Can I get enough seafood? No I can’t. I love them, all kind of them. And you can get good seafood in DC at DC Fish Market or The Wharf. Just along Maine Ave in South West DC on the water front, not far from Tidal Basin ( Read my post about DC in the Mist here ). This open air seafood market has been serving DC since 1805.
Find a parking spot is always a nightmare, especially on Sundays. The best bet is to park along the street and take a walk. Though there are only about 10 or less vendors but there are plenty of seafood variety to choose from fish, lobsters, clams, squid, octopus but shrimps and craps seem to be the best selling items here. People line up to get fresh Maryland blue crabs by bushel and have them cook on the spot.
MARYLAND BLUE CRABS , PLEASE!!
I always plan to eat lunch here. Usually fast items like a dozen ( or two) of steamed Jumbo shrimp smothered in Old Bay seasoning, fresh chucked oyster, ceviche and clam chowder soup ( it feels so good during cold day visit). But you can order a sandwich, or other fried food if you have time to wait for your order.
If you haven’t had Maryland blue crabs, you are missing out.The meat is packed with its natural sweetness which is very distinguishable from other type of crabs.
I’ve eaten a wide variety of crabs in my life. By far Maryland blue crabs are the best.
Prices of crabs vary in size – male/female sold by dozen or by a bushel. They always throw in few extra small ones if you buy a lot. If you want your crabs steamed there, ask the vendor where to take – each has their own kitchen-. Don’t lose the receipt as you need to show the cooker where you bought the crabs from.
They also add Old Bay per request. I usually tell them to go easy on the seasoning because it could get salty or sometimes I just opt out all together because the crab is more than delicious by itself.
Finding a place to sit is another challenge if you want to eat there. There is a covered seating area by the water but only for Captain White’s customer ( I found their food is just ok compared to others.) Otherwise, you just put your food on a little bar and standing only. The only warning here is watch out for the seagulls. Other option is to walk further away and find place or steps along broadwalk to sit and eat and enjoy the view of the marina.
It’s a typical fresh market where you can see the evidence of people doing their works. So don’t expect to be spotless. Fish is getting cleaned. Steam comes out of the cooking pot. This place is alive.
All in all, sometimes when you travel, you might end up in a ‘tourist trap’ which some people are fine with their convenience. But if I have a chance, I like to visit where the locals hangout, the little nook and corners of the town where the true culture of the people or town is unmasked.
DC Fish Market
Address: 1100 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024
How To Get There: By Car with limited pay street parking along Maine Ave. Nearest Metro is L’Enfant Plaza, about 15 minutes walk.