Could There Bmore Ways To Enjoy Crabs In Charm City This Year?

Jennifer Waldera

Could There Bmore Ways To Enjoy Crabs In Charm City This Year?


In Baltimore, every season inspires enthusiasm for some local passion. Fall brings a wave of purple excitement as the Ravens kick off football season, and Spring brings the wearers of orange out to descend on Camden Yards to root on the Orioles.

Charm City’s seasons are also marked by certain food availability, and there is no more prominent food to which this pertains than the iconic blue crab. Whether armed with mallets and cold beers picking crabs on a deck, or with rolled up sleeves while leaning in for that first perfect bite of a crunchy fried soft shell sandwich, Baltimore crab lovers are filled with an unmatchable love for these crustaceans whose omnipresence marks the unofficial start of summer.

So, rather than just regale you with a list of our favorite dishes or places to go, we have for you an overview of all things crab in Baltimore and the surrounding areas. From places to enjoy the very short-seasoned soft shell, to the festivals that abound around the state that celebrate the blue crab, this round up has tons of delicious ways to enjoy Charm City’s favorite summertime delicacy.

Oh, and don’t miss the section featuring old favorite dishes that have been recreated to showcase crabby twists. These tasty treats created in various restaurant (and truck!) kitchens from almost every corner of the city are nearly as eclectic as Charm City’s crab lovers themselves.


Soft Shells


Soft Shell Crab Week


Soft shells are a unique treat in Maryland, available only for a short period of time starting in May. Whether fried, sautéed, or grilled, these crunchy crabs can be served on sandwiches or plated with any number of seasonal vegetables or garnishes.


To celebrate the beloved soft shell crab, a variety of Baltimore restaurants are featuring specials on creative dishes that they have composed for lunch and/or dinner for a very limited time. Aptly named Soft Shell Crab Week, this celebration runs from May 23 through June 1.

Participating restaurants include Alexander’s Tavern, B&O American Brasserie, Cinghiale, Diamond Tavern, Kona Grill, La Scala of Little Italy, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant, Miss Shirley’s, The Oceanaire, Phillips Seafood, The Prime Rib, Regi’s American Bistro, Ryleigh’s Oyster.

Find out more details, including specific menus for each restaurant at


In addition, a bunch of other kitchens are cooking up the soft shells. Check out these reliable favorites:


  • Le Garage, 911 West 36th Street, 410-243-6300


  • Boathouse, 2809 Boston Street, 410-773-9795


  • Miss Shirley’s, 513 W. Cold Spring Lane, 410-889-5272 (Hampden, 750 E. Pratt Street, 410-528-5373 (Inner Harbor), 1 Park Place, 410-268-5171 (Annapolis)


  • The Point in Fell’s, 1738 Thames Street, 410-327-7264


  • Mama’s On The Half Shell, 2901 O’Donnell Street, 410-276-3160


  • Kislings, 2100 Fleet Street, 410-327-5477


  • Canton Dockside, 3301 Boston Street, 410-276-8900


  • Rye, 807 South Broadway, 443-438-3296


  • Peter’s Inn, 504 South Ann Street, 410-675-7313


Hard Shell Crabs


Perhaps you aren’t a fan of the soft shell, or maybe you are ready to jump right in to grab your mallet and get your hands dirty with some spices picking the hard shells. If so, here’s a list of some of the best places to pick crabs in, and around, Charm City.


  • Riptide by the Bay, 1718 Thames Street, 410-732-3474


  • Nick’s Fish House, 2600 Insulator Drive, 410-347-4123


  • Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, 6526 Holabird Avenue, 410-633-4040


  • Conrad’s, 9654 Bel Air Road, 410-529-FISH, or 1720 E. Joppa Road, 410-882-1515


  • L.P. Steamers, 1100 E. Fort Ave, 410-576-9294


  • Captain James Landing/Crabhouse, 2127 Boston Street, 410-327-8600


  • Bo Brooks, 2701 Lighthouse Point, 410-558-0202


  • Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn (Annapolis), 458 Forest Beach Road, 410-757-1311


  • Mr. Bill’s Terrace Inn, 200 Eastern Boulevard, 410-687-5994


  • Canton Dockside, 3301 Boston St #102, 410-276-8900


Crab Cakes


The debate is one that persists year after year: Who has the best crab cakes in Baltimore?


My response to this would be: is there anyone who doesn’t have a good crab cake in Baltimore?


Sure, certainly someone has messed up a crab cake in Baltimore at some point. However, for the most part, this city is blessed with a huge array of talented chefs and cooks who can put out some darn fine crab cakes. Here are a few of the many establishments in Baltimore creating stellar crab cakes.


  • Mama’s on the Half Shell, 2901 O’Donnell Street, 410-276-3160


  • Roy’s Kwik Korner (Glen Burnie), 1002 Crain Highway, 410-768-3369


  • G&M, 804 Hammonds Ferry Road, 410-636-1777


  • By The Docks, 3221 Eastern Boulevard, 410-686-1188


  • Koco’s Pub, 4301 Harford Road, 410-426-3519


  • Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, 6526 Holabird Avenue, 410-633-4040


  • Sip and Bite, 2200 Boston Street, 410-675-7077


  • Pierpoint, 1822 Aliceanna Street, 410-675-2080


  • Conrad’s, 9654 Bel Air Road, 410-529-FISH, or 1720 E. Joppa Road, 410-882-1515


  • Admiral’s Cup, 1647 Thames Street, 410-534-5555



Crab Deals


The only thing better than soft shells, hard shells, and crab cakes is… Anything crabby on a great special! These are some of the best deals around town for all things crab, from the soft and hard shells and the cakes to appetizers and beyond.



Farmer’s Market in Towson Allegheny Avenue between York Road and Washington Ave

Thursday - $5 crab cake (from Ridgely & Ferrens)


Koco’s, 4301 Harford Road, 410-426-3519

Thursday - 22.99 for crab cake platter


Kislings, 2100 Fleet St, 410-327-5477

Tuesday - Half priced 12 oz crab cakes


Captain James Landing, 2127 Boston Street, 410-327-8600

Monday - (2) 8 oz crab cakes and 2 sides for $18.99


Monday through Thursday in the Crab House, 4 p.m. - 9 p.m., 2 hours of all you can eat crabs also including an ear of sweet silver queen white corn and a cup of Maryland crab soup, all for $29.99


Riptide By The Bay, 1718 Thames Street, 410-732-3474

Tuesday - $2.50 crabs, sold individually


Alexander’s Tavern, 710 South Broadway, 410-522-0000

Monday (daytime) - $9 Maryland Burger - Certified Angus beef smeared with creamy crab dip, smothered in a cheddar/jack cheese blend, and topped with lettuce and tomato and on a brioche roll


Thursday (daytime and evening) - $8 Balmer Pizzas- Crisp crust smothered in

creamy crab dip, sprinkled with bacon and covered in a 3 cheese blend.


Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, 6526 Holabird Avenue, 410-633-4040

Wednesday - Reduced prices on steamed crabs in the bar


Ropewalk Tavern, 1209 South Charles Street, 410-727-1298

Thursday - $8 crab cake single entree and sandwiches


Claddagh’s, 2918 O’Donnell Street, 410-522-4220

Thursday - Two 6 oz crab cakes with mashed potato and vegetable du jour for



Bertha’s, 734 South Broadway, 410-327-5795

Tuesday - Half priced crab cake



Morton’s Steakhouse, 300 South Charles Street, 410-547-8255

Sunday through Friday, Open - 6:30 and 9 - close, Mini Crabcake BLTs, $7


Duda’s Tavern, 1600 Thames Street, 410-276-9719

Tuesday - Half priced crab cake 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.


McCormick and Schmick’s, 711 Eastern Avenue, 410-234-1300

Monday - Friday, 4 p.m. -7 p.m. - crab pretzel or crab deviled eggs, $3.99


Oceanaire, 801 Aliceanna Street, 443-872-0000

Monday-Friday 5-7pm, Monday-Thursday and Sunday 9 p.m. - close - $7 crab

cake sliders


Little Havana, 1325 Key Highway, 410-837-9903

Thursday - All regular menu items featuring crab are deeply discounted


Don’t Know Tavern, 1453 Light Street, 410-539-0231

Thursday - $10 6 oz jumbo lump crab cake sandwich


Kooper’s, 1702 Thames Street, 410-563-5423

Wednesday - $12.00 single crab cake platter, $21.00 double crab cake platter.


Crabby Surprises


Sure, we all love our crab prepared in traditional ways, and nothing says summer like getting an Old Bay facial standing over a big pile of just-steamed hard shells. But around Baltimore, there are some surprises popping up as well. From creative usages of crab to crab products being newly featured in traditional dishes where it may not have been before (along with a big surprise in pricing at one major Maryland attraction), this is your go-to guide of where to find crab inspired culinary creativity this summer.


Gypsy Queen Food Truck, various locations,

Baltimore’s food trucks have been heating up the food scene in Baltimore and the Gypsy Queen is at the head of the pack. For a crabby take on an old favorite, try their crab tacos filled with perfectly seasoned crab cakes with crunchy veg and a creamy spicy sauce. Feeling bold? Get the Crab Cone, a monstrous savory cone filled with Old Bay French Fries topped with crab cake. Rumor has it that the Gypsy Queen has served some soft shell street food too.


Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, 1876 Mansion House Drive, 410-396-7102

Crab cake. Two dollars. Yes, let that sink in. Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, this crab cake is actually atop a salad. However, if you purchase any of the salads from the Natural Selections cafe at the zoo, it costs only $2 to top it with a pretty tasty crab cake. That would be a heck of a deal anywhere, but at a major attraction like the zoo, it seems like a steal!


Papi’s Tacos, 1703 Aliceanna Street, 410-299-8480

Specializing in Mexican street food, Charlie Gjerde’s newest restaurant Papi’s offers plenty of authentic favorites. However, if you’re seeking to fulfill your crab craving with a spicy twist, check out Papi’s for some tasty crab tacos.


Miss Shirley’s, 513 W. Cold Spring Lane, 410-889-5272 (Hampden, 750 E. Paratt Street, 410-528-5373 (Inner Harbor), 1 Park Place, 410-268-5171 (Annapolis)

Miss Shirley’s is known for being one of the best brunches in Baltimore and this esteemed establishment just kicked it up another notch by offering soft shell crab during brunch. On a recent visit, we dove into a scrumptious fried soft shell crab that was perched atop an egg round which was surrounded by a sea of cheesy grits with small chunks of salty bacon, garnished with tomato relish and chow chow. Pardon the pun, but this crabby start to the day left us anything but crabby.


Blue Moon Cafe, 1621 Aliceanna Street, 410-522-3940

There is a reason why this Diners, Drive Ins and Dives hit Fell’s Point restaurant is in the process of opening a second location in Federal Hill and has drooling diners lined up out the door nearly all the time. While others may dish about the crunchy Cap’n Crunch French Toast or the sweet jam on warm, buttery biscuits (both admittedly amazing) the real reason to hit this Charm City mainstay if you’re a crab lover is for the Sweet Baby Jesus. Crunchy hashbrowns mixed with melted cheese and diced tomato are the foundation for huge chunks of lump crab meat, two eggs, and a decadent hollandaise sauce. Sweet. Baby. Jesus. Indeed.


Todd Connor’s, 700 South Broadway, 410-537-5005

            There is no way to lose when farfalle pasta is coated in a creamy, delicious cheese sauce served in a bowl that may be big enough for two. But when the kitchen then tosses in some of the tastiest lump crab meat to be found, there is no doubt this crab mac and cheese is a complete winner.          


Ropewalk Tavern, 1209 South Charles Street, 410-727-1298

            Ropewalk Tavern may be known for being a conservative bar, but the kitchen is anything but. This Federal Hill favorite offers two unique crab dishes. The first, crab egg rolls, are composed of house made wontons that are jam packed with sweet, delicate crab meat that are then fried and served alongside a sweet Thai chili aioli. The second dish with a crabby twist may be one of the most decadent grilled cheese sandwiches in Baltimore. A broiled enormous lump crab cake is topped with tomatoes, flanked by American cheese and grilled between two slices of sour dough bread.


The Point in Fell’s, 1738 Thames Street, 410-327-7264

            Tater tots, in recent years, have become all the rage. From breakfast to lunch or dinner, tots are taking a main stage on Charm City’s plates. The Point in Fell’s offers up a crab-centric version of the fried potatoey goodness by topping their tots with Maryland Crab Dip and shredded cheese.


RYE, 807 South Broadway, 443-438-3296

RYE is known for innovative cocktails as well as solid versions of traditional drinks. Their kitchen has also woven together the idea of tradition and innovation with the creation of Stuffed  Mac and Cheese Bites which features their house made macaroni and cheese stuffed with crab meat, fried with a light breading, and served over warm baked brie with spicy sriracha.


Alchemy, 1011 West 36th Street, 410-366-1163

            Eggs Benedict is a favorite for brunch and many of Baltimore’s kitchens have varied takes on this morning tradition. We may be most impressed, though, with Alchemy’s very-Baltimore take on the timeless dish with their usage of locally made Roma old bay sausage AND colossal lump crab. Could it be more Bmore?



Crab Events 

No summer is complete without crab feasts or crab contests in Baltimore. There are plenty of festivals around the state, plus a few other types of events, including a customizable one, to take your crustacean celebration to the next level.

Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival (Baltimore and DC)


Tilghman Island Seafood Festival


Rotary Club of Annapolis Crab Feast


Maryland’s Taste of Cambridge Cook-Off and Festival


35th Annual Rescue Fire Company Seafood Fest-I-Val


Taste of Maryland Music and Food Festival (Including a Best Crab Cake Challenge)


Crab Derby and more detailed information about the event can be found at:


47th Annual MD Seafood Festival


Cruise with music, crab feast, draft beer (several dates)


Customize your own crab and seafood feasts

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