Each year OceanCity.com readers vote on the best of everything in Ocean City. We also have a panel of experts around Ocean City who pick their favorites based on local experiences, which we refer to as Editor’s Choice. Click here for this year’s voting.
Whatever you’re in the mood for, there’s a restaurant for it in Ocean City (especially if you’re in the mood for crabs). With seafood, buffet, pub-style and pizza joints on every corner, the possibilities are endless.
Where are you getting your pizza from? There was no clear winner in this category, with about 28% of voters choosing a favorite pizza place that wasn’t on our poll. To be fair, there are a lot of pizza options in Ocean City. The runner-up for best pizza was Lombardi’s Trattoria, for their delicious, traditionally Italian pies. The family-friendly pizzeria is located on 94th street and also offers subs, salads, pastas, a full bar and an authentic atmosphere that’s unlike anywhere else.
Runner-up: Dough Roller
Editor’s choice: Billy’s Sub Shop
Since 1959, Billy’s Subs has had “a reputation you can taste.” Their signature pizzas include traditional topping combinations like the buffalo chicken, Hawaiian and meat lovers pizzas, and they also offer vegetarian options, milkshakes, salads and subs made with fresh rolls delivered daily from Philadelphia. Billy’s has locations in Ocean City and Selbyville, and they deliver to all of Ocean City, Fenwick Island and West Fenwick.
They say that crab is on the menu all day at Crabcake Factory USA, and so are their Bloody Marys, which make the perfect complement to a crabcake. It’s no wonder that with five locations (their original location at 120th street, bayside in Selbyville, DE, a seafood house across from the original restaurant, an express store at the boardwalk and poolside at the Tidelands Hotel) and an option to get their crabcakes shipped straight to your door, Crabcake Factory is the clear winner for the Best Seafood of 2017.
Runner-up: Shark on the Harbor
Editor’s choice: Harborside Bar and Grill
On the commercial harbor of West Ocean City is Harborside Bar and Grill, a restaurant with a rustic feel and an extensive menu that includes steak and pasta entrees, burgers, sandwiches and, of course, fresh and delicious seafood. Harborside is the home of the Original Fresh Squeezed Orange Crush, which is pretty much the unofficial drink of Ocean City that happens to taste perfect alongside fish and crabs.
The Crab Bag: The Crab Bag’s “fattest crabs ever” are, according to the seasoned crab pickers and “Best Of” voters, by far the best crabs in Ocean City. With so many crab restaurants on the Eastern Shore, the Bag must be doing something right to garner so much support for their male blue crabs, which are steamed for 20-30 minutes and offered with sides like fries, corn and fried chicken in their “Feast” entrees. Pick a picnic table and get pickin’.
Runner-up: Hooper’s Crab House
Editor’s choice: Blu Crabhouse & Raw Bar
Blu Crabhouse says that they put twists on the traditions with innovative ingredients and seasonings, but they also offer the traditional Eastern Shore fare–like big, delicious blue crabs. Whether you want to try something unique and new or stick with the seafood classics, Blu has a diverse menu along with specialty drinks, local microbrews and a rotating selection of craft beer. Dine inside or treat yourself to a fantastic bayside view to accompany your crab picking.
Crabcake Factory USA: Are you surprised? In addition to taking home the Best Seafood award, the Factory has also been crowned Best Crabcakes, winning by a landslide thanks to their signature entree. Whatever underwater creature you’re craving, Crabcake Factory literally takes the cake.
Runner-up: Coins Pub & Restaurant
Editor’s choice: Ocean City Fish Company
Your mind may not immediately jump to crabcakes when you hear Ocean City Fish Company, but crabcakes are just another fantastic specialty that the Fish Co. offers. For 30 years they’ve been using the same recipe for their award-winning Captain’s Galley Crabcake, proving that you don’t mess with success. Whether you order a crabcake or another seafood entree at the Ocean City Fish Company, you’re guaranteed one of the freshest boat-to-table meals in OC.
Best Ice Cream
Dumser’s: An Ocean City staple since 1939, Dumser’s Dairyland wins Best Ice Cream yet again. The ice creamery has expanded to seven locations throughout OC since the 30s, when Mrs. Gladys Dumser made her first homemade batch on the boardwalk, and today the family-owned-and-operated business offers every flavor and topping under the sun. Whether you’re dining in at their 49th or 123rd street locations or getting your dessert to go, Dumser’s is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Editor’s choice: Dumser’s (go figure!)
Runner-up: Kohr Bros Frozen Custard
28th Street Pit and Pub: It was pretty close between Pit and Pub and Smoker’s BBQ Pit, the only restaurants in Ocean City that specialize in smokehouse barbecue, but 28th Street Pit and Pub ultimately lays claim to the Best BBQ award. With fresh smoked meats, homemade barbecue sauce, a seven-day-a-week happy hour and kids menus and specials, there’s something at Pit and Pub for everyone. Locations at 28th street (of course) and Northside at 127th street.
Runner-up: Smoker’s BBQ Pit
Editor’s choice: Smoker’s BBQ Pit
Okay, so it seems to be a toss-up between Pit and Pub and Smoker’s (but aren’t we lucky that OC’s two barbecue restaurants are both so excellent?). Smoker’s continues the tradition of pork, beef, chicken and fish smoked on wood on-site, and offers fried chicken, catfish, smoked tuna, breakfast sandwiches and homemade banana pudding in addition to their famous barbecue and ribs.
Anthony’s Liquor, Beer, Wine, Deli & Bar:The shop on 33rd street with the dancing light-up beer cans isn’t just a liquor store. Anthony’s also carries beer and wine, and the best subs in Ocean City. For 45 years, their deli has been serving top-quality sandwich meats from Boar’s Head and Critterio, so when you’re in the mood for a hoagie, Anthony’s is the place to go. Be sure to stop at the bar for a cold brew on your way out.
Runner-up: Anthony’s Carryout
Editor’s choice: Anthony’s Liquor, Beer, Wine, Deli & Bar
Best Waterfront Dining
Fish Tales: Just inside Bahia Marina is Fish Tales, the best waterfront restaurant in Ocean City that offers pub food and seafood, a dock bar and a playground for the kids. Come by boat or by car, sit out on the water and watch fishermen bring in the day’s catch or hang out on the beach with an umbrella for shade and a tiki torch to light the night. Fish Tales first opened in 1983 and although the local’s best-kept secret has grown in popularity over the years, Fish Tales has maintained its casual, intimate atmosphere.
Runner-up: Fager’s Island
Editor’s choice: Macky’s Bayside Bar & Grill
“Laidback” and “upbeat” are words used often in reviews of Macky’s, likely because of the restaurant’s casual and fun atmosphere. You can chill at a table outside and just watch the sunset over the water, drive your boat right to the side of the building or dip your toes in the bay. Be sure to come during happy hour and stay for whatever event is happening that night, be it a theme party on Tuesday, wing night Wednesday or Little Black Dress Night Thursday where a black dress can get you a half-off cocktail.
Best Raw Bar
Harrison’s Harbor Watch: The Harrison family has been local to the Ocean City region for over 100 years, and maybe that’s why they’re so dedicated to offering the freshest shellfish in all of OC. Fish on the restaurant’s menu are often served the same day they’re caught, and in the summer, produce comes freshly picked from the Laurel Produce Market in Laurel, DE. Chow down on the oyster stew while enjoying one of the best bay views the island has to offer.
Runner-up: Blu Crabhouse & Raw Bar
Editor’s choice: Harrison’s Harbor Watch
The Bonfire: The Bonfire has been serving up a large and diverse array of food since 1973. At their 70th street buffet, pretty much any craving can be sated, whether it be with seafood, steak, ribs, crab legs or any other fresh buffet staple. The Bonfire proves to be Ocean City’s best buffet (and there are lots in this region!) because here, as you sit under their beautiful stained glass with a view of the restaurant’s tropical fish tanks, all your senses will be satisfied.
Runner-up: Embers Restaurant
Editor’s choice: Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant
Inside the Clarion Hotel is Horizons, an award-winning oceanfront buffet with two all-you-can-eat selections as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Spend your Sunday morning at the Deluxe All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast Buffet, or come for dinner to enjoy a prime rib, crab legs or the seafood buffet. Either way, you’ll be treated to a beautiful view of the ocean and maybe even live entertainment while you eat.
Barn 34: In the barn-style building formerly home to the Pirate’s Den, Barn 34 continues the tradition of delicious breakfasts and other great meals throughout the day, too. Downstairs you can dine-in or order a drink at the Rum Bar, or upstairs, hang out in the Loft Dining Room and Bar. Either way, your experience will be accented with great food, live music and maybe even a game of ping-pong.
Runner-up: General’s Kitchen
Editor’s choice: Sahara Cafe
Sahara Cafe on 30th street calls themselves “an oasis of deliciousness,” and that’s especially true at breakfast time. Come for a Sunshine Breakfast and get eggs, omelettes, pancakes, Belgian waffles, breakfast sandwiches–whatever you want, Sahara’s got it cooking. Just be warned: No sense of humor, no service.
The Original Greene Turtle North OC: Though it’s now famous all over the East Coast for its wings and other pub eats, in 1976 the Greene Turtle was just a one-location restaurant in North Ocean City, MD. But their growing popularity doesn’t mean the Turtle’s original location has gone out of style; in fact, many would say that this specific sports bar has the best wings in Ocean City. They might even be the best of the entire East Coast.
Runner-up: Kirby’s Pub
Editor’s choice: Johnny’s Pizza & Pub
They say they have the fastest delivery and the coldest beer in town, but whether that’s true or not, Johnny’s certainly has great wings. They offer 19 different wing flavors ranging from Old Bay to Glazed Jamaican Jerk and Honey, in mild, medium or hot. Johnny’s also serves pizza (of course), subs, calzones, burgers, an array of appetizers and more, but whatever you order, you’ll want to include wings. All you need is an appetite and plenty of wet naps.
Best Carry Out
Anthony’s Carryout at 17th: Best Carry Out was a close race between Anthony’s and Fat Daddy’s, but the audience choice ultimately goes to Anthony’s at 17th street. Tried and true and owned by the same family for 45 years, Anthony’s serves the best takeout breakfast, fried chicken, subs and pizza in Ocean City. They’re cash only, so be sure to hit up an ATM before you go!
Runner-up: Fat Daddy’s Sub Shop
Editor’s choice: Belly Busters
No shirt, no shoes, no problem! That’s how casual the atmosphere is, so you can carry out your Belly Busters straight from the beach. Since the 1950s they’ve offered delicious subs, sandwiches and seafood, and they’re also the only restaurant in Ocean City that delivers crabs. We might need to add a “Best Delivery” category for that reason alone.
Best Asian Food
OC Wasabi: OC Wasabi wins Best Asian Food in a landslide. Come try the freshest sushi and sake on the beach, dine-in or carryout, or hit up the bar for happy hour specials on beer and house margaritas. If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to order the fried ice cream for dessert, or the mochi, a sweet Japanese classic.
Runner-up: Blue Fish Restaurant & Sushi Bar
Editor’s choice: Rice House Bistro
Whether you’re dining in the Emperor’s Dining Room or at the sushi bar, Rice House Bistro offers a family-friendly atmosphere with some of the best Asian food around. Their menu includes steak, Chilean sea bass served with honey wasabi sauce, chicken fried rice, sushi and more. Come on Tuesday night for sushi specials and try the volcano roll–spicy salmon and avocado wrapped in rice paper, topped with spicy mayo, lump crab meat and Old Bay.
Best Italian Food
Touch of Italy: Hands down the best pizza you can get on the beach. Touch of Italy started out as a Lewes, DE exclusive in 2010, but today their artisanal pizza can be found in Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach, too. Check out their pasticceria, better known as a pastry shop with biscottis, pastries and cakes, or their salumeria, the Italian version of a deli. And whatever you do, be sure to treat yourself to an authentic Touch of Italy pizza.
Runner-up: Mione’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant
Editor’s choice: Ristorante Antipasti
Ristorante Antipasti serves authentic Italian food with pure olive oil, a bonus for anyone who might be watching their cholesterol. Dine in or have them cater your next big event. Or, if you like their food enough and want to enjoy it again and again, take a cooking class in the fall where you can enjoy a salad, an entree and a glass of wine and take home the recipe of a favorite dish.
Best Mexican Food
Mother’s Cantina: Mother’s Cantina prides themselves on their bold flavors and local, organic ingredients that make their Tex-Mex entrees so delicious. Mother’s Cantina is not only authentic but also affordable, so when you’re in the mood for a Mexican meal, you can dine-in, carry out or hit up the market at their 28th street restaurant. Happy hour is every day from 4 – 7, so keep in mind that a margarita is the perfect complement to a spicy fajita.
Runner-up: Tequila Mockingbird
Editor’s choice: La Abuelita
The restaurant might be small, but La Abuelita packs in plenty of flavor and seasoning in every dish. The authentic Mexican entrees are made fresh, the portions are generous, the food is affordable and you can have it as mild or as spicy as you want–and if you like spicy, definitely get the hot peppers on the side!