Historically, Ocean City has always been a vacation destination for food enthusiasts–if your idea of a good meal is limited to crabs, pizza and bar peanuts. Thankfully, the Ocean City restaurant scene has been expanding greatly in the last decade, and the town’s Restaurant Week has gotten bigger along with it.
Since 2007, Restaurant Week has been a bi-annual event that celebrates the growing array of food options in town that today includes upscale dining and multicultural cuisine like taquerias, sushi and kebabs. The crabs and pizza are still delicious, of course, and make up a sizable portion of the participating restaurants–did you know you can get both of those smothered in Old Bay?! But now if you happen to be craving tacos n’ tequila or a fancy seafood platter, there’s a place for that, too.
Ocean City’s 2017 fall Restaurant Week will take place November 5 – 19.
An entire week (well, two) dedicated to eating good food usually isn’t a hard sell, but just in case you’re still on the fence, here’s four reasons why Restaurant Week is so awesome.
Summer has been winding down for months and as we approach November, Joe White still is keeping busy serving crowds at the Shrimp Boat. Traditionally there have been peaks and valleys in Ocean City, with insanely busy summers followed by deadish falls and winter doldrums, but that hasn’t been White’s experience in recent years.
You’ll expand your palette
There’s always a wide variety of restaurants that participate in Restaurant Week and in the kinds of foods they offer. Participants range from Touch of Italy (serving Italian fare, of course), to The Crab Bag and other seafood joints (mmm, crabs), to Happy Jack’s Pancake House (pancakes for lunch, anyone?). This year, 18 restaurants are involved in total, which means you could eat dinner somewhere different every night for two weeks if you wanted to and still have restaurants left to hit. And remember, despite what the event’s name might tell you, Restaurant Week is actually two weeks long. Come for the entire two weeks or just take a few days off and spend a long weekend enjoying all the delicious grub that Ocean City has to offer.
The full list of participating restaurants is available here.
You can satisfy your sweet tooth
While you might have come with only the main course in mind, be sure to save room for dessert. Sometimes, you’ll even be treated to a seasonal dish; for example, Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant has offered a Pumpkin Lust cake from Desserts by Rita in the past, in addition to pumpkin soup made with sage and apples, an autumn salad with candied pecans and roasted sweet potatoes. Many restaurants offer deals that include a multi-course meal, so for what you’d normally pay for one dish, you can get an appetizer and dessert along with it.
Usually I go on my Happy Hour Adventures on a whim. I don’t scout these places out but rather pop in with my camera and ask if I can hang out and take some photos. The Longboard Cafe was the first place I made a conscious decision to visit.
You’re eating fine cuisine on the cheap
No matter what your budget is or what your tastes are, you’ll be able to find something satisfying during Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants offer $10-$40 meal options. So with $10 you could get, for example, a gourmet breakfast or specialty burger, for $20 a two-course lunch or dinner, for $30 a three-course meal and for $40, four courses that emphasize upscale dining.
Different restaurants have different specials, so what you get also depends on where you go. Horizons, for example, has offered a 20% wine discount during the entirety of Restaurant Week, while for $28.95 Touch of Italy has served a multi-course meal that included an appetizer, a pasta dish, a meat dish and a dessert.
It’s an excuse to come back to Ocean City!
Not that you really need an excuse–I think we’ve established by now that the off-season is never completely “off” in Ocean City. The town is beautiful in the autumn, and on the second-to-last day of Restaurant Week, the holiday season begins early with the Light Up Downtown Festival and a Turkey Trot Golf Open at OC’s award-winning Eagle’s Landing golf course. Winterfest of Lights will begin during the second half of Restaurant Week, too, so you can check out the beautiful light displays after eating a delicious, discounted hot meal.
(If you need another reason to partake in Restaurant Week, here’s a bonus: this year, you can win a gift card just by eating at two participating RW restaurants and sending in your receipts. More information here.)