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On top of a red and white checkered tablecloth, a cardboard tray is stacked high with fried onion rings, clams, and fries, with little paper cups of red ketchup to the side.
“Chubby’s Original” fried clam plate at Woodman’s of Essex.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Where to Eat Fried Clams in Greater Boston

Start on Massachusetts’ North Shore, home to some of the best clam flats in the world

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“Chubby’s Original” fried clam plate at Woodman’s of Essex.
| Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Greater Boston is awash with excellent locally caught seafood, but there are few gustatory pleasures that match the consumption of a fried Ipswich clam. The clam flats of the Great Marsh — which stretches from Cape Ann to southern New Hampshire and consists of 25,000 acres of barrier beaches, dunes, salt marshes, rivers, and other water bodies — produces arguably the best soft-shell clams (also known as “steamers” or “piss clams”) in the world. It’s not shocking, then, that Greater Boston — and especially Massachusetts’ North Shore — is the place to go for the fried version.

Here are 13 of the most essential spots for fried clams in and beyond Boston, from Ipswich to Hingham.

See also: Where to Eat Seafood on the South Shore of Massachusetts

This map was originally published on October 10, 2017; it is updated periodically, and the date of the most recent update appears above.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Clam Box of Ipswich

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The Clam Box is in the town for which the best soft-shell clams are named: Ipswich. A lot of North Shore types cite the Clam Box as their favorite (and therefore the best) spot for fried clams, and the restaurant’s compulsive commitment to clean frying oil — it ceases service at 2:30 p.m. each day to filter and change its frying oil — plays a big part.

The Clam Box is a seasonal joint: It opens the second or third week in February and closes the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Don’t ignore it after summer ends — Rte. 133 in autumn is a leaf peeper’s fantasyland, and it’s made better with a box full of fried Ipswich clams.

J.T. Farnham's

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This just may be the home of the best fried clam in the world. J.T. Farnham’s, located in Essex, sits at the foot of a majestic expanse of marshland, and at any given moment a diner might spot a piping plover, a peregrine falcon, or a common tern. Bring your binoculars, but also bring your appetite. Like the Clam Box, Farnham’s is located on Rte. 133. Order a box of fried clams, and eat those clams while looking out upon the vast heather and ochre of the marsh.

Farnham’s is also seasonal: It’s typically open from the first Friday in March through Christmas Eve.

A white paper plate is stacked high with fried seafood with a side of tartar sauce in a plastic cup.
Whole belly clams and scallops at J.T. Farnham’s.
auvet/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Woodman's of Essex

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Lore suggests the fried clam was invented in 1916 in Essex by Chubby Woodman; an 1865 menu from the Omni Parker House hotel suggests otherwise. Origin stories aside, Woodman’s of Essex has been slinging some of the best fried clams on earth for more than a century. Don’t sleep on the clam chowder, either. Woodman’s is also located on Rte. 133 (sensing a pattern?), but unlike the Clam Box and J.T. Farnham’s, it’s open year-round. Blizzard clams, anyone?

On top of a red and white checkered tablecloth, a cardboard tray is stacked high with fried onion rings, clams, and fries, with little paper cups of red ketchup to the side.
“Chubby’s Original” fried clam plate at Woodman’s of Essex.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Kelly's Roast Beef

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People from Greater Boston are aware of the weird marriage between roast beef and fried seafood — if a shop is pushing roast beef sandwiches, it’s almost certainly pushing fried seafood, too. Kelly’s is no exception. While best known for its roast beef sandwiches, Kelly’s — and particularly the original location on Revere Beach — serves an excellent fried clam plate. It doesn’t use Ipswich clams like every other restaurant on this list, but it’s still worth the trip.

Roast beef sandwich and a side of fried clams on a picnic table. Another sandwich with onion rings is visible in the background.
Roast beef sandwich and a side of fried clams at Kelly’s.
Katie Chudy/Eater

Belle Isle Seafood

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Winthrop, Massachusetts, isn’t the most convenient destination from Boston proper, but Belle Isle Seafood’s fried clams are worth the inconvenience. The restaurant’s corrugated metal exterior immediately announces “We’re a no-frills kind of place.” Get the clams on their own, or couple them with Belle Isle’s excellent fried scallops. Cash only.

Exterior of a no-frills seafood restaurant at sunset
Belle Isle Seafood.
Belle Isle Seafood

Courthouse Seafood

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Most of the restaurants on this list are on the coast or coast adjacent. Courthouse — both a restaurant and a fish market — is wedged between Inman Square, Lechmere, and Kendall Square, but don’t let its location fool you: It’s serving some of the best fried clams (and fried fish more broadly) in Greater Boston.

Yankee Lobster

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Best known for the crustacean of its namesake, Yankee Lobster also offers a variety of other treats from the sea. Don’t miss the fried clams. They come from Ipswich; they’re crisp and golden; they’re available year-round.

B&G Oysters

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This place — which features one of the South End’s nicest patios — knows what it’s doing with bivalves. Go for the oysters; stay for the fried Ipswich clams. And sure, a lobster roll.

A restaurant patio has a wooden deck and wall, string lights, and trees along the edge.
The B&G Oysters patio.
B&G Oysters

Sullivan's

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Sullivan’s on Castle Island offers fried strips or whole bellies (get the whole bellies.) The scenery can’t be beat at this Southie classic. Sullivan’s is seasonal, but good news: ‘tis the season.

Fried clams and more, with a raspberry lime rickey, in casual takeout-style containers
Fried clams and more at Sullivan’s.
Sullivan’s

The Clam Box

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This is the South Shore’s Clam Box (no affiliation with the Clam Box on the North Shore). Like Tony’s (see below), it’s been there for more than 50 years, the right amount of time to perfect its fried clam technique.

White paper container full of fried clams, stacked high
Clams at the Clam Box in Quincy.
The Clam Box

Tony's Clam Shop

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Tony’s Clam Shop has been open on Shore Drive in Quincy for more than 50 years, and it has been serving up some of the best fried clams the South Shore has to offer for just as long. Tony’s is seasonal, open from the end of March through the end of October.

Burke's Seafood

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Burke’s Seafood in North Quincy is part fish market, part restaurant. It has been open for more than three decades for a reason, and its fried clams are among the best on the South Shore.

Hingham Lobster Pound

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Spend the day sunbathing at Nantasket Beach, and spend the evening munching on some fried Ipswich clams from the Hingham Lobster Pound. If this spot looks like a bait shop, it’s because it used to be a bait shop. Unlike most clam shacks, Hingham Lobster Pound adds a layer of breadcrumbs to increase the crunch factor. It’s open seasonally, from St. Patrick’s Day through Christmas Eve.

Exterior of a small one-story red building with white-framed windows across the front and a gray shingled roof
Hingham Lobster Pound.
Hingham Lobster Pound

Clam Box of Ipswich

The Clam Box is in the town for which the best soft-shell clams are named: Ipswich. A lot of North Shore types cite the Clam Box as their favorite (and therefore the best) spot for fried clams, and the restaurant’s compulsive commitment to clean frying oil — it ceases service at 2:30 p.m. each day to filter and change its frying oil — plays a big part.

The Clam Box is a seasonal joint: It opens the second or third week in February and closes the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Don’t ignore it after summer ends — Rte. 133 in autumn is a leaf peeper’s fantasyland, and it’s made better with a box full of fried Ipswich clams.

J.T. Farnham's

A white paper plate is stacked high with fried seafood with a side of tartar sauce in a plastic cup.
Whole belly clams and scallops at J.T. Farnham’s.
auvet/Flickr (Creative Commons)

This just may be the home of the best fried clam in the world. J.T. Farnham’s, located in Essex, sits at the foot of a majestic expanse of marshland, and at any given moment a diner might spot a piping plover, a peregrine falcon, or a common tern. Bring your binoculars, but also bring your appetite. Like the Clam Box, Farnham’s is located on Rte. 133. Order a box of fried clams, and eat those clams while looking out upon the vast heather and ochre of the marsh.

Farnham’s is also seasonal: It’s typically open from the first Friday in March through Christmas Eve.

A white paper plate is stacked high with fried seafood with a side of tartar sauce in a plastic cup.
Whole belly clams and scallops at J.T. Farnham’s.
auvet/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Woodman's of Essex

On top of a red and white checkered tablecloth, a cardboard tray is stacked high with fried onion rings, clams, and fries, with little paper cups of red ketchup to the side.
“Chubby’s Original” fried clam plate at Woodman’s of Essex.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Lore suggests the fried clam was invented in 1916 in Essex by Chubby Woodman; an 1865 menu from the Omni Parker House hotel suggests otherwise. Origin stories aside, Woodman’s of Essex has been slinging some of the best fried clams on earth for more than a century. Don’t sleep on the clam chowder, either. Woodman’s is also located on Rte. 133 (sensing a pattern?), but unlike the Clam Box and J.T. Farnham’s, it’s open year-round. Blizzard clams, anyone?

On top of a red and white checkered tablecloth, a cardboard tray is stacked high with fried onion rings, clams, and fries, with little paper cups of red ketchup to the side.
“Chubby’s Original” fried clam plate at Woodman’s of Essex.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Kelly's Roast Beef

Roast beef sandwich and a side of fried clams on a picnic table. Another sandwich with onion rings is visible in the background.
Roast beef sandwich and a side of fried clams at Kelly’s.
Katie Chudy/Eater

People from Greater Boston are aware of the weird marriage between roast beef and fried seafood — if a shop is pushing roast beef sandwiches, it’s almost certainly pushing fried seafood, too. Kelly’s is no exception. While best known for its roast beef sandwiches, Kelly’s — and particularly the original location on Revere Beach — serves an excellent fried clam plate. It doesn’t use Ipswich clams like every other restaurant on this list, but it’s still worth the trip.

Roast beef sandwich and a side of fried clams on a picnic table. Another sandwich with onion rings is visible in the background.
Roast beef sandwich and a side of fried clams at Kelly’s.
Katie Chudy/Eater

Belle Isle Seafood

Exterior of a no-frills seafood restaurant at sunset
Belle Isle Seafood.
Belle Isle Seafood

Winthrop, Massachusetts, isn’t the most convenient destination from Boston proper, but Belle Isle Seafood’s fried clams are worth the inconvenience. The restaurant’s corrugated metal exterior immediately announces “We’re a no-frills kind of place.” Get the clams on their own, or couple them with Belle Isle’s excellent fried scallops. Cash only.

Exterior of a no-frills seafood restaurant at sunset
Belle Isle Seafood.
Belle Isle Seafood

Courthouse Seafood

Most of the restaurants on this list are on the coast or coast adjacent. Courthouse — both a restaurant and a fish market — is wedged between Inman Square, Lechmere, and Kendall Square, but don’t let its location fool you: It’s serving some of the best fried clams (and fried fish more broadly) in Greater Boston.

Yankee Lobster

Best known for the crustacean of its namesake, Yankee Lobster also offers a variety of other treats from the sea. Don’t miss the fried clams. They come from Ipswich; they’re crisp and golden; they’re available year-round.

B&G Oysters

A restaurant patio has a wooden deck and wall, string lights, and trees along the edge.
The B&G Oysters patio.
B&G Oysters

This place — which features one of the South End’s nicest patios — knows what it’s doing with bivalves. Go for the oysters; stay for the fried Ipswich clams. And sure, a lobster roll.

A restaurant patio has a wooden deck and wall, string lights, and trees along the edge.
The B&G Oysters patio.
B&G Oysters

Sullivan's

Fried clams and more, with a raspberry lime rickey, in casual takeout-style containers
Fried clams and more at Sullivan’s.
Sullivan’s

Sullivan’s on Castle Island offers fried strips or whole bellies (get the whole bellies.) The scenery can’t be beat at this Southie classic. Sullivan’s is seasonal, but good news: ‘tis the season.

Fried clams and more, with a raspberry lime rickey, in casual takeout-style containers
Fried clams and more at Sullivan’s.
Sullivan’s

The Clam Box

White paper container full of fried clams, stacked high
Clams at the Clam Box in Quincy.
The Clam Box

This is the South Shore’s Clam Box (no affiliation with the Clam Box on the North Shore). Like Tony’s (see below), it’s been there for more than 50 years, the right amount of time to perfect its fried clam technique.

White paper container full of fried clams, stacked high
Clams at the Clam Box in Quincy.
The Clam Box

Tony's Clam Shop

Tony’s Clam Shop has been open on Shore Drive in Quincy for more than 50 years, and it has been serving up some of the best fried clams the South Shore has to offer for just as long. Tony’s is seasonal, open from the end of March through the end of October.

Burke's Seafood

Burke’s Seafood in North Quincy is part fish market, part restaurant. It has been open for more than three decades for a reason, and its fried clams are among the best on the South Shore.

Hingham Lobster Pound

Exterior of a small one-story red building with white-framed windows across the front and a gray shingled roof
Hingham Lobster Pound.
Hingham Lobster Pound

Spend the day sunbathing at Nantasket Beach, and spend the evening munching on some fried Ipswich clams from the Hingham Lobster Pound. If this spot looks like a bait shop, it’s because it used to be a bait shop. Unlike most clam shacks, Hingham Lobster Pound adds a layer of breadcrumbs to increase the crunch factor. It’s open seasonally, from St. Patrick’s Day through Christmas Eve.

Exterior of a small one-story red building with white-framed windows across the front and a gray shingled roof
Hingham Lobster Pound.
Hingham Lobster Pound

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