Maryland's Best Seafood Dives

Come as you are-but bring an appetite to these amazing Maryland seafood establishiments.

Cantler’s Riverside Inn, Annapolis
What to expect: Boats unload fresh crabs right at the Cantler’s dock; try the stuffed rockfish, too.
Check it out: 458 Forest Beach Road; 410/757-1311 or cantlers.com

Davis’ Pub, Annapolis
What to expect: Fantastic crab cakes, made with crackers instead of breadcrumbs.
Check it out: 400 Chester Avenue; 410/268-7432 or davispub.com

Bertha’s Restaurant & Bar, Baltimore
What to expect: An institution in Fells Point, Bertha's is legendary for its many delicious variations on steamed mussels. Heed the ubiquitous T-shirts and bumper stickers: Eat Bertha’s Mussels.
Check it out: 734 South Broadway; 410/327-5795 or berthas.com

The Wharf Rat, Baltimore
What to expect: With great fish-and-chips, excellent craft beers, nautical decor, and an air of elegance gone to seed, this cozy place in Baltimore’s funky Fells Point neighborhood has it all.
Check it out: 801 South Ann Street; 410/276-8304 or thewharfrat.com

Price’s Seafood Restaurant, Havre de Grace
What to expect: Dig into a pile of steamed crabs dumped onto your butcher paper–covered table. But don’t neglect the steamed shrimp, the lump crab cake, or Dad’s Crab Chowder. Cash only.
Check it out: 650 Water Street; 410/939-2782 or pricesseafood.com

Woody’s Crab House, North East
What to expect: Any kind of crab is great, including the crab cake sandwich.
Check it out: 29 South Main Street; 410/287-3541 or woodyscrabhouse.com

Sneaky Pete’s, Ocean City
What to expect: Boiled crabs in an open-wall bar on pilings in Assawoman Bay―a perfect summer moment.
Check it out: 12913 Ocean Gateway; 410/213-1771 or hooperscrabhouse.com

Capt. Billys Crab House, Popes Creek
What to expect: Wonderful views of the wide Potomac River estuary and the 1940-vintage Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge, plus terrific crabs.
Check it out: 11495 Popes Creek Road; 301/932-4323 or captbillys.com

Waterman’s Crab House Restaurant & Dock Bar, Rock Hall
What to expect: A classic Chesapeake Bay crab house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, recently renovated but still unpretentious.
Check it out: 21055 Sharp Street; 410/639-2261 or watermanscrabhouse.com

Stoney’s Seafood House, Solomons Pier, Solomons
What to expect: Marylanders know their crab cakes. So this thriving dive, part of a four-restaurant chain, is clearly doing something right. The appeal? Softball-size cakes, light on filling, with meat so fresh it tastes like a whole new food group.
Check it out: 14757 Solomons Island Road South; 410/326-2424 or stoneysseafoodhouse.com

Town Dock Restaurant, St. Michaels
What to expect: At Sunday brunch, you'll want to savor every spoonful of the rich crab bisque before your shellfish-laden eggs St. Michaels arrives. We also love the chunky hash browns with red and green bell peppers.
Check it out: 125 Mulberry Street; 410/745-5577 or towndockrestaurant.com

Red Roost, Whitehaven
What to expect: The red-painted building began life as a chicken house. These days, steamed crab rules the Roost. Prefer not to dig out that armor-protected meat? Go for the broiled seafood platter, which includes a terrific crab cake.
Check it out: 2670 Clara Road; 410/546-5443 or theredroost.com

Crabcake Factory, Ocean City
What to expect: Choose regular (backfin, which some say is sweeter) or all-lump crab cakes.
Check it out: 12000 Coastal Highway; 410/250-4900 or crabcakefactoryusa.com

Faidley Seafood, Baltimore
What to expect: Among the produce and food vendors at rambunctious Lexington Market, Faidley sells crab cakes so packed with subtly spiced crabmeat that you won’t mind having to stand at counters to eat them. We can’t decide between the lump and backfin versions; try both.
Check it out: 203 North Paca St. (Lexington Market); 410/727-4898 or faidleyscrabcakes.com