menu also features scallops, catfish, red snapper and dungeness crab, but those legs are the stars. Full of tender meat and needing no more than a squirt of lemon, they're delicious in a combo with beef tenderloin: Get two big legs, a half-dozen tender chunks of beef, grilled veggies and shoestring potatoes all piled atop toast--with a sucker for good measure.
Best Deal in Chicago – Half Shell has delicious, hearty portions of seafood in a no frills environment. The snow crab legs are phenomenal as is the fried shrimp (served with coctail sauce and another sauce, perhaps apple-horseradish, that is sweet and spicy. It can get very crowded, but the wait is well worth it. The prices are really reasonable considering the portion size. They have daily lunch specials as well, for an even better deal.
Gotta be there – As a visitor from Texas, I was introduced to the Half Shell over 20 years ago and make a pilgrimage each time I'm in Chicago . It is the best of "The best kept secrets of Chicago". If you prefer great atmosphere, casual dress, cold beer and the most succulent King Crab in the history of ever. Search no further.
Don"t come here so I can get in quicker – Do me a favor and don't listen to the HYPE the food here is just bad... Now that that has been said I want it all for my self. This is one of the best places for seafood anywhere. BOB CHIN'S in a tight space. The bar tenders here are fun to watch, how they rember all the parties and the order they get sat.
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!
Do you have a review of Half Shell, Inc. on your blog? If you include the Citysearch image link (shown below) in your post, we'll automatically link to your review from the business profile page. Here's how our Linkback system works:
The Linkback system is free and automatic. It's really that easy.
To link to our business profile page, copy the html below to your web page.