Bayard House’s jumbo lump cakes are topped with lemon and beurre blanc.
The Bayard House Restaurant | Chesapeake City, Md.
A large needlepoint by the late Allaire du Pont hangs in the foyer of The Bayard House. The well-known Cecil County resident and philanthropist was a big fan of the restaurant. So are we. It resides in the oldest building in town and is neatly tucked along the banks of the C&D Canal—a perfect spot to enjoy a crab cake. The cake that we sampled consisted primarily of finely shredded crab, with only a few flecks of jumbo lump. The entrée of two baked 5-ounce cakes topped with lemon beurre blanc includes a vegetable and potato du jour ($32). The chefs at Bayard say the cakes are gluten-free. 11 Bohemia Ave., Chesapeake City, Md., (410) 885-5040, bayardhouse.com
Chesapeake Inn | Chesapeake City, Md.
The Chesapeake Inn is known as party central during Canal Day each June, but it is also well known for its crab cakes. The entrée of two pan-seared 4-ounce cakes is served with the vegetable du jour and a choice of potato, rice du jour or pasta ($35; one cake, $19). Dine in the classy upper-level dining room, the bar area or outside on the deck—all offer a prime view of the neighboring marina and the C&D Canal. The chefs at the inn don’t use a lot of jumbo lump in their cakes, but they use very little filler, which is good news for crab cake purists. 605 Second St., Chesapeake City, Md., (410) 885-2040, chesapeakeinn.com.
Schaefer’s Canal House | Chesapeake City, Md.
Quaint Chesapeake City features a number of restaurants along the C&D Canal, but Schaefer’s is the lone dining spot on the north side of the town’s landmark bridge. The second-floor veranda is the best place to partake of Schaefer’s 5-ounce cakes, which are loaded with jumbo lump and broiled until golden brown. But dining inside is also good, as modern dining areas feature large windows to allow easy viewing of passing ships and the town’s south side. The dinner entrée is served with a baked potato, vegetable of the day and a side salad ($20; add another cake for $11). The folks here aren’t kidding when they say they use little filler. Our cake started to break apart on the plate—and that’s a good thing. 208 Bank St., Chesapeake City, Md., (410) 885-7200, schaeferscanalhouse.com.
Woody’s Crab House | North East, Md.
We heard that Woody’s serves one of the best crab cakes around, and we weren’t disappointed. This 4.5-ounce golden mound is full of jumbo lump bound by a sparing bit of mayo and seasoned just right with Old Bay. Adding cocktail or tartar sauce would be a sin. The dinner entrée can be broiled or fried and comes with a choice of two sides (one cake, $15.99; two cakes, $21.99). For lunch, order the crab cake on a roll, bread or crackers ($10.99), or try the Woody Cake topped with ham, tomato and melted cheese on an English muffin ($11.99). The casual restaurant, decorated with all things nautical, including numerous topless mermaids, offers paper-covered tables in its dining rooms, but also has a large front deck and a tiki bar in the back. Strands of white lights hung throughout create a party feel. 29 S. Main St., North East, Md., (410) 287-3541, woodyscrabhouse.com.