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seafood restaurantWhile it would be considered an atrocity (we do not mean this lightly) to not try blue crab during a trip to Maryland, seafood lovers should not limit themselves to crustacean delights. With approximately 3,100 miles of coastline to its name, the state offers some of the freshest seafood available on the East Coast, so don't be afraid to dig in!

If you're not sure where to start, try out a few of the top seafood restaurants in Maryland:

Fresh is the Name of the Game

When you get to pick the fish you're going to eat for dinner, you know that it's going to be pretty darn fresh. On the cobblestone street of Fells Point in Baltimore, the Spiliadis family has been filleting, sauteing and serving fish for their patrons for several years. The Black Olive is a Greek restaurant that allows you to choose your sole, snapper, rockfish or sea bass straight from the eatery's onsite tank, with the day's fresh catch at the ready. Using organic ingredients in many of their dishes, The Black Olive also has a wide selection of organic wines that pair perfectly with the sweet or tangy notes of seafood.

The Black Olive is located a few blocks from the Baltimore Harbor along Bond Street. Since this eatery is popular with both visitors and locals alike, reservations are strongly encouraged!

If you're heading a bit south during your travels through the free state, head to Chesapeake Beach (near Prince Frederick and north of Solomons Island) for another ultra-fresh dining experience. At the Rod 'N' Reel Restaurant, lobster is brought in straight from the local waters, and is kept in the eatery's tank until you're ready for it. As you're waiting for your dinner to cook, enjoy a plate of oysters rockefeller - oysters that have been baked with parmesan and delicious spinach and pernod, or try out the shrimp and chorizo, a south-of-the-border take on a classic shrimp appetizer. Got a few dietary restrictions? No problem! A number of Rod 'N' Reel's dishes are offered gluten-free, and all seafood and meat is cooked to your specifications. Just be sure to leave room for dessert! The chocolate hazelnut pate is something dreams are made of.

Seafood Showoffs

With years of practice making incredible seafood, a few Maryland dining options decided to take it up a notch. If you're looking for seafood has just a bit of swagger, head to Easton (located in southeast Maryland) where you'll find the largely unassuming Bartlett Pear Inn. This rather normal-looking colonial home houses one of the state's most brag-worthy eateries - although you won't find any smug staff members here. Get ready for a two or three-course meal with options like Maryland crab ravioli, wild king salmon tartar, sea scallop Caesar salad for the first course, followed by wild striped bass served alongside local root veggies in basil and balsamic or wild halibut with tomato confit. Is your stomach rumbling yet?

If you didn't save your appetite, you can still savor the many well-choreographed flavors of the Bartlett Pear Inn by choosing a few selections from the restaurant's tapas menu, which often go quite well with a stiff drink from its cocktail menu. Open only during the evening from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, spots in the cozy dining area can quickly fill up, so phone ahead for reservations! Weddings often take place here as well, so unless you are a great wedding crasher, chances are you might have to time your dining experience here beforehand.

indian seafood marylandWant an ethnic twist to your seafood? Head to Hagerstown - located 75 miles west of Baltimore - to get some of the state's finest seafood peppered into authentic Indian cuisine. A particularly smack-worthy dish is the shrimp masala, which includes the seafood simmered with tomatoes, onions and delicate Indian spices in a delectable creamy sauce. The fish vindaloo, which features a filet of cod in steamy spices with soft potatoes, is another fine choice. Dinner hours here start at 5 p.m. most nights, with the lunch buffet (yes, it's worth it) starting at 11:30 a.m. on weekdays and noon on weekends.

Island Dreams

When you think of islands, it's hard not to think of delicious seafood - and Maryland's Tilghman Island offers a variety of seaside dining opportunities for you to enjoy. Mike and Eric's Bay Hundred Restaurant is accessible via car or boat (it is on an island, after all!) and offers seafood that is "A Class Act in a Casual Setting." The restaurant caters to both upscale and casual tastes, so no matter what your budget, you can enjoy the local fruits of the sea.