The Best Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Ocean City

Crab cakes
Crab cakes | © m01229 / Flickr
Kristina Gaddy

Farm-to-table restaurants are popular everywhere in the U.S., and Ocean City, Maryland, is no exception. However, at this beach resort on the Atlantic coast, there is a twist – restaurants are not only farm-to-table but ocean-to-table. Here are the six best places to get fresh, local ingredients in Ocean City.

1. Hooked

Restaurant, American, Seafood, Pub Grub, Gluten-free

Hooked’s line is that they are where ocean and farm meet. Unique dishes that blend products from local farms and fisheries are the result. They have traditional Maryland crab dishes, which change from soft shell to steamed crabs to crab cakes depending on the season, plus chicken and beef dishes sourced from across the Delmarva Peninsula. Hooked is open from lunch to dinner daily, but make sure to get in early since they don’t accept reservations.

2. The Shark on the Harbor

Restaurant, American, Seafood

The Shark on the Harbor prides themselves on not only having fresh seafood and local produce but also buying only from organic farms in the area and the fishing harbor right outside the restaurant. Their menu changes constantly based on what is available, and be sure to make a reservation to guarantee your spot in the cozy dining room. Located on the harbor of Ocean City, The Shark might be a little bit out of the way but is well worth visiting.

3. Barn 34

Restaurant, American, Seafood

A restaurant in a barn almost has to have a farm-to-table theme, right? You’ll notice Barn 34 amidst the tall hotels of Ocean City and will feel comfortable in the large dining areas on the first floor and extra cozy on the second floor, which features sloped ceilings. Breakfast and brunch (served every day) might be the best meal to visit for, with a variety of eggs benedict recipes. But with any meal, you’ll also get a Puerto Rican flair, inspired by the owners’ time on the island.

4. Blacksmith Bar & Restaurant

Restaurant, American

Go a little bit outside Ocean City to the town of Berlin, Maryland, and get away from the crowds of vacationers to visit Blacksmith Bar & Restaurant. Chef and owner Justine Zegna was on the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, having operated restaurants in College Park, Maryland, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Dewey Beach, Delaware, that all connected with local farmers to bring fresh produce to the dinner plate. The foods are made from scratch with care and include classics like crab cakes along with more global dishes such as Thai curry and empanadas.

5. Liquid Assets Bistro

Bar, Bistro, Restaurant, American, French

Liquid Assets is a bistro that serves local and fresh ingredients in a cozy setting and is open for lunch and dinner. As you sample wine from the “packaged goods” section of the store, you can enjoy small plates with local ingredients like crab, homemade ricotta, tuna, or mussels, or opt for a full meal from their good selection of dinner fare. They also offer a big selection of cheese (not all local), a great wine list, and a lot of local beers.

6. Jules Fine Dining

Restaurant, American, Seafood

Jules Fine Dining is another hidden gem in Ocean City. Located in the Ocean City Square Shopping Center, it might look plain from the outside, but inside, chef Julius Adam Sanders is creating new twists on classic Maryland recipes. The restaurant offers an extensive wine list and usually has a good mix of surf and turf on the menu, which changes depending on what’s in season and fresh.

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