8 Great Chesapeake Bay Restaurants (Beyond Crab Houses)

Oyster shucker Pete Woods serves up oysters on the half shell at Rappahannock Oyster Company's tasting room, Merroir. Photograph by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program.
Washingtonian Recommends

Our Washingtonian Recommends lists bring you the best places to eat, drink, and be entertained—all selected by Washingtonian editors.

Ava’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar

Humans and dogs eat well at this cozy pizzeria, equipped with a pup-friendly enclosed patio and doggie menu. An extensive wine-and-craft-beer list accompanies the creatively topped, wood-fired pizzas (our fave: caramelized onion, Gruyère, and sour cream). 409 S. Talbot St., St. Michaels; 410-745-3081.

Photograph by Jaime Windon.
You’ll find creatively topped, wood-fired pizzas at Ava’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar. Photograph by Jaime Windon.

Bartlett Pear Inn and Bakery

Husband-and-wife owners Jordan and Alice Lloyd—he’s a Citronelle alum—run this elegant inn and dining room that makes fine use of local ingredients. Breakfast has long been a highlight for guests of the inn, but now anyone can dig into delicious maple-braised pork belly or eggs Benedict on house-made brioche at the newly opened bakery. 28 S. Harrison St., Easton; 410-770-3300.

Marker Five

You can watch the boats pass by at this Tilghman Island eatery, though the best dishes hail from the kitchen’s smoker instead of the water—hefty smoked wings, vinegary pulled pork, and meaty ribs by the half and full rack. 6178 Tilghman Island Rd., Tilghman; 410-886-1122.


If you’re an oyster fan, you’ve likely encountered the bivalves from Rappahannock Oyster Co. in many a Washington restaurant. Here, you can eat at the source: The company’s picturesque small-plates restaurant and raw bar sits right near its oyster beds. 784 Locklies Creek Rd., Topping, Va.; 804-758-2871.

Metompkin Seafood Market

This shack-like market, about 20 minutes inland from Chincoteague, serves up expertly fried (or steamed) local oysters plus crisp shrimp, scallops, and clams. Take your Styrofoam clamshell to go or dig in on the covered patio. 14209 Lankford Hwy., Mappsville, Va.; 757-824-0503.

One of the seasonal dishes you can expect from chef Mark Salter at Robert Morris Inn.

Robert Morris Inn

This romantic 18th-century inn overlooking the Tred Avon River isn’t all ambience, but you’ll find plenty of that in the firelit tavern or on the garden patio. British-born chef Mark Salter goes beyond the bay for the seasonal menu, though his crabcake can’t be beat—all sweet meat, crispy panko crust, and caper-heavy house rémoulade. 314 N. Morris St., Oxford; 410-226-5111.

Two If By Sea

Looking for a satisfying breakfast or no-frills meal? This quaint diner/cafe fits the bill, dishing up tasty tall stacks and scrapple in the morning and (slightly) fancier fare such as a crab melt or soft-shell piccata later on. 5776 Tilghman Island Rd., Tilghman; 410-886-2447.

208 Talbot

Chef David Clark, an Eastern Shore native, breathed new life into this longtime St. Michaels fine-dining space when he took over the kitchen in 2012. Soft-shells are a must in-season. 208 Talbot Rd., St. Michaels; 410-745-3838.

This article appears in our July 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.