Maryland is known for hard-shell crabs steamed in Old Bay Seasoning. Crabs are plentiful at hundreds of casual restaurants along the Chesapeake Bay, including Baltimore and Annapolis. Surprisingly Crab houses seem to be scarce in the Washington, DC area. There are plenty of places in the nations capital to get a good crab cake, but if you are looking for a place to sit and pick crabs, you may have to search. Here are a few suggestions:
900 Water St., Washington, DC (202) 488-8515. Phillips Crab House is one of the region's oldest and most well known seafood restaurants. It's original location is in Ocean City, MD and its headquarters are in Baltimore.
The Dancing Crab
4611 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Washington, DC (202) 244-1882. The family owned restaurant specializes in steamed crabs and offers a selection of seafood dishes.
Bethesda Crab House
4958 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, Maryland (301) 652-3382. The casual restaurant offers steamed crabs, jumbo spiced shrimp, Maryland style lump crab cakes and more. There's a large outdoor patio available weather permitting.
Joes Crab Shack
Two locations in the DC region: 221 Rio Blvd., Gaithersburg, Maryland (301) 947-4377. 46110 Lake Center Plaza, Sterling, VA (703) 421-3500. The chain restaurant, with more than 100 locations around the U.S., offers a wide range of seafood dishes and offers outdoor dining in a casual atmosphere.
137 National Plaza. National Harbor, Maryland. (877) 404-3255. Open Spring-Fall. Closed during the Winter. Fosters offers outdoor crab and lobster dinners and can host large parties.
Fingers and Claws
802 Muddy Branch Road, Gaithersburg, Maryland (301) 948-8270. The casual restaurant and sports bar offers an extensive seafood menu including Maryland crabs.
Bottom of the Bay Seafood
9590 N. Laurel Rd., Laurel, Maryland (301) 498-1040. The restaurant specializes in fresh Seafood, crab feasts, shrimp, clams, oysters by the bushel, crab cakes, soft crabs, and more. Dine-in and carryout menus are available.
Ernie's Original Crab House
1743 King Street
Alexandria, Virginia. (703) 836-0046. The restaurant is located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria and offers traditional Chesapeake Bay seafood dishes including steamed crabs.
Captain Pell's Fairfax Crab House
12831 Fair Lakes Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia (703) 968-2601. The casual restaurant offers all you can eat crabs, crabs by the dozen and a variety of other seafood dishes.