KeithA

Dining in Ocean City

67 posts in this topic

I've been to OC a lot again this summer. Mostly the same places with similar experiences (see my earlier posts in this thread) - Dumser's Dairyland, OC Kabob, Best Donuts on the Beach, the Hobbit, Matt's Fish Camp, Thrashers' Fries, Fisher's Popcorn, Candy Kitchen.  A few updates:

1. Matt's fish camp in Bethany is as popular as ever so DO NOT try to go there with a party larger than 4 unless you want to wait or go at an off time. Food and drinks still rather good. Although I still think it is a shame that their "market" fish shows how almost all of the fish is from farm away and not local. It is the same at most of the restaurants in OC. Wish I could find more decent restaurants that serve fish from the MD.

2. Bluefish - sushi and Pan-Asian at 94th street. Had some pretty good sushi there again after a few year hiatus. Worth checking out for something different.

3. Ropewalk (the one several blocks below 100 st) - went late night on a weeknight for drinks and snacks. The place has huge decks and sand seating with a nice view of the bay. Some ok live music acts (although they shut the doors so you can only hear them inside at the bar which is a shame if you want to sit out on a deck). Drinks were nothing special - just low alcohol big sizes like crushes, etc that you find at a lot of the beach bars.  Also have a big playground area in front that serves as a waiting area for anxious kids. We only had fries (which were ok) and a slice of awful, still slightly frozen cheesecake. I'd recommend going for music and a beer or non-mixed drink late or come for the kids to play - but avoid most of the menu.

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Yet another summer with some OC trips for me this year. I tried Hooked for the first time and have to agree with the consensus that it is the best restaurant I've been to in Ocean City. I got to sample a few items on their menu including the PEI mussels, crab dip, jerk wings, crab cakes, shrimp taco, fish & chips. Mussels and fish & chips were standouts for me. Everything was very good. I probably wouldn't order the crab cake again, not because it was bad, but because I've had it done better elsewhere around OC. Also, fresh squeezed OJ available at Hooked.. always a way to win me over.

Other than Hooked, I mostly went with my old standbys.. I've enjoyed Rippon's, Anthony's, Ponzetti's, and Lombardi's for years. I do enjoy the occasional sub from Primo Hoagies. Touch of Italy has opened in Ocean City as well. I haven't yet been to that location but their locations throughout the Delaware beaches have served as a good option for subs to grab and take out on the beach

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I totally forgot that we got 2 great sandwiches from Anthony's, which was right next to the Hilton we stayed at. I was surprised that it was listed as a top "restaurant" on trip advisor (which s how i learned about it), considering it's a deli counter/sub shop in a liquor store. True enough, i had one of the better Italian hoagies and chicken salad sandwiches I can recall (I split them...I'm not a total pig, ok). Good bread, good semi hot and sweet peppers, well stuffed with meat. A bit pricey in the $15 range, but for an excellent sandwich (or two) it's worth it.

Agreed. Anthony's is an Ocean City staple. The sandwiches are on the pricier side, but they are quite large. Another great stop before the beach if you're staying down that way.

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Five trips to Ocean City since New Year's Even of 2014.  Hooked is no longer O. C.'s best restaurant.  That honor now goes to Sello's Italian Oven on Golf Course Rd in West Ocean City which opened last summer.  We went Wednesday and Thursday night of this week and both nights, at 6:00PM, they had literally every one of their 80 or so seats filled.  Superb wood burning oven pizza equal to anywhere in the D. C. area, outstanding cream of crab (which competes with the Narrows) rockfish and salmon entrees that would do justice to any D. C. Italian-this is a shockingly good Italian place that you'll have to cross back over the bridge for and wait in line with almost exclusively locals who enthusiastically mob the dining room and adjacent bar.

It is worth the wait.

For perspective on both nights that we went in early March:  Shark on the Harbor only had a handful at the bar, Captain's Table had fifteen or so cars in the parking lot.  Back in O. C. Liquid Assets had 8 or 10 at the bar on Thursday night while Hooked had a half dozen cars parking in front.

Sello's was all locals and full.

Italian in Ocean City may sound like a contradiction but the 55 year old chef owner from Sicily who has lived in O. C. for over 30 years truly delivers what would be one of Washington's best Italian experiences-in Ocean City.

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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?

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

It's funny that you wrote this second post (nearly ten years ago), because I was about to reply to your first post and say that every single restaurant you listed is *still open*! (If you click on the hyperlinks, you'll see that they all remain alive-and-well, even ten years later in 2016.)

The most likely thing is that the restaurants had "names" and were bought by some fans of Ocean City who wanted to revive them - a little research would confirm or deny that hypothesis easily enough. Still, it's remarkable that every single restaurant you listed in 2006 - in the first two posts of this thread - is still going strong, regardless of ownership.

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Actually doesn't surprise me that all are still open - these are some of the places with the most loyal customer bases and are run by families. Not sure why I never updated my second 2006 post - but both of those two are still open and were merely undergoing renovations to their buildings in 2006. I've been to the Hobbit several times in the last few years and it is still very good.

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It's funny that you wrote this second post (nearly ten years ago), because I was about to reply to your first post and say that every single restaurant you listed is *still open*! (If you click on the hyperlinks, you'll see that they all remain alive-and-well, even ten years later in 2016.)

The most likely thing is that the restaurants had "names" and were bought by some fans of Ocean City who wanted to revive them - a little research would confirm or deny that hypothesis easily enough. Still, it's remarkable that every single restaurant you listed in 2006 - in the first two posts of this thread - is still going strong, regardless of ownership

Actually doesn't surprise me that all are still open - these are some of the places with the most loyal customer bases and are run by families. Not sure why I never updated my second 2006 post - but both of those two are still open and were merely undergoing renovations to their buildings in 2006. I've been to the Hobbit several times in the last few years and it is still very good.

On a (semi-)related note, there's a Facebook page about Tubby's which is called "Bring Tubby's Back to Ocean City, MD" - unfortunately, it hasn't been updated in over three years:

post-2-0-27137200-1457906605_thumb.png

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going to Ocean City next week, anyone have any recommendations besides the usual (aware of Hooked but have never been, and have often dined at Shark on the Harbor)?

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On 7/5/2016 at 11:59 AM, dpamlin said:

going to Ocean City next week, anyone have any recommendations besides the usual (aware of Hooked but have never been, and have often dined at Shark on the Harbor)?

Anyone?

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On 7/9/2016 at 1:12 PM, DonRocks said:

Anyone?

Yeah, I was there a few weeks ago.  Drive 20 minutes north and go to Henlopen City Oyster House!  (Be ready for a wait, though, unless you get there at 2:45, just before they open for "happy hour.")

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Thanks for the sharing, everyone!  I'm in Ocean City this week and my in-laws will be joining me on Saturday.  They asked my wife and I to pick a restaraunt for dinner, and I suspect Sello's will fit the ticket beautifully.  Unfortunately, the rest of the party are pretty timid diners, though I still hold out hope for my 6yo daughter.  My wife needs alternatives to seafood, and my father-in-law would happily live on spaghetti and red sauce.

In other news, as you drive north to Henlopen, Marty L., stop at the Delaware line and try a fish or shrimp taco from Grab & Go Taco.  I know it has been panned elsewhere in this thread, but I have found excuses to stop there every time I have been in OC the past couple of years.  The tacos i have had there have easily been the best ones I have had on this coast.

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We had dinner this week at Horizons in the Clarion hotel. Don't go there for the food but the wine list.which has some great deals, Richard the manager decanted the burg I ordered. 

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Any recs for a crab shack when driving between DC and OC? We'd like to stop on our way out there, and are total noobs when it comes to eating steamed crabs.

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To report, I presented the in-laws with options including Jake's, Sello's, and Waterman's.  They failed to surprise me and picked Waterman's.  The fare was neither bad nor great.  The hush puppies, which i could have easily enjoyed more of, were offset by the broiled flounder, which was rather dried out.  My mother-in-law's piece of flounder did look like it had fared better.  The crabcake was helped by the tarter sauce I requested, which was better than your standard mayo+relish.  Broiled shrimp matched the flounder.  Not as dry perhaps, but also somewhat less than remarkable.

There was a time when I thought Waterman's was the best that I could find in OC.  It is nice to believe that time has past!

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Here are my notes from our most recent trip:

Harborside

Fun atmosphere, on the bay, great happy hour specials. Good wings, slight kick, big order of calimari, with big rings, mussels served in a garlic wine sauce that was very tasty, full pound. Side salads are skip able. Seafood pasta bursting with scallops, shrimp, crab, and mussels. A cheesy, tomato, cream sauce that wasn't overly cheesy but was heavy. Huge portions all around. 

Barn 34

Appetizers were excellent. Lobster sliders is basically a full roll and for only $10. Mussels with sausage and peppers in a tomato sauce were very good, came with mini loaf for sipping, grilled Caesar was one large stalk, halved, grilled and dressed with croutons, one of the better versions of this I had. Unfortunately we were in the middle of our apps when mains came. They were good but not great. Tuna in soba noodles that were barely dressed wth the promised soy sauce. Steak with bernaise  that had a strange hint of lemon and was cool if not cold. The steak was cooked nicely but not very flavorful. Large portions. Food could have been warmer. 

Hooked

Got to Hooked at 5:45 on Sat night and there was already a 15 minute wait. Crab soup, very rich, sherry taste, large lumps of crab meat, very tasty. Kale Caesar, large portion, well dressed. Calimari, awesome spicy sauce. Toll house rolls bread service. French fries with truffle and bacon, as good as it sounds. Tuna, prepared with skill in a really light soy sauce. Demerits? My son pulled the longest hair out of his mouth at one point. 

Mother's Cantina

Somehow there was a 1:15 minute wait at 5:45 on a Monday evening. This despite the restaurant having at least 3 empty tables (which is a lot given how small this restaurant is). That was annoying, but we sucked it up and waited anyway. Actually, it was their happy hour that caused the delay. The entire place was packed and i don’t think they could handle it. Anyway, the food here is awesome. I don’t have much to add to what I said the last time. I can’t recall if i mentioned the cheesy sauce that’s in their chimichanga, but it is really good.

Trattoria Lombardi’s (Pizza)

Tossed salad was pretty sparse, lettuce, tomato, a couple olives. House made dressing was good. No free refills, except on iced tea, which I thought was pretty odd. Big 16 inch pizza is standard. Very good pie. 

Lobster Shanty (Fenwick Isle)

Skip the salads. Shanty fries were huge helping of French fries topped with crab meat and smothered in cheddar cheese. They were both delicious and disgusting. Crab and Lobster Thermidor was an ample portion, tasty, with large bites of lobster claw and crab. Cheesy, sherry, mushrooms (actually, lots of mushrooms so be forewarned). Side of mashed potatoes were really good. Lobster tail with crab imperial was a 6oz tail with a heaping portion of imperial. Big and thick hotdog for the boy. Kids meal came with fries and applesauce and a drink. House made rolls were excellent. My wife thought the place sucked, whereas I’m an easy mark, so ymmv.

---

Seacrets (pras)

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Though we were generally operating in the Fish Tales-type space, Rosenfeld's Jewish Deli was easily the best meal had this week.  Two eggs any style (5.95) were perfectly over-easy with a chewy, tangy, dense bagel and potato latkes that contrasted a crisp exterior with fluffy interior.  Sit outside in the morning and watch the Coastal Highway traffic slowly come to life with sea breezes to accompany--this may be the most comfortable and sated you will be all day.  I went back two mornings later, wanting to leave the City on a high note, had a two eggs bagel sandwich (5.95 + 1.00 for Swiss cheese), which performed as well. Coffee came from a very industrial-looking burner but was of pleasantly moderate strength and temperature. The person behind the counter was warm, cared about the business she was getting, and had none of the indifference seen at nearly every other establishment visited. 

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We just returned from our annual January O. C. visit (New Year's Eve four out of the last six years).  Sello's in West Ocean City is now O. C.'s best Italian restaurant-it would do justice to the best in Little Italy and I am serious in saying this.  It's also enormously popular with locals and is full on most weeknights-even in the middle of January.  Liquid Assets and Hooked continue with their similar popularity and excellence.  We also included the Henlopen Oyster House in Rehoboth which I believe is so good that we build our trip around when it is open.

Both Ocean City and Rehoboth are interesting in early January:  there are a handful of restaurants which have loyal, long standing followings.  Coincidentally, they are among the best of all whether open seasonally or year round.

I should also mention the Narrows on Kent Island which we always stop at on our way home.  I believe it continues as Maryland's best overall seafood restaurant.  In fact it is interesting to be able to eat at Black Salt, Henlopen and the Narrows several days apart.  The Narrows sits on an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay (Maryland's best cream of crab soup, best crab cakes) while Henlopen is in a factory like room with brick walls, a 20' pressed tin ceiling and Comcast's Blues channel piped in-great character especially in the evening.  Phenominal oyster stew along with fried oysters where there is art in the frying and homemade mayonnaise in the tartar sauce.  Black Salt now has a back room to challenge for the best seafood dining experience in the D. C. area.  Incredible New England clam chowder.  I believe that Jeff Black continues as D. C.'s Maestro for seafood.

Having said all of this I understand that Rappahannock River Oyster Company has an all season, outside oyster and seafood bar which may challenge anything in America.  I am told it is not only legendary but worth sitting in chairs, at tables with portable heaters and the more snow falls around you the better.  The name is Merrior and it is in Topping, VA.  For several friends of ours they insist it has achieved legend status.

We will find out soon.

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