Including the top five restaurants that dominated our reader recommendations.
Fried mussels, coleslaw and tart sauce in the Clam Box of Ipswich. Globe employee / Joanne Rathe
Let us know: Who Serves the Best Fried Clams in Massachusetts?
Greater Boston is a treasure trove of excellent fried clams, so it’s no surprise that more than 850 people responded to our survey when we asked Boston.com readers to share their favorite fried clam spots in Massachusetts and more people took it participate in social media. The result? A list of 114 recommendations, accompanied by some very strong opinions about fried clams.
“Can there be a question? [J. T.] Farnham’s has everything an amazing clamshell should be, including the clam shell and hut parts, ”explained one reader while others discussed the merits of the Clam Box in Ipswich over the Clam Box in Quincy. Some readers said, more generally, that Essex clams were the best in the world and we won’t argue with them.
Recommendations included traditional clam stalls, but also more upscale restaurants, ice cream parlors, a Vietnamese restaurant, and, yes, Long John Silver’s. Here are the five clam huts that received the most votes, plus a map with all 114 recommendations.
The answers have been edited and shortened slightly for clarity and length. Some restaurants may still be closed during the season; Be sure to check their website for the current opening hours.
“Even in the middle of winter I can eat a little bit of summer. We always stop on our way from Southern Connecticut to Maine. The clams are the very best! ”- Deb Gamber, Darien, CT
“Woodman’s, not only because their fried clams are delicious, but also the fries AND onion rings that come in heaps!” – Tim, North Andover
“I love the outside area where you can relax and have a drink while enjoying some top-notch seafood!” – Pat, Cambridge
“There is nothing better than original fried mussels and an ice-cold Sam Adams on a breezy summer night at Woodman’s!” – Laura, Melrose
“Simply the Clam Box, a beloved family tradition passed down from my grandparents.” – Madison, Swampscott
“The dough is light and tasty. Plus the prices are better than other local places. ”- Briana, Danvers
“The shell box in Ipswich! The mussels are fresh and sweet, fried to order with a delicious crispy coating. Their fried prawns are amazing too, huge fresh prawns. ”- Beth Barrett Lai, North Andover
“The Clam Box in Ipswich has been an absolute favorite of me and my family for years. Everything is perfect from the mussels to the onion rings to the lemonade and it’s always a pleasure to go! ”- Esme Juros, Boxford
“Very fresh, golden clams that really melt on your tongue. Every year more and more are learning from this hidden gem and it shows in the lines by the window! ”- Brian Rich, Peabody
“Always fresh, always tasty, and onion rings that I literally crave all year round!” – Tricia, Lynn
“My favorite is the Clam Shack. It’s a quaint little cabin on the Salem Willows. The food is always fresh and plentiful. We look forward to the season opening. ”- Yvonne, Salem
“The staff is friendly, the food is fresh, the portions are huge, and the price is right!” – Amanda Eddy, Beverly
“They use fresh clams that are perfectly fried and have a crispy coating. Delicious! “- Johnny Kinde, Quincy
“Amazing quality and prices. Friendly staff and right on the beach with a view of Boston. ”- Amanda Henkin, Quincy
“Tony’s Clam Shop in Quincy always offers the best, freshest seafood and other foods. They take care of the food and the customer and that shows in the quality. Wollaston [boulevard] Despite the traffic, some of the best people watching on the South Shore too! ” – J Clougherty, Marshfield
“Great prices, fast service and friendly service. Selection of Locals. ”- Rick, Dorchester
“This is where people know who have lived in the area long enough to avoid the Woodman’s tourist trap.” – Justin, Beverly
“JT Farnhams. I’ve been going there since 1997. Consistently fresh and tasty. The food is cooked to order. Also, great views from their picnic tables. ”- Mary Ann, Medford
“JT Farnham has the best” [fried clams]. They are light in weight and have wonderful texture and color. Not to mention a nice place to eat them. If you want to avoid the first clam eaters crowd, JT Farnham’s is your place. ”- Mike D., Ashland
“Always crispy, never greasy and consistently excellent. The rest of the menu is great too. We don’t deep fry that often, but when we do Farnham’s. ”- Eddie Costigan, Brookline
While these five destinations dominated the survey, a handful of other spots received at least 15 recommendations each, including Park Lunch in Newburyport, The Winthrop Arms in Winthrop, Kream ‘N Kone in West Dennis, Sullivan’s Castle Island in Boston, The Clam Box in Quincy and Red Wing Diner in Walpole. Check out all 114 reader recommendations on our map below.