HOME > Chowhound > Mid-Atlantic >


Best Ocean City MD restaurants

We have been going to OC for 20 years. There are LOTS of restaurants. Our favorites are Captain's Galley II in West OC for the best crabcakes. Crabcake Factory up towards the Deleware border has some equally as good, atmosphere not too much. Good news is you can take some home packed in dry ice and they will last forever in your freezer. Harrison's at the end of the boardwalk always has some great fresh fish. Those are our three favorites. After that we tend to try different places each year, no others have made it on our must go to list. JRs does make the rotation once in a while for good ribs!

Looking for some other recommendations to fill out our week this August.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For the biggest and heaviest spiced crabs - Bahama Mamas at the end of Wicomico St, overlooking the water (on a nice night sitting on the deck is quite romantic). They also
    have the best cream of crab soup that I have ever eaten.

    For a multi-hour all-you-can- eat crabs, ribs, fried chicken, beerfest etc - Higgins.

    1. We like Harpoon Hannas for good fish and the atmosphere is fun too. I also like Harrisons
      Philips is good. I go for their soft shell crabs, the crabcakes are good too. My daughter loves their fried chicken
      J.R.'s for ribs
      Fagers Island
      B.J.'s on the water
      Only boardwalk place I like is Bull on the Beach
      Lombardi's for pizza

      10 Replies
      1. re: abylane

        can't agree about harpoon hanna's - it's on our must to avoid list for every category, including the food. Also, Phillips' doesn't use local crabs, they are from Asia.

        1. re: Felixnot

          Phillips uses as much local blue crab as the next guy for softshells or larger steamed blue crabs. Which is to say that pretty much *all* of the local crab places get their live blue crabs from where the supply is most abundant/pricing is best in the southeast U.S. at a particular moment, whether it's Maryland, the Carolinas, Florida, Louisiana or Texas.

          If the local restaurants relied strictly on the local blue crab industry, there would be a lot of crab eaters going hungry. It's no secret that local blue crab supply has shrunk over the years while demand has grown exponentially.

          And yes, the crab used in Phillips crabcakes comes from their plants throughout Asia that process swimming (not blue) crab. But what you're also overlooking is that most other places are serving crabcakes using the same Asian crabmeat supplied by Phillips.

          If it's not specified that your crabcakes are being made with blue crabmeat at *any* area restaurant, it's a pretty safe bet that they're being made with Asian swimming crabmeat supplied by Phillips.

          1. re: tubman

            Wow, thanks for the insight! We should try to survey where the crabs come from. I would be interested in knowing if any of the area restaurants have blue crabmeat. Thanks again.

            1. re: tubman

              Believe me, you can tell when you get the Asian crab. It's tasteless. The Sun did an article bout Phillips operation. The locals don't even eat the "blue swimming crab" for the most part.

            2. re: Felixnot

              WOW, Sorry to hear you don't like Harpoon Hanna's. It is packed with people waiting to eat, every time we go there. I've been going there for 15 years.

              1. re: Felixnot

                across the street from Harpoons is Catch 54, a much better alternative to HH in comparison to food quality and ambience.

                1. re: HarryFish

                  I have never heard of Catch 54. Thanks for the recommendation. Is it on the same street on the bay, or is it on coastal before you turn off? I don't remember seeing another restaurant across from HH? Do you have any other recommendations for O.C. I would love to try some new restaurants.

                2. re: Felixnot

                  Your are so right Felixnot. HH is horrible. Took our family this year at the begining of the season to give it another try. Husband ordered rockfish imperial - got rockfish florentine. Waiter took it back and brought back the same rockfish - "florentine scrapped off with imperial on the side. I got a "mixed green" garden salad with a few leaves of romaine - the rest was iceberg - yuck! I also got bacon wrapped scallops that were in a serving dish of 50% grease 50% water. From the 5 hostesses to the 10 teen/college age waiter/waitresses (standing around not even trying to act busy) the service was just not good. Our waiter did try but his kitchen staff was obviously not backing him.

                  We went to Catch 54 twice, the first visit was somewhat disapointing. My husband and i ordered apps to split. I got the md crab soup - filled with diced celery and hardly any taste. He got oyster imperial special. Just lump crab meat topped on a oyster. Not much flavor. We did like the crab claws and bluefish app.
                  Our second try was much better. i got the tuna steak - very yummy. The fried baby lobster tails are a must! We love those. I do like the dipping sauce at Bluecoast better. He got the soft crabs and remarked he would order again.

                  One more for Italian in OC - Frescos. I think it is 60 something street. We haven't been disappointed. Oh - we also went to the Shark and had a really enjoyable meal there.

                3. re: abylane

                  Oh Felixnot - I'm sorry that you don't agree about Harpoon Hanna's. Did you have continuous bad service or food? My husband and I always make it a point to go to Harpoon Hannah's and we also take guests that stay at our condo in Ocean City, Maryland. In fact, we just had the most wonderful late lunch/early dinner sitting out at the Tiki Bar, overlooking the water and the boats going by. I had fish and chips and my husband had a great Imperial Twins (two english muffins with crab imperial on them, topped with cheese). I don't know who's was better; my lunch or his! If it's been a while since you've been there, you owe it to yourself to try it again. The homemade muffins and raisin bread make it worth the visit.

                  1. re: eyzoblue

                    Sorry eyzoblue, there are so many much much better choices for both food, view and service. Try Catch 54 for a great alternative.

                4. oK, here goes...
                  Harpoon Hanna's is a NO!!!!! (lines of tourists here, no locals!)
                  Catch 54 is new (the old Sharks Cove location on rt 54), but owned by a duo that has 3 GREAT restaurants in DE (Fish On, NorthBeach & Blue Coast), very reputable, great fresh fish.
                  Phillips, an institution in town as well as a tourist trap. Wouldn't recommend although worked there for years!
                  Crabcake Factory, good for takeout, not MD crabmeat, but still good crabcakes, not high on my list...
                  Harrisons OK, needs remodeling, try the oyster stew, best in town, again not one of my picks.

                  Best of the Best:
                  Mexican - Tequila Mockingbird 130th st bayside
                  Pizza - Lombardis - 94th st (could also try Faustos bistro on 12 st for casual brick oven fun)
                  Seafood - Mid - Upscale Fager's Dinning Room reservations needed, Marlin Moon, Sunset grille
                  Family Fun - Fishtales, food ok, fun atmosphere.
                  Also notable : Galaxy 65th st, The Shark 46th st, & Jules 118th.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Sun2Shine

                    Thanks sun2shine, I have only been to Lombardis and Tequilla Mockingbird out of your recommendations. I will have to try a few of your recommendations.

                    1. re: abylane

                      What did you think of Tequila's?
                      I love it now that it is smoke free!!!

                      1. re: Sun2Shine

                        I haven't been there since it was smoke free. That will make it all the more enjoyable. What do you love to eat there. I love their margerittas!!

                        1. re: abylane

                          yes, their mango margarita ia made with fresh mangos! I like the spinach & mushroom enchaladas or the shrimp quesadilla. Love the fresh salsa & guac...actually, I like it all there!

                          1. re: abylane

                            It's wonderful, now that it's smoke free. I can't stay away from their house Margaritas.

                    2. My husband and I are locals and love to go to the Clarion, especially after 4pm. We like to sit out at the Lenny's Beach Bar and Grill and listen to the local bands. It's a lot of fun.

                      1. Bayside Skillet- By far my favorite restaurant in OC. I go there for their crepes (love the crepes Kathryn with fresh fruit and chantilly cream) and the fried potatoes (large servings are perfect for sharing). The omelettes are also good.

                        Tequila Mockingbird- I'm not really a fan of mexican restaurants but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Great margaritas and large tequila selection. I enjoy the salads.

                        JRs- I've been going to Bethany/OC for almost 20 years and we got take out from here every trip. I haven't been in the last couple of years but I fondly remember the ribs and onion loaf.

                        Fractured Prune- I've never been to one, but I've heard that their donuts are great. Next time I'm in OC def. will make a trip here for breakfast.

                        Phillips (NOT the buffet)- The food is tasty, just not that special. But the location and atmosphere are great.

                        The Clarion- I've I'm not mistaken last time I was in OC I had a good breakfast/brunch at this hotel restaurant. It's a buffet and I enjoyed the blintzes and smoked salmon.

                        Harpoon Hannah's- Def. a tourist restaurant. My family stopped going there about 15 years ago. As I remember the wait was horrible, the service not that great, and I had problems finding stuff on the menu that I wanted to eat (Highly unusual for me, even as a young child). However those darn coconut muffins were addictive and they kept drawing us back.

                        I've had so many bad meals in OC that I wish I could remember the names of the restaurants so that I could pass them on. I hope someone can prove me wrong, but I would avoid italian and steak in OC.

                        Bayside Skillet Crepe & Omelet
                        7701 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842

                        Fractured Prune
                        4601 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: viperlush

                          Can't recall any good steak, but Tutti Gusti in Ocean City is wonderful. Great pasta dishes, as well as a good osso buco. Wonderful wines, as well.
                          Also, if you're a martini fan...stop by the bar and see "Rodney" -- as was described on this board years ago, he makes weapons grade martinis! We go every year!

                          1. re: shopgirl

                            Def. not the place that had a horrible meal at. Where I ate the pesto was flavorless, the pasta mushy and I think they only served Luna di Luna wine.

                            The menu for Tutti Gusti looks great, hopefully I'll remember to try it next time I'm over there.

                            Tutti Gusti
                            3322 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842

                            1. re: viperlush

                              Ok, Viper - For a good steak in OC try Fager's Dinning Room, they are known for their prime rib, but I am not a fan. I prefer the filet - very good!
                              Or try Marlin Moon, everything there is amazing, but their steaks can't be beat. I like mine topped with lump crab meat, but they have several ways of serving (port demi-glaze with mushrooms is another fav.)
                              If you are up for sharing, the garlic steak at Fausto's is popular, enough for two.
                              I get fresh cut filets at the minute market on 33rd st; only true butcher in town!
                              Rub with an ancho chili paste and grill - YUM!

                              For Italian - again Fausto's (or Antipasti) is our recent favorite; the Timballo dish has been featured on the Food Network and is so good you won't beleive.

                              We do have great steaks & Italian here in town, you just have to know where to go for it!!! :)

                            2. re: shopgirl

                              I will second Tutti Gusti, best fillet mignon I have ever had.

                          2. I've only been to that area twice and this last time we only went out to dinner once. But that once was excellent - at Bluecoast. Loved it last year and this year. We had mussels with red sauce and chorizo and the hummous, tomato, cucumber & olive appetizers; for entrees we had the crabcake (*massive* but also excellent) and halibut with the side of string beans. I do like a restaurant that treats vegetables seriously. The halibut came with fresh corn, lima beans and - hmmmm, there were some delicious sprouts involved, but now I can't remember which entree they were on.

                            Only disapppointment in an otherwise great meal was the dreary, over-oaked, warm Bouchaine pinot noir. I was surprised that it was served at the wrong temperature, especially because this particular wine would have tasted so much better at the correct temperature. The server did bring a chiller, but not quickly, and it wasn't very effective. The service, ambiance/decor, food and value were otherwise excellent. I'd love to have a go at one of the other restaurants in the same group.

                            Also: I was VERY curious about the various crab shacks and outdoor barbecue affairs but didn't get to try any. Being a complete novice in that beach area, I know I don't know jack. Which ones are good? And by good, I definitely don't mean decor and upscale booze, I mean uber-fresh uncomplicated food. If it comes with Bud in a can and the ambiance that goes with it I'm not averse.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Mawrter

                              Gettin' down & dirty in OC:
                              The Crab Bag on 130th st - natty boh, bud, corinitas in a bucket of ice; hot crabs, shrimp, & eastern shore fried chicken.

                              Roadside barbeques are typically Kiwanas or other rotery clubs, again, nothing like eastern shore chicken & tomatoes in the summertime. These guys know what they're doing!

                              Fager's island has a small raw bar on their outdoor deck (on 60th st), good for clams, shrimp, oysters.

                              Another fun sopt with great atmosphere (bonus!) is Nantucket's Tap Room. The restaurant is excellent for fine dining, but for more casual grubbing, the rap room offers a full bar, the best quahog & scallop chowder as well as amazing scallop dishes, soft shells, steamers...etc. again non-smoking since it is in fenwick island DE, makes it just that much better!

                              1. re: Sun2Shine

                                Sun2shine, I'm swooning!

                                Natty Boh! I went to school with a native Baltimorean or two - they always called it "the beer to have when you're having more than twelve." An accurate descriptor, as I recall. Good times. Clearly the beverage of choice for any self-respecting crab shack.

                                Raw! Oh, you know how to make a woman from a land-locked state salivate. Damn.

                                Eastern Shore fried chicken! I haven't eaten anything like that since the 70s. I didn't even realize there was a regional kind.

                                I am so saving this thread for my next trip! Love it! Thank you!

                                1. re: Mawrter

                                  YAY! so glad you enjoyed! We have quite a few indiginous foods from this area and summertime is so great with fresh veggies, & seafood. One just can't go wrong!

                            2. Some of our favorites are Bayside Skillet - very good for Breakfast - Nick Idonis's for great ribs and barbecue - Does anyone out there know if The Hobbit has yet reopened. I will be going down there this weekend and would like to make plans to go to their new location - Just not sure if they have completed construction yet and I can find nothing anywhere on the web about it....or maybe I just do not know where to look...

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: RJJR

                                Cactus Cafe for mexican (see my post today, aug. 11th) on rt. 54 in fenwick, De -- just blocks from OC. Also Catch 54 in fenwick. And don't forget Tutti Gusti in OC!

                                1. re: shopgirl

                                  I love Tutti Gusti!1 The best fillet ever!!

                                  1. re: shopgirl

                                    mexican: Lunas Cactus Cafe
                                    breakfast: Leo's on 139th st. - outstanding breakfast and prices
                                    breakfast(omlets only): Bayside Skillet. however, orange juice is Very expensive
                                    pizza: Ponzetti's/Billy's subs
                                    subs: Billy's subs

                                  2. re: RJJR

                                    I'm probably too late, but no, the Hobbit has not re-opened yet. It's going to be quite while on that one!

                                  3. I have lived in Ocean City in the past and just moved back here. When I wasn't living here, I visited Ocean City every summer of my life. The following restaurants are not open year round, however, these are my top two restaurants that are a must:

                                    1.) Melvins Steakhouse, 25 Philadelphia Ave
                                    The best place for consistently good steaks year after year. Great meal for the value, nice atmosphere. I have eaten at Melvins for 25+ years and never been disappointed once--now that is saying something. The service is also always friendly and that is important. Everything is delicious, I can't get past a good old steak, baked potato and salad=that is their specialty. You will not be disappointed. The only fact that disappoints me is they are not open year round.

                                    2.) I have eaten here my entire life. I cannot understand why this place isn't open year round. It is really casual, with only a few booths and counter seats inside, picnic tables outside, I usually come right off the beach and eat lunch here.

                                    ANTHONY'S !!! 16th & Philadelphia. Man, I have actually craved these roast beef sandwiches. They are hand carved right in front of you. I always get the plain sandwich with nothing on it (and that is strange for me, I usually like lots of veggies, etc.) You have got to just get it plain , AU JUS with some drippings on the side to dip the sandwich in. That is the only way to eat it!

                                    Other places may be more known, but honestly.....Nothing else here in Ocean City compares to it, no other roast beef sandwich even comes CLOSE. Thick slices of roast beef, nothing thin or little , it's served on a huge poppy seed bun. Seriously, Awesome. The fries here are great too. Don't ask me about anything else, I have never been able to get past the sandwich and the fries, I have GOT to order it everytime I go there! You have to go to Anthony's, but make sure you are visiting the location on like, 16th St. @ 1608 Philadelphia Ave, the location on 33rd St. only has take out stuff, i think subs and beer--never been there!

                                    1. In Ocean City , better off going with the basics . Pgn on 28th for burgers and BROILED crab cakes - Anthony's has great roast beef and ham. Crab Alley in W. ocean city has the best steamed crabs . I would avoid Catch 54 - we've eaten there twice - the first time just ok -the second time my husbands steak was rancid - we got comped the entire meal . The Shark near 45th street has been consistently good for quite a few years .

                                      1. What about the Captain's Table. Is it a nice fine dining option. Thanks.

                                        Captain's Table
                                        275 Lore Rd, Solomons, MD 20688

                                        1. If you are close to Richmond, you Have to go to Buzz & Ned's!!! I travel, eat at every restaurant worthy following reviews and just because...Ribs, I have eaten everywhere seeking the best. Found them here! Going to OC MD for 8 weeks on business. Would very much appreciate advice on restaurants and all you can offer to make it a good experience.

                                          1. Not into tourist places, unless worth the time. Hole in wall or where the locals go