The pastry case at this small local Italian bakery is appealing, but it’s the gelato, with its liqueur-like intensity and lush texture, that makes this a good stop. I skip dessert at most Annapolis restaurants to indulge here in a cup of the stracciatella, a tangy, creamy chocolate chip, and stroll the boardwalk along the harbor looking at the boats.
8 Dock St.; 410-263-1300; aromiditaliacafe.com.
Bagels and . . .
Other places might make a good sandwich. Or offer a more extensive selection of cream cheeses, spreads, and meats. Or conjure a more authentic deli atmosphere. But no one in the Washington area bakes a better bagel. These are light and never underbaked or doughy. I like the bialys even more, though they sell out quickly. Order them lightly toasted with a smear of cream cheese and a few slices of the lustrous belly or nova lox or with a portion of the excellent whitefish.
2019 West St.; 410-224-8686.
Cantler’s Riverside Inn
This is the granddaddy of the area’s crab houses—and not just because of the idyllic setting. Show up for an early weeknight dinner and you have a good chance of getting a table on the patio outside, with its view of Mill Creek and all of the boaters who drop anchor and walk up to dinner. But the big draw is the crabs, which the kitchen knows not to oversteam (you hardly have to work to extract meat) and which arrive perfectly seasoned. Don’t ignore the soft-shells, which typically are dredged locally; the kitchen dusts them with flour and gives them a quick pan fry. At two for $24.99, with fries and coleslaw, they’re a delicious bargain.
458 Forest Beach Rd.; 410-757-1311; cantlers.com.
Hell Point Seafood
Bob Kinkead’s new venture, which opened this summer in the old Phillips Seafood space, is being dubbed “Kinkead Lite”—a catchy moniker for a streamlined version of Kinkead’s, his longstanding seafood emporium in DC’s Foggy Bottom. Service can be comically inept (on one visit, I waited ten minutes to be greeted; on another, a bread basket arrived after I’d ordered dessert), and a number of dishes lack the precision or oomph of the classic Kinkead’s preparations. Hell Point is a work in progress, and I expect more fine tuning from the veteran chef, a stickler for detail. Nevertheless, it ranks as one of the better Annapolis restaurants, if only because its highs are higher than most. The lobster roll is nearly as good as the version at Kinkead’s flagship, the soft-shells are light and delicate, and the peach tarte Tatin summons a Paris bistro.
12 Dock St.; 410-990-9888.