Faidley’s Seafood: Crabcakes at Lexington Market in Baltimore

The specialty of the house, the Jumbo Lump Crabcake Platter
Since 1887, Faidley's Seafood has been operating at Lexington Market in Baltimore, Maryland

Since 1887, Faidley’s Seafood has been operating at Lexington Market in Baltimore, Maryland

Faidley’s Seafood, located inside historic Lexington Market, is a Baltimore institution famous for their jumbo lump crabcakes and fresh seafood. Faidley’s Seafood, which was founded all the way back in 1886, is one of the most well known purveyors of fresh seafood in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Crabcakes, which are a symbol of Baltimore cuisine, are balls of crab which are deep fried until golden brown. If Faidley’s Seafood is known for one dish, it would have to be their award-winning jumbo lump crabcakes. They sell over 1,500 of them a day using the same proven recipe and process they have used for over 30 years.

And, they are proud of their accomplishments, which you will see prominently displayed around the restaurant.

The entrance to Lexington Market

The entrance to Lexington Market

You might be surprised to hear that Baltimore’s historic Lexington Market is one of the longest-running markets in the world. The market, which is located on its original site, has been operating since 1782. Not only is the market the oldest in America but it is almost as old as America itself.

Today, Lexington Market is composed of a main market along with shops on Lexington Street between Liberty Street and Greene Street. Inside the main market building are small eateries, shops, and stalls selling everything from meat, to seafood, to produce.

One of these eateries, which is probably the most famous and largest in the market, is Faidley’s Seafood.

Interior of Faidley’s Seafood

Interior of Interior of Faidley's Seafood

Interior of Faidley’s Seafood

While historic, Lexington Market wasn’t your typical farmers market. It was located in a grittier neighborhood of Baltimore. And, Faidley’s Seafood was not your typical restaurant. It was less of a restaurant and more of a fish market and raw bar selling all types of fresh seafood including crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, and lobster.

What I found great was how you could order and eat lunch from the restaurant and then take fresh seafood to go. I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the fish market which reminded me of other fish markets I have visited on my travels.

If you are planning to stay at eat, you should know what to expect. Don’t expect table service. There weren’t even tables for guests to sit down at and eat. Instead, there were circular standing tables scattered around the fish market along with three communal style tables. This was no big deal for me and added to the experience.

You could always take your order to go, but I wouldn’t recommend eating in the area directly surrounding the market. While it hurts me to talk poorly about some of the people in the area, the constant harassment for food, money, and cigarettes was not enjoyable.

Faidley’s Seafood Menu

The menu at Faidley's Seafood, Baltimore, Maryland

The menu at Faidley’s Seafood

The menu at Faidley’s Seafood was a seafood lovers dream. There was something for everyone. You had an assortment of crab, shrimp, fish, oysters, clams, calamari, mussels, sides, and soups.

I came to Faidley’s Seafood to try one thing and one thing only. And, that was the jumbo lump crabcake. But, as a lover of seafood myself, I had to try my best not to order something else. Everything on the menu looked great.

Other than the shrimp basket, mussels, and soups, seafood items could be ordered a la carte or part of a platter. Each platter included two sides. Sides included french fries, greens, coleslaw, macaroni salad, cucumber salad, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, carrot salad, marinated vegetables, and pickled beets.

Raven Special Lager

Raven Special Lager

There was also an assortment of drinks including sodas and local beers such as the Raven Special Lager.

The best crabcake in Baltimore?

So why is Faidley’s Seafood considered by many to serve the best crabcake in Baltimore? It’s because they only use jumbo lump grade crab meat, a larger and higher quality type of meat which is harvested from the powerful swimming legs of larger crabs. Other restaurants use lower quality crab meat a long with extra fillers. Jumbo lump crab meat might be more expensive but the quality and flavor is second to none.

The process of making a crabcake at Faidley’s Seafood started with a generous portion of jumbo lump crab. The crab was then tossed in Old Bay seasoning before saltine crackers were added as a binder for the wet seasoning. The crab was then formed into a ball the size of a baseball. The balls were placed in the fridge to set overnight before being fried the next morning until golden brown.

Jumbo Lump Crabcake Platter

The specialty of the house, the Jumbo Lump Crabcake Platter

The specialty of the house, the Jumbo Lump Crabcake Platter

As I mentioned before, I came here for one thing only and that was the Jumbo Lump Crabcake Platter ($22.95). For my sides, I selected the french fries along with macaroni and cheese. The plate also had a simple salad with sliced tomatoes.

I was surprised how large the ball of crab was. It was as big as my fist. There were some large chunks of crab hidden inside the ball. The crab was unlike anything I have had before. It was tender and meaty with a buttery, almost creamy texture. The crab tasted fresh and was naturally salty and sweet in flavor. Without a doubt, the crab was the star of the dish

Close up of the jumpo lump crabcake

Close up of the jumpo lump crabcake

Mixed in with the crab was Old Bay seasoning which enhanced the crab without overpowering it or masking its flavors. I could taste some paprika, dried mustard, and celery seed. I didn’t taste any of the saltine crackers, which were used as a binder to keep the crab together as it was placed in the fryer. What you want to taste is only the crab, which I did. The less filler the better.

I wasn’t as enthusiastic with the breading that was surrounding the crab meat. I was expecting the breading to be crispy and golden brown. This really wasn’t the case. I wouldn’t say the breading was soggy but it wasn’t crispy. It was soft and lacking any sort of texture.

As for the sides, both the french fries and mac and cheese were simple and forgettable. The fries were basic, crispy on the outside while hot and steamy on the inside. The macaroni and cheese was nothing more than packaged al dente noodles and melted cheese.

Service

The workers at the counter were very friendly and seemed to be enjoying their job with smiles on their faces, even as they were getting ready to close.

Conclusion

So was the crabcake at Faidley’s Seafood worth it? While this isn’t something I would order every day, I didn’t mind spending extra to sample some of Baltimore’s famous jumbo lump crab. Sure this platter was expensive, but you get what you pay for.

I wouldn’t say this was the best crabcake I have ever. What I did like was the the generous amount of jumbo lump crab in each ball. I just wish the crabcake was crispier on the outside. I wanted a crunchy bite to compliment the soft, tender crab underneath.

As for the restaurant that was more of a fish market with standing only tables? I enjoyed the experience. Not every will feel the same way, so come try Faidley’s Seafood for yourself and see if you agree or disagree with me.

Pros

  • Large chunks of jumbo lump crab in each crabcake
  • Seafood lovers dream with restaurant, fish market, and raw bar in one
  • Located inside historic Lexington Market, in operation since 1782
  • Friendly workers

Cons

  • Crabcake could have been crispier on the outside
  • No where to sit and eat
  • Located in a rougher yet real area of Baltimore

Hours

Monday-Saturday: 9:30AM-5:30PM
Sunday: Closed

Address

203 N Paca St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Inside Lexington Market
GPS Coordinates: 39.291695,-76.622238

Map

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