Are you ready to dive into a sea of deliciousness? In an earlier article, I explored some of the most tantalizing non-blue crab seafood dishes served by Baltimore’s top chefs. But let’s be real, that was just an appetizer. We’re here for the main course! From the shores of the Chesapeake Bay to the depths of the Atlantic, I’ve cast the nets far and wide to bring you the most scrumptious seafood creations that Baltimore has to offer.
734 S. Broadway
Even if you haven’t been to Bertha’s, you’ve certainly seen the “Eat Bertha’s Mussels” bumper stickers on cars driving around town. A beacon in Fells Point, Bertha’s has been around since 1972 and was set to hit the auction block earlier this year. The good news? Bertha’s is sticking around and you still have plenty of time to enjoy their mussels and live music, which takes place Thursday through Sunday.
3600 Clipper Mill Road
“Basque” in the glory of La Cuchara, a restaurant inspired by the food and culture of northern Spain and southern France. Upon entering, your olfactory senses are struck with the smells of your meal being cooked over a large wood-burning grill. The menu offers seafood delicacies from conservas (Spanish tinned seafoods) to cuttlefish, but some of my favorite bites are the crispy oysters served with blistered shishito peppers, charred lemon, and pimentón aioli.
The Black Olive
814 S. Bond St.
Another gem in Fells Point, The Black Olive has served Baltimore residents for more than 25 years with a familial feel and the freshest flavors. I was immediately drawn to the signature Black Olive Lobster Pasta, fresh pasta tossed in a white wine, tomato and tarragon cream sauce and topped with a 10-ounce Maine lobster tail. But another dish that caught my eye (and taste buds) was the local wild rockfish, which can be fileted tableside upon request.
Alma Cocina Latina
1701 N. Charles St.
You can actually taste the care that goes into each of the dishes at Station North’s Alma Cocina Latina, and the ceviche is no exception. While it’s almost too pretty to eat, don’t hesitate to dive right in and devour this appetizer made with wild-caught red snapper, ají amarillo, squid leche de tigre, coconut milk, sweet potato purée, lime zest, red and green onion, and plantain crumble. If you want to get in on the Venezuelan vibes, make your reservations well in advance because tables fill up quickly, especially on the weekend.
Mama’s on the Half Shell
2901 O’Donnell St.
The obvious order at Mama’s On The Half Shell is oysters, which come raw, fried, grilled and in Rockefeller form, to name just a few options. But when I’m not in a bivalve state of mind, my go-to is the Lobster Benny, an English muffin piled high with Maine lobster, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Unfortunately, it’s only available for brunch. But that just means you can pair it with one of the famously fresh-squeezed crushes, which still follow the original recipe created at Harborside Bar & Grill in Ocean City back in 1995.
725 Aliceanna St.
Melts in your mouth, not in your chopsticks. The miso black cod at Azumi is a true crowd-pleaser — so much so that you may be inclined to order a second round (do it!). It’s one of the most delicious fish dishes I’ve had in town, and a must-order on every visit. But more unique than this trendy dish are the seasonal sawagani crabs — potato chip-sized Japanese freshwater crabs that you pop in your mouth till you can’t stop. Be sure to check ahead for availability.
HK Fish House
1065 S. Charles St.
If you’re tired of cracking open those pesky blue crabs, the City Island sandwich at HK Fish House in Cross Street Market is here to save the day. Made with crispy fried whiting, buttered brioche, pickles, and a slathering of HK Boss Sauce, this sandwich is the perfect way to satisfy your seafood cravings without all the work. Plus, with cherry peppers, beefsteak tomato and lettuce, it’s basically a salad, right?
The Local Oyster
Mount Vernon and Locust Point
Looking for a shucking good time? Look no further than The Local Oyster! Their briny bivalves are sure to make your taste buds sing with their salty, sweet flavor. And the best part is knowing they come straight from the business’s own farm on Saint Jerome Creek. It’s a true pearl of the Chesapeake Bay. Grab a dozen and get slurping!
2118 Maryland Ave.
Who says wings are the only food that can fly off your plate at this Station North restaurant? The Chef Style grilled shrimp are causing quite a stir. Sure, you thought you knew the menu, but these sneaky little suckers are stealing the show. With their juicy texture and flavorful seasoning, you might find yourself saying, “What wings?!” (Who am I kidding? Go ahead and order the wings, too!)
Chris Franzoni is a Baltimore native, resident, food fanatic and “Eater-in-Chief” of @EatMoreBeMore, which he started eight years ago with two goals — eating his way through the city and shining a positive light on the Baltimore-area restaurant and hospitality scene.