Stir the Pot: Where to Eat the Best Clam Chowder in Boston

January 3, 2024 | , ,
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The Best Clam Chowder in Boston

You know we love to spill the tea, but today we’re stirring the pot instead. Talk about a couple with a lot of history! Boston and clam chowder go wayyy back; and if there’s one food you’re likely having on a trip to Boston it’s clam chowder. Now, to clarify, we’re talking New England clam chowder – the creamy one – not to be confused with Manhattan (tomato-based broth) or Rhode Island (clear clam broth). The first clam chowder recipe dates back to 1832 but on September 23rd, 1751 the first known printed recipe for chowder appeared in the Boston Evening Post, however it was for fish chowder. Today you can’t go to Boston without enjoying this iconic staple. There are many different preferences when it comes to one’s “perfect” chowder. But to us, the perfect chowder has the following qualities:

1) The broth is thick, but not so thick that you can stand a spoon upright in it!  It should still be creamy and comforting like soup.

2) The clams are plentiful and spread evenly throughout  – it’s hard not to get a bite of clams in every spoonful.

3) The chunks of potatoes are not cut too big so as not to overwhelm the size and flavor of the clams.

4) The ingredients are fresh and speak for themselves and the chowder is not over-seasoned.

Now, let’s get to eating!


Ned Devine’s

Ned Devine’s, located in Faneuil Hall Marketplace, is where we go to taste clam chowder on our Classic Bites of Boston Food Tour! Their house recipe is 20 years old and stays true to the traditional way of making New England clam chowder. Oh yeah, and not only does it tick off everything on our perfect chowder list, it’s award winning! It has won the Boston Chowder Fest 6 times!

Boston Chowda Co.

Another one of our most favorite clam chowders in Boston comes from Boston Chowda Co. Also located inside the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, this counter service shop is easy to miss amidst the hustle and bustle of the market, but not when it comes to your nose. Catch a whiff of wafting aroma and you’ll know that it’s worth the stop. If you’re looking for a delicious cup of chowder without the sit-down dining aspect then definitely grab a scoop from Boston Chowda Co.!

Legal Sea Foods – Harborside

Photo Credit: Legal Harborside

This is definitely one of the places that comes to mind first when you think of clam chowder in Boston, and for good reason. Legal Sea Foods does right by their name in serving some of the most delicious sea food in the city. We love the views of their Harborside location, which is why we highly recommend getting some clam chowder there if you’re in town.

Atlantic Fish Company

Photo Credit: Atlantic Fish Company

Atlantic Fish Company has been serving some of the freshest Boston catches since 1978. If you’re not sold on the bread bowl (optional) then how about this – they source their seafood straight from the harbor every morning and print new menus daily to reflect the quality of their offerings. More specifically, they source from a fourth-generation Boston family business that has been catching fish since 1906. How cool is that?!

Dive Bar

Photo Credit: Dive Bar

Located inside Boston’s High Street Place food hall, Dive Bar is Celebrity Chef Tiffani Faison’s take on the local favorite, and boy does she know what she’s doing! Her version is packed with quahogs, house-smoked whitefish, bacon, and a creamy broth to hold it all together. This clam “chowdah” (as it’s called on the menu) is bursting with flavor and will allow you the chance to visit High Street Place, which is always a fun time!

The Barking Crab

Photo Credit: The Barking Crab

A local favorite for seafood in a fun shanty-like atmosphere on the Boston Harbor, The Barking Crab serves up a wonderfully satisfying cup of clam chowder. If you really want the full New England clam chowder experience with the ambiance to match, definitely check them out. You can’t miss the bright red and yellow striped awning, which is part of its charm!

The Banks Fish House

Photo Credit: The Banks Fish House

For more of an elevated dining experience that does not skimp on tradition, head to The Banks Fish House, a revival of the New England fish house, for some clam chowder to start your meal. They source fresh from the docks every day and pay homage to the many Atlantic fisherman of generations past with their preparations and menu. Their New England clam chowder is made with Berkshire pork belly and topped with chive oil to add extra flavor.

Red’s Best

Photo Credit: Red’s Best

Red’s Best was founded in 2008 by Jared Auerbach – a young fisherman from Boston who worked on commercial vessels in Alaska and Cape Cod during the early 2000’s. There he worked alongside hardworking fishermen and learned the trade as well as what could be improved about it. Jared set out to create a way for consumers to have direct access to the freshest local seafood and that’s exactly what he did. Go and get a cup of clam chowder from their location in the Boston Public Market or take home a frozen quart to enjoy later.

Union Oyster House

Photo Credit: Union Oyster House

Since these are in no particular order, we figured we’d save the oldest for last in our list of the best clam chowders in Boston! Ye Olde Union Oyster House, the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country, began serving clam chowder in Boston in 1836. It is the longest continually-operating restaurant and oyster bar in America and it was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2003. They are still making their traditional clam chowder to this day so if you are a bit of a history buff and looking for some chowder, this is your place!

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