This past week Oceancity.com released its “Best of” Readers Poll. The winners were decided by voters from the Oceancity.com web site and Facebook pages. Needless to say, some of the results were obvious while others were very surprising and some even amusing and shocking. Being a resident of the area for some time now and also the food writer for Oceancity.com I decided to weigh-in with my two cents worth on this poll. So here we go; The Hardcore Foodies 2013 “Best of” picks for restaurants and bars of Ocean City, Md and the surrounding area.
Best Breakfast: When I read that the Crabcake Factory had won this category I knew straight off that this was going to be a very interesting poll. Please understand that while the Crabcake Factory serves a perfectly acceptable breakfast there are other restaurants in the area that are much more deserving of this category. The Satellite Café and The Sahara Café, in my estimation, should have won the category.
Best Wings: While The Green Turtle winning this category is not surprising there are other local bars and restaurants that should have been in the running ahead of Hooters. The Taphouse has a great wing with house-made sauces that are excellent while the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin has a great Ancho dusted wing with a chipotle blue cheese sauce that is great.
Best Ethnic Food: This is too broad a category for my liking but the winners are very indicative of the fact that the Ocean City area needs to expand its idea and appreciation of what ethnic food really means. Tequila Mockingbird and Mothers Cantina each have their own good qualities but they are about as truly ethnic as a Chi Chi’s chain restaurant. OC Wasabi is a very good and fun sushi restaurant but Misaki in Bethany Beach is an exceptional one. Also try Mariachi Restaurant in Rehoboth or La Sierra Taqueria in Selbyville for truly authentic Mexican and Central American cuisine. Finally The Satellite Café and Thai Restaurant has amazingly good Thai food for dinner so expand your horizons and try something new.
Best Crabcake: This is a very personal choice, especially to us Marylanders so let me just say that The Shark on the Harbor and The Captain’s Galley both have exceptional crab cakes and are my choices.
Best Crabs: Let me just say that whenever I have friends or family come visit and they want the best crabs in town we go to the Crab Bag.
Best Raw Bar: You cannot beat the view at Harrison’s Harbor Watch and they have consistently served quality oysters and shrimp at their raw bar. They also make a great Classic Oyster Stew so skip dinner and concentrate on the great raw bar, you will leave a happy customer.
Best Water Front Dining: While Fagers, Sunset Grille and Fish Tales are all well known and popular don’t forget The Shark on the Harbor which has the most creative chef and menu in Ocean City, The Taphouse on 45th Street which could very well have the best sunset on the bay along with 35 beers on tap and Mackey’s Bayside with its great little beach.
Best Desserts: Dumser’s is an Ocean City classic and for good reason but if frozen desserts are your thing give Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard a try. Also, while Cupcakes in Bloom have been on TV there is another bakery in the town of Berlin that needs to be recognized, Baked Desserts. The desserts at Baked are all made with organic ingredients and from scratch. They have that unique quality only very special bakeries have; call it the “touch” or call it “love” but you can taste it in all of their baking. They are unique in this area so give them a try.
Best Ice Cream: Dumser’s, Kohr Brother’s and Chesapeake Creamery all very good but for a special treat try The Scottish Highland Creamery in Oxford, Md. Look it up and set your GPS all you ice cream freaks, you will not be sorry.
Best Seafood: Again I was surprised by the winner but the Shark on the Harbor is an excellent choice. Also, I would suggest the Captain’s Table Restaurant in the Marriott Courtyard. The Captain’s Table is a very old Ocean City classic with a face lift but if you want a perfectly cooked piece of fresh fish there is no better place. FYI, just be prepared to wait, service can be very slow.
Best Pizza and Best Subs: Two categories that are usually joined as evidenced by the winners. Mione’s Pizza in the White Marlin Mall is a classic “New York Style” pie and it is very good and Fat Daddy’s and Anthony’s Subs are both excellent. I would only like to add a little place called Devito’s Italian Deli and Sub Shop on Coastal Highway and 143rd Street. Daily, house-made, fresh pizza crusts and sub rolls, need I say more?
Best Fine Dining: This category is a misnomer due to the casual atmosphere of almost all beach restaurants as witnessed by the three winners. Fager’s, Liquid Assets and the Shark may serve cuisine worthy of china service but the dining atmosphere is absolutely casual in all three. My only comment might be in the order of the three winners but you try them and decide for yourselves. I might also add that a new restaurant named a(MUSE) is open in Rehoboth Beach with a chef that has been nominated for a James Beard Award this year; believe me the nomination is well deserved.
Best BBQ: While it is true that all three winners serve their own version the Barbeque the best on the entire Eastern Shore is hands down the BBQ Joint in Easton, Md. If you are truly a barbeque lover and you have not tried Chef Andrews bbq go now and do yourself a favor.
Best Craft Beers: While Burley Oak is a brewer their product is served in many bars and restaurants in the area. So if this category means the best bar with the best craft beers it needs to be the Taphouse on 45th street. They serve Burley Oak beer along with about 32 other beers on tap.
Best Overall Bar: There are so many bars in Ocean City alone that this category is very difficult but the Crabcake Factory as number 1? Really? I might have gone with Seacrets or the Green Turtle or Shenanigan’s or BJ’s or the Shark or Harborside Bar and Grill or, well, you get the picture.
Well, these are my opinions and you know what they say about everyone having an opinion. But keep in mind that The Eastern Shore is slowly but surely expanding its horizons in the areas of restaurants and entertainment so do yourselves a favor and try new places and cuisines. Who knows you may just like it.