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Maryland style crab in greater Philadelphia area

Hi! I am looking to find a Maryland style crab shack in the greater Philadelphia area. The last thread that asked a similar question mentioned DiNardo and Oyster house. However, I'm willing to go a little further (no more than 1.5 hours drive with traffic from center city--less than 1 hour would be ideal) to get a better crab experience. I'm looking into going this Sunday for lunch. What do you recommend? Thanks for the help!

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  1. Umm.....in 1.5 hours, you could be in Baltimore and have quite a selection. Between here and there, i remember stopping at a Woody's in North East, MD and was pleased although I don't know how "authentic" it is. Certainly enough people with mallets banging away on paper covered tables. That was authentic enough for me. Maybe something closer, like in Elkton? Good luck

    1. I remember going to Lestardo's in New Castle years ago....doesn't look as tho they have their own website...but here is a link to their facebook page..


      4 Replies
      1. re: ilovesummer

        Looks great, but not really Baltimore style dirty crabs, do not remember what missed, but have not been back

        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          I have a lot of issues finding the kind of crabs (Maryland style crabs)I want because I don't know what to call it besides Maryland style crab but restaurants don't use that terminology. Is baltimore style dirty crab the official name?

          1. re: momdadok

            My official name for crabs covered in crab boil, not washed, not opened and cleaned, just steamed not boiled and left alone, served at hot temp.

        2. re: ilovesummer

          Lestardo's isn't much to look at, but the people are friendly, the crabs are great, and it's all reasonably priced. They always seem to have heavy crabs and they're seasoned perfectly.

        3. I agree, you're so close to Baltimore, why not go there? These reviews may help.


          5 Replies
          1. re: wpstafford

            Traffic is a legit concern. The ride down is usually smooth sailing, but can be unpredictable when coming North, especially around the toll plaza entering Delaware. I'm including another link for a place near Kennett Square that I've heard good things about. It's called the Hilltop Crab House. You may also want to scout around Charleston, which is between Elkton and Baltimore on Rt 40.


            1. re: wpstafford

              Thanks for the input. After much more googling, I made a reservation at Kathy's Crabhouse in Delaware City, DE. How's the traffic pattern coming back north from there? Any one of you have been to Kathy's? How do you feel about the place?

              1. re: momdadok

                Never been to Kathy's, but I've heard good things. I think it's only been Kathy's a few years. It used to be called Wisowaty's. Wisowaty I think was a crabber/waterman that also owned the restaurant. I think he still my supply crabs in season. The other place in Delaware City is Crabby Dicks, which you would think given the name would have good crabs. I'm not sure. I think they get a lot of biker traffic due to the deck in the summer.
                No traffic worries in Delaware City. I'm sure you've mapquested it, but you come South on I-95 to DE Rt 1 to DE Rt 9 into Delaware city. Kathy's sits at the base of the Reedy Point bridge.

                Crabby Dick's
                30 Clinton St, Delaware City, DE 19706

                1. re: wpstafford

                  That's good to know. I also saw Wiso's, but they didn't have any reviews so I was a little hesitant. I have also read that what used to be Wisowaty's may have split up due to the owner/wife split. I wouldn't know for sure though.

                  1. re: wpstafford

                    I went to Kathy's for lunch today. The crabs were very fresh. A couple of the crabs were very fat judging from the yellowness of the hepatopancreas-- my favorite part of the crab. My favorite is still Schultz's at Essex, MD though because they steam the crab with the boil seasoning, which I like. Kathy's is a lot closer though so I will definitely go back.

            2. I'm concerned about traffic going into Maryland. I remember every time I drive there it ended up being longer than 1.5 hours because of traffic. Since my visitor would need to be at Philadelphia airport at about 4:30, I would like to go somewhere a little closer.

              1. Look at Philly.com -" Hard-shell heaven lies due south" excellent article and lists the best places to go.

                Or go to --Bluecrab.org

                3 Replies
                1. re: seagulls1

                  Definitely will check it out in future date. Thanks!

                  1. re: momdadok

                    seagulls1, good call on that article (by Craig Laban) which I remembered when you mentioned it.
                    "Three great crab houses within 90 minutes of Center City."

                    Here's the link:

                  2. re: seagulls1

                    I should have given special mention to Grabbes. Been there it is very good. and CLOSE.

                  3. Haven't been yet, but hear great things about Grabbe's in Westville, NJ

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      I saw Grabbes as well. I definitely will check that out in the future.

                    2. If you are going to travel the 2 hours, I would suggest Cantler's, just north of Annapolis for authentic MD crabs. I spend a lot of time in the Chesapeake and they are my favorite spot. Or you could try the eastern shore of MD in Rock Hall at Waterman's Crab house. Both places do the paper on the tables, dump the steamed, crabs covered in old bay on the table thing. Cantlers has bigger crabs and Watermans has the best atmosphere. You will have a great meal & great time either place.



                      1. There's great MD style crab to be had, just across the river in NJ, less than 20miles/mins from center city. The Blue Claw Crab Eatery in Burlington is outstanding.

                        We were there again a couple Saturdays ago for a late lunch. Had our fill of crab and can't wait to return. Here's my post on an older thread


                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Foody4life

                          This weekend was crab weekend for me. On Sat drove to Obrycki's in Baltimore and on Sunday went to Blue Claw Crab in Burlington, NJ. Obrycki's is closing at the end of this season so wanted to give them another visit. As always were wonderful, spotty service but great crabs, fries, and beer. After Foody4life's praise tried the Jersey one, on the plus side crabs were quite hot and meaty, on the downside they do something l have not seen before. They steam/boil the crabs long before you come without any seasoning, then wash and clean the crabs and put in reefer. When you order, they dip in garlic or old bay and resteam to get them hot again. As a result there is no seasoning inside and thus ,uh, boring. Second downside was the price. They charged 50% more for a crab that was smaller than what we had in Baltimore. While most crab places list 3-4 sizes, they had over 10 different sizes. Friendly people and 30 minutes from CC Philadelphia. Was going to try Grabbe's but closed on Sunday, will do Grabbe's next time.

                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                            sorry Dcm if my Blue Claw Crab report led you astray. We've never checked on their cooking process but always found them to be meaty and tasty enough to satisfy our cravings. Especially mid winter or early spring when thoughts of crab along the Chesapeake are a distant memory! : ) Part of their pricing difference could be that they fly everything in from the gulf coast or other areas. Again, the convenience factor offsets the pricing for us.

                            We were just down in Annapolis, Kent Island and the eastern shore a couple weeks ago. We arrived at Mike's - our Annapolis fav to find they were out of crab and had just OK crab at the touristy Crab Claw in St. Michaels. Will have to give Obrycki's a try during our next visit.

                              1. re: Boognish

                                At least the Pratt St location. Still have a few places at airports and maybe more.

                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                  Looks like a trip is in order this summer!

                                  1. re: Boognish

                                    Obrycki's is an iconic Baltimore institution. Cantlers near Annapolis is fantastic. Just over the bay bridge both Harris crab house and The Crab Deck are great and on the water in Kent narrows. Gunnings crab house on route 100 near bwi airport is convenient to I95 and very good also.

                                    1. re: dining with doc

                                      Been going to Gunning's for some time and just ate at Candler's last week for the first time, excellent. Miss both Gordon's on route 40 and Gabler's a lot.

                                      1. re: dining with doc

                                        +1 for Cantler's. Now that is a real crab house. They always have large ones, are never out of crabs & have great sides in a fun atmosphere.

                            1. We've always liked Hadfield's Seafood in Wilmington. They seem to have the most consistent and favorful crabs. They will have them hot when you pick them up and they are very generous with the seasonings!

                              It's on Rt 202, on the PA/DE border. (610) 459-3997 ‎

                              1. Chickie and Pete's (S. Phila.) has blue claw crabs served Baltimore style on request. Sports bar though. Great crab legs.

                                1. this is pretty awesome. I think this is probably the most complete list of Maryland style crab close to Philly. I now know where else I would try next time. Thanks again and keep them coming!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: momdadok

                                    Could some one who knows more than me actually make a numbered list? I've been driving up from Bethany Beach, DE to head home and only know of two good spots:

                                    1. Sambo's -- very good ambience for seafood, old fashioned, no children. Old Bay or there own.

                                    2. Boondocks - dark, cavernous, maybe better for dinner. Opens noon on weekends.

                                    1. re: Hershey Bomar

                                      I'm going to Kathy's Crab House (in three weeks) so I'll have a third on my list.

                                      1. re: Hershey Bomar

                                        Sambo's was great AGAIN.

                                        Tried Kathy's and it was fine. Sort looks like a diner that serves crabs. Friendly staff. The crab cakes were no where near as good as Sambo's.

                                  2. For what it's worth, Dinardo's Seafood is on OpenTable Spotlight this week.

                                    You can get a $50 giftcard for $25. It reduces the price enough where it might be worth it to venture to Dinardo's.

                                    1. Is "J Street Cafe" still around?
                                      1071 E Erie Ave, Phladelphia. I remember going there and getting trays of big, meaty juicy, spicy crabs there

                                        1. re: Fitzy31

                                          How is Snockey's seasoning? Maybe I have just picked the wrong places so far, but I have yet to find anywhere in Philly that actually uses a good Old Bay/rock salt style seasoning and cooks the crabs well. Has anyone tried them there? I have a Groupon to use up and I'll head there tonight!