Where to Eat Crabcakes, Crab Boils, and Soft-Shell Crabs in Philly

Whether you prefer a crisp-fried crabcake or a messy, hands-on crab boil, there’s a crustacean for everyone in this city.

The crabcakes at Oyster House | Photo courtesy of Bondfire

Crab is one of the ultimate warm weather foods: special enough to transport you, but casual enough to be eaten messily with both hands and a side of cold beer. For the more elegant among us, crabcakes are an excellent choice, perfect for pairing with white wine and an ocean view (or, you know, pretending you have an ocean view). And, of course, there are soft-shell crabs, the most fleeting and elusive of all the crabs. We’re just heading into the season for softies, so keep an eye for specials at your favorite restaurant. For now, no matter what mood you’re in, we’ve got a crab for you.

If you’re in the mood for a crab boil…

Amazing Crab House, Queen Village 
Amazing crab house is truly amazing. Select your seafood (obviously we recommend crab) and the sauce, along with any additions like corn on the cob or potatoes, then sit back and wait. What arrives is a bag of seafood soaked in sauce and ready for you to go to town. Don’t worry, bibs are included.

Shaking Seafood, Center City
Shaking seafood leans more Cajun than some crab boil spots, with a spicy cajun seasoning option, as well as sliced sausage thrown in for good measure. Note that it’s a BYOB and bringing a six-pack is a must.

Bob’s House of Crabs, Strawberry Mansion 
The wait is worth it at Bob’s, where you can get snow crab, Dungeness, and blue crabs boiled in a spicy cajun seasoning daily. They also sell live crabs to cook at home, and plenty of other seafood like shrimp and crawdads, which can be tough to find in Philly.

 

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Crab Joyous, Bala Cynwyd 
The name pretty much says it all, but if you need additional information, make a mental note that the best seasoning option here is “The Boom!!!” — a mixture of cajun, lemon pepper and butter garlic flavorings. During the season, they also serve fried soft-shells.

Captain Hooks, North Philly 
Snow crab and Dungeness crab clusters are on the menu here, as are bulk options like 5 pound or bushel-sized orders of whole crabs, perfect for feeding the family (or picnicking by the Schuykill.)

Crazy Crab, Pennsauken 
Though Crazy Crab is mostly cajun (they’ve got sausage, corn and red potatoes on the menu) they also have the option to spice your seafood boil with Old Bay, for those partial to a more Maryland-style flavor.

Cajun Heroes Seafood Boil Gumbo & Po’Boys, Queen Village 
Cajun Heroes is ready to transport you straight to New Orleans, with po-boys (look for the soft-shell crab version!) gumbo, and of course plenty of boil options: they offer escargot, crawfish, and all the classics like blue crab and snow crab.

If you’re in the mood for soft-shells…

Anastasi Seafood, Italian Market 
Anastasi has it all: live crabs, including softies when they’re in season, as well as the option to sit down and eat fried soft-shells. Or both. Probably both.

 

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Royal Izakaya, Queen Village 
The pricey nigiri platters might get a lot of love on Instagram, but Jesse Ito also does fun things with maki, like stuffing it with soft-shell crabs coated in puffed rice and deep fried.

Oyster House, Center City 
Count on Oyster House to drop soft-shells on the menu as soon as they’re available locally. Last year, their softie BLT kept us coming back for more, and we can’t wait to see what they try next.

If you’re in the mood for crabcakes…

Le Cavalier crabcakes | Photo provided

Le Cavelier, Wilmington 
Look for Le Cav’s Frenched-up crabcakes as a special (hint: they’ll be on the menu for Mother’s Day). They come drenched in a butter béarnaise sauce, which makes us wonder why more crabcakes don’t come with a silky sauce.

Oyster House, Center City 
No matter the season, Oyster House has Maryland-style crabcakes, served elegantly with asparagus. They’re dependable, fresh, heavy on the crab (and light on all the distractions.)

Anastasi Seafood, Italian Market
Crabs can be a lot of work. If you prefer not to work for your dinner, let Anastasi serve up a couple of their pan-seared crabcakes. Just like most of their menu, if you like it you can take some home to cook yourself.

Pearl’s Oyster Bar, Reading Terminal Market
Tucked inside Reading Terminal Market, find Pearl’s Oyster Bar. The counter-service spot specializes in fresh oysters, but their crabcake sandwich is a steal for lunch at only $12.

 

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Devon Seafood Grill, Rittenhouse 
Outdoor dining on Rittenhouse has become some of the hottest dinner real estate in town, and Devon is a great option for nibbling crabcakes (or, if you’re lucky, crab-stuffed shrimp), sipping a cocktail, and people watching.

Strictly Seafood, North Philly 
The name Strictly Seafood implies a limited menu, but this takeout-only spot actually has an overwhelmingly large menu. Luckily, you can add on a single crabcake to any order for just $5.99, so feel free to explore.

Olde Bar, Old City
They’re only available at brunch — which, honestly, might be the best time to have a crabcake.

Foose Grill, Lansdowne
This neighborhood spot in Lansdowne serves excellent seafood, including housemade crabcakes packed with crab and little else. Save room for sides of collards and mac and cheese.

Clam TavernClifton Heights 
An evening at Clam Taven means friendly service, baked clams, and crabcake sandwiches. Oh, and probably making friends with the table next to yours.

Stinger’s Waterfront, Ridley Park 
There are not that many spots to eat seafood by the water in Philly, but at Stinger’s you can. An order of crabcakes and one of their frozen beverages, and you might as well be beachside.

[email protected]Bristol 
Chef-driven [email protected] focuses on sustainable seafood in classic presentations. The vibe is date-night appropriate and the crabcakes and jumbo lump with avocado and sriracha mayonnaise.