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Best Crabs in Annapolis

Visiting this weekend and would love to try this Maryland specialty.

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    1. re: dining with doc

      Can you just let me when crab season is? We will be there the second week of October...

      1. re: ilinda

        They will have plenty of crabs in October

        1. re: ilinda


      2. Understand that at this time of year you won't be eating Maryland crabs. They're not available until later on in the spring. More than likely you will be served Gulf coast crabs.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Virginian

          Even in the summer most crab houses supplement with Texas, Louisiana or Carolina caught blue crabs steamed and served Maryland style. Definitely would call ahead to reserve a dozen or more crabs and would rec getting the largest size they offer.

        2. You'll find lots of threads on this subject if you use the search feature, but I would also vote for Cantlers. It is not, however, in downtown Annapolis. Worth the trip if you have a car, though.


          3 Replies
          1. re: Terrie H.

            And tons of patience, because there is a really long wait unless you go in the early (like 2 p.m.) afternoon. And most of that is sitting in your car in a line along the road, because the parking lot can't hold all the cars. And then waiting in the parking lot. It can be 2 hours between the time you get to the back of the line and the time you get a table.

            But so worth it!

            1. re: Just Visiting

              Even crabs aren't worth waiting two hours for.

              Jump in you car and google maps Abners Crabhouse in Chesapeake Beach (about 30 minutes south of Annapolis and a pleasant drive).

              Abner's rocks - the complete lack of ambiance is the perfect ambiance.

              The owner runs his own pots and also knows pretty much every watermen in the area. If anyplace is serving local crabs - it is Abner's.

              Abner's is the best crab house on the bay. No pandering to tourists - just pushing crabs to crab lovers.

              1. re: Just Visiting

                I have been to Cantler's on numerous occasions and never have had more than a 30 min wait but if not sure call first. Also could hop on route 50 east and go over bay bridge to Kent narrows and either Harris crab house or The crab Deck and have a great experience right on the water. Only about a 20 minute drive and worth it

            2. I would call ahead at whichever place you want to go. April 1 began the Bay crabbing season so it is possible they will have some this weekend.

              1. If you want actual hard shell crabs, Cantler's or Mikes are your best options. Under no circumstances go to Buddies. Keep in mind that if you're saying that you want crabs, but you really mean crab cakes, then the best options are very different.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Jason1

                  Seems like this question gets asked a lot. And more often than not the rare report back says they ended up going to Buddy's Crabs and Ribs (not Buddies) anyway. It's the only restaurant in Historic Annapolis serving up hard shell blue crabs that I know of. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6421... I'm not sure that Mike's or Cantler's hard crabs will be qualitatively better this early in the year since they're all getting shipped up from southern waters. To me, crabs are a summer and early fall treat, not mid-April. And I prefer Mike's over Cantler's, which is overrun with tourist and tour buses in the summer.

                  1. re: crackers

                    Some local crab houses do have Maryland blues. I had my first of the season last weekend and they were delicious, meaty and with a nice, hard shell.

                2. If this is you first time - go with somebody patient who will show you how to open, clean, and pick through your crab.

                  Also grab some extra's like steamed shrimp, manoes (steamers), or hush puppies to keep you energized while you tackle the crabs.

                  Also, a pitcher of pitcher of beer is absolutey essential.

                  1. My favorite is waterman's in rock hall. Great crabs. Real eastern shore Maryland. Also a few crab places around Kent Narrows, not too far from annapolis. STAY away from Buddy's. Cantler doesn't have 2 hour lines this time of year

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: AnnapolisForever

                      I can't speak to the quality of the crabs at Waterman's but the crabcakes are meh and the fries are lousy.

                    2. BTW, was just in Annapolis one month ago in October 2013. We ate crabs in two places.

                      Mike's Restaurant & Crab House
                      3030 Riva Rd, Riva, MD

                      Buddy's Crabs & Ribs
                      100 Main St, Annapolis, MD 21401

                      Mike's was not near the main drag, was a bit outside town but also on a lovely bay and was amazing. Lots of locals and top notch. They tasted made to order in goold Old Bay and came with a free salad bar.
                      Buddy's had a beautiful view of the harbor but it couldn't begin to compare to Mike's quality. The crabs tasted like they had been pre-cooked and were covered in dry Old Bay that we had to shake off the rubbery beasts.