By Travel Editor Tracey Minkin
Summer is all about seafood dives, and personally, I can't get enough of fresh (and fried!) seafood served in the rough... especially clams. Just last month on a reporting trip to Newport, Rhode Island, I had what may have been the freshest, lightest, most clamtastic clam cakes of my life. That's inspired me to devote today to the clam, whether tucked into a fried clam cake or dipped in batter and fried up on its own. Because clams and summer are just a perfect couple. Here are five fried clam spots you cannot afford to miss out on.
Lil' Clam, Newport, Rhode Island. This is a brand-new little clam shack tucked into Newport's hopping Thames Street, and these are the clam cakes of legend. The tender chunks of fresh clams are a revelation, and the dough is perfectly light. If you're not a clam fan, you will be after eating these. 190 Thames Street, 401-619-5502.
Bob's Clam Hut, Kittery, Maine. It's been a year since I had my first Bob's experience, but I can taste those insanely delicious and fresh fried clams like it was yesterday. Bob's is so into fried clams, they've got two versions on the menu. Now that's a clam shack. (Bob's made our America's Best Seafood Dives 2015 list!). 315 US Route 1, 207-439-4233.
Kelly's Roast Beef, Revere, Massachusetts. You read that right. Five star fried clams from a place with the words "roast beef" on the sign. Our Seafood Dives maven, Steve Millburg, says that the fried clams at this beloved take-out stand at the beach north of Boston are his #1 favorite, offering that ideal blend of juiciness and crunch. 410 Revere Beach Road, 781-284-9129.
Ceal's Clam Stand, Seabrook, New Hampshire. This is a best-kept secret, but I'm here to make it no longer a secret, because these small, sweet clams from this old-school shed right across from the beach are a must-share. Summer only, folks, so plan your NH Seacoast trip now. 22 Ocean Boulevard, 603-474-3150.
Clam Box of Ipswich, Ipswich, Massachusetts. Another legendary spot on the New England coast, and with good reason. Everything is cooked to order here, and waiting in line is worth every second for these bites. (My buddy Mike Urban, seafood guru at Yankee Magazine, says it's "the hands-down the best place for fried clams anywhere.") 246 High Street, 978-356-9707.
Hungry? I know I am.
Did I miss out on your favorite clam shack? Let me know about it in the comments below, and I'll put it on the list to visit next time I'm in that neck of the woods.