With these best local restaurants in Ocean City, you might want to put your diet on hold as they’re hotspots offering the resort town’s must-tries. Temptations start at breakfast with oven-fresh goodness by legendary franchises and continue all day long as beach vendors and boardwalk stalls serve up summer treats, ranging from saucy barbecue ribs to sweet corn on the cob.

    If you want to keep things in moderation, there are plenty of healthy options as well. We’ve compiled the best local restaurants in Ocean City – from landmark establishments to eateries serving OC specials along Atlantic Avenue that you simply can’t miss.

    1

    Thrasher's

    Get your fingers greasy with OC’s original French fries

    • Food

    Thrasher’s is one of the Ocean City boardwalk’s landmarks when it comes to nibbles, with several concessions serving up nostalgic, speciality French fries along the waterfront. Since 1929, it’s been frying fresh-cut Idaho potatoes in peanut oil – generously salted and doused with apple cider vinegar. Mind you that ketchup isn’t the custom here.

    Many Ocean City regulars can’t imagine a day out on the beach without the staple boardwalk nibbles, be it soft-shell crab sandwich, caramel popcorn, saltwater taffy, or Thrasher’s original French fries. Some may find the hot fries too greasy, in which case it’s best to be shared while strolling the waterfront.

    Location: 401 S Atlantic Ave #1, Ocean City, MD 21842, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 410-289-7232

    Map

    photo by ssfaulkn (CC0 1.0) modified

    2

    Sunset Grille

    Great sunsets to go with your seafood

    • Food
    • Nightlife

    Sunset Grille at the Sunset Marina in West Ocean City is a local favourite where you can enjoy fresh seafood dishes with beautiful views of the bay. The setting is casual and laidback, especially at its cosy rooftop deck.

    For a simple but hearty meal, try their house-speciality crab cake sandwich, a 5-oz jumbo lump crab cake served on a soft potato roll. There’s the applewood 15-hour smoked and pulled pork sandwich for something more filling – served on a toasted brioche roll and with apple cider vinegar slaw, sharp cheddar, and chipotle barbecue sauce. Pair your meal with Sunset Grille’s refreshing cocktails – a must-try is the blueberry lemon crush, made with Smirnoff Red, White & Berry and fresh blueberries.

    Location: 12933 Sunset Ave, Ocean City, MD 21842, USA

    Open: Friday–Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm,Sunday–Thursday from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 410-213-8110

    Map
    3

    Harborside Bar & Grill

    A bayfront watering hole home to OC’s original orange crush

    • Food

    Head to Harborside Bar & Grill for a great selection of modern seafood and good old American favourites, accompanied by cool views of docked yachts in the commercial fishing harbour of West Ocean City. The bar is simply a good place for a drink, and home of Ocean City’s original, fresh-squeezed orange crush. Nibbles to pair with this signature drink range from nachos and quesadillas to clams, buffalo wings, and calamari.

    If you want something more filling, try their take on the Eastern Shore classic crab cake sandwich – which comes in a large portion. You can also check out The Humdinger, what they dub ‘the king of the grilled chicken breast’. It’s served with a smothering of barbecue sauce, ham, bacon, and melted cheddar cheese.

    Location: 12841 Harbor Rd, Ocean City, MD 21842, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 2 am

    Phone: +1 410-213-1846

    Map
    4

    Fisher's Popcorn

    Don’t leave Ocean City without trying these

    • Food

    Fisher’s Popcorn is a must-try when in Ocean City. The place has been around and popping these moreish delights on the Ocean City Maryland Boardwalk since 1937.

    Besides its original caramel version, Flasher’s has gone on to develop all sorts of flavours, meaning that you’ll have a good excuse to ask for different flavours for each family member. There are several shops along the boardwalk and you’ll easily be drawn by the irresistible scents of caramel, butter, cheddar, cinnamon, and chocolate during your stroll.

    Location: 200 S Atlantic Ave, Ocean City, MD 21842, USA

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 888-395-0335

    Map

    photo by Austin Kirk (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Crab Bag

    For no-frills crabby feasts in Ocean City

    • Food

    Crab Bag should be on top of your Ocean City checklist if a no-frills, all-you-can-eat crab feast is what you’re looking for. Its bounty of fresh and big Atlantic blue crab is carefully chosen and graded by hand. The ‘jumbo’ ones are about 7 inches and steamed to order.

    Its crab cakes are also a hit, using fresh jumbo lump crab meat – many say they’re the best in town. You’ll also find steamed spiced shrimp and clams with butter, fried chicken, old bay buffalo wings, and a selection of smokehouse barbecue ribs on the menu. To wash them down, The Crab Bag Cooler is a refreshing pick from their long drinks list, made with cranberry vodka, orange juice, soda water, and lime.

    Location: 13005 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 410-250-3337

    Map

    photo by Martin Lewison (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    6

    Rosenfeld's Jewish Delicatessen

    Enjoy casual kosher-style delights

    • Food

    Rosenfeld's Jewish Delicatessen is a standout diner along the 10-mile stretch of Ocean City’s Coastal Highway which serves a great array of traditional kosher-style dishes. Furthermore, it’s the only deli of its kind around where you can enjoy Jewish treats like pickles and matzo ball soup or freshly baked babka.

    If you’ve never tried Jewish cuisine before, then this is the place to walk into while in Ocean City. In that case, for appetisers go for Rosenfeld’s Jewish Sampler Platter which has chopped liver, whitefish salad, brisket, corned beef, noodle kugel and 2 slices of rye bread. Or, dive in with Rosenfeld’s 8-oz legendary grilled Rueben sandwiches with your choice of pastrami, turkey breast, corned beef or brisket.

    Location: 6301 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +1 410-520-0283

    Map
    7

    General’s Kitchen

    The house of the famed creamed chipped beef

    • Food

    The family-owned General’s Kitchen in Ocean City is a local breakfast and lunch spot, best known for their house-special creamed chipped beef. This nostalgic comfort dish can be as heartwarming as it is mouthwatering to some, and General’s uses its own recipe, making it from scratch and serving it on toast or biscuit with hash browns or grits. 

    The restaurant also offers a wonderful range of seasonal soups, sandwiches, and salads. General’s hearty favourites include their 6-oz New York strip steak sandwich and a bacon cheeseburger on Vienna roll with lettuce, tomato, and french fries.

    Location: 6601 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842, USA

    Open: Thursday–Tuesday from 6.30 am to 1.30 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    Phone: +1 410-723-0477

    Map
    8

    The Bayside Skillet

    Your upscale Ocean City breakfast and sunset spot

    • Food

    The Bayside Skillet on the bayfront of Ocean City is one of the finer spots in town where you can enjoy upscale breakfasts and sunset dinners. It’s been around since 1977 and has gained a reputation for being ‘the crepe and omelette place’ of OC.

    Bayside has a festive patio dining vibe with a great selection of crepes and omelettes in the mornings and an array of local seafood specials throughout the day and into the evenings. You can go for romantic fine dining or pull up a bar stool for their happy hour range of crushes, mimosas, and homemade blend Bloody Marys.

    Location: 7701 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842, USA

    Open: Daily from 7.30 am to 2 pm

    Phone: +1 410-524-7950

    Map
    9

    The Shark on the Harbor Restaurant

    Great local seafood and healthy organic dishes on the waterfront

    • Food

    The Shark on the Harbor Restaurant is one of the top spots for enjoying seafood and crab cakes while overlooking the harbour in Ocean City. Though the menu here is updated daily depending on the fresh daily catches right from the commercial fishing harbour as well as seasonal produce, you can expect a rotation of healthy offerings with each visit.

    Start with small samplers like stuffed avocado with spicy crab salad or their cornflake encrusted soft shell crab with creamed corn sauce. Lunch favourites include the signature burger with dry-aged Angus beef and Shark’s signature sauce or, for a unique treat, the lean grilled bison burger with pimento cheese and pickled onions stacked between a whole-wheat roll.

    Location: 12924 Sunset Ave, Ocean City, MD 21842, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 11.30 am to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 10 pm, Sunday from 10.30 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 410-213-0924

    Map
    10

    Sahara Cafe

    A local OC fixture for all-day breakfasts

    • Food

    Sahara Cafe is a local favourite on Ocean City’s Baltimore Avenue where you can start your day with hearty breakfast specials. Known for its great pancakes and thick Belgian waffles, among the top picks are its sausage roll-ups and strawberry or blueberry stacks.

    For heartier meals throughout the rest of the day, among their generously portioned specialities are Big Boss Man, a serving of 3 eggs and 3 pancakes with bacon or sausage. Also tempting is its Florentine crab Benedict, served with sautéed spinach and tomato on top of an English muffin… that's topped with 2 poached eggs doused in Hollandaise sauce.

    Location: 1901 North, Baltimore Ave, Ocean City, MD 21842, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 2 pm

    Phone: +1 410-390-7649

    Map
    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

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