A menu for every taste

Restaurants: Dining on everything from hard-shell crabs to international delicacies can be found within Anne Arundel's borders.

May 16, 2004|By Jill Zarend-Kubatko | Jill Zarend-Kubatko,SUN STAFF

From Colonial-era taverns to white-tablecloth elegance, Anne Arundel County offers a multitude of restaurants for everyone's palate. The county boasts waterfront dining, intimate dinners for two, picnics, American favorites, open-air crab houses, international cuisine and cosmopolitan fare.

Annapolis is the heart of the county's culinary offerings, where visitors can find a multitude of menus on the historic streets of the state capital:

Buddy's Crabs and Ribs (100 Main St., 410-626-1100) serves up sumptuous views of the City Dock from its second-floor location. Watch shoppers and boats peruse the harbor at this family restaurant that offers baby back ribs, steamed crabs, steaks, chicken and daily buffets.

Aqua Terra of Annapolis (164 Main St., 410-263-1985) offers a "cosmopolitan feel" in a casual atmosphere. Euro-Asian food, martinis and international wines are featured.

Other Main Street finds include Griffin's City Dock (22-24 Market Place, 410-268-2576), where Naval Academy midshipmen are among those who enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. Griffin's West (2049 West St., 410-266-7226) carries American fare for lunch and dinner. Griffin's City Dock offers a twist on its salmon dish: The pink filet is encrusted in basil pesto and pine nuts. Entrees include several pasta dishes, a "black and blue" New York strip steak topped with Cajun spices and bleu cheese, Tuna Ahi, salmon and chicken dishes. For lunch, try a salmon or Cajun chicken BLT, specialty hamburgers, soups, salads and wraps.

Even though parts of the harbor have become "mall-commercial," restaurants there have stood the test of time, some included on historic registers.

Middleton Tavern (2 Market Place, 410-263-3323) once served up meals to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. In the 1980s, the tavern added an upstairs dining room and oyster bar. Try steamed shrimp, clams, oysters, crab dip, baked brie or Maryland crab soup for appetizers. The dinner menu ranges from Chateaubriand to Maryland rockfish stuffed with crab Middleton. Saturday and Sunday brunches are served.

At McGarvey's Saloon and Oyster Bar (8 Market Space, 410-263-5700), patrons make a meal of appetizers, including clams and Chincoteague oysters on the half shell, raw or steamed, plus mussels and shrimp and smoked bluefish. All are market-priced. Entrees include swordfish, crab cakes, seafood pasta and taco salad.

More oysters and fresh seafood are available at O'Brien's Oyster Bar (113 Main St., 410-268-6288). Sunday brunch is served, and there is a happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Entertainment is also available in the evenings.

Riordan's Saloon (26 Market Space, 410-263-5449) serves overstuffed sandwiches, prime rib, seafood and a raw bar.

O'Leary's Seafood Restaurant (310 Third St., 410-263-0884) features soft-shell crabs in season, crab cakes and innovative nightly specials.

Rounding out the harbor are two funky establishments. Mexican fare is served at Armadillo's (132 Dock St., 410-268-6680), and the colorful Ego Alley Tropical Grill (136 Dock St., 410-263-353) offers Caribbean cuisine. Managua's (81 Main St., 410-268-1850) adds gourmet pizza, traditional Italian and seafood.

Over the bridge in Eastport, Boatyard Bar and Grill (Severn Avenue and Fourth Street, 410-216-6206) has an extensive wine list, pints of beer, Chesapeake Bay fare and a touch of Key West. Enjoy conch fritters, jerk chicken and hot blue crab dip for an appetizer. Dine on salmon, crab cakes, fish and chips and sandwiches.

Other gems along the waterfront include Carroll's Creek Cafe, in the Annapolis City Marina (410 Severn Ave., 410-263-8102). It reopened last month after renovations to renew its serving of local seafood and American fare such as grilled fish, steaks and chops.

Other restaurants at water's edge include the Chart House (Trumpy Boathouse on Spa Creek, 300 Second St., 410-268-7166) with seafood, steaks and prime rib; and Phillips Annapolis Harbor (87 Prince George's St./City Dock, 410-990-9888) offering Maryland-style seafood, a piano bar, crab deck and room for groups and children.

Try a "Painkiller" beverage at a fireside table or a waterfront table at Pusser's Landing (80 Compromise St., 410-626-0004). American classics are served, as well as seafood. Sam's Waterfront Cafe (2020 Chesapeake Harbor Drive East, Annapolis) offers jazz on the weekends and an updated American menu.

Southern county

In Southern Anne Arundel County, feast on crabs and enjoy cold drinks dockside at Skippers Pier, Rockhold Creek (6156 Drum Point Road, Deale, 410-867-7110). Belly up to the Tiki bar and enjoy a taste of the Caribbean at Calypso Bay (421 Deale Road, Deale, 410-867-9788). Mike's Restaurant (3030 Old Riva Road, Riva, 410-956-2784) overlooks the Severn River and offers Maryland seafood inside or outside. Patrons can feast along a pier at Wagner's Steamboat Landing in Galesville, which features the Crab Bomb -- 10 ounces of baked crabmeat.

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