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The best crab cakes in Baltimore

Ranking The Best Crab Cakes in Baltimore, Maryland

I set out to find the best crab cakes in Baltimore, Maryland. I tried a lot of great ones and some that were just average. But it was a mission that was worth completing… although it ended up being quite expensive.

I knew that there would be some steep competition for the top spot. And ultimately, I settled on my ranking. But what I found is that three spots make crab cakes that are head and shoulders above the others. So decided I only needed to divide it into two buckets: The Top 3 and then The Others.

Here is my list of the best crab cakes in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Top 3 Baltimore Crab Cakes

#1. Koko's Pub

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Koko's Pub has arguably the best Baltimore crab cake.
Koko's Pub

I knew finding the best crabcake in Baltimore was going to have some close competition. But when I made it to Koko’s, I knew I had found my winner.

Koko’s Pub is located north of downtown, in the neighborhood of Lauraville. But even if you are staying downtown or near the Inner Harbor, it’s worth the drive. It’s not on the water and doesn’t have the ambiance of a crab house. It’s a pub that began as a “hole in the wall” bar back in 1985 and has evolved into a popular neighborhood restaurant with the best crabcake in all of Baltimore.  

The crabcake here is giant at 11 ounces and with minimal filler. It’s priced accordingly of course, with current market price for the platter being around $42. You can also get the double platter, but I’d suggest that being to share. The crab cakes are seasoned with Old Bay and broiled or you can purchase individual uncooked cakes to take home.

There are also many other pub food options here, but it would be a sin to come here without getting at least one crabcake.

Crab cake size: 11 ounces

#2. Faidley's Seafood

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Faidley Seafood has one of the best crab cakes in Baltimore. It's located in Lexington Market in downtown and is a place tourists should visit.
Crabcake at Faidley Seafood

I was torn between my #2 and #3 spots. I think locals would generally err on the side of placing G&M here, but I choose the lump crabcake at Faidley’s as the second best Baltimore crab cakes.

Maybe I have some nostalgia towards Faidley, as it was the first lifechanging crabcake I ever had. And that memory of finding out how a crabcake can be made, vs what passes in other parts of the country has stayed with me.

Locals are also more likely to dismiss things in tourist areas in favor of neighborhood favorites. Just like New Yorkers avoid Times Square like the plague (there are a few good restaurants in Times Square, they are just hard to find). 

But as a tourist staying downtown, I might not even have a car to go to these other areas. And I love the concept of this Lexington Market downtown. You can get steamed crabs, raw seafood, beer, and lots of other foods here. But Faidley’s and their crab cakes are the main draw.

Crab cake size: unknown

#3. G&M Restaurant

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G&M Restaurant has what many locals believe is the best crab cake in Baltimore.
G&M Restaurant

While I rank G&M Restaurant as my 3rd best crab cake in Baltimore, maybe I should have just made it a tie for 2nd. Whatever. The close-up picture should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about this 8-ounce jumbo lump crabcake. It’s simply awesome.

You can order a smaller 4-ounce cakes as a sandwich, but the platter portion is perfectly sized. The atmosphere at G&M is, let’s call it unique – in large building devoid of character from the outside. The generic interior certainly doesn’t make you think you’re about to have the best crabcake of your life either. But I do like the bar area.

G&M has a very large menu, almost like it’s designed to steer you away from their best item. But this is because G&M is a local restaurant that happens to have a great crabcake, not a spot trying to be known for one item.

But what I can say, is if you are driving along Rt 95, or are heading to or from BWI Airport, you should make the detour to stop at G&M. 

Crab cake size: 8 ounces

The Others

Pappas Restaurant & Sports Bar

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Pappas Restaurant & Sports Bar has some of the best crab cakes in the Baltimore area.

Mark Pappas moved from Greece to the Unted states in 1956 without any money or knowing any English. But by 1972, he was able to speak fluently and had saved up enough to open Pappas Restaurant and Sports Bar in Parkville, just north of the Baltimore city line. And along the way, he seems to have also learned how to make a fantastic crab cake.

The secret recipe for the 8-ounce crab cake hasn’t changed in over 50 years and has racked up numerous awards and recognitions as one of the best crab cakes in Maryland. I like to sit in the bar area with the televisions, but the recently renovated dining area is now quite nice. They also have a seafood market across the street and have expanded the restaurant to locations in Cockeysville and Glen Burnie.

Crab cake size: 8 ounces

Jimmy's Famous Seafood

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Jimmy's has great crab cakes in Baltimore.

Owner Antonios Minadakis literally grew up at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, as he lived in apartment above the restaurant. That’s because his father, Jimmy, founded the restaurant. He went on to learn all aspects of the business until ultimately deciding to lead the kitchen.

There is a lively bar on the first floor, and a dining area with live music on the top floor. It can be an extremely fun place to come hang, with themed party brunches and other events.

Just as famous as the crab cakes, is the Seafood UFO, which contains a crab cake, fried shrimp, fried oysters, and shrimp salad on a homemade bun. You can also order it in a “huge” size, which feeds at least 3-5 people.

Nick's Fish House

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Nick's Fish House is located right on the water and has a great atmosphere to get steamed crabs or crab cakes.
Nick's Fish House

Nick’s Fish House offers a quintessential Chesapeake Bay dining experience on the Baltimore Peninsula. It sits right on the water and so it provides a scenic setting for enjoying crab cakes and other seafood. You can dine at open aired picnic tables and there are also two outdoor bars.

But there’s two things I learned about Nicks:

  1. It has the best atmosphere on this list (in regard to feeling like a seafood shack)
  2. It has the worst crab cakes on this list

So come for the atmosphere or come for the great orange crushes. But don’t necessarily come for the crab cakes. And yes, I do love this place.

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Other notable places not listed here are Costas Inn (pretty good) and Gertrude’s (eh).