Judging Restaurants – Phillips and Phillips Crab Deck

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900 Water Street, SW

Yesterday we talked about the Maine Avenue Fish Market but today I’m wondering about Phillips and Phillips Crab Deck. From their website:

Overlooking the Washington Channel on the Southwest Waterfront, Phillips Seafood is the only all-you-can-eat seafood buffet in Washington DC. Our spectacular buffet features over 75 fresh seafood selections daily, as well as regional specialties, made-to-order stations and non-seafood options. A traditional a la carte menu, featuring our famous jumbo lump crab cakes, is also available.

Come Taste the Tradition of Phillips Seafood and try our Maryland-style crab cakes, famous since 1914!

Weekday Lunch (Mon-Fri) $16.99
Weekend & Dinner $29.99

and the Crab Deck:

Harkening back to Traditional Eastern Shore Crab Houses, we are proud to serve Chesapeake Bay & Atlantic area seafood; from the crabs to the oysters and more!

Enjoy our traditional Shore favorites straight from the local waters, prepared by locals and to your plate.

Steamed Crabs · Raw Bar · Crab Cakes · Shore Classics

Any fans of either one?

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19 Comment

  • I walked he here one time and the smell of rotting fish was so bad that I left before even getting seated

  • Word of mouth has always been negative, so I’ve never been—uninspired food and service is the consistent description. The fish market next door is a good bet for food, although finding a place to sit (or park) is a problem. better to take the Metro and sit near the Smithsonian.

  • I don’t know about their restaurant, but the canned crab meat they sell is nasty stuff from Asia.

  • I went to Phillips a few years back because my friend really wanted to go. The food wasn’t good and it was a depressing place. As in, large space and only a few tables occupied.

    • You must have been to Phillips at a weird time because most of the times I have gone it has been packed.

      People don’t go for the great food. Most people go in large groups for the buffet – satisfies any palate with they type of food they offer if not the quality.

      • saf

        ” satisfies any palate with they type of food they offer if not the quality.”

        Well, no. Anyone who eats (bad) seafood perhaps.

  • Keep going past Phillips to Jenny’s is the best advice I can offer. Phillips sucks on their best day. Used to be a great alternative to large parties, since the buffet is one price. Food has definitely taken a nose dive over the years. Last time we went was for a 50th birthday, crab legs were frozen. Who screws up crab legs at a seafood restaurant? Exactly, surprised they have lasted this long. The one in Baltimore must be keeping them afloat…

    • I wonder if the whole – redevelopment has made a difference. Sure that redevelopment has taken years, but from what I can tell it quite clear there is no real place for Phillips when all is said and done (I think if they had their druthers they would get rid of the fish market and upscale the docks to the point that no one there could afford it).

    • Jenny’s rules!

  • justinbc

    We used to always wind up going for large group outings because the buffet usually had something that would please all the picky eaters who bitched about everywhere else. Plus it was cheap, which is always popular with aforementioned eaters. Overall nothing was bad, but it’s very middle of the road.

  • “Fan” would be a strong word. I’ve eaten at both, it’s more for atmosphere and location. Not much else in terms of sit down seafood places in that area, but if I was going to the Waterfront for whatever reason, or even Arena Stage, it’s convenient enough.

  • Phillip’s is awful. It’s a mass-feeding warehouse equipped with its own dedicated parking deck — it’s just for tourists. They only stay in business because tour buses can dump 45 11-year-olds at the front door and scoop them back up before the food poisoning sets in. I tried it out once with some out-of-town family and was embarrassed. (“I swear — not all of DC is this trashy,” etc.) As soon as Maine Ave gets more walk-ability and bike-ability these will hopefully fold and their obnoxious footprint will make room for something nicer.

    I hope the fish market doesn’t go away, though. That place is great.

  • Both of these places are awful. The whole stip is terrible. Jenny’s is bad overpriced chinese food. The fish market is disgusting and only good for marylanders.

    I live in sw… none of my neighbors eat at these places and they are only good for out of towners, marylanders, and federal worker retirement parties. I hope they all go away with the wharf redevelopment and some new blood comes in to right these wrongs.

  • This place is awful. In times gone by, my parents used to go there for the seafood buffet and loved it. Recently, my friend and I had tickets for Arena stage and went there prior to the show. The best I can say is that it’s some kind of weird throw-back to 70′s style buffets…..the worst that I can say is that the food was just gross. There are so many other places to eat in that part of town now – do some research and find one. You won’t regret it.

  • The quality has gone form mediocre to terrible. The clams are terribly gritty, the crab legs overcooked, and the blue crabs pulpy. And, the price went up.
    Just. No.

  • We went there last year and it was absolutely horrible. Seriously – if you want low grade overly fried seafood just go to Capn’ D’s – or get yourself some frozen fish sticks. Either one is 30 times better than Phillips. Plus, the place reeks. I mean, it really really smells. And the decor hasn’t been updated since the 1970s. And the service is equally as bad. Everytime I pass by I’m shocked that they’re still in business.

  • I’ve never seen the ‘ville so united in its opinion…

  • Lunch buffet is about as good as Golden Corral. NO crab legs, lobster tail, crab cakes, no raw bar, no steamed shrimp, no fried oysters. Just fried chicken, shrimp, crab corn soup, clam chowder and clam strips. Next time I will go to Red Lobster.

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