What's the best seafood restaurant in downtown Baltimore?
September 8, 2010 7:09 AM   Subscribe

What's the best seafood restaurant in downtown Baltimore?

Here I go, asking about my own hometown, but I'd like some advice. I've got friends coming in from the UK later this month (their first visit to the States), and I want to take them out for really good seafood. They'll be staying near the Inner Harbor, so I'd prefer to stick around there. McCormick & Schmick's? The Rusty Scupper? Somewhere else?

I don't have an expense account budget, but I don't mind spending money as long as the food is worth it. And excellent crab cakes are a must.
posted by Faint of Butt to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe The Oceanaire Seafood Room in Harbor East?
posted by baltimoretim at 7:23 AM on September 8, 2010

Black Olive
posted by dipolemoment at 7:24 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Highly recommend Mama's on the Half Shell - Menu.

They had very good crab cakes when I was there on business.
posted by dyno04 at 7:57 AM on September 8, 2010

You could try asking on the DC/Baltimore Chowhound board. Those folks have never steered me wrong.
posted by amarynth at 8:01 AM on September 8, 2010

The best crab cakes in Baltimore are at Faidley's (in my opinion), its not really a restaurant though, as you stand at tables and get your food from a nice lady at a cash register. They are fucking fantastic though, and world renowned. There is also a raw bar on premises and Lexington Market is pretty interesting, so its worth a lunch at the very least.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:10 AM on September 8, 2010

McCormick & Schmick's

I can't give a positive recommendation (I'll be interested to see what people have to say), but I can tell you that (in my experience) McCormick & Schmick's is fine but nothing really that special, and overpriced for what it is. The same is pretty much true of any of these gigantic chain seafood places that I've tried in inner harbor, though I haven't exactly done an exhaustive survey.
posted by advil at 8:13 AM on September 8, 2010

gigantic chain seafood places

(by gigantic, I meant that the restaurants themselves are gigantic, not the chains.)
posted by advil at 8:17 AM on September 8, 2010

Yeah, the best crabcakes a) aren't at the harbor and b) aren't at seafood places. My favorite is at Koco's Pub out on Harford Road. So good!
posted by youcancallmeal at 8:26 AM on September 8, 2010

by gigantic, I meant that the restaurants themselves are gigantic, not the chains

I think Phillip's and McCormick & Schmick's fall into both categories.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:29 AM on September 8, 2010

The best crab cakes are at Faidley's, but for upscale seafood, baltimoretim has it. Oceanaire isn't cheap, but they have wonderful, fresh, well-prepared seafood. The menu will tell you where it came from. Their creamed corn is lovely, too.
posted by QIbHom at 8:31 AM on September 8, 2010

Definitely not Rusty Scupper, unless it's really important that you have a harbor view. Oceanaire didn't impress me, the service was somewhat lousy, and the fish so-so. I have never been to Black Olive, but I have heard only awesome things. If it's fine dining seafood you want, that's what I would choose.
posted by joecacti at 8:35 AM on September 8, 2010

Faidley's in Lexington Market is the go-to for seafood. Best crabcake is a serious point of contention among Baltimorons. Mama's is also a good recommendation, quality raw bar and good fish.

Generally, restaurants right at the Harbor aren't going to be particularly good (i.e. Phillips, McCormick's, Rusty Scupper).
posted by electroboy at 8:53 AM on September 8, 2010

This thread about covers it for "downtown" I'd say. For me, Black Olive in Fells Point for a nice sit-down meal, Faidley's for crab cakes. Oceanaire is pretty good, but I prefer Black Olive. There's also a bar called Duda's in Fells Point makes an underrated crab cake- quality crab, almost no filler. I haven't been there in awhile though, so YMMV.

Real crab feasts at non-corporate sorts of places are sometimes tough to come by near downtown, but Bo Brooks (Canton) and Obrycki's (Upper Fells Point) are pretty reliable.

If you're really tied to the Inner Harbor area, go to Oceanaire. If you can get out and about a bit (really, it's only an extra 10 minute walk along the harbor or a 5 minute cab ride) get thee to Fells Point.
posted by GodricVT at 10:36 AM on September 8, 2010

Obrycki's....best crabs....EVER!
posted by foodybat at 11:39 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I wish I could afford the Black Olive, but right now I think I'm leaning towards Obrycki's. Any more ideas?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:44 AM on September 8, 2010

Obrycki's is indeed awesome - their crab seasoning is pepper based, which I find unique and wonderful - you can't go wrong.

BUT - my favorite place by far in the Baltimore area is the Seaside
in Glen Burnie (just south of town). My god, I am drooling as I'm typing this. Atmosphere - meh; food - to die for.
posted by walleeguy at 6:57 PM on September 8, 2010

Please let us know where you went, FOB.
posted by josher71 at 3:45 PM on September 9, 2010

I certainly will, but it's not for a couple of weeks yet.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:14 AM on September 10, 2010

In the end, Obrycki's was the choice. It was expensive-- almost as expensive as the Black Olive would have been-- but the crab cakes were delicious. They were mild and tender, golden crispy on the outside, and loaded with huge chunks of sweet crab meat. We were all very happy.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:53 PM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

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