Baltimore is crammed full of seafood restaurants, but there’s no need to waste your time searching for the best options. The following list offers the best selection of seafood in Baltimore, taking into account flavor, variety and location for a truly extraordinary dining experience.
402 Key Highway
Baltimore, Md. 21230
The Rusty Scupper’s Baltimore location is something special. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay, there is no seat in the entire restaurant that doesn’t afford a breathtaking view of the water and the Baltimore skyline. While the Rusty Scupper is primarily a seafood restaurant, it offers a tempting variety of surf-and-turf, with all of its seafood sourced locally. And since it uses local offerings, you can expect the usual varietal of crab dishes. Attend its weekly Sunday brunch and enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet, always accompanied by live music ranging from concert piano to light jazz. Or you could drop by for a holiday and experience fireworks on the bay for New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July. For fresh seafood at surprisingly reasonable prices, the Rusty Scupper is hard to beat.
Thames Street Oyster House
1728 Thames St.
Baltimore, Md. 21231
Another Harbor-facing restaurant is the Thames Street Oyster House. This quaint rowhouse dining establishment has an intimate downstairs bar and a romantic upstairs dining area with a window-side view of the bay. Oysters are not the sole seafood on this menu. Treat yourself to the Chesapeake Rockfish with house-made rigatoni pasta, summer vegetable ragout and fresh ricotta cheese. Or try the very generous portion of the New England lobster roll, the Block Island scallops or the Cape Cod fluke. However, if oysters are your thing, you would be surprised at the variety of enticing dishes that chef Eric Houseknecht has designed for these shellfish. Of course, the oysters Rockefeller is a must-try, dressed with creamed spinach, Pernod and parmesan. Or if you’re watching your calories, you can’t do better than the whole-leaf spinach and fried oyster salad with cremini mushrooms, leeks and a warmed, applewood-bacon vinaigrette. In terms of hand-made dedication to succulent seafood, Thames Street Oyster House is the place to go.
Mama’s on the Half Shell
2901 O’Donnell St.
Baltimore, Md. 21224
Mama’s makes the somewhat lofty claim of being “the real taste of Baltimore seafood,” having been founded in 2003 in response to what the owners describe as a lack of a “real” Baltimore seafood restaurant. This admittedly cocky attitude seems to have paid off, however, since Mama’s has received four out of five stars on both Yelp and Google Reviews from Baltimoreans who can’t stop talking about the great food, drink menus and service. Drop in for brunch and try the scallops with spinach and potato pancakes as an appetizer. Try the tuna sashimi, stuffed shrimp or fresh oysters as an entree. From the drink menu, order the Bloody Mary which ranks as one of the best in Baltimore, or check out the variety of fruit crush drinks. Visit Mama’s and judge for yourself if it has achieved its goal of being the “real” Baltimore seafood restaurant.
Related: Best Seafood In Baltimore
J.W. Faidley Seafood
200 N. Paca St.
Baltimore, Md. 21201
Located in the bustling Lexington Market, this rudimentary eatery has changed very little since its founding in 1886. It is still owned by the same family, its food is still made by hand and it still offers what may well be the tastiest crab cakes on the planet. If you don’t want to brave the Lexington Market to get to Faidley, it also has an entrance right off Lexington and N Paca. But whether you breeze in from the street or brave the market, a crab cake at Faidley is a must-have experience. These baseball-sized cakes are composed by enormous chunks of fresh, sweet crab meat and held together with a touch of crushed Saltines, a dab of mayo and a hint of mustard. Go straight for the “all lump crab cake.” It’s significantly more expensive, but for an experience worthy of a bucket list, who can complain? In addition to the crab cakes, seafood fans can enjoy the raw oyster bar or chow down on the variety of rich, steamy crab soups. For a local treat, try the surprisingly inexpensive “coddie,” a fish cake packed together with delicious mashed potatoes and a hint of onion. A true Baltimorean knows that fine dining is by no means the best dining. Sometimes the best seafood is the kind you eat by hand right in the market where it’s sold.
Captain James Landing – Seafood Palace
2127 Boston St.
Baltimore, Md. 21231
Baltimoreans will recognize Captain James Landing as something of a local landmark. Since its founding in 1978, it has distinguished itself as a restaurant that looks exactly like a merchant vessel sitting docked in the Harbor. To further the delightful illusion, Captain James’ has entrances both from the street, courtesy of its convenient private parking lot, and by water taxi (stop #14, you can’t miss it). The staple at Captain James is the steamed crabs, fresh from the Harbor and steamed on-sight. It also serves excellent soft shelled crab sandwiches and crab cake sandwiches. For local crab dishes on the Bay, or international seafood, Captain James Landing is a friendly and convenient place to stop.
Joel Furches is a freelance writer and researcher for The Examiner and Logos Software, and also manages his own catalog of writing on Hub Pages. Joel is on the board of directors for Ratio Christi. He has a bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Education.