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Anyone been to Cantler's near Annapolis?

We went there on a recommendation for our first crab experience as transplants to Maryland. My husband's craggy old barber told him about it and I think it was pretty great. Simple, non-descript and tucked away in the boonies. Pretty cool.

Anyone else been to this little place? Someone told me it was on the Food Network recently.

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  1. Yes, but overrated. For better grub, try Harris' Crab House in Kent Island (Eastern Shore) just across the Bay Bridge.

    1. We went back in March and really liked driving through the neighborhood to reach it. The food was okay. Worth a try, but wouldn't necessarily go back.

      1. Not quite sure how one could consider this place overrated, I don't hear about it much, but then again I don't pay much attention to food media. I went here almost weekly when I lived in Annapolis and still go at least once per year. Best basic softshell sandwich. Always good crabs available on an AYCE basis if you so choose, and many other good options as well (hated the clams I had there once though). It is in no way a "fine dining experience" but that's not the way seafood is meant to be enjoyed IMHO.

        I have always regarded Harris as a known tourist trap...so much so that I think I've avoided it entirely. If I've been there, and I quite possibly have, it was not memorable. I doubt its worth the drive regardless.

        If Cantler's was indeed on the food network I fear it might suffer the same fate eventually. I've been going there well over a decade...maybe close to decadeS by now...and aside from increasing popularity and naturally rising prices the quality hasn't really suffered over the years.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lowbar

          Cantlers has been a tourist trap for years now!
          Love the location but not a fan of crabs steamed without seasoning and then having it thrown on afterwards.

        2. Another note to original poster: try typing Cantler's into the search field up there and you'll find dozens of reports and opinions.

          1. I'll add my 2 cents -- I love Cantler's for hardshell crabs and a great location. They do great crabs. However, I do have to say that other items I have tried on occasion, like cream of crab soup and crab dip, have been pretty eh and not up to the quality of their crabs.

            I'll have to try their softshells, though....

            2 Replies
            1. re: Terrie H.

              Its definitely not for everyone. I happen to like most of my seafood very fresh and plainly prepared...yes on spices / spice mixtures but no sauces or the like. So Cantler's is good for me in that regard, I have never had fish there that wasn't extremely fresh. You're not going to find any creative preparations there. They have a fairly big shedding operation going on there so softshells are reliably very fresh and good. The large steamed shrimp w/ onions, very good. As I said earlier, ordering clams was a mistake. And the local and near-local oysters aren't my cup of tea.

              Basically, its my favorite place to spend an afternoon drinking beer and absolutely stuffing myself with seafood.

              1. re: Lowbar

                Cantler's is outstanding (and expensive) for crabs. Atmospheric it is considered one of the best crab houses in the state. But the sides are overall poor. You go to Cantler's for hardshell crabs NOT for crab cakes, soup, etc.

                In Rock Hall, MD there is a crab house called Waterman's which Chesapeake Magazine has voted Maryland's best crab house something like five or the last six years. I agree with this. I had a post on here from two years ago in late July which went into a lot of detail about it. The atmosphere is actually BETTER (serious) than Cantler's and the sides are excellent.

                Suicide Bridge in Hurlock is better also. For me this is the best overall Maryland style seafood restaurant in the state. Their hardshells are approximately 2/3 the price or less of both Cantler's and Waterman's.

                For crab cakes go to the Narrows in Kent Island.