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Crabhouses and crabcakes in maryland--pls. help me add to my list

I realize this is a topic that's been beaten to death on this board, and you guys are probably tired of answering it. But as I'm planning on heading down to Maryland sometime in the next two months, I wanted to get some fresh recommendations re: crabhouses, crabcakes, and seafood in general. I'll be driving in from pretty far away so I'm willing to check out any place in the region - in Baltimore itself, in the Eastern Shore communities, and so forth.

I have a bunch of places on my to-do list. I'd love to hear recent thoughts about these places and if I should add any more spots (or better yet, if any of the places I've mentioned are not that good, please tell me so I can stay away!). I'm looking for quality more than anything else; not worried about price, atmosphere, or decor. Just want a sublime, authentic crab/crabcake/seafood experience, is all.

If possible, please let me know the town name and/or neighborhood, as I'm not really familiar with the area. Also, recommendations on the best dishes other than the obvious would be highly appreciated, as well as other relevant info (are they closed for the winter? Closed on weekends?). Thanks so much.

-Faidley's in the Lexington Market in Baltimore proper (crabcakes)
-Mr. Bill's Terrace Inn in Essex (crabhouse)
-Schultz's (crabhouse)
-Bo Brooks (crabhouse in the Canton neighborhood)
-Mama's on the Half Shell (upscale/trendy(?) crabhouse in the Canton neighborhood)
-Costa's
-Duda's (not sure if they serve seafood? Supposed to be in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore)
-Cantler's Riverside Inn in Annapolis (crabhouse)
-Waterman's in Rock Hall, MD (on the eastern shore)

Seems like there's a lot of good stuff on the eastern shore. Any real local spots/sleepers? Any crab festivals or other events that are worth checking out? Much appreciated.

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  1. Wow, you've really done your homework.

    Here's you list, and my comments:
    -Faidley's in the Lexington Market in Baltimore proper (crabcakes): Yes, it's in Baltimore, not terribly far from Camden Yards. You DO go there for the crabcakes, but hanging out at the raw bar a bit isn't bad either.

    -Mr. Bill's Terrace Inn in Essex (crabhouse): This is eastern Baltimore County

    -Schultz's (crabhouse): Also eastern Baltimore County, not far from Mr Bill's. You should also try their gumbo there. I'm not gumbo expert, but think it's really good...also, good home baked bread.

    -Bo Brooks (crabhouse in the Canton neighborhood): You've enough on your list that you could easily skip this rather touristy place.

    -Mama's on the Half Shell (upscale/trendy(?) crabhouse in the Canton neighborhood): Not far from Bo Brooks at all. I lot of people here love it; I've only eaten there once. It seems that there's ALWAYS a wait in a very crowded bar.

    -Costa's: Also eastern Baltimore county. I've only had crabs there, which are very good. A bit further out than Schultz's.

    -Duda's (not sure if they serve seafood? Supposed to be in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore): It IS in Fells Point. A great neighborhood place, with great food. Everything from burgers to crab cakes.

    -Cantler's Riverside Inn in Annapolis (crabhouse): I'd take a pass on this. The crabs are good, but I've never had a good time there, since it's crowded and hectic...

    -Waterman's in Rock Hall, MD (on the eastern shore): Parnter and I were just talking about this place; and I think we've deemed it as among the best crabs we've ever had. A definite must.

    On the eastern shore, on Tilghman Island, is this great little (well, not so little) place called Harrison's Inn. Don't eat in the dining room, go out back to the very casual crab deck. It's a cool place to hang out, and chow down! And, right on the water!

    2 Replies
    1. re: baltoellen

      A couple of additional comments:

      Mama's On The Half Shell is a seafood place, but not a crabhouse.

      Duda's often has very good double-padded fried oysters during oyster season. If they have them, get them.

      1. re: Hal Laurent

        Dudas also has very good crab cakes, steamed shrimp and smoked fish!

    2. Koco's on Harford Rd. is a bar with a dining area and they have GREAT crabcakes!

      1. You've got a great list, but one I'd add since it sounds like you're coming from the north (you did say headed "down", after all) is Woody's Crab House in North East MD. Its about 5 minutes off of 95 in the center of town on Main Street and their crab cakes and onion rings are excellent. That should hold you until you get to Faidley's.

        1. Stoney's for a great crabcake - no filler whatsoever and huge as a baseball! Could use a wee bit more seasoning in my estimation, but my favorite nonetheless for the quantity and quality of crab. I think it is in Broome Island. Haven't been for a few years though...hope it's still as good as it was.

          2 Replies
          1. re: baconjen

            It is. Went a few days ago and it holds up.

            1. re: baconjen

              looks great, is full of crab with little filler but unfortunately has no flavor whatsoever.......too bad since if they added some seasoning to it, it would be as good as any crab cake around. I went to the Solomons branch

            2. Buddy's Crabs, 100 Main, Annapolis, is the word from my son who lives there.

              My own word is: the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet at Phillips, Harborplace, Baltimore. Any place that starts out by putting a bucket on the table to collect the shells has my vote.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Querencia

                I'm not too fond of Buddy's or Phillips but I haven't been to either in years. Phillips is one of the highest volume restaurants in the country, I believe.

                1. re: Querencia

                  Buddy's in Annapolis is horrible. If I was in Annapolis for Seafood I would go to O'Leary's in Eastport (right next to Annapolis a neighborhood if you will) for a crabcake in downtown go to Galway Bay (strange an irish resturant would be the best downtown, but...). The seafood buffet in Harborplace is awesome. It isn't in the phillips restuarant it is seperate and very good. The place below reccommended by Joe at Kent Narrows is good, and if for some god faresaken reason you have to drive through Carroll County or have to go there I went to school there and there is a little restuarant called Frisco Family Pub they pick their crabmeat each day and have crabs that are great.

                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    The buffet at Buddies use to be ok. I really like the crab dip over at Pussers, but if I really want crabs I like driving out to Kent Island - its great for a day trip on the weekend in the summer.

                  2. re: Querencia

                    Oh dear God, NO NO NO! Buddy's is a tourist trap and the food is terrible. I wouldn't send someone I disliked to eat there!

                    If you want crabs in Annapolis, go to Cantler's, or forget it.

                    Kent Island--Harris' Crab House.