‘Tis the season—for crabs, that is! The DMV is one of the best regions in the country to get tasty crabs this time of year, and a trip to the shore isn’t always necessary. Treat the family to a delicious—and delightfully messy—seafood meal at one of our favorite restaurants, or cook them yourself by heading to some iconic markets. Get your mallets and bibs ready and dig in!

Photo: Brianna Lehman via Flickr

Captain Pell’s Fairfax Crabhouse
This Fairfax fixture
offers an all-you-can-eat crab feast, along with crabs priced by size by the dozen. It’s best to call for specific pricing and availability. Also try their snow crab legs, seafood platters, crab balls, scallops, and melt-in-your mouth hush puppies—and check their website for coupons and specials!

10195 Fairfax Blvd. (Fairfax, Va)
Online: captainpell.com

Hot ‘n Juicy Crawfish
Though they’re known for their crawfish, this popular chain (with two locations in the DMV) also offers blue crabs when they’re in season. Instead of the usual Old Bay seasoning favored in the Mid-Atlantic, try flavorings like Louisiana, lemon pepper, “juicy Cajun,” and garlic butter—and pick your spice level. Other tasty options include soft shell crabs, fried shrimp, chicken wings, fried catfish, po’boys, or étouffée. And how can you pass up a fried brownie for dessert?

2651 Connecticut Ave., NW

116 W Broad St. (Falls Church, Va)
Online: hotnjuicycrawfish.com

The Maine Avenue Fish Market
If you want to DIY your crab craving, head over to the
country’s oldest continuously operating open-air fish market! Nestled between the Potomac River and the National Mall, you can get fresh or cooked seafood: heaping bushels of blue crab (they sell males, for those of you who like your crabs big and meaty!), shucked oysters, clams, shrimp, and freshly caught fish. Stock up for special occasions, grab something for lunch or dinner, or walk over to one of the nearby parks or the Tidal Basin for a scenic picnic.

1100 Maine Ave., SW (Waterfront)
Online: wharfdc.com/fish-market

Bethesda Crab House
A Bethesda tradition since 1961, this no-frills restaurant offers an all-you-can eat option (including corn on the cob and coleslaw), as well as by-the-dozen orders. Call ahead for availability and pricing. Craving something else? Try their crab cakes, shrimp, oysters, or Alaskan King Crab Legs—and save room for their signature Key Lime pie!

4958 Bethesda Ave. (Bethesda, Md)
Online: bethesdacrabhouse.com

Ivy City Smokehouse
Feel good while you fill your belly and head to this relatively new-to-the-scene seafood market, which specializes in bringing fresh seafood to the public at wholesale prices. Ivy City
Smokehouse is committed to sourcing sustainably harvested, responsibly farmed, and the locally fished seafood. Check their website for daily offerings, or head to the adjacent tavern to munch on everything from pastrami smoked salmon tacos and fish ‘n chips to all-you-can-eat blue crabs and mac ‘n cheese!

1356 Okie St., NE (Ivy City)
Online: ivycitysmokehouse.com

Quarterdeck Restaurant
Located in the
Fort Meyer Heights neighborhood for over 30 years, this family-friendly spot is best known for their seasonal Maryland blue crab feast and cold beer, but their also serve soups, salads, burgers, and a variety of seafood. Sides include applesauce (for your very pickiest eater!), baked potato, coleslaw, corn on the cob, French fries, onion rings, potato salad, steamed broccoli—you name it!

1200 Fort Myer Dr. (Arlington, Va)
Online: quarterdeckarlington.com

Where does your family go to get its crab fix? Tell us in the comments section below. 

—Katie Brown