Explore Washington D.C.

Blue Crab Country

It’s no secret that crabbing is a way of life in Baltimore. From April through November the faint smell of Old Bay seems to hang over the city. Families ceremoniously wrap their kitchen tables with newspaper and pile them high with steamers. Feasters gather, mallets in hand, at famous spots like Phillips and Obrycki’s, ready to crack, pick and pry. Although the classic crab feast is a Maryland tradition, chefs look at crabs in innovative ways.

Maryland chefs tout their signature plays on it, but City Café takes the cake—crab cake, that is. The restaurant pairs five ounces of crisped jumbo lump crab with baked lobster macaroni and cheese. The Mount Vernon spot, known for fine dining, has the atmosphere of a neighborhood coffee shop and draws students for cappuccino study dates, theater-goers for after-show desserts and out-of-towners who want tastes of the city.

1001 Cathedral St., 410.539.4252. www.citycafebaltimore.com

—Kerri Pinchuk