It’s summer in New England. Clam strips and fried lobster are calling you. Reply.
A summer in Boston isn’t complete until you’ve eaten your weight in fried clam strips on a sweltering day in town or after a gorgeous afternoon at a nearby beach. So, fall for a visit to these favorite fried seafood restaurants located in town and, for your weekend day pleasure, also in a few coastal suburbs.
Boston boss Jason Santos, Gordon Ramsay’s right-hand man (and candidate’s mentor) on Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen, dispatched to Marblehead to open his view of a summer seafood shack. Add a touch of Santos style to breaded cod, fried whole clams, crispy Louisiana crawfish tails and more by adding signature sauces such as tarragon tartar sauce, white mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce or the atomic horseradish cream. Also note that, closer to home, Santos will be opening another location of its Buttermilk & Bourbon Southern restaurant at Arsenal Yards in Watertown in July.
195 Pleasant Street, Marblehead, 781-990-1739, bandbfish.com.
The barking crab
The Barking Crab’s red-and-yellow striped tent is to the now glitzy seaport what the Citgo sign is to modern Kenmore Square: a garish, anachronistic landmark we wouldn’t want otherwise. Pass by, take a seat on the terrace of the pillar founded in 1994, and devour whole fried clams, fried fish tacos and other staples, according to Boston’s summer tradition.
88 Sleeper Street, Boston, 617-426-2722, barkingcrab.com.
As with a few entries on this list (see also: Yankee Lobster), Belle Isle is perhaps best known for its superlobster roll. But don’t be distracted by the huge selection of fried seafood dinners: smelt, crab cakes, fish cakes and scallops, among other options, are all served with fries, onion rings. and coleslaw. Take a dip on the waterfront patio, which offers some pretty cool views of takeoffs and landings at Logan Airport across the harbor.
1 Main Street, Winthrop, 617-567-1619, belleisleseafood.net.
The clam box
Every summer on the South Shore, the Clam Box, founded in 1968, is the perfect place to unwind after a day at Wollaston Beach. Better yet, switch between sunbathing sessions to grab some fried seafood (popcorn shrimp, clam cakes, squid, and more) and bring them back to your sandy backyard. (Want to channel a spicier beach scene? Hit the Baja Box, a neighboring sibling serving Mexican-inspired breaded fish tacos, street corn, nachos, and more.)
789 Quincy Shore Drive, Quincy, 617-773-6677, clamboxquincy.com.
The verdict is in: when it comes to a great selection and Truly reasonably priced, this long-running Portuguese fish market and restaurant is the place to go for fresh boston area docks catch (as well as imported Iberian sardines and sticklebacks). Equally tempting, however, are the take-out fried seafood dinners, which cover sole, smelt, squid, and salmon, in addition to the usual suspects like clam strips and crab cakes. Everything is also served with fries and coleslaw.
498 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, 617-491-1213, tribunalseafood.com.
The clam box
No, we don’t repeat ourselves. Ipswich is also home to a (fully independent) Clam Box restaurant, a north coast landmark built in 1938. It’s hard to miss: just look for the building which is actually shaped like a red and gray clam box, with open “shutters” on the roof. Inside, the kitchen is frying combo dishes like the Fisherman’s Tray, stocked with scallops, oysters and more, plus boxes of fried clam strips lined with brown paper, of course.
246 High Street, Ipswich, 978-356-9707, clamboxipswich.com.
Coffee in dry dock
It’s outdone by other spots in the harbor, mainly because the Drydock Cafe is hard to find – it’s tucked away on the ground floor of an unglamorous office building near the entrance to an industrial park. The place is about as posh as it might lead you to believe, but then again, beautiful dates aren’t the issue here. You come because you’ve heard of the plentiful portions of relatively inexpensive fried seafood including clams, squid, shrimp, and scallops. The latter two can be served at the Buffalo, if you want to add even more heat to a scorching summer day.
7 Drydock Avenue, Boston, 617-951-2999.
Hingham Lobster Pound
Located directly on Hingham Harbor, this local favorite normally includes a fish market selling live or steamed lobster, as well as the option to pick up fried seafood to take away, from fish patties to clam strips. On the sweet side and without seafood, banana fritters are a perennial hit, while fried Oreos and Twinkies are also known to pop up.
4 Broad Cove Road, Hingham, 781-749-1984, hinghamlobster.net.
Perhaps a bit overshadowed by the aforementioned Clam Box in neighboring Ipswich, JT Farnham’s is less touristy but just as good – better, if you ask its more die-hard fans. Whether the rightly “famous” fried clam plate trumps all others is a matter of personal opinion, of course, but here are a few things we do know: Pasta salad makes a perfect accompaniment, tables picnic areas offer breathtaking views of marshes filled with flora and fauna; and the Fisherman’s Combo, a four-course plate of fried fish, clams, shrimp and scallops, is what to order when you’re feeling indecisive (and indulgent).
88 Eastern Ave., Essex, 978-768-6643, jtfarnhams.com.
Yes, the clam chowder is a row 34 staple, but it’s not the only classic seafood shack-style offering at this otherwise contemporary restaurant – you can also hang baskets of clams or oysters fries, as well as beer fish & chips (paired with craft cans from Row 34’s award-winning Best of Boston beer program). Want something a little more chef? Put your claws in lobster fettuccini with a braised short rib and English peas.
383 Congress Street, Boston, 617-553-5900; 300 District Avenue, Burlington, 781-761-6500, row34.com.
If there’s a single scene thief at Saltie, it has to be the famous fried lobster, served (instead of chicken) with waffles and drizzled with sweet corn butter and spicy maple syrup. That said, you won’t want other compelling co-stars, such as fried calamari with chorizo, pickled peppers, and yuzu aioli; seared scallops with malt vinegar fries; or whole deep-fried black sea bass, big enough to feed two, dressed in ginger, soy and green onion.
281 Dartmouth Street, Boston, 617-267-0691, saltiegirl.com.
Sullivan Castle Island
Your mission, should you decide to take it on: don running sneakers or inline skates, go for a summer and windy sprint on the Southie waterfront, and end up in front of this seasonal take-out-only icon on Castle Island. There, treat yourself to a platter of fried clams, shrimp or scallops with fries; a fish sandwich on a burger roll; or fish & chips. Have fun as you unwind for a barefoot picnic in the grassy park shaded by Fort Independence.
2080 William J Day Blvd., South Boston, 617-268-5685, sullivanscastleisland.com.
It was a daring move when James Beard Award-winning chef Jasper White stepped away from the world of fine dining to open his first Summer Shack in 2000. Twenty years later, as more and more hats were praised are launching relaxed concepts, it is clear that he was ahead. of his time. And the summer cabin? He’s still going strong at the original Cambridge location (as well as a seasonal Harvard Square pop-up), a Back Bay sibling, and a Connecticut outpost at Mohegan Sun Casino. That’s because he hasn’t deviated from his down direction, which includes a âFried Favoritesâ menu of whole clams, Gulf shrimp, Cape Cod scallops and more.
50 Dalton Street, Boston, 617 867-9955; 149 Alewife Brook Pkwy., Cambridge, 617-520-9500; 1 Bennett Street, Cambridge (Harvard Square), Summershackrestaurant.com.
Woodman’s of Essex
Hey moviegoers: we’ve included this legendary North Shore restaurant on a Massachusetts filming locations tour, if you’re in the mood for a Hollywood East-inspired road trip. There is no doubt, however, that Woodman’s has long been famous for the merits of its own classic New England seafood, most notably “Chubby’s Fried Clams,” named after the restaurant’s founder, which opened in 1916. (You You can also take home the âChubby Fried Clam Kitâ for a personal poolside dinner.) Clams aren’t the only great options on offer, however: go for a fried lobster tail and shrimp at the popcorn, among other plates.
119 Main Street, Essex, 978-768-6057, woodmans.com.
A bucket list in Boston isn’t complete without a visit to this decades-old port institution, a restaurant wholesaler, and a walk-in market serving fresh, prepared fish. Yes, the classic hot buttery lobster roll has (rightly so) a big reputation. But you can also indulge in a fried lobster roll, along with other similar crispy favorites: oysters, clams, scallops, and more.
300 North Avenue, Boston, 617-345-9799, yankeelobstercompany.com.