As you pull your boat up to the dock at Hopkins Creek, don't be surprised if you hear the cheers of a football game or catch a whiff of sizzling seafood. In fact, you might want to follow your senses and land your vessel at River Watch Restaurant & Marina, an old-fashioned sports bar perched on the edge of the bay. Time slows down as you enter the restaurant's Happy Hour, which is in effect from open until close most nights, and affords plenty of time to enjoy specials such as bang bang shrimp, jerk chicken, crab dip, and fresh mussels. Those without a boat can hoof it to the restaurant, then rent one of the marina's 114 slips to spend an afternoon at sea.
Inspired by the seasons, executive chef Shawn McClure's menu features locally sourced dishes and changes weekly. Post up at the slate-blue oyster bar for an order of pan-seared scallops served with black seaweed salad and drizzled with carrot-ginger sauce ($11) or sushi-grade Ahi tuna tartare with a blood-orange glaze and jalapeno pesto ($11). Advance to the galley for dinner. The central seating area ushers in a faint breeze from the retractable street-level doors, inviting vibrant discussions and the freshest Burton Gilliam gossip. Try the restaurant's famed oysters (selection and availability varies daily), steamed mussels, clams, or shrimp with garlic-caper or roasted-tomato butter ($10–$18 per pound). Entrees include grilled salmon with leeks and roasted red-potato salad ($16), pan-sautéed crab cakes sided with sugar-snap peas and a tangy mustard-parsley sauce ($24), and fish and chips ($15).
Nearly 40 years ago, Greek immigrant Demetrios "Jimmy" Minadakis helped build Jimmy's Famous Seafood with his bare hands, and the business has remained in his hardworking family ever since. With fresh seafood flown in daily and a menu listing more than 80 tasty plates, there is hardly a shelled, gilled, or exoskeleton-clad creature from the great puddle that Jimmy's doesn't offer. The restaurant specializes in crab and crab-infused dishes, such as the crab cake platter ($14.95), crab-stuffed jumbo shrimp ($21.95), and Alaskan snow crab legs ($18.95). Other mouth-watering mollusks include oysters on the half shell ($9.95) and littleneck clams shucked to order ($6.95 for 12). Fans of land mammals can use their teeth to applaud an impressive array of red meats, like bacon-wrapped filet mignon ($19.95) or lamb chops ($24.95) served with traditional Greek accoutrements, such as phyllo bread, Tzatziki sauce, and a moustache bib.
Though he spent much of his life as a truck driver for the city, Shareef's true calling was cooking. But it wasn't until he resigned from his driving job that he took a leap of faith and opened his first restaurant. Shareef's business has since evolved from halal hot dogs and burgers cooked on a small grill at his first establishment to a full menu of Mediterranean-style wraps, sandwiches, and platters served at two namesake eateries. To anchor the menu, the grill's chefs pair tortillas, buns, and beds of lettuce with halal and kosher meats and vegetables sautéed in their own butter sauce and craft housemade desserts including sweet-potato-and-cheese pies from fresh ingredients. And regardless of what location you are dining at, Shareef and his staff aim to make their space inviting and their food consistent by making every order fresh.
And Shareef's diners aren't the only ones raving about the menu's healthy yet delicious Mediterranean cuisine. The mayor of Baltimore even took notice, presenting the eatery with a certificate of recognition for their "outstanding contributions and dedication to providing . . . families with nutritious, affordable food."
As guests round the corner on their way to Captain James Landing, the first thing they see is the majestic prow of a ship looming over the street, as though ready to set sail across the pavement. This illusion dramatically heralds the maritime theme of the restaurant, where diners enjoy the fruits of the sea alongside the water. When the weather is warm, guests can dine on the waterside patio, crushing crabs and swigging cold beer in harmony with the soothing sounds of gently lapping waves and Aquaman's soft sobbing. Inside feels no less festive, with picnic-style benches lined up beneath a mounted marlin and lamps repurposed from wooden steering wheels.