An evening at the Oceanaire Seafood Room is the perfect way to end a day spent around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and in the National Aquarium, where your thoughts will inevitably turn to a piscine dinner. Amid the sparkly new developments in Harbor East, Oceanaire fronts the traffic circle around the Katyn Memorial, a glittering monument erected to honor 20,000 Polish officers who were massacred by the Soviets in 1940.
Things get a little cheerier once you enter Oceanaire, although an accidental connection to 1940 remains: It reminded me of a classy supper club of that era. The décor’s circular lines are subtle but everywhere — in the door handles, in the ceiling, in the wall lighting, in porthole windows, in the booths, in the blue lights on the tables, and in the curved bar, where you can relax in front of icy trays of chilled oysters.
Oceanaire rests on the higher end of the city’s dining options, and you’ll definitely get what you pay for: a fantastic meal in a stylish setting with flawless service. A deep reservoir of servers, all clad in black and white, circulate around the spacious interior in a friendly and professional manner. Of course, the menu is the real star, and you may just want to abandon meat forever once you start sampling Oceanaire’s bounty.
Try This: Soak in the maritime atmosphere as you enjoy complementary crudités and fresh-from-the-oven bread. You may want to start with the steamed mussels in white wine and butter with shallots, or the classic clams casino. But if you’re here on a typically muggy Baltimore mid-August day, start to cool down with a salad of summer heirloom tomatoes, field greens, shaved red onions, prosciutto, feta, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries in a blackberry vinaigrette. You may want to stop there — that salad is large enough to be your meal. But then you’d miss out on the broiled Australian barramundi served in lemon butter alongside a softball-sized helping of Yukon gold mashed potatoes topped with a dollop of sour cream and snipped fresh chives. Or you may prefer the Chesapeake Bay–style crab cakes with a creamy mustard mayonnaise and a side of lobster risotto with lemon and parmesan cheese.