Yes We Can!
The past couple times we've been to Annapolis, we have been looking for a great place to get seafood, especially crabs. Our first trip, we ate at a place called Harris Crab House and had a good experience, but it was a bit far away from Annapolis. This last trip, we found what we were looking for - Cantler's Riverside Inn
Cantler's is located just a few minutes outside downtown Annapolis you have to take a few winding roads that lead you back to this hidden gem of a restaurant that is located right on the water. It's not a big place and it's well known among the locals and typically crowded, so expect to wait for a table. We went for lunch on an early Sunday afternoon and had to wait for about 20 minutes, which I'd assume is fairly common.
There are both indoor and outdoor dining areas and we were fortunate enough to be able to eat outside. Most of the tables are connected together (a la long picnic tables) and you sit on long benches, which means everyone kind of crowds together and enjoys the entire experience as a collective group. People are pounding away and cracking crabs all around you and the smell of fresh seafood fills the air as you look out over the water. Nothing fancy about it - Cantler's is truly authentic. Crab Cake Sandwich
The menu features a variety of seafood options as well as other things for people who are in the mood for something else. Our group didn't rate high on the variety scale with four of us ordering the lump crab cake sandwich. Branching away from the crab cake party, Nicole ordered the crab legs and my mom ordered the steamed shrimp. We also ordered a basket of steamed shrimp for the table as an appetizer. Everything we ordered was OUTSTANDING! The steamed shrimp were enormous and had great flavor and I don't think I've ever tasted a better crab cake. Not only was it huge, it had awesome flavor with large chunks of fresh crab (delivered straight off the boat to the restaurant's dock) and basically no filler at all. The side of hush puppies that I had with it were very good as well. I'd want to go back and try the all-you-can-eat steamed Blue Crabs, but it'd be tough to pass up another opportunity to get another crab cake sandwich. Honestly, it'd be tough to ever pass up a sandwich that good.
My only complaint about Cantler's would be the service. Nearly everyone we encountered that worked there would fall under the category of rude. The parking attendant, hostess, and our waitress all had trouble being friendly or exhibiting any sort of hospitality. We also had a tough time getting our drinks refilled in a timely manner. That being said, we were so happy with the food that it didn't matter too much.
Cantler's is exactly the type of restaurant we were hoping to find. A local restaurant with a great atmosphere that reflected the culture of Maryland and the coastal/Eastern Shore area. A meal here helps make spending time in Annapolis truly memorable.
Cantler's Riverside Inn
458 Forest Beach Road, Annapolis, MD 21409