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Dining in Ocean City


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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:

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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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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)
Rosenfeld's Jewish Deli (yeah)

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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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New favorite OC pizza place is Mioene's Pizza. Family run with 2 OC locations. I've only ever been to 67th street location (last year and a few days ago). http://mionesoc.com/ No delivery but very good pizza by the slice or whole pie. Also Stromboli, stuffed pizza and for the carb-lovers pizza stuffed with pasta. We like the garlicy Tomato Basil - like a margherita. This is NY style thin crust mostly but the stuffed pizzas are halfway to deep dish. I recently had the veggie stuffed pizza which was rather cheesy but good. Warning that when we went and ordered a calzone and whole pie there was a 30-40 minute wait at dinner time because they were slammed with orders on a rainy day. So we went for slices that were ready within 10 minutes. 

Also, went back to OC Kabob  in Gold Coast Mall and it was still good - tender chicken kabobs. This is our go to lunch place and staffed by very friendly servers (I'm a regular though - they know me by name after going multiple times each summer for close to a decade). 

Also managed to find time to eat Fisher's Popcorn, Candy Kitchen chocolate fudge, and Dumser's dairyland.  All three continue to be great. I'd even rank Fisher as the best caramel corn and Dumser's as the best ice cream against anybody.  For other suggestions, check my older posts - Blue Fish and Matt's Fish camp (see above 9/2015).  I'll try to provide some new reviews if I try anything else on what will likely be several more trips this summer.

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I just booked a trip to Ocean City for the weekend after Labor Day with my husband and 3-year-old daughter. I grew up going to the beach almost every summer weekend in Rhode Island, but the Ocean City scene is quite foreign to me. The beaches in Rhode Island have no boardwalks, no hotels, and very few restaurants. I think I prefer that, but now that I've lived in this area for almost 20 years and I have a 3-year-old who loves the beach, I figure I better get on board with the local beach scene. (I've been to Ocean City but just briefly almost 15 years ago, so I may as well have never been for planning purposes. All I really remember is throngs of people on the boardwalk and Confederate flags -- shudder.) I think Rehoboth or Bethany may be more my speed, but accommodations worked out best for us in Ocean City this time, and my husband grew up going here, so he's kind of drawn to it. Also, we're thankfully staying in North Ocean City (125th Street), so I'm hoping for relative quiet.

Anyway, on to the food. I picked up some kid-friendly recommendations from elsewhere in this thread (thanks to all!):

Anthony’s Liquors (deli)
Dumser’s Dairyland
Fisher’s Popcorn
Fractured Prune
Mione's Pizza
Mother’s Cantina
OC Kabob
Rosenfeld’s Jewish Delicatessen

I wondered if anyone had any updates now that the summer is half over. Also, some questions:

I've read a lot about long wait times at various places, and I thought we might avoid some of that since we're going after Labor Day and kids will be back in school, but now I'm beginning to second guess myself. Does anyone have a sense of how crowded I should expect restaurants and other activities to be?

Grotto Pizza is very close to our hotel, and I thought I'd read good things about it, but I'm not finding anything here. Is anyone familiar with it?

We might check out Funland in Rehoboth (the Jolly Roger will be closed). Does anyone have any kid-friendly recommendations there (where we can either make a reservation or not expect to wait a very long time for a table)? I saw the Delaware beaches thread, but nothing struck me as particularly kid friendly.

I saw some references to Berlin, Maryland, which has been on my to do list for awhile, and now that I know it's so close to Ocean City I'd like to check it out while we're there (we have 3 full days). Does anyone have any recommendations for things to do or places to eat there?

Thanks in advance!!

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We loved Shark on the Harbor last week.  Had never been to West OC but enjoyed the lively harbor atmosphere of the place; hard to describe but very different feel from the main island.  Server was very accomodating to two and four-yeah old's various food allergies, even serving us the peanut-infected amuse bouche away from the table so we could enjoy it without fear of exposing the kiddos. Bread service with pimento cheese, garden salad, crab cake, 2.75 can of Natty Boh, wins all around.

Rosenfeld's continued to cook perfect eggs over easy, serve real bagels, and graciously provided two band-aids when two-yeah-old wiped out and skinned her knees on the outdoor patio.  Loyal customer for life. 

If you end up at Fish Tales (as many do) the Red Snapper tacos were surprisingly delicious.  

Finally, just go to the boardwalk and let your 3 year old do some rides at Trimper's.  Indoor, out of the sun, great retro feel. 

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49 minutes ago, yeah said:

Trimper's

Thank you for all of this but especially for mentioning Trimper's, which I hadn't heard of before. I'll have to check and see if they'll still be open after Labor Day, as it's unclear from their website.

Actually, I hadn't heard of Fish Tales, either, and I'm glad to know about it. The 3-year-old is kind of a crap shoot in restaurants these days. She generally eats well, but her behavior ranges from manageable to unmanageable. We'll have to see how things are going to determine whether we attempt a Shark on the Harbor or we stick to a Fish Tales.

Thanks again!

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Hooked: Another excellent meal, and our "go-to" for OC trips. Strangely we hit the full spectrum of service. On the one hand, the server specifically went to the kitchen to ask them to prepare the "hotdog octopus" that is no longer on their kids menu, which they we able to do. On the other, our 2 mains (scallops and cioppino) came out while we were in the middle of eating our appetizers. The server said he thought the kitchen was more backed up than it was, but we'r not sure what would give him that indication as the restaurant was 1/3 empty. Oh well.

[Also, in general, is it reasonable for the diner to ask the server to take the mains back until the diner is ready? Is it further expected that these things would just be put under a hot lamp in the interim? I'm not sure our meal would have benefited from sitting under a lamp for 10 minutes, so maybe there are no winners here...]

Shark on the Harbor: We had an excellent meal here as well, contrary to our last visit a couple years ago. We started of with Mako Bites, which was a plate of 4 (maybe it was 5) large medallions of mako, dressed in a soy-based sauce. This was a meal itself! Contrast that to the squash blossoms filled with lobster, which while delicious, was a small 4-bite portion. The wife had a large piece of rockfish for dinner, and I got a filet mignon, both were perfectly cooked. The filet also came with lobster mashed potatoes that were amazing. Great service as well.

Mother's Cantina opened up a tortilla shop next door, which has added seating to the dinner rush, as long as you don't want a mixed drink (you can get beer and wine). 

Rosenfeld's Deli: This was our first time here, and we really liked it. My son particularly enjoyed their grilled cheese on challah. They do a pretty good, if slightly sweet, chopped liver, and my only quibble would be the meat to liver ratio on my double-decker sandwich (more chopped liver, please! I didn't ask for only a schmear!). Still, i see us putting this place into our regular rotation.

Also hit Anthony's for subs and Trattoria Lombardi’s for pizza, both of which are solid, but I don't have anything more to add to what I've already said above.

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So far this summer we have continued over multiple trips to mostly go with our usual spots - OC Kabob, Blue Fish (very good sushi), the Hobbit, Thrasher's, Kohr Brothers, Ropewalk (which has a playground for kids), Candy Kitchen, and many trips to Dumser's Dairyland (I managed to go to 5 different locations - yes I'm an addict and they are all good).  We also tried out a new place, Our Harvest, which is owned by the same people as Liquid Asset. It is in Fenwick and was happening.  Big bar/lounge area where you could get a full meal and very long waits for tables. Food was a mix of small plates and very large sharing plate. Overall it was ok - some dishes were better than others - definitely ask them how big a particular dish is - some small plates were a few bites whereas others were very filling. 

Regarding how long waits are at places - it depends on when you go and where you go. After Labor Day, it is much quieter and many places close too. Also, if you go for an earlier dinner around 5pm (which usually is ideal with little kids) then waits aren't usually to bad.  Most places do not take reservations but you can call in advance and see how long the current wait is. 

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I forgot in my recent post to mention 4 great places in nearby Berlin, MD.  We didn't go this summer, but we've had consistently very good food and cocktails for the past several years at The Blacksmith and really good baked goods (especially the cakes) at Baked Dessert Cafe.  The best new addition to the main street is Island Creamery, an excellent ice cream place. It is a new shop that originated in Chicoteague island. Really delicious, creamy ice cream in a very large number of flavors - traditional and unusual. This was so good, it may have given Dumser's a run for its money. I tried a few which were all good and eventually went with the pineapple upside down cake - scrumptious.  Scoops are large and even better in the waffle cones made in the back of the store.  The store is long and narrow with no place to sit, but it does have a great alley next to it with a bunch of tables/benches, etc.   Also, I went again to Gilbert's Provisions, a small gourmet shop through the alley behind the main street that opened in 2016. This place is worth searching out for good cheese, meats, and especially good fermented pickles and kimchis.  I really enjoyed my quart of korean spiced sour cukes.

We went to Berlin on the day of their annual peach festival. Unfortunately, we showed up at the end of the festival when all of the peach pies and cobblers were sold out. They did have peach ice cream from some local farm - but it wasn't great (I was much happier after the aforementioned trip to Island Creamery after the festival stop). That being said the festival is a cute affair with music, a bit of food, and crafts for sale. I wouldn't go out of my way to go back for it, but its worth stopping by if you happen to be over there - possibly visiting the 4 other places I mention above. 

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I went to Ocean City last weekend, arriving Thursday and leaving Monday. I didn't make it to as many recommended places as I'd hoped (my husband is usually happy to let me choose dining locations, but he had more opinions than usual this trip, many stemming from his childhood trips to OC -- thankfully I managed to steer him away from the Phillips seafood buffet!), but we still had some yummy grub.

Thanks to my husband we ended up at Bull on the Beach (94th Street) twice. The man loves red meat and remembered the place from an OC trip in the 80s. I'm no pit beef expert, but I enjoyed my pit beef sandwich on our first visit and my smoked brisket sandwich on our second visit. My husband loved the pit beef and got the same sandwich both times. However, on our second visit we had what were possibly the lamest nachos I've ever had in my life. The shredded cheese wasn't even melted, and the chips were out of a bag and very close to stale. We should have sent them back and asked them to put them under the broiler for a few minutes, but for whatever reason we didn't.

The culinary highlight was probably Mother's Cantina (thanks, @Dr. Delicious!), where we had the best nachos I've had in recent memory and possibly ever. A huge portion of fresh chips appropriately covered in toppings (nary an untopped chip!), nicely melted and in places delightfully crispy cheese, chorizo admirably lacking in grease, and flavorful chicken. Somehow I also managed to eat the burrito combo (consisting of a burrito and an enchilada plus rice and beans). I really appreciated the deep flavors and their herb garden hanging in pouches against their outdoor back wall. My husband enjoyed his margarita, and I enjoyed my not too sweet sangria -- I could have drank a whole pitcher.

Sunday night we hit Ropewalk, which was as described above -- light pours on the alcohol and mediocre food. But by that point we'd been eating in restaurants for 3 days with a 3-year-old, so we didn't really care because they had a playground! We were able to sit right by the playground on a beautiful night and supervise the child while we ate and drank and watched the sunset over the bay. I forgot the advice above to avoid the mixed drinks, which is very good advice -- our waitress couldn't facilitate our ordering of rum punches. I just wanted various fruit juices mixed with rum, but she made it seem like they wouldn't be able to do that. We didn't inquire directly with a bartender or push too hard with our waitress, but I thought it was odd, especially in a beach place.

Junk food delights included Dumser's Dairyland twice for ice cream (thanks, @KeithA!), Fractured Prune (delicious when hot, not so much when not -- the simpler the better), Fisher's Popcorn ($25 for an extra large bucket that was gone in days but whatever we were on mini-vacation and I love caramel corn (in this case mixed with white cheddar corn -- extra yum)).

Sadly we didn't make it to Berlin this trip, but I'm keeping it on the agenda for a future trip.

On the way home we tried to stop at the Scottish Highland Creamery in Oxford, MD, but it was already keeping off season hours so was closed on a Monday.

In case anyone is wondering about off-season crowds (we were there the weekend after Labor Day), the few crowds (mainly on the OC and Rehoboth boardwalks) were totally manageable. We had the beach (at 125th Street) almost to ourselves, and most restaurants were uncrowded. We'll likely go back the same weekend next year while we can take advantage of my daughter not being in public school for one more year.

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Huh, I just realized I forgot to note in my earlier post that we followed Joe's good advice and had an excellent meal at Sello's. We were there early (5:30ish), so had no wait issues. The wife had homemade pasta, in purse form, with a pesto cream sauce, and they were great. Huge portion as well, plenty fo lunch the next day. The boy had a cheese pizza, and had no complaints. I was watching the pizza guy, and he seemed to be very skillful, to an amateur. I had a pasta with sausage, also very good, and also plenty left over for a full lunch the next day. We will definitely go back. Sorry for the brain fart!

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I guess Berlin, MD material is part of the Ocean City thread.

On an overcast Saturday we swung by the Berlin, MD Oktoberfest.  Much of the historic downtown area was shut down to street traffic.  The main stage featured traditional German Oktoberfest music, a second tent had more contemporary bands.  The streets were lined with various vendors, food stalls, and a couple of beer tents.  Burley Oak Brewery had the main beer tent, their porter was decent.  Gilbert's Provisions was serving homemade brats with mustard, kraut, and/or kimchi.  Island Creamery was dishing up some tasty ice cream.  The Oktoberfest isn't large, but Berlin is definitely quaint and it was a fun way to spend a couple hours.

Street parking was a little tough, but we found plenty at the nearby Stephen Decatur Park, which has easy access to Rt. 113 and is a short 5 minute walk from the center of town.   

 

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4 minutes ago, MarkS said:

Dry85 and Red Red Wine, are two decent Annapolis establishments which opened up in Ocean City.  I'll never cross the bay bridge but the Annapolis locations are always good.

The barrel picks I’ve had from Dry85, if you’re a whisk(e)y fan have been some of the best I’ve experienced in this area.  The Four Roses and the Weller Antique were incredible.

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Speaking of restaurants that have locations in OC and elsewhere, has anyone been to Abbey Burger Bistro in either Baltimore or OC? The Baltimore location at least seems to be very popular, and the OC location is very close to where we stayed last year and where we're staying this year.

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2 hours ago, Rovers2000 said:

The barrel picks I’ve had from Dry85, if you’re a whisk(e)y fan have been some of the best I’ve experienced in this area.  The Four Roses and the Weller Antique were incredible.

Glad you enjoyed.  Both Dry85 and Red Red Wine are owned by same team though the libations differ. Annapolis should be in the summer rotation for everyone on this list and there is good dining choices there as well.

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On 7/12/2018 at 11:58 AM, dracisk said:

Speaking of restaurants that have locations in OC and elsewhere, has anyone been to Abbey Burger Bistro in either Baltimore or OC? The Baltimore location at least seems to be very popular, and the OC location is very close to where we stayed last year and where we're staying this year.

The Fed Hill location in Baltimore is very solid, mostly known for their build-your-own-burger menu and rotating exotic meats (wild boar, alligator, kangaroo, etc.). I'm usually happy with their regular beef patty on a pretzel bun. One quibble is they upcharge to substitute any side for the default chips, which is a bit galling when you paid $3.50 extra for a "house salad" consisting of nothing more than chopped up burger toppings.

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Closing out a week in OC.  Obviously, nothing is quite normal this year, but the city largely is running as usual, with more "help wanted" signs posted.  My observation is that if you are willing to be a little more patient than usual, you will be fine.

A few updates.  All meals were carry-out.

First, pizza from Albertino's (Mushroom Rave and Margarita) hit the spot.  In the running for the best meal of the week.  The Mushroom Rave was nicely garlicky.  The "Margarita" alternated cheese and sauce (yes, sauce) in a way that contrasted nicely.  We ordered it for my daughter and I was surprised how much I liked it.

Second, Grab and Go Taco.  I retract past accolades that I have given.  Thoroughly disappointing. Tacos were universally dry and sparsely filled.  In one, I counted no more than 6 scraps of cabbage.

Touch of Italy - apparently a favorite in my wife's family.  Not horrible, but not good imo either.  If you are expecting standard cheap Italian at elevated prices, you will not be disappointed.

Rosenfeld's - I went to the new location on the south end of South Bethany.  Fresh bagels were good, but my standard practice of freezing, then reheating and toasting fresh for each morning killed them.  Eat your bagels fresh!  I ordered a half-pound of pastrami to make sandwiches with through the week, and it was fantastic.  Also note, the location has the "Big Fish" market as well.  I neglected the seafood in deference to my wife, but we got some good steaks that I cooked for the family.  If they were prime as they claimed, it was not the most marbled prime that I have ever seen, but they were still tasty.  Rosenfeld's will get return business from us.

 

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Last time I was at Rosenfeld's (OC location), I was given par-boiled bagels with some instructions for finishing in the oven the next morning.   That was the way to go.  Rosenfeld's is just generally awesome, sorta can't go wrong there.  

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OC area as noted above was a bit different this summer with lots of restaurants and stores short staffed and so their hours were unusual but the town was packed and business was brisk especially around July 4th. Call any place before going to check hours - even the venerable Candy Kitchen was odd. Their website said certain locations were closed or only open certain days which was only partly true - some are closed for the whole season and others are open every day. Luckily all of our family favorites survived and some even came out stronger after the pandemic. We stay on the north end so all of these places are 90th St or higher up to Fenwick. Quick reviews of everything we had:

1. Candy Kitchen - still the same except as noted above. Go for chocolate nonpareils, strawberry laces, kitsch, and ok other chocolates and fudge.

2. Country Store in Fenwick - great fudge with a huge selection of flavors. You can't get too much. My favorites are amaretto, dark chocolate caramel sea salt, and peanut butter chocolate. They also have a huge old school candy selection, other chocolates, and lots of tchotckes. Closed earlier than in past.

3. Dumser's Dairyland - we only had carryout but did so a few times. The hot fudge topping, peanut butter fudge and coconut chip ice creams are still great. Missed going inside for the old fashioned soda fountain counter and chilled dishes.  Giant scoops still. However, my siblings revealed that they are heretics and don't think the ice cream is the best and really go for the ambience. They prefer newer addition Vanderwende's ice cream. They are wrong, but...

4. VanderWende's ice cream in the Fenwick Village - first time for me trying after not stopping at their farm shop along 404 in DE. Huge scoops of good ice cream - go for one scoop but ask for two flavors if you like variety. Mint Oreo was very good, Chocolate was so so, Peanut Butter Fudge Crunch was good, kids liked the cotton candy which wasn't horrible mixed with chocolate. MIL loves the cherry vanilla which is a fresher, less rich Cherry Garcia minus the chocolate. It was ok IMHO. I still like Dumser's better but if I have to continue the ice cream comparison in the future, I'm up for the challenge. The waffle cones are fresh made and smelled great, but I didn't taste.

5. OC Kabob - still great chicken kabob sandwiches on pita with tzatiki. Abdul the owner is still as friendly as ever and said they have been busy all through Covid.

6. Dollies - pretty good chocolates and taffy. Still one better than Candy Kitchen in that you can buy by the piece without a 1/4 Lb minimum.

7. Fisher's Popcorn (we got as usual from just south of Fenwick location) - still the real deal - best caramel corn on earth. You can now get it in some stores in the DC area and you should but, it is better fresh.

8. BlueFish - rather good American Chinese and sushi. They have more carryout now through their drive thru (it used to be a bank many years ago), long waits for tables in their renovated dining room and long wait for carryout so order or go early. They changed the menu slightly and so now have a few thai dishes too - drunken noodles were good.

9. Layton's donuts - still small, fresh donuts. Parking is a bit tougher because they added outside tables over part of their lot. Didn't get a chance to go to Best Donuts on Beach at the Exxon station around 136 or so for comparison.

10. Kohr Brothers frozen custard (one across street from fisher's in Fenwick) - still packed at night with long lines and some flavors like creamsicle swirl ran out. Supposedly (and likely) good as ever - but I can't say from personal experience. Somehow my wife and daughter managed to eat ice cream without me (I get no respect).

11. Uber Bagels - still large fluffy good bagels in lots of varieties. Totally packed with around 20 min wait for whole, unsliced bagels at 8am (they only open at 7) and they ran out of alot around 930am with 20 min wait for more plain. They do now have online ordering which was down one day and worked great the next. I highly recommend using it. You go to a second door and walk in and pick it right up if you online order.

12. Mionene Pizza at 67th st - still nice thin crust pizza by the slice (also some deep dish, strombolis, calzones available). Kids got very fresh and good chicken tender and good thick steak fries. As always here, they are slow (except for the pre-made slice reheating). They seem to be worst hit by short staffing as they are closed half the week and have lots of please be patient signs. 

13. Lighthouse Sound in Bishopville (north of the Isle of Wight - little island with the dreaded stoplight in middle of Rt 90). Only a very short drive from Northern OC. I hadn't gone here in years but a group of adults wanted a night out and we wanted a reservation. That left only a handful of places, but plenty here at this a bit out of the way spot on a golf course but with a beautiful view of the marshlands. Made me want to take up golf, which is saying a lot. We had a great time - especially for first dine-in experience in forever. It is pricey like everything else in the area but slightly more elegant. We started with the burrata, sundried tomato salad special and house salads - fresh, good, nothing special but nice. Then, a complimentary mango sorbet palate cleanser. Main course was the rockfish with beurre blanc sauce, rice and asparagus special - very tasty and fresh. Desserts was a really nice not too heavy strawberry smith island cake slice. Everyone really enjoyed the food and service. Not your typical beach spot, but nice for a change of pace.

We never made it to the boardwalk so I can't report on Thrashers, but I imagine the fries are still hot and salty.

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27 minutes ago, KeithA said:

11. Uber Bagels - still large fluffy good bagels in lots of varieties. Totally packed with around 20 min wait for whole, unsliced bagels at 8am (they only open at 7) and they ran out of alot around 930am with 20 min wait for more plain. They do now have online ordering which was down one day and worked great the next. I highly recommend using it. You go to a second door and walk in and pick it right up if you online order.

We've stayed across the street from Uber Bagels at least twice, but we never managed to try them. We usually go in September, so it may have been an hours issue (this was pre-COVID). We usually get sucked in by the nearby Fractured Prune. Anyway, I'm glad for this review of Uber -- we'll have to check them out if we stay up that way again.

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2 hours ago, dracisk said:

We've stayed across the street from Uber Bagels at least twice, but we never managed to try them. We usually go in September, so it may have been an hours issue (this was pre-COVID). We usually get sucked in by the nearby Fractured Prune. Anyway, I'm glad for this review of Uber -- we'll have to check them out if we stay up that way again.

Uber has been consistently good for many years. A few years ago we tried the new local chain Shmagels Bagels - great name but lackluster bagels.

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We’re here now, and on our first night, one thing we’re finding is that many restaurants aren’t doing take out. Perhaps this was a Sat night quirk, but if not, it will make things rather difficult as we’re trying to avoid inside dining due to Covid/delta. I’d be curious to know if other recent visitors encountered the same issue.

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We had a pretty tough go at it the last week in Ocean City, food-wise. We required outdoor dining for Covid reasons, and restaurants were not really able to accommodate this like the year before when they were really focused on Covid prevention. For the places we did go, there were standout dishes, but no standout meals (Sunset Grille comes close, and I wish we went for dinner instead of lunch), and given the waits we had to endure, the prices, etc., we were pretty disappointed overall. Anyway, here's some brief thoughts:

Fisherman’s Inn Crab Deck

  • Hush puppies: huge portion of quarter sized fried corn bread balls served with packets of butter. Very good
  • Hot crab dip: serviced in a bread bowl and topped with cheese it’s a gooey and tasty treat
  • Side salad: good size, fresh lettuce, cruces tomato onion carrot, good blue cheese dressing
  • Seafood Platter: disappointed that it was an either or choice between broiled or fried. Kinda small. 3 minuscule scallops, 3 tiny shrimp, a mostly filler crab cake, but a nice piece of flounder. For the price I expected more
  • Great service and great setting

Hooked

  • I got a halibut special, and the fish was really dry

Coastal Salt

  • Seafood nachos, piled high with shrimp and crab, not skimping, delicious plate
  • Fried deviled eggs, 3 half eggs, deviled, with crab, deep fried and very tasty
  • Seafood cavatelli was in dire need of salt, but that salvaged a decent dish. 
  • Filet Mignon cooked perfectly and a big size (8oz?) for a reasonable price
  • Mains all came out lukewarm at best 
  • Apps were better than mains
  • Service was slow and our waiter had lots of tables 

Sunset Grille

  • Large peel and eat shrimp, steamed and served hot. Covered in old bay. Delicious. 
  • Cheddar biscuits, 4 Parker house style with large oats of butter served warm and tasty. 
  • Summer sangria was a large glass and fruity and yummy. 
  • Fish and chips, giant portion, 4 pieces perfectly battered and fried, excellent fries and slaw.
  • Baltimore club was giant sandwich with crab cake shrimp and various toppings, just enormous and really good. 

The Hobbit

  • Caesar salad served with mostly brown lettuce. Sent it back
  • Veal in a madeira sauce that was tasty
  • The sides weren't even an after thought, they were no thought! Bad mashed potatoes; cold green beans
  • We had an incredible meal here last year and this one kinda sucked.
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