Top Eateries to Enjoy Authentic Baltimore Crab Cakes
You can't visit Baltimore without sampling our famous crab cakes. Find them at the locally loved and nationally recognized restaurants below, several of which are even endorsed by celebrities!
As much as we love to pick crabs, sometimes we crave a low-effort culinary experience. Enter the crab cake. We take them seriously here in Charm City (aka we don’t skimp on the meat), so it’s no surprise that our cakes consistently receive praise from national news outlets and celebrities like Al Roker and Oprah Winfrey. While it’s unlikely you’ll find a bad crab cake in Baltimore, the eateries on this list win favor with locals when it comes to freshness and flavor.
Located in the historic Lexington Market, the oldest continuously operating public market in the country, Faidley’s has been serving its massive crab cakes since 1886. Third generation co-owner Nancy Faidley Devine still helps make each one—comprised of jumbo lump and backfin crab with a saltine crust and secret “magic sauce”—by hand, and her labors of love have not gone unnoticed. The TODAY Show’s Al Roker visited the seafood stand in 2021 to film a segment for his “Family Style” food series, and remarked that a Faidley’s crab cake is made from “fresh Maryland crab and family love.”
Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen
If you’re like us, you can spend hours exploring museums absorbing all the beautiful artwork and educational materials, and all that exploring can really work up an appetite. Luckily, you don’t have to go far for a meal after visiting the Baltimore Museum of Art. The upscale on-site restaurant Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen, which overlooks the sculpture garden, has two crab cakes to choose from. A twist on the classic dish, Gertie’s Crab Cake is broiled and comes with rosemary potatoes, apple-fennel slaw and basil-caper tartar sauce, while the Boardwalk Crab Cake is lightly fried with a mustard sauce and sprinkling of Old Bay. Gertrude’s is also the go-to place for vegetarians that still want to experience this Charm City staple, thanks to their “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Crab” Cakes made from zucchinis.
Jimmy’s Famous Seafood
It’s famous for a reason: Jimmy’s has made a name for itself both in Charm City and around the country not only for its colossal crab cakes, but for its philanthropic efforts. To date, Jimmy’s has raised more than $585,000 for nonprofits and schools, and they make it easy to fundraise for your cause of choice. Chef Tony Minadakis grew up helping his father—the titular Jimmy—run the restaurant, and now he’s bringing the fresh seafood and family spirit that keep Jimmy’s famous to a new generation. Enjoy their award-winning crab cakes, including gluten-free options, at their restaurant on Holabird Avenue or at their stand at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
A local standby, this Lauraville seafood shack combines island inspiration with classic pub fare. The baseball-sized 11-ounce crab cakes, Mayor Brandon M. Scott’s favorite in Baltimore, are made daily, go easy on the filler and are seasoned with just a light hint of Old Bay. They’re so beloved that Koco’s devotes a whole section of its menu to them featuring crab cake salads, sandwiches, platters and junior options. Koco’s serves its broiled cakes with a selection of dips, from Worcestershire to tartar. Want to take one home? You can even order an uncooked crab cake to go!
Like its namesake Kooper, the owners’ yellow Labrador who passed in 2007, this Fell’s Point eatery wants all its guests to leave with a smile on their face after enjoying delicious food and strong drinks. Their jumbo lump crab cake comes as an entree or as a sandwich served with Old Bay chips and dill pickles. Kooper’s also has ample outdoor seating, so you can enjoy scenic views of the harbor while you eat.
Land of Kush
Vegans and vegetarians can still participate in Baltimore’s crabby culture, thanks to the 100% meat-free crab cake dished up at Land of Kush. Owners Gregory Brown and Naijha Wright-Brown have been creating healthy, plant-based soul food since 2011, and have served Angela Davis, Stevie Wonder and many others. Enjoy their “crab” cakes with equally tasty sides such as baked mac & cheese, cornbread, jollof rice, collard greens and more. The couple also hosts Vegan SoulFest every summer, which aims to educate others on plant-based eating and feed your soul through delicious food and live music.
Want more vegan options? Check out all that Baltimore’s plant-based scene has to offer.
Mama’s on the Half Shell
For more than 15 years, this Canton gastropub has served been serving classic, no-fuss Charm City seafood dishes along with their signature crushes. Order the crab cake as a starter, in a sandwich or on a platter with two sides as your main course. During weekend brunch, enjoy a crab cake benny—two poached eggs served on top of Mama’s crab cake and an English muffin with hollandaise.
Pappas Restaurant & Sports Bar
Don’t let the name fool you: Pappas isn’t your average sports bar. This Parkville restaurant’s crab cakes, made from a 45-year-old recipe, have been featured on Food Network, Baltimore Magazine and The O List. In fact, Oprah loves these mounds of lump, sweet crabmeat so much, she has them shipped directly to her—and you can too! Pappas ships its 4 oz, 8 oz and 10 oz crab cakes (including gluten-free versions) nationwide.
This century-old Maryland establishment offers two four-ounce crab cakes or two six-ounce ones, both of which are served with steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes. Although Phillips Seafood boasts lots of seating options, we recommend feasting on the outdoor crab deck overlooking the water with daily happy hour deals. Its location in the heart of the Inner Harbor makes it the perfect place to grab a meal in between visits to the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center and Port Discovery Children’s Museum.
Sip & Bite Diner
You may recognize this Canton hot spot from Chef Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Though the owners are proud of all the foods this third generation family diner has served since opening in 1948, nothing tops the recognition they’ve received for their traditional crab cakes. The recipe is simple but hearty, and Guy praised the Sip & Bite’s generous portion sizes. For a spin on the classic crab cake meal, order the combo that comes with co-owner Sofie Vasiliades spanakopita—Guy fell head over heels for its cheesy flavor!
Thames Street Oyster House
Located in a quaint Fell’s Point row home, Thames Street Oyster House wins when it comes to presentation. The nine-ounce crab cake is served in a cast-iron skillet with a non-traditional remoulade sauce and seasonal vegetables. Stop by (but not without a reservation – it fills up fast), after exploring the neighborhood that Frederick Douglass and Billie Holiday once called home.
The Avenue Kitchen & Bar
Enjoy your crab cake in sandwich form from The Avenue Kitchen & Bar, named for its location on Hampden’s main shopping corridor. Served with lettuce, tomato, a tartar remoulade and fries, this hearty sandwich hits the spot after a day spent exploring the neighborhood’s boutiques, art galleries and breweries. During weekend brunch, wash your meal down with specialty priced crushes, mimosas, margaritas and Bloody Marys.
The Local Oyster
What started as a traveling oyster bar that popped up all over Baltimore is now a multi-location seafood business; The Local Oyster has a stall in Mount Vernon Marketplace, a busy food hall near The Walters Art Museum, and a standalone restaurant in Locust Point. There, you can enjoy a cold beer or oysters on the half shell, such as the house oyster known as the Skinny Dipper, plus a savory crab cake sandwich served with Utz potato chips. Don’t miss the crushes, a quintessential Baltimore drink made from vodka, crushed ice and fresh-squeezed orange, lime, grapefruit or lemon juice depending on your mood.