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Eastern Shore first-timer - Where to eat???

  • m

Hello!

We are heading down to the Chesapeake Bay area from NYC this coming weekend, and we're looking for the best eats in the region.

We love all types of food and don't care if we have to go to dives or fine dining - price is not important, really great quality food (esp. seafood) is!

All reccomendations will be most gratefully received.
Thanks!

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  1. What is the closest city to where you are staying?

    1. Agarnett is right...the "Chesapeake Bay area" covers a lot of ground. Narrow it down and you will get some reccomendations.

      1. Oddly enough, the Eastern shore isn't known for an amazing dining scene, which is a shame because of all the marevelous sources for excellent seafood, meat and produce. A few well-regarded restaurants in and around Easton have come....and gone. My husband's cousins owned a house in Oxford and when we stayed with them we used to go to the once famous Robert Morris Inn for some fabulous seafood and crabcakes in a lovely colonial building but they closed the restaurant some years ago, now focusing on the B&B side of the business. The restaurant may have reopened as it's been a few years now, so it's worth checking around.

        The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels probably has the "best" restaurants in the central Eastern Shore vicinity. It's a lovely village on the water as well.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Roland Parker

          We haven't yet decided where to stay - that we in some part depend on what y'all recommend in terms of places to eat (we are totally food obsessed!)
          @Roland Parker - sorry to hear your opinion that the dining scene is not amazing...although we are not necc looking for fine dining - just really, really great food.
          Thanks!

          1. re: monab

            If you don't already have a place I don't think you're going to find one outside of possibly Ocean City, which isn't really all that pleasant. There is one place there that's supposed to be decent enough American pub-plus style, the Bull and something.

            In Bethany there are 2-3 nice places for slightly upscale dining, and there's a good fish market, as well as a surprisingly good BBQ stand.

            But it sounds like you might be ending up more on the Bay side, such as Annapolis or on the West side of the DelMarVa peninsula. For those areas, I can't add much.

            1. re: Dennis S

              I would skip the oceanfront destinations (OC, Rehoboth, Bethany) -- thunderstorms in the forecast -- and instead head inland to St Michaels. Drive down the 301 highway for some E.S. tranquility. Better restaurants in St Michaels such as 209 Talbot. And being near the Bay is much more indicative of the Eastern Shore lifestyle than being on the ocean, which is really more akin to the Jersey Shore.

              1. re: Dennis S

                Bulls on the Beach is a very decent local pub in Ocean City. If you go to the Eastern Shore in search of sophisticated culinary delights, you will be disappointed. There is plain but good local food available. Weekend fire department chicken barbecues and oyster roasts, family diners, local seafood markets that will steam crabs and fry fish and roadside barbecue stands can be some pretty good bets. We had some business in Denton last week and stumbled on a sidewalk hog roast in front of the hardware store. When we asked what was the occasion, they said it was customer appreciation day. They gave us a plate and invited us to go over and pick our fill of the succulent barbecued whole hog. It was delicious and it was free of charge. We also found the Rapsa scrapple factory. I always wondered where it came from. Cruise the small towns, keep your nose in the air and you will be rewarded.

              2. re: monab

                It is quite odd that the Eastern Shore doesn't have a better dining scene. There's a tremendous amount of money among all the retirees and the weekend homeowners from Baltimore and Washington tend to be rather sophisticated people, and waterfront real estate is very expensive. One would think.....

                The best advice at this point is to find your hotel and have them recommend good places for meals.

            2. On the way there, I like Kent Island. The Narrows has great crab cakes, on the water. Also Fisherman's Inn is good, if you stick to the specials (rockfish and shad the last time we visited), and I like their coconut cream pie. They have fried clams w/ belly, on occasion. But, skip the seafood stew over pasta, and the generic menu foods on the menu, although fried fish and chips were pretty good.

              We also like St. Michael's Crab and Steak house. I thought it would be a tourist trap but really enjoyed lunch there, on the deck overlooking the water. I had the fried oyster sandwich (loved the oysters and I'm pretty picky about them) and everyone enjoyed their seafood meals.

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              Fisherman's Inn Restaurant
              PO Box 118, Grasonville, MD 21638

              2 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                I love The Narrows, and always try to eat there on the way to the ocean. But it's on the mainland side of Kent Narrows, not on Kent Island.

                1. re: Hal Laurent

                  Thanks, I tend to group all that together, tourist that I am. And then we hit the outlets which also aren't on Kent Island but in my head, it's all one area.

              2. While I agree with some of the posters that the Bay area is a bit limited, it's hardly a culinary wasteland. We've gone to the Easton/St. Michaels/Oxford area the last several summers (from NYC) and here's a list of some of our favorites in that area:

                Easton has a lot of good options including: Scossa (lovely, upscale Italian), Bartlett Pear Inn (used to be the Inn at Easton - pricey, but fine gastronically interesting and unique food), Masons, Out of the Fire (good thin-crust pizza) and the BBQ Join (casual, but has the former chef from the Inn at Easton).

                Oxford: our absolute favorite crab joint is Schooners Landing (314 Tilghman St) -- casual atmosphere, options to eat outside, roll your sleeves up and dig into piles of crabs...

                Saint Michaels: in a fix, we'll go to the popular Crab Claw for laid-back crab feast, but there's also some upscale, good quality options including 208 Talbot and Bistro St. Michaels

                Hope these are helpful and that you have a great time!

                -----
                The Crab Claw Restaurant
                PO Box 156, Saint Michaels, MD 21663

                1 Reply
                1. re: BeanCurdGirl

                  I've also heard great things about Brasserie Brightwell at the Easton Market Square. This and the Barbecue joint are on my personal list of planned lower-end Eastern Shore dining. I would base my stay in St. Michaels and take "excursions" to Oxford, Tilghman island for my seafood fix.

                2. These are very interesting replies. Ocean City really is Jersey Shore and I go there only when compelled, but the Easton/St Michael's area is more traditional and I agree with BeanCurd Girl's recommendations re St Michael's and Easton. The restos there are quite good. If you go off the beaten track you can ffind great seafood in the lower Shore (if you're careful), and if you go during oyster season Crisfield is heaven on earth

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: tartuffe

                    check out the Chestertown Tea Party this weekend. There is a great church fish fry there as well as much theatrical frivolity on the street. Don't miss it. It is an unknown national treasure.

                    1. re: baltimorejim

                      thanks everyone for your suggestions.
                      We are staying one night in Annapolis and one night in Easton.
                      i have norrowed in down to either Robert Morris Inn or Bartlett Pear Inn for dinner when we are in Easton.
                      Which should I choose?
                      And in Annapolis, the consensus on the boards seem to be O'Leary's Seafood - does anyone have any better ideas?
                      Thanks again!

                      1. re: monab

                        Robt Morris Inn is old and historic, but the food is awful. (They do make a good Bloody Mary though). I recommend Masons in Easton.

                        O'Learys in Annapolis is not very good either. I recommend Chef Kinkead's place down there. I forget the name, but it's something like "Hell's Kitchen". (Don't let the name scare you, it's quite nice). Can someone help me with the name???

                        And on the way back out, at Kent Narrows, stop at Holly's for Maryland Crab Soup and Maryland Fried Chicken. The best on the 'shore.

                        -----
                        Kinkead's Restaurant
                        2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

                        1. re: monab

                          would do Cantler's for Maryland seafood and crabs when in Annapolis or if you want a dinner would do Lewnes Steak House- locally owned and great chops and seafood!

                    2. monab, on your next trip to the Eastern Shore, you should head to Rehoboth-Lewes, which has an amazing array of restaurants in all price ranges. Look for some of my trip reports on the Mid-Atlantic board, or just search for Rehoboth and Lewes.