Angelina's Restaurant Legendary Maryland Crab Cakes and Recipe

by Digby_Adams

In mid-Century Baltimore, Angelina's Restaurant ruled the city with its fabled recipe for Maryland crab cakes.

In 2009 Baltimore lost an icon. Angelina's Restaurant in Northeast Baltimore closed its doors. It began in the 1950s with the real Angelina and her family. They were the ones to create the first Angelina's Restaurant Maryland crab cakes. Their secret was to use only the freshest meat from blue crabs caught nearby in the Chesapeake Bay. In the 1960's the Reilly family took over. The Italian restaurant then became a bit Irish pub. In fact the Reilly's were the first in Baltimore to serve Guinness.

This was the Angelinas that I fell in love with. Whenever my parents would take us to Washingon DC to see the historic sites or the Smithsonian Museum, we would stop - not in a glitzy Inner Harbor restaurant - but in the converted row house of Angelina's restaurant and we ALL ALWAYS had Maryland crab cakes. Because my as my father would ALWAYS say if you want a true Maryland crab cake, then it must be made with blue crab meat from the Cheseapeake Bay. Just like we always had cheesecake in New York. We actually never had crab cakes at home in New England. But we loved them at Angelina's.

Angelina's Restaurant Northeast Baltimore

This is the way Angelina's looked in its prime.
This is the way Angelina's looked in its prime.

Learn about Angelina's Crab Cakes

When I met my husband-to-be he had just moved to New England from Maryland and we found that we both loved Angelina's Restaurant. So we began to include it in our visits to his family. But one sad day, we arrived in Northeast Baltimore and realized that our first happiness at spying a parking place led to our dispair. The parking was plentiful because Angelina's had indeed closed. It seems that the newest owner died shortly after purchasing it and the estate sold it. The new owners have not reopened the restaurant - but are selling those delicious Angelin'as Maryland crab cakes!

Buy Angelina's Maryland Crab Cakes Online

At first I was upset. Because my sense of community was a bit offended. How would an interent company compare with my beloved Angelina's. Where we would sit and talk to the locals while we enjoyed our Maryland crab cakes. Well I did some research the the business is still located in Maryland on the Eastern Shore, just a few miles from the docks where the blue crabs are unloaded fresh from the Chesapeake Bay. One of the Managing Partners, Chad Meushaw, even has a picture of his grandfather crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay. And they still only use 100% Maryland Blue Crab meat in their crab cakes providing a market for the fisherman of the Chesapeake Bay. I've bought these and they are wonderful. They taste just like they did at the restaurant! Yes, they are expensive - so isn't French Champagne or authentic Balsamic vinegar. Because Angelina's of Maryland crab cakes don't use imported crab fillers from places like China, they cost more - and taste so much better! Click Here to buy authentic and delicious Maryland crab cakes from Angelina's of Maryland.

Alleged Secret Recipe of Angelina's Maryland Crab Cakes

The best recipe for Maryland crab cakes I've ever found

Apparently back when the original Angelina was still at the restaurant, she allowed the Baltimore Sun newspaper to publish her secret recipe for Maryland crab cakes. The women of Baltimore cut it out of the paper and put it in their cookbooks for safe keeping. Now every so often this recipe surfaces when someone asks a question about it. I've made this recipe and it is my go to Maryland crab cake recipe. But I can't get it to taste like the original. Probably because I don't live in Baltimore and have access to the fresh blue crab meat the way Angelina and these women did. But if you want to give it a try here is the alleged secret recipe of Angelina.

Ingredients for Angelina's Maryland Crab Cakes

1 pound lump crabmeat (picked over)

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/3 cup milk, approximately (whole or 1/2 & 1/2)

1 egg, beaten slightly

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons parsley, fresh chopped

2 teaspoons onions, minced (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon flour, sifted for dusting

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or butter for frying)

cooking spray

How to Make Maryland Crab Cakes

Expect to spend the afternoon in the kitchen

 1. Put the blue crab meat in a large bowl and cover with bread crumbs and moisten with milk.

 2. Combine beaten egg with the mayonnaise in a separate small bowl. Add baking powder, parsley, onion, salt, and pepper.

 3. Pour this mixture over crab/crumb/milk mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Dust cakes lightly with flour. Don't rush this step. If you do, the crab cakes don't form properly. I always expect to spend the better part of an afternoon making these crab cakes for dinner.

 4. After one hour, form the blue crab  meat into cakes. The trick is not to over mix or over form. Just cup the crabmeat gently to make the crab cake shape. They don't have to be perfectly alike. Put each individual crab cake on wax-paper - (putting wax paper on top too) and let them sit until ready to fry. Then you have to let them sit again, for at least one hour, this makes the crab cake easier to hold together during the cooking process.

5. Spray cooking spray on bottom of pan, (either stainless steel, or non-stick). Forget this step and you can have quite a mess on your hands. I've done that.

 6. Heat butter or oil until hot. (Shimmering) Fry crab cakes approximately 4 minutes per side, carefully, flipping over and frying for another 4-5 minutes until browned. I've tried both and I prefer the butter.

 7. Drain on paper towel and serve.

I always serve this meal with Guinness ale, because that's the way both Matt and I remember it when we were growing up. Honestly the crab cakes from Angelina's of Maryland taste more authentic than the ones I make with the fresh crabmeat I can find here. But that isn't to say they aren't delicious.

So click here to check out the authentic Maryland crab cakes from Angelina's of Maryland.

Updated: 11/07/2014, Digby_Adams
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Lois on 02/15/2017

My husband's parents started Angelinas with my mother -in-law's sister (Angeline) & her husband in 1952. Crab cakes were NEVER on the menu until Bob Reilly bought them out in 1970.

ologsinquito on 01/21/2015

I love these little family owned businesses, which seem to rapidly be dying out. They face so much competition from the big chains.

MBC on 11/10/2014

Yum, I love crab! I used to live in Alaska and we fished and ate fresh crab all the time there! I gained a lot of weight from all the butter. Never heard of this restaurant or on-line merchant before thanks for the exposure.

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