Best Crab Restaurants in the Washington, D.C. Area

Where to Eat Steamed Crabs Near Washington, D.C.

••• Photo © Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau

Maryland is known for hard-shell crabs steamed in Old Bay Seasoning. Crabs are plentiful at hundreds of casual restaurants along the Chesapeake Bay, including Baltimore and Annapolis. Surprisingly Crab houses seem to be scarce in the Washington, DC area. There are plenty of places in the nation’s capital to get a good crab cake, but if you are looking for a place to sit and pick crabs, you may have to search.

Here are a few suggestions:

In Washington, D.C. 

  • Whaley's - 301 Water St. SE Washington DC (202) 484-8800. Built into the Lumber Shed at Yards Park, an historic industrial building in the Washington Navy Yard, the restaurant features a 22-seat bar and a 44-seat dining room, as well as outdoor patio seating facing the riverfront and the surrounding Yards Park. The menu features a wide variety of fresh seafood. 

In Maryland

  • Bethesda Crab House - 4958 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD (301) 652-3382. The casual restaurant offers steamed crabs, jumbo spiced shrimp, Maryland style lump crab cakes and more. There's a large outdoor patio available weather permitting.
  • Joe’s Crab Shack - 221 Rio Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD (301) 947-4377. The chain restaurant, with more than 100 locations around the U.S., offers a wide range of seafood dishes and offers outdoor dining in a casual atmosphere.
  • Fosters Clambake - 137 National Plaza. National Harbor, MD. (877) 404-3255. Open Spring-Fall. Closed during the Winter. Fosters offers outdoor crab and lobster dinners and can host large parties.
  • Fingers and Claws - 802 Muddy Branch Road, Gaithersburg, MD (301) 948-8270. The casual restaurant and sports bar offers an extensive seafood menu including Maryland crabs.
  • Ernie's Crab House - 4305 Bladensburg Rd. Brentwood , MD 20722 (301)779-3013. The restaurant offers traditional Chesapeake Bay seafood dishes including steamed crabs.

    In Northern Virginia

    • Ernie's Original Crab House - 1743 King Street Alexandria, VA. (703) 836-0046. The restaurant is located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria and offers traditional Chesapeake Bay seafood dishes including steamed crabs.
    • Captain Pell's Fairfax Crab House - 12831 Fair Lakes Parkway, Fairfax, VA (703) 968-2601. The casual restaurant offers all you can eat crabs, crabs by the dozen and a variety of other seafood dishes.
    • Quarterdeck Restaurant -  1200 N Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, VA. (703) 528-2722. A fixture of the Fort Meyer Heights neighborhood for over 30 years, the restaurant is known most notably for its seasonal Maryland Blue Crab feast and cold beer. They serve a wide variety of classic American and Seafood fare year round.  
    • Joe’s Crab Shack - Two locations in the DC region: 221 Rio Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD (301) 947-4377. 46110 Lake Center Plaza, Sterling, VA (703) 421-3500. The chain restaurant, with more than 100 locations around the U.S., offers a wide range of seafood dishes and offers outdoor dining in a casual atmosphere.