Cantler's Riverside Inn
What It’s Like: Just over the Severn River from Maryland’s capital, Annapolis, Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn sits on Mill Creek, which empties into Chesapeake Bay, the source of the restaurant’s famous blue crabs. The main dining room and bar are all one could hope for from a watermen’s haunt: communal tables in a wood-paneled room decorated with marine memorabilia and photos of the Chesapeake Bay spanning the more than 30 years that the Riverside Inn has been operating.
Best Seat in the House: During the summer, the most coveted tables are on the screened-in porch overlooking the creek, each covered in brown paper upon which pots of steamed crabs are poured in front of diners.
What to Order: Blue crabs cooked in Old Bay seasoning are the restaurant’s specialty; order them along with a basket of hush puppies and corn on the cob when it’s in season.
Insider Tip: First, arrive early. On summer weekends, the outdoor tables fill up quickly. Second, while you’ll be handed a mallet to help you get to the meat inside your steamed crabs, ask a local for the secrets to opening up the shell of the crab. Most are eager to share their techniques with visitors.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.