Where to Find the Best Crab Cakes in Maryland

Maryland, on the Atlantic coast, is famous across the US for its crab cakes
Maryland, on the Atlantic coast, is famous across the US for its crab cakes | © Dawna Moore / Alamy
Photo of Monica Nastase
26 April 2021

Crab cakes are an iconic dish on the mid-Atlantic coast, especially in Maryland. Made with blue crab meat and Old Bay seasoning, they’re sold in seafood restaurants from New England down to Chesapeake Bay and Washington DC. Here’s where you can get the best crab cakes in Baltimore and across the state.

Jimmy’s Famous Seafood

Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
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This restaurant, started by a Greek immigrant in the 1970s, 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 other seafood too; they serve 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

Pub, Seafood, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, American, $$$
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Crab Cake Sandwich with Lettuce and Tomaro
© Darryl Brooks / Alamy

Koco’s Pub is a casual eatery on the north side of Baltimore, famous for its 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; it’s broiled instead of 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 the award-winning crab cakes.

Boatyard Bar & Grill

Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, American, Gluten-free
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Boatyard all killer no filler crab cakes
Boatyard Bar & Grill Crab Cakes pix | Courtesy of SCOTT SUCHMAN / Boatyard Bar & Grill Crab Cakes

Located in the historic maritime district of Annapolis, close to the waterfront of Spa Creek, Boatyard is a favorite place for local fishermen and sailors to grab a bite to eat. The interior mimics 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. There’s also a raw bar featuring oysters, clams and mussels.

Faidley Seafood

Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
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Faidley Seafood Raw Bar Lexington Market Baltimore Maryland
AKW87T Faidley Seafood Raw Bar Lexington Market Baltimore Maryland | © Vespasian / Alamy

This family-owned business, in Baltimore’s Lexington Market, serves some of the most acclaimed crab cakes in Maryland; they’ve even won awards for the jumbo lumps of crab and little filler. It is a market-style eatery where you can buy your seafood fresh or pre-prepared. Other specialties on offer include fresh or cooked fish, oysters, calamari and clams. The crab-cake sandwich was once named best sandwich in America by the Travel Channel.

Edgewater Restaurant

Restaurant, Seafood, American, Gluten-free, $$$
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Located in a suburb of Annapolis on the South River, Edgewater is a town landmark dating back to 1948 that serves its crab cakes 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. This place has kept its old-style decorations and laid-back atmosphere to this day.

Nick’s Fish House

Restaurant, Seafood, American, Gluten-free, Beer, $$$
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Closeup of marinara mussels, shot from above
© Katerina Solovyeva / Alamy

This restaurant, with a prime location on a waterfront deck, overlooking the Patapsco River, offers any fish or seafood you might crave, from steamed clams or mussels to fish and chips or hand-breaded shrimp. The star on the menu, though, is the crab-cake dinner, served with deck fries and coleslaw. Enjoy with a cocktail on the terrace and make sure you drop by between Thursday and Sunday evening when live music brings the place alive.

Thames Street Oyster House

Bar, Restaurant, Pub, Seafood, American, Gluten-free, $$$
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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 three spaces — the bar room, the upstairs dining area with water views or the back courtyard.

Mama’s on the Half Shell

Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
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Latoria Shephard of Baltimore downs a raw oyster while sitting with William Gaskins, who ordered oysters Rockefeller at Mama's on the Half Shell in Canton. (Photo by Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun/TNS/Sipa USA)
Photo by Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun/TNS/Sipa USA | © Sipa US / Alamy

Mama’s on the Half Shell is a crab restaurant with an old-tavern vibe, next to the West Channel in Baltimore’s Canton neighborhood. Crab cakes are served here with different sides, depending on the season, from green beans and Brussels sprouts to fries and mustard. The crab cake sandwich is a particular favorite. Don’t miss the fresh Atlantic oysters (there are four different types to choose from) or the catch of the day, prepared to your taste.

Timbuktu Restaurant

Restaurant, Seafood, American, Gluten-free, $$$
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Located in Hanover, a southern suburb of Baltimore, Timbuktu Restaurant does crab cakes of award-winning quality. Its crab cakes, which have been voted best in Maryland multiple times, include jumbo lump crab meat prepared using a 40-year-old recipe and cooked according to preference, either fried or broiled. Don’t miss the southwestern-style dishes, such as the crab quesadilla or fish tacos.

Pappas Seafood Co

Market, Restaurant, Seafood, American, Gluten-free
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Fried oysters served with French fries and dressing.
© Dawna Moore / Alamy

Pappas is a basic, family-owned restaurant, famed around the Baltimore area for its crab cakes. Like Jimmy’s, the specialty is prepared according to a secret recipe from the 1970s, when Greek immigrant and first head chef Mark Pappas opened the place. Pappas serves 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. For meat lovers, there is a selection of steaks and burgers.

These recommendations were updated on April 26, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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