Crab cakes are a popular dish on the coast of the Mid-Atlantic, especially in the state of Maryland. Traditionally made with blue crab meat and Old Bay seasoning, they’re highly appreciated from New England all the way to Washington DC. Either sautéed, grilled or broiled, with or without sauces and with side dishes ranging from fries to cole slaw, there are as many varieties of crab cakes as palates. These are ten places where you’ll find Maryland’s best crab cakes.
This restaurant was started by a Greek immigrant in the 1970s and serves crab cakes with a Greek influence, from a recipe developed in-house by chef Tony Minadakis. Jimmy’s crab cakes are made with jumbo or colossal crab meat. As the name suggests, the restaurant specializes in seafood and serves raw oysters and clams, shrimp cocktails and various types of grilled fish besides their famed crab cakes. The interior is simple, reminiscent of an old-school crab house, with dark wood tables and a live seafood aquarium.
Koco’s Pub is a casual eatery on the northern side of Baltimore famous for their crab cake platter. The place is small and basic, but the excellent quality of the food makes up for it. The crab cake is made by the ‘mama’ of the restaurant with jumbo lumps of crab meat, and it’s broiled instead of being fried, which gives it more moisture on the inside. The menu includes other dishes, like salads, burgers and Buffalo wings, but locals and travelers gather here for their award-winning crab cakes.
Located in the historic maritime district, almost on the waterfront of the Spa Creek, Boatyard is a favorite place for local fishermen and sailors to grab a bite to eat. The interior mimics that of an old yacht with sea-themed decorations. Their menu features an extensive list of crab and seafood specialties, from the acclaimed crab cake to crab soups, crispy crab balls plus crab and artichoke dip and even a raw bar featuring oysters, clams, and mussels.
This family-owned business is located within the Lexington Market and provides some of the most acclaimed crab cakes in Maryland. They make their award-winning cakes with jumbo lumps of crab and little filler. It is a market-style food place where you can buy your seafood fresh or pre-prepared. Some other specialties they offer are fresh or cooked fish, oysters, calamari and clams. Their crab cake sandwich has been named ‘best sandwich in America’ on the Travel Channel.
Located in Edgewater, a suburb of Annapolis on the South River, Edgewater Restaurant is a town landmark dating to 1948, and famous for its crab cakes. They’re served with fried okra on the side, in a one or two-piece platter. Other items on the menu include soups, crab dips and seafood specialties like lobster tail, stuffed shrimps and deep-sea scallops. The place keeps its old-style decorations and laid-back atmosphere where you can enjoy a simple yet delicious meal.
The restaurant has a premier location, on a waterfront deck, and serves fish and seafood specialties in a laid-back environment. Their menu features any fish or seafood you might crave, from steamed clams or mussels to fish and chips or hand-breaded shrimp. The star on their menu though is the crab cake dinner, which is served with deck fries and coleslaw. Here you can enjoy a typical Atlantic coast meal in the Port Covington area of Baltimore.
Bar, Restaurant, Pub, Seafood, American, Gluten-free, $$$
Thames Street Oyster House, Baltimore | Courtesy Koco's Pub
Set in the historic Fells Point area of Baltimore, Thames Street is famous for its raw bar with fresh oysters, from both the East and the West Coasts, and its homemade crab cakes. The executive chef, Eric Houseknecht, prepares authentic seafood dishes inspired by Maryland, New England and Mid-Atlantic cuisines. The ‘cast iron crab cake’ is made with East Coast blue crab, remoulade sauce, swiss chard and baked squash. You can have dinner in one of their three spaces — the bar room, the upstairs dining area with water views or the back courtyard.
Mama’s on the Half Shell is a laid-back restaurant where you can have Baltimore-style food, with an emphasis on seafood. One of the classic items on their menu is the crab cake, which they serve with different sides, depending on the season, from green beans and Brussels sprouts to fries and mustard. Other dishes not to miss are the fresh oysters from the Atlantic, the cream of crab, or the catch of the day, which they prepare to your taste. The place, with an old-style tavern atmosphere, is located next to the West Channel, in the Canton area of Baltimore.
Located in Hanover, a southern suburb of Baltimore, Timbuktu Restaurant does crab cakes of an award-winning quality. They were voted multiple times as the ‘best Maryland crab cakes,’ and include jumbo lump crab meat prepared using a 40-year-old recipe and cooked according to preference, either fried or broiled. Other items on their menu you shouldn’t miss are their dishes of Southwestern influence, like the crab quesadilla or the fish tacos.
Pappas is a basic family-owned restaurant, famed around the Baltimore area for its crab cakes. The specialty is prepared according to a secret recipe from the 1970s, when the restaurant opened, made by a Greek immigrant and first head chef, Mark Pappas. They serve their crab cakes accompanied by seasonal vegetables, usually asparagus and salad. Their menu also features other fresh fish and seafood dishes, from fried oysters to soft shell crab, and for meat lovers, a selection of steaks and burgers.