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Nice but "undiscovered" in Annapolis?

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My family is gathering in the Annapolis area the weekend of May 15 and we want to go out for a celebratory meal, but we're finding that many restaurants are booked up for that Saturday night because of a local university graduation. We want to eat fish and crab and fresh local ingredients, and we'd adore to do it somewhere overlooking the water. Any suggestions for places that are "nice" but would not be on graduates' and their parents' obvious hot list? Entrees can cost up to $30, but cheaper is fine.

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  1. I'd recommend Harris' Crab House over at the Eastern Shore across the Bay Bridge.

    * Cross the Bridge
    * Keep going until you see signs for Kent Island
    * Cross over the bridge and make your first exit
    * Come to stop sign and make another right
    * Keep going, and go under the overpass for rt. 50
    * It'll be on your left.

    Another place that people rave about is Cantler's. It's a bit tricky to get there, but you won't have to cross the bridge.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nice_dude88

      I'm not sure if I'd call either Crab house "nice". If you're willing to travel to Harris', then the Narrows across of Rt 50 might fit the occasion better.

      1. re: Jason

        You're right, but most crab houses in annapolis aren't white table cloth. When you're eating crabs, you want to get down and dirty.

    2. Hardly undiscovered, but you could try Sam's Waterfront Cafe which is just a outside of Annapolis, at Chesapeake Harbor - overlooking harbor with beautiful yachts, good seafood, outdoor seating in good weather.

      Phone number is: 410-263-3600

      Much smaller, in a converted bungalow in Eastport is the Wild Orchid Cafe: 909 Bay Ridge Ave
      Phone: 410- 268-8009. They mostly cater to locals, but they fill up fast.

      You may want to head to Baltimore - Fells Point or Canton.

      1. Okay, so I am sounding like a broken record, but call Sputnik Restaurant (1397 Generals Highway, Crownsville, Md.; 410/923-3775). Very very good asian fusion; about 15 minutes north of Crownsville. May not be booked up yet.

        A couple of other suggestions: La Rose de Saigon (960 Bay Ridge Road; 410-268-8484) is Vietnamese/Asian; has good pho. Paul's Homewood Cafe is very good but it's pretty small so I would expect that they are booked. Finally, Les Folies Brasserie (2552 Riva Road, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-573-1617) is supposed to be quite good but it too might be booked.

        Hope you find something.

        1. I'm guessing that you've already tried O'Learys and I would check with Carrol's Creek to see whether they are back open after their renovation.

          I would second the Wild Orchid recommendation, with the caveat that it seats very few people.

          I would also add Reynolds Tavern which is located on Church Circle. They recently opened for dinner (to which I haven't been but am looking forward to once the weather clears), but the brunch and tea that I've had there were wonderful. Again, it's in a renovated historic building so it seat very few people.

          Other restaurants in Annapolis which I like, but am not sure how "popular" they will be during a graduation week, are Aqua Terra (Main St) and Sputnik Cafe (Crownsville).

          1. Paul's on the South River, 3027 Riva Road, Annapolis, would work.

            Cantlers has good food, but as I recall, the seating is long picnic benches inside. It is on the water, but at night, I'm not sure how much you would see.

            Mona Lisa is a new Italian Restaurant on Solomon's Island Road in a strip mall adjacent to Annapolis Harbour Center. No view but quite nice and upscale.

            Sputnik is a fun, funky place to go to, but I'm not sure I would have a family reunion there.

            1. One of the local favorites is Paul's Homewood Cafe on West St (West of the new Circle). Locals like myself have been going there for decades since it started as a lunch counter and still run by a multi-generational greek family. Greek/med influences but excellent fresh food kind of place. Recently remodeled and enlarged (was too small to keep up with its own popularity) -- it usually is not over run even at boat show time and presumably graduation (USNA?). Wine list is very good -- not snooty or overpriced, atmsophere in new digs is very pleasant. Prices are very moderate, ie fair.

              1. Sadly, Sputnik in Crownsville has closed. It was one of the area's true undiscovered gems, serving meals rarely seen anywhere else. I see that a new bar 'n grille-type place is getting ready to open in the Sputnik space.

                I echo the others' posts about the Wild Orchid and Pauls' Homewood. Both are very nice. Paul's has recently been (completely) renovated.

                I'm surprised no one has suggested Mike's Crab House in Edgewater (assuming the casual atmosphere is OK). Inside, the place is routine. But when the whether is nice and you can sit outdoors on the decks, it is a fun experience. Stick to the basics on the menu and you'll be pleased.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ichabod

                  If you look at the date of this thread it is quite old so that is probably why...