KeithA

Dining in Ocean City

67 posts in this topic

Well, I'm off to Ocean City for our annual summer vacation and I was looking forward to all of those good, but bad for you things I love to sample at the beach. I thought a thread sharing our OC beach favs would be fun as most of the food is shlock, but there are lots of junk food and hidden gems.

Here are my favs:

Junk Food
Dumser's Dairyland - great hot fudge sundaes (multiple locations)
Fisher's Popcorn - caramel corn (multiple locations)
Candy Kitchen - good fudge (the Starbucks of OC, one on every corner almost)
Thrasher's - amazing fries (Boardwalk)

Restaurants
Captain's Table - great seafood (downtown near Boardwalk)
Jimmy's Kitchen - breakfast (north, Fenwick Island)
The Hobbit - great lump crabcakes (north in the 90s)
Higgins - crab feasts (133rd and a downtown location)

Not sure why I've never been before, but I'm looking forward to trying the Fractured Prune's made to order donuts (128th and farther downtown too).

What are your favorites?

---

Tubby's (Stitch)

The Parlour (formerly Fudge Factory) (hm212)

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Captain's Table - great seafood (downtown near Boardwalk)

The Hobbit - great lump crabcakes (north in the 90s)

Sadly, I found out Captain's Table and the Hobbit closed down. The Fractured Prune donuts were dense and delightful though.

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Well, summer approaches and it looks like I'll be back at OC, not once but twice this season for family vacations. Since I'll be there so much definitely looking to break out of the usual places. Anyone have any good recommendations (low-end gems to higher end delights), even will to travel a bit up the coast or in-land, say within 30 minute drive?

---

Dining in Somerset County (qwertyy)

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I'm in love with the Dumser's Dairyland at 124rd St (all are good, but this is the closest to where I stay at the beach)!!! First, the ice cream is freaking great - really fruity strawberry, great peanut butter fudge, and great oreo crush. It was so good I went a few times in the course of the week. As always the hot fudge was wonderful too. The best part was my last trip where I sat at the "bar" and watched the "open kitchen" where all of the ice cream treats and old fashioned soda fountain drinks are made. While I don't usually eat non-dessert food there, recently the family has wanted a meal and then ice cream - odd I know - why waste calories on a meal when you could eat a bigger sundaes. But I digress, the fried chicken is pretty good and the onion rings rock (fries aren't anything special), and the fish and chips was ehh. So if you find yourself in OC, head to a Dumser's they are divine.

Also got back to the fractured prune one early morning, these donuts really are best eaten right away when hot. You can't beat the neon green peppermint patty. You know they are good when people are lined up out the door on a Sunday morning at 8:30am when they are on vacation.

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The best restaurant in Ocean City is Marlin Moon in the Francis Scott Key Hotel. It was nominated for a Maryland restaurant award recently. Most locals rate it heads and shoulders above all others but I am guessing that most tourists-including myself-would probably not return to it. It's a nondescript hotel dining room set back from 50 in West Ocean City with no view of water. A superb veal chop with interesting tuna nachos yet I'd return to Fager's Island or the Sunset Grille before Marlin Moon. It IS good but not good enough to sacrifice at least a partial view on vacation. Living here year round the view matters much less.

We stopped at the Narrows, Ocean Odyssey (in Cambridge) and Marlin Moon in an 18 hour period a week ago with full meals at each. Kent Island's the Narrows was absolutely outstanding for crab cakes and cream of crab soup preferred by both of us over the others. Ocean Odyssey was interesting with decent (at best) cream of crab soup, very good Maryland red crab soup (Harrison's on Tilghman Island has the best red crab soup) and crab cakes that I would describe as what you would taste if your grandmother was a good cook. Still, we both agreed that the Narrows were superior. Marlin Moon's cream of crab soup was smoky and decent. Captain's Galley probably has the best crab cakes in Ocean City but we've not been impressed with much else.

Fisher's caramel corn was disappointing as was Dumser's yet the original Thrasher's on the lower end of the Boardwalk (ONLY this Thrasher's-NO other location) continues to challenge Central as the best french fries I've had east of the Mississippi. Ambience may factor into its taste...

Question: why do so many people who live in Virginia go to Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks rather than Ocean City or the Delaware beaches? I've lived on both sides of the Cabin John bridge and never understood the enormous difference that the Potomac River makes in one's decision of where to go. We drove from Reston to O. C. in about three hours while VA Beach is over four and Kill Devil Hills is five to six. (all assuming similar traffic) Probably only ten per cent of the license plates we saw in O. C. were from VA.

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The best restaurant in Ocean City is Marlin Moon in the Francis Scott Key Hotel. It was nominated for a Maryland restaurant award recently. Most locals rate it heads and shoulders above all others but I am guessing that most tourists-including myself-would probably not return to it. It's a nondescript hotel dining room set back from 50 in West Ocean City with no view of water. A superb veal chop with interesting tuna nachos yet I'd return to Fager's Island or the Sunset Grille before Marlin Moon. It IS good but not good enough to sacrifice at least a partial view on vacation. Living here year round the view matters much less.

We stopped at the Narrows, Ocean Odyssey (in Cambridge) and Marlin Moon in an 18 hour period a week ago with full meals at each. Kent Island's the Narrows was absolutely outstanding for crab cakes and cream of crab soup preferred by both of us over the others. Ocean Odyssey was interesting with decent (at best) cream of crab soup, very good Maryland red crab soup (Harrison's on Tilghman Island has the best red crab soup) and crab cakes that I would describe as what you would taste if your grandmother was a good cook. Still, we both agreed that the Narrows were superior. Marlin Moon's cream of crab soup was smoky and decent. Captain's Galley probably has the best crab cakes in Ocean City but we've not been impressed with much else.

Fisher's caramel corn was disappointing as was Dumser's yet the original Thrasher's on the lower end of the Boardwalk (ONLY this Thrasher's-NO other location) continues to challenge Central as the best french fries I've had east of the Mississippi. Ambience may factor into its taste...

Question: why do so many people who live in Virginia go to Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks rather than Ocean City or the Delaware beaches? I've lived on both sides of the Cabin John bridge and never understood the enormous difference that the Potomac River makes in one's decision of where to go. We drove from Reston to O. C. in about three hours while VA Beach is over four and Kill Devil Hills is five to six. (all assuming similar traffic) Probably only ten per cent of the license plates we saw in O. C. were from VA.

I've never been to Marlin Moon nor heard of it from my grandmother who lives in OC year round (and makes the best red crab soup in OC but sadly hasn't opened a shop yet ;-), but maybe we'll check it out next time I visit. Similar to your VA/MD divide on beaches, some folks in OC (including probably most tourists) don't like to cross the bridge to go to West OC for dinner when OC has so many options.

As for your comments on Fishers - I have to strongly disagree. Now of course this is a matter of taste, but I've never had better caramel corn with the same richness (yes that several pounds of butter they are adding to the copper kettles) and it is especially good when you get it hot/warm. Dumser's is well my personal favorite, so I won't go into that. But Thrashers come on - the location farther up the boardwalk (tiny little place without the insane line) is just as good as the one by the inlet. The fries are made exactly the same way. Definitely the best fries around (although last time they went alittle too heavy on the salt).

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I've been eating Fisher's caramel popcorn and Thrasher's for over 50 years. At its best the popcorn is probably the best I've had anywhere. But not on this trip. The french fries at the original, for whatever reason, I find to be more consistent than other locations.

Marlin Moon Grille

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I second that- I prefer to get the Thrasher's fries at the original long lined location too- maybe it's the oil, I don't know.

They were really good again this year.

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I had 2 excellent dinners at the Captain's Table last weekend. Its in a beachfront Marriott hotel on 15th street and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don't think there's any real connection to the old Captain's Table other than the name. Both nights I had the $28 salmon dinner with sauteed spinach. I chose the baked sweet potato and green beans as my sides. The portions were good and everything was cooked perfectly. They also have very good fresh bread. I tried the fried oyster appetizer which wasn't great mainly because of the oysters being so small. We were immediately seated both nights with no reservations. However, if you get there and have to wait there are televisions and computers there in the lobby to kill some time, or you could sit on the boardwalk. I'm adding this place to my list of OC favorites along with Fish Tales and the Shark on the Harbor.

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The doughnuts at Minit Market on 32nd street/Coastal Hwy are excellent. They're around $.90 each and $8/dozen. I liked them so much I bought a dozen but there not very good the second day. Good variety and worth a try if you're looking for an alternative to Fractured Prune.

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After a long day of sloth and margaritas on the beach we had worked up an appetite, but didn't feel like hopping in the car or walking too far. Plus we had a bottle of wine and a balcony overlooking the ocean. we decided on take out and enjoy a chill evening.

Stumbled across OC Kabob & Grill inside the Gold Coast Mall (approx. 115th Street). Mostly a take out joint with a couple tables. This place isn't going to blow your kabob mind but a solid effort, esp. for a place inside a kitschy shopping mall.

Stuffed grape leaves - a fairly standard rendition.
Falafel Salad - Good falafel, ok humus (comparable to Tribe brand)
Kafta Kabob - a nice menu feature is ordering kabob by the skewer and the kafta kabob at $4.50 is quite good.
Fatoush salad - overall decent and fresh, although serving unripe tomatoes at the peak of tomato season is kinda criminal.
Baklava - good, not overally sweet as it can be.

If you are sick of deep fried beach fare, OC Kabob Grill is a good place to go.

 

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Looks like I'm the only person who has eaten in Ocean City in over a year!

Harrison's Harbor Watch looks and feels like a restaurant that has been around for 20+ years. In fact I'm surprised it's that young!

Dark, with lots of wood and nautical items on the walls, Harrison's could probably use a good makeover...but that would ruin the place. It's a restaurant that has apple sauce as a side dish. How can you not like that?

An appetizer of mussels fra diavolo was a surprising hit. The mussels were supermarket quality at best...the spicy marinara was a revelation, take the mussel shells bring us more bread please.

Fried oysters were nothing special.

Crab cakes were rich and creamy...and made a great filling for omelets the next morning.

The fish selection was decimated after what must have been a busy Columbus Day weekend, but the broiled, (lightly) blackened tilapia was a perfectly cooked piece of fish.

The sides on the other hand were cooked to death...it's just that kind of restaurant...should have gone with the apple sauce.

Harrison's is a throwback...just go with it...and don't forget to play some skee ball afterwards,

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Lady Kibbee and I will be staying and dining in OC on a Friday and Saturday night in early November. Lots of suggestions on this thread, but we're looking for two destinations we'll talk about for months. I've seen Marlin Moon, Fager's Island, Sunset Grille and a few others here, and on other sites I've noticed Captain's Gallery II, Catch 54, Anthony's (roast beef sandwich), Liquid Assets (martinis), OC Wasabi (sushi) and The Hobbit....can't hit them all, but we want to zero in on the best two or three....

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Lady Kibbee and I will be staying and dining in OC on a Friday and Saturday night in early November. Lots of suggestions on this thread, but we're looking for two destinations we'll talk about for months. I've seen Marlin Moon, Fager's Island, Sunset Grille and a few others here, and on other sites I've noticed Captain's Gallery II, Catch 54, Anthony's (roast beef sandwich), Liquid Assets (martinis), OC Wasabi (sushi) and The Hobbit....can't hit them all, but we want to zero in on the best two or three....

Sunset Grill was AWFUL tonight. Awful!!! At 5:15 it was packed with an additional 15 or more people waiting to be seated. The bar was stacked at least two deep while outside a line of cars waited to find parking.

$11.95 for their three course Octoberfest with waittresses and waiters dressed in German attire. At age 64 we were among the youngest in the dining room. Almost every table was eating German in this, promoted in a nearby billboard as "Maryland's best seafood restaurant."

There was no cream of crab soup, nor red crab soup-not even New England or red clam chowder. No fish chowder nor a single bowl of anything with fish. Nor was there grilled fish for that matter.

Monday night was "Italian" for $10.95, this evening German for $11.95. No idea what they feature on Tuesday or Thursday. Chow mein?

We've been to the Sunset Grill three times in the past and liked it every time. But not this time. They seem to have found a way to make money offseason but it certainly isn't the image that they once had.

We won't return. I suppose that for some a dollar is a dollar regardless of what you serve.

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Lady Kibbee and I enjoyed our first day in OC, mostly poking around the Rehobeth outlets. There was a sub at local chain Three Brothers at 114th St. near OC Kabob (which was closed for the season) that wasn't too bad, but we stopped there only because Anthony's on 33rd was closed for the season and Anthony's on Philadelphia is only open until 2pm -- will definitely hit that one today for lunch.

We had dinner at OC Wasabi, because we were looking for sushi and it's a stone's throw from our hotel. It was pretty good sushi, although I note that sushi options here are limited. OC Wasabi was fairly well patronized on a Friday evening, and we ordered a lot of rolls and a lot of nigiri. I asked if they had yellowtail collar and they didn't, so don't expect to stray too far from the basics here, but the sushi is very fresh and about as good as one of our good suburban sushi places in the metropolitan area. Among the rolls, I recommend the Baked Phatty Jay, which is crabstick, asparagus and white tuna, topped with what appear to be bonita shavings, and nicely baked with a spicy sauce drizzled on top. And the tuna, salmon and rockfish nigiri were absolutely perfect in appearance, taste and texture.

I accompanied the meal with a 375ml bottle of TyKu sake, and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

On the second day we headed to Anthony's on for breakfast. A local was on his way out to the parking lot, caught my eye, and remarked about the ham and eggs. So, I had the ham and eggs with potatoes for breakfast, and it was very good. In fact, it was so good that I will have it again tomorrow morning as my last OC meal before heading home. I also grabbed a roast beef sandwich to carry out for a snack as we walked the Boardwalk. Wow, that was quite a sandwich. I can't compare it to anything in the DC area, and it was easily the best roast beef sandwich I have had in a long time. It was loaded with beef sliced from the roast, and tasted like beef. And as hearty and meaty as the sandwich was, I can only imagine the sub!

Tonight we dined at Fager's Island. On the one hand, the food was good and possibly worthy of a return. The in-house smoked salmon as an appetizer was really nice, as was the crab cake -- mostly lump blue crab and quite nice. But the service was overbearing and intrusive, with an upsell beginning with the wine order and continuing through the dessert options, along with at least five check-ins during conversations or bites. And considering that Lady Kibbee and I ordered separate smoked salmon appetizers and split a house salad and split a crab cake entree, along with four glasses of wine, the bill was just north of $100....however, on nearby tables I observed what appeared to be one of the juciest and perfectly cooked prime ribs I have ever seen, and I can't help think that a return visit with crab cake and prime rib, minus the overbearing server, would be delectable.

Tomorrow will be our departure, but Anthony's is on the agenda for a ham and egg breakfast as well as a cooler full of roast beef sandwiches for dinner later on in Springfield. And thanks to this community in general and Joe H in particular for some welcomed advice and suggestions!

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I'll be braving the crowds at OC this weekend. Any recomendations for Crabs? Outdoor seating, dump em on the table and dig in type places preferred. We hit up the Bahama Mama's on the south end a few years back and it was pretty good, but I wanted to see if any of you experts had any other suggestions.

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Its not in Don's MD dining guide, so I figured I'd ask about restaurants in Ocean City. Been coming here every summer for more than 5 years now, but wondering if there are any hidden treasures to try for an upcoming date night with my wife.

We stay on the Ocean side around 125th street, but anywhere in the area is fair game. As of now, the plan is Liquid Assets, but open to all suggestions for places that might be better. Thanks in advance.

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Captain's Table is the best seafood restaurant in Ocean City. It's on the third floor of the Courtyard Marriott at 15th and Boardwalk. I am NOT talking about Captain's Galley in West Ocean City. Crab guacamole is a GREAT dish; also the best red crab soup I have ever had. I thought enough of the last to return the next morning (two weeks ago) and buy two quarts of it, stopping at a Seven Eleven to buy a cooler and ice.

More than a half dozen other first and second courses were excellent to outstanding.

I write this as someone who has eaten almost everywhere in Ocean City from the Sunset Grill to the old Marlin Moon I should also note that the family who owns the Captain's Table has had a restaurant in Ocean City since the late 19th Century. No, not an exaggeration: they have photographs and newspaper and magazine articles on one of their walls confirming this. The negative about Captain's Table is the inability to see the ocean from the room which essentially feels like the old Corduroy which for some will be a negative. The room also has a different ambience after the sun sets. Still, this is a GREAT Maryland seafood restaurant and worthy of all the publicity it can receive.

Joe, how is Fager's Island these days?

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Shouldn't this be in the Intrepid Traveler thread?

[Kinda, sorta. I thought about it, and still might. If Annapolis wasn't in the equation, it would be a no-brainer. Ocean City, Frederick, Fredericksburg, Hagerstown, Richmond, Harpers Ferry (why doesn't Harpers have an apostrophe?), St. Mary's City all produce similar logistical problems.]

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Well- Delaware Beaches is in the Intrepid Traveller section, and geographically- those places are closer than OC.

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Well- Delaware Beaches is in the Intrepid Traveller section, and geographically- those places are closer than OC.

[Yes, I've thought of this, too, and the issue is valid (although not a serious one since things can be moved at any time). Then again, you *are* Moderator here, so it's your call, the potential tragedy being that Dumser's Dairyland would need to be merged into an "Ocean City, MD" thread in Intrepid Traveler - I would hate to lose its individuality. Please don't take me too seriously.]

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I made a very off-season trip to Ocean City this weekend. The time I had for eating on my own was limited, and many places were still closed. My hopes to try Anthony's roast beef sandwich were dashed. :(

On the positive side, earlier today I picked up fries at Thrasher's on the Pier; they were hot and fresh and had just the right amount of salt. I didn't add vinegar and there certainly wasn't any ketchup to be found. Thumbs up.

On Saturday I visited Dumser's on 123rd, and tried the peanut butter and fudge and butter pecan. I had them without toppings and really enjoyed them both. This morning on the way out of town I stopped in at the location on 49th for a quart of butter pecan to take home. In addition, as mentioned by KeithA in an August 2008 post above, the location at 123rd makes all of its sodas the old-fashioned way, using syrups and seltzer water and made when ordered. Since I couldn't recall ever having consumed my usual Diet Coke in that form, I had to give it a try (free refills!). I didn't think it was as sweet as what I usually drink, but the fact I had been eating ice cream may have been a factor. But it was neat to watch.

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