Wherever you turn, there’s always a crab waiting for you in the DMV and today let’s talk about the tasty ones! Much like Isla Fisher’s character in the 2005 hit movie Wedding Crashers (filmed on the Maryland eastern shore), they are inescapable. However, it’s for good reason. Crabs caught in the Chesapeake Bay are considered to be some of the best in the world. So if you’re ever feeling a hankering for some hammering (or maybe just for some crab soup), make sure to check out one of these five crab shacks for an authentic Maryland crab experience.
L.P. Steamers, Baltimore
This seafood restaurant is located right on the water, so you know the crabs are fresh. Located in the Locust Point neighborhood of South Baltimore, L.P. Steamers specializes in all brands of seafood. From crabs to scallops and oysters, they can truly do no wrong. Their rooftop if perfect for getting some fresh air while cracking into crabs and drinking from their vast array of local beers. After eating there, this restaurant’s critical acclaim comes as no surprise.
The Point, Arnold
This crab shack is located in Anne Arundel County and has some of the most picturesque views to offer while you enjoy their crabs. The Point sits right on the water, so you can take in all the salty air while chowing down on some of their delectable seafood. The market price for their crabs is always written on the chalk board for you to see alongside the exact places where their crabs are sourced from (all in-state, of course). They have an extensive menu with plenty of options for those who are looking for something other than crab, but they also have one of the best crab cakes in the state.
The Red Roost, Quantico
This seafood spot is located in the town of Quantico and it’s a great place to go for some good crabs. Located in what used to be a chicken shack, they still hold onto their secret fried chicken recipe that they’ve been keeping close to their chest since 1974. The Red Roost is nothing fancy, but sometimes you just want a no-frills crab shack experience. The crabs here are big and fresh, and they come with all the fixins’ like corn on the cob and plenty of Old Bay. The Red Roost is cash only, so make sure you hit the ATM before you go.
Schultz’s Crab House, Essex
Named an “America’s Classic” by the James Beard Foundation in 2017, this crab shack is truly the quintessential Maryland crab-eating experience and has been a local favorite for over 50 years. Pomp and/or circumstance will not be found in this no-reservation establishment. While they’re mostly known for their steamed crab deals, there are plenty of other options. If you’re feeling adventurous, try their Crab Imperial, which is made with cream, sherry, and plenty of Old Bay. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, their Crab Cake Sandwich is also a great option. First-come, first-serve, you can eat your crabs sitting on a wooden bench and dining off of a cafeteria tray, which to many, is the way it should be. So if you’re looking for the old-school crab experience, this is your place.
Bethesda Crab House, Bethesda
A little bit closer to DC is the Bethesda Crab House. Open since 1961 and about a 25 minute drive from the District, this is one of the best crab shacks in the DC metro area. The décor is nautical and the menu has all of your crab favorites like soft-shell crabs, crab cakes, and of course, steamed crabs. They also have a great selection of wine and cocktails to pair with your seafood feast. Whether you’re cracking open a few steamed crabs along with one of their locally sourced beers or chowing down on their homemade key lime pie, you’re sure to have something absolutely delicious and high quality at this family-owned establishment.
With all of these incredible restaurants, it’s no wonder that National Geographic named Maryland the “Best Place to Eat Crab” in 2013. So no matter where you are in Maryland, there’s a crab shack nearby that will satisfy your seafood cravings. Next time you’re in the Old Line State, be sure to hit up one of these road-trip worthy crab shacks for a truly killer crab experience.