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The historic city of Annapolis, state capitol of Maryland, dates back to the 17th century. It’s ideally placed for great seafood at the mouth of the Severn River on Chesapeake Bay. Here is our guide to 10 of the best places for seafood.
In the Eastport district famed for its restaurants, O’Leary’s on Third Street close to the southern shore of the Severn River has been open for business since 1983. Known as a top spot for seafood, starters on offer include jumbo crab meat, mussels from Prince Edward Island, grilled oysters served with parmesan, asiago or romano cheese, and scallops served en croute. For entrees, you can pick and choose from tempting dishes like Catalonian seafood stew, grilled swordfish, crispy rockfish, or the classic O’Leary crab cakes broiled with a mustard lime sauce.
An Eastport culinary institution, Wild Country Seafood sits on the shore of the Severn River right by the Annapolis Maritime Museum. It’s owned and run by Pat Mahoney who started fishing the nearby waters at 14 and owns the last two working boats that operate from Eastport. Crabs, oysters, lobsters, shrimp and mussels come fresh from the Bay to the plate at Wild Country Seafood. You can order up seafood sandwiches with fries or platters of shrimp and crab. There are also dishes like rockfish fillet, battered sea scallops, or a basket of fish and chips or a combo of chicken and shrimp.
Wild Country Seafood, 124 Bay Ashore Avenue, Annapolis, MD +1 410 267 6711
Surrounded by galleries and museums on Main Street in the historic heart of Annapolis is Reynold’s Tavern. Originally built by William Reynolds on land bought in 1747, the Tavern claims to be the oldest in Annapolis and one of the oldest in the United States. The elegant Georgian building has been comprehensively restored to its former glory and now houses a cellar pub, tea rooms and two dining rooms. On the menu are seafood classics including shrimp and grits with a tomato and bacon jam and scallops with risotto made with foraged mushrooms. There are also sautéed mussels, cod and chips, or pan-seared rockfish.
On Main Street in the center of Annapolis, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls brings a taste of New England to Annapolis. All the lobster is caught by the fishing sleet of Portland in Maine and shipped fresh to be served up. Mason’s has had excellent write-ups in Southern Living, Washingtonian Magazine, and Chesapeake Inspired. On the menu are things like lobster bisque, clam chowder and crab salad, and the New England rolls that have given Mason’s their reputation. You can get rolls stuffed full of lobster with mayo, salad and BLT or melted butter, or crab or shrimp with celery and lemon mayo.
Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, 188 Main Street, Annapolis, MD +1 410 280 2254
Away from the center of Annapolis on the water’s edge at Mill Creek is Cantler’s Riverside Inn. It’s got a reputation for serving some of the best seafood in the country. In fact, Cantler’s was featured as one of the top 10 seafood shacks in the whole United States in a run-down by the magazine Men’s Journal. The owner Jimmy Cantler started out as a waterman working out on Chesapeake Bay before setting up the Riverside Inn in 1974. The quality of the crabs is famous locally. The crabs are brought in live every day ready to be cooked and served up. Otherwise, you can get soups, crab cakes, sandwiches, oysters and jumbo shrimp to suit your tastes.
One of the top-rated seafood spot in Annapolis, Carrol’s Creek Café has been serving up quality food since 1983 on the southern shore of Spa Creek, or Carrol’s Creek as it was once. Run by the Jacobs family, the cafe offers a menu that includes sea scallops, barbecue shrimp and oysters with horseradish. Also on offer are seafood charcuterie or lobster and black truffle pot pie made with brandy cream sauce, and grilled salmon.