Phantom Gourmet: Great 8 Fried Clams
Nothing says summer like digging into a plate of fried clams. Phantom reveals the eight spots with the greatest golden fried orders he’s ever found.
Wollaston Beach, Quincy
Kicking off the Great 8 is The Clam Box on Wollaston Beach in Quincy. This beachside institution has been serving seafood since the sixties, like overloaded lobster rolls and creamy New England Clam Chowder packed with plenty of that scrimptions shellfish. When it comes to clams, nobody serves bellies bigger than they do at The Clam Box.
“If you’re going to have a clam, you want the biggest belly around,” one customer said, “and the Clam Box has always had the biggest bellies. They’re just mouthwatering. It’s a large clam. It’s a lot to eat. But it hasn’t stopped me yet.”
Belle Isle served seafood out of a tiny shack in East Boston for decades, but recently moved to a sprawling space, just over the bridge in Winthrop. Owner Jim Costin sources and sells the freshest fish he can find, including deliciously golden fried clams served with tasty tartar. Whether you enjoy them inside or out, you can do so with a stunning view of Boston.
“Our view starts at basically the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, to the Zakim Bridge, right over to the skyline of Boston as well as the airport. And at nighttime, everything is lit up. It’s pretty spectacular.”
Another Great 8 winner is The Landing in Marblehead. Situated right on top of Marblehead Harbor, this old school seafood stop serves fish fresh from the Atlantic – on the Atlantic. When it comes to clams, they sell nothing but the best- sourced just down the road in Ipswich.
“They get delivered to our back door. They jump into the fryolater; they’re on the plate and then they’re in your mouth. Fresh as fresh can be.”
Bob’s Clam Hut
Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, Maine, is a bustling roadside seafood shack with a cheery sign that beckons customers to “Eat Clams!”. Outlet shoppers dine at umbrella-studded picnic tables along a white picket fence, or inside in their casual dining room. Since 1956, they’ve been serving some of the best fried clams money can buy, including a special recipe called “The Lillian” fried clam, which is dipped in egg wash so it’s fluffier and sweeter.
WATCH: Best Fried Clams, Part 2
Red Wing Diner
For over eighty years, the Red Wing on Route One in Walpole has been serving and stuffing hungry customers with fresh, honest, straight-forward seafood, crispy bar pizzas and indulgent comfort food. Fried clams here are fabulous on their own, but even better as part of the Red Wing’s Fisherman’s platter – overloaded with whole bellied clams, scallops, shrimp, haddock, fries and ultra-addictive onion rings.
Another Great 8 winner is Evelyn’s Drive-In. Located on the banks of Nanaquaket Pond in Tiverton, Rhode Island, this little red roadside clam shack is famous for massive seafood platters, and a local delicacy known as Lobster Chow Mein. There are plate-tipping lobster rolls, grilled sea scallops, Grape Nut Pudding, and of course plenty of fried clams and clam cakes served with stunning sunset views.
“Sometimes I refer to it as a clam palace. I think it’s a palace because of the view and just how spectacular the food and the service is.”
Woodman’s of Essex is the Mecca of the seafood world and claims to be the inventor of the fried clam. This oversized seafood shack has an upstairs deck and raw bar, a gift shop out back and a scenic picnic area overlooking a serene salt marsh. Woodman’s serves up lots of fried seafood and perfectly puffy onion rings. And their famed fried clams are encapsulated in a light golden crunch so the briny clam flavor melts in your mouth.
Rounding out the Great 8 is another Essex institution, JT Farnham’s. Located by the Essex Salt Marsh, Farnham’s has been drawing in fried food fanatics for over 60 years. Fried clams are the specialty of the house. These luscious, golden beauties are great straight out of the box, or after a quick dip in Farnham’s homemade tartar sauce. And since the best clams around grow just outside, you can be sure each plate is super fresh.
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