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October 20, 2009

Top 10 Seafood Restaurants Updated



It's only a slight exaggeration when I say I've done 150 or so Top 10 lists. I'm running out of ideas. I don't want to make the subject too obscure (bacon spinoffs, anyone?), but I don't want to revisit a topic that doesn't need revisiting.

However, one list that definitely needs updating is seafood restaurants. It was one of the first, if not the first, Top 10 I did almost three years ago. Pisces is gone now, as is Blue Sea Grill.

Don't be offended if your favorite crab house isn't on this list. Crab Houses Updated is a topic for another day. But I was surprised at how once you eliminate crab houses, the list isn't that easy to compile.

Here's my Top 10 in alphabetical order: ...

* Black Olive in Fells Point. Fresh fish (you pick your own) with a Greek accent.

* Bluestone in Timonium. Not what you'd call a sedate place, but the seafood is fine.

* Catonsville Gourmet in Catonsville. Chesapeake Bay seafood and BYOB, too. What more do you need?

* Hell Point Seafood in Annapolis. DC restaurateur Robert Kinkead brings his brand of seafood to Annapolis, including lobster rolls. I know it must have a Web site, but I can't find it.

* Kali's Court in Fells Point. A charming setting for fine dining. The whole fish is a must.

* Mama's on the Half Shell in Canton. Out-of-town visitors will love this place, more casual than some on this list.

* Oceanaire Seafood Room in Harbor East. Pricey, luxurious, excellent seafood -- and the parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

* O'Learys in Eastport. Considered by many to be the best seafood restaurant in the Annapolis area.

* Real Seafood Co. in Annapolis. Pray that the lobster special is still going on.

* Watertable in the Inner Harbor. Great view of the harbor from every table.

(Monica Lopossay/Sun photographer)


Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:27 AM | | Comments (29)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


You're right on about O'Leary's and Real Seafood (for the latter, also try any of the chef's weekly specials). Hell Point does NOT have a web site yet. Not sure why.

Right you are, EL. Eliminte the crab houses, and there's a paucity of true seafood restaurants in Baltimore...the kind that serve primarily fish with a few other entrees (maybe a steak or chicken dish) as a sop to the fish resistant or allergic. Black Olive, Bluestone, Catonsville Gourmet and Kali's Court (as good as their seafood dishes might be) hardly satisfy the definition. Bluestone, Catonsville Gourmet, Hell Point Seafood, O'Leary's and Real Seafood aren't in Baltimore. Not much of a choice there, compared, let's say, with Baltimore's arms-length list of steak houses.

Sorry about that. I hit the wrong button.

We're in Ocean City this week for a conference, and we found essentially the same thing here. Lots of crab houses open for dinner Sunday night, but hardly any seafood restaurants. We lucked out to find Antipasti, an old Wendy's converted into a recommendable white table cloth establishment. (My score: 3 1/2 food, 3 atmosphere, 1 service.) We finish today before noon so many of us are looking forward to the lunch special at Sunset Grill.

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The reason you can't find a web site for Hell Point Seafood is because the Blonders, owners of Buddy's, registered the domain names out from under Kinkead when they heard he was opening it.

A sleazy move, and easily verifiable by doing a whois on the domain

I'm not sure if you've done it and I can't find it but how about Top 10 Places to get good Wings. I've been trying to find a good wing place in Baltimore and besides Bill Bateman's I'm coming up empty. I really wish someone would open up a Quaker Stake around here. I miss their all you can eat wing night.

Sigh. As an Annapolitan, I've witnessed what the recession has done to the small Mom n Pop stores and restaurants here. These chains (Real Seafood comes to mind) lack the creativity and (yes!) quirkyness of a locally owned establishment.

B'more because of its size can sustain both chains and local inventive restaurants. We can't. Since Annapolis is a day trip for Baltimoreans, how about a TOP TEN article on small gems here tucked away out of the malls and tourist central downtown.

Although it's a chain, I like Bonefish.

And, Nick's raw bar comes to mind with that picture of the tempting oysters.

I wish I'd remembered Bonefish. Thanks. EL

How can you miss the BEST OF THE BEST - The GROVE MARKET IN BISHOPVILLE, MD. Critics from abroad have come and have stated that it is THE VERY BEST. Where have you been???

Take a deep breath there, Ms. B-J. No need to get so excited. EL

Bishopville hardly qualifies as "the Baltimore area". Annapolis doesn't quite, either, but at least it's close.

To Ocean City poster:

Captains Galley II in West Ocean City

Bluestone used to be on our regular rotation of restaurants but after some menu changes and a couple of disappointing meals we have moved on to other places. I will say that I never thought of it as a seafood restaurant. If the other places on the list are similar to Bluestone as far as quality and selection I think I'll pass.

Ocean Pride in Lutherville definitely needs to be on this list. It is more than just a crab house. Their steamed shrimp and raw bar, are second to none, plus they have much better crab cakes than the Annapolis places.

Heck, I'd even put Faidley's on here before the Annapolis places. O'Leary's and Hell Point are terribly overrated.

Cleatus, I think EL already covered sangria--or did I imagine that?

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Dahlink--as usual you are correct. August 26--"My search for the perfect sangria."
Thanks for the tickle upside my head.

Summer seems so long ago, Cleatus. But even Homer nodded.

Forget anyone mentioned the Grove Market. Not good. Don't go there. Go somewhere else. Yeah go to the West Ocean City restaurant mecca.

Wasn't it Charles Calvert who first said, "You can great seafood in Baltimore, just not necessarily at a seafood restaurant."

or was it Barbara Fritchie?

I think it was me. :-) EL

The Narrows on the Eastern Shore near just past Kent Island.

I love the Narrows, but it hardly qualifies as "Baltmore area".

active environment at bluestone..never had a bad meal. Walked in the other night and a journey concert was on the huge big screen...interesting joint !

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Also, I find it shocking that Jimmy's Seafood on Hollibird Avenue didn't make the list. I've always considered that more of a seafood restaurant as oposed to a "crab house."

Really, Cleatus ... ain't no such thing as a Haussner's successor!

Dottie--We can dream, can't we?

Jimmy's Seafood? You have got to be kidding me. That place is the pits.

First of all, yes, there is no place that compares to good ol' Haussner's. As for
Jimmy's, maybe twenty-five years ago, they were half way decent. Now, that place is a whole in the wall with terrible food. Pappa's in the Parkville area has pretty decent seafood.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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