By Arielle Patterson
Ocean City is a laid back coastal community with something to offer all ages and interests. The same goes for local restaurants. From beach bars with a view of the ocean and family-friendly eateries to fine dining dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, Ocean City’s culinary scene is sure to be a memorable part of your visit.
Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Ocean City diners have the luxury of indulging in some of the freshest seafood offerings around. Much of the seafood on local menus comes straight from the Atlantic Ocean. Area chefs take advantage of the region’s bounty, including sea bass, bluefish, croaker, flounder, Atlantic and Spanish mackerel, tuna and more. When dining out, be sure to look for blackboard specials or ask your server about the “fresh catch of the day.” You’re sure to enjoy a meal that’s straight off the dock and caught by local watermen.
Of course, a trip to Maryland is not complete without some of the Chesapeake Bay’s famous blue crabs. This sweet, succulent crab meat can be served in a variety of dishes at Ocean City restaurants. Blue crab is steadily available April through December, with soft-shell crab season ending in October. Enjoy crab meat for breakfast in an omelet or atop eggs benedict. Try rich dishes like creamy crab dip and cream of crab soup or enjoy an authentic Maryland broiled crab cake. The best way to enjoy crabs on a hot summer’s day can be done from the comfort of your hotel or rental home. Hard-shell crabs are properly served steamed, seasoned with Old Bay and served on newspaper with mallets for cracking them open.
It’s not just seafood that local restaurants are sourcing locally. Many restaurants also utilize fresh produce, eggs, dairy, meat and more from nearby farms. Chefs will cater their menus to the seasonal harvest from area farms, providing you a flavorful meal with a true taste of the region. Your taste buds will celebrate as you savor each bite of a delicious dish creatively cultivated by a local chef at one of Ocean City’s restaurants.
Be sure to finish every meal in Ocean City with dessert. Ocean City has been known for crafting old-fashioned sweets for decades. Try homemade candies, rich fudge, saltwater taffy, flavored popcorn and a cone of ice cream that will cool you down after a long day in the sun.
Ocean City’s Local Libations
No matter what type of cuisine you’re enjoying, be sure to wash your food down with one of Ocean City’s local libations.
Ocean City’s craft beer scene has been booming, as local brews take over the taps at bars and restaurants. A trip to Ocean City is not complete without getting a pint of one of the local microbrews. These come from small-batch breweries, that are best known for having specialty or seasonal flavors. Many of Ocean City’s beers are made with non-traditional flavors and local ingredients from farms, including fruit, honey and even nuts. While the techniques are top-of-the-line, these beers are served in a casual environment to fully embrace the laid-back lifestyle of Ocean City.
Just a quick drive from the boardwalk are several wine bars that offer a variety to sample and purchase. Spend the day at a winery, on acres of exquisite vineyards, where the grapes are grown to produce award-winning wines. You can also find bottled wine at a local liquor store or wine cellar. Local wine bars offer a mellow atmosphere to swirl and sip your vino.
If you’re looking for something that packs more of a punch, look no further than Ocean City’s distilled spirits. Fruit flavored vodkas complement the local favorite Orange Crush. Mix it up and try a Ruby Red Crush made with Ruby Red Grapefruit vodka from a local distiller.
So, raise a glass, growler or pint of your new homegrown libation, and toast to Ocean City’s local flavor.