Drop an anchor in Annapolis!
Downtown Annapolis (MD)
First off- I swear I will stop writing about oysters, but it’s summer and we’re currently in the land of crabs and oysters! I actually grew up visiting Annapolis, as it’s the home of my dads alma mater- The Naval Academy. Annapolis is known as the sailing capital of the US. It’s a beautiful city with a breathtaking waterfront- definitely worth a visit if you’re in the D.C area- about an hour west with traffic! From tourist shops and tours, museums, sailboat races, bustling food scene, to local coffee and spice shops, Annapolis has a lot to offer. This particular day we visited some of our favorite places, one being a restaurant I’ve visited multiple times over my lifespan.
McGarvey’s Annapolis- Oysters are from the James River
A staple of this historic city, McGarvey’s is a beloved restaurant with rich history. For 45 years, the restaurant has served the community from its famous Oyster Bar and saloon. McGarvey’s was conceived in 1974 by retired Air Force Captain, Michael Ashford. A couple years back he sold the bar to three Naval Academy midshipmen and is quoted saying, “it takes three Navy guys to do what one Air Force guy did.” The current owners have no intention of changing the restaurant, and plan on keeping it as an institution of Annapolis,
On the menu you’ll find a variety of seafood. On the raw bar you’ll find oysters, shrimp, clams and mussels. The menu itself also has a variety of soups, salads and entrées- with plenty of seafood options amongst other dishes. We stopped in for Oysters, which will run you $18 for a dozen, $12 for a half dozen. The Oysters we got were local, wind from the James River. They were rather plump, with a mild brininess and flavor. Would absolutely recommend stopping in and checking out the saloon, or sitting outside and enjoying the views of Ego Alley.
Sailor Oyster Bar (https://www.sailoroysterbar.com)
A newer hot spot in Annapolis, Sailor Oyster Bar is a must stop spot- rated highly for the oysters. The restaurant is set inside an early 1900’s rowhouse in historic Annapolis, and has a cozy deserted island vibe. The restaurant itself has no kitchen- meaning no ovens, stoves or microwaves- it only has an intimate bar area where everything is prepped. The menu has a wide variety of offerings, from their unique cocktails to their seafood options. There are also small “snacks” and sandwiche. Something unique about this restaurant is that chef will head to market, ask what’s the fresh, and create a dish that’s only offered until it runs out.
When we visited we tried their Otter Creek oysters, antipasto olives and Ceviche. The olives were a delight, served with green onion, lemon zest and other goodies. The ceviche was out of this world. I’m particular with ceviche due to my South American heritage, but the kitchens take on the traditional dish was unique. Doused in “tigers milk” a citrus blend, the ceviche was simple, highlighting the yellowtail fish with shallot, cilantro and a spicy kick of fresno peppers. Last but not least- the oysters. The Otter Creek Oysters were from Maine, and have a very distinct taste. The other oysters I’ve talked about (Nokomis Bay and James River) were rather mild. These beauties from Maine were far more briny. They might not be the option you want to go with if this is your first oyster trial- but if you are a lover of this shellfish- absolutely order them. The ME oysters at SOB (affectionate acronym of the restauran) will run you $30 for a dozen, and the more local varieties are $20 For the same amount. An evening at SOB will probably run you about $60- and every dollar is 100% worth it.
Storm Brothers (mint chocolate chip)
Before you go- stop by Storm Brothers Ice Cream Company. The shop has been part of downtown Annapolis since 1979. They have an abundance of flavors, and when you walk in your immediately hit with the warm smell of their homemade waffle cones. A double scoop is $4.95 and one must also get one of their .95 cent waffle cones.
I honestly think I’ll have to make another post just to talk about other fantastic places to visit in Annapolis- there must be a raw bar per block- but I hope this gives an idea of some places to stop by.