Nothing beats eating seafood with a waterfront view.
Ocean City can get pretty busy during the summer tourist season. And while there are a ton of great seafood spots on the island, if you have a car or are willing to take an Uber or Lyft into West Ocean City, you can find excellent food without the same unbearable crowds. And unlike some of the other more touristy spots, here you can watch the ships exit and leave the harbor right from your table.
Make no mistake: some of these spots will still have a wait. Generally, if you're trying to eat in Ocean City during peak times, I'd be worried if the restaurant didn't have a wait. But these five restaurants serve excellent seafood without the same touristy atmosphere that you will find over the bridge.
Crab Alley | 9703 Golf Course Rd.
Crab Alley used to be a local secret, but not anymore. This is the place to visit if you're not afraid to get your hands dirty. Come here for dinner on an in-season weekend, and you won't be able to find an empty table in the place. But that is a good sign.
The crabs here are to die for. If you're an Old Bay fanatic, make sure you try their steamed shrimp, too. I prefer to eat upstairs by the bar during happy hour and watch the ships roll in. With food this good, you really can't beat their happy hour drink prices.
Harborside Bar and Grill | 12841 Harbor Rd.
Sometimes, after a long day at the beach, you just want to sit back and enjoy a nice cold drink and some delicious seafood. If that sounds like you, then you definitely want to try Harborside.
There isn't a bad seat in the place. Whether you're at the bar or seated at a table, Harborside is a go-to spot for watching the harbor. And with the restaurant's weather-worn look and off-the-beaten-path location, there really isn't anything comparable. The crab legs are excellent, as is most of the food. But people come back for the Orange Crush.
Sunset Grill | 12933 Sunset Ave.
Sunset Grill is definitely one of the more up-scale seafood spots on the harbor, but don't let that scare you. Don't get me wrong: I love diving into a bucket of crab legs, but sometimes it's nice to have actual dinner service. Sunset Grille fills that niche.
Many of the area's biggest fishing tournaments are held here, so if you're in town for one of them, it's an excellent opportunity to check out the food and watch local competitors show off their catches. If you enjoy the more laid-back feel and live entertainment, then definitely check out their open-air bar called Teaser's.
Shark on the Harbor | 12924 Sunset Ave.
If you want to leave the entire touristy feel behind and go to a nice formal restaurant on the water, then Shark on the Harbor is it. Here you'll pay $30 for an entree, but it will be the best you have during your entire vacation.
Aside from special occasions, I usually come here for the Sunday brunch. Their brunch menu changes week to week, but it always has a great combination of surf, turf, and traditional breakfast foods. And when the weather is nice, there isn't a better spot to sip a mimosa and watch the boats head out for a day of fishing.
Hooper's Crab House | 12913 Ocean Gateway
Even though it's the one seafood spot not on the West Ocean City Harbor, you really can't talk about seafood without mentioning Hooper's. Overlooking the bay, Hooper's is a great spot for a casual lunch or dinner.
What sets Hooper's apart from some of these other restaurants? Their all-you-can-eat-feast (shown above). Just $40 gets you all-you-can-eat crab legs, steamed shrimp, fried chicken, corn, and hush puppies. It's an obscene amount of food.
Well, did we leave any spots out? Tell us your favorite West Ocean City restaurant in the comment section below!