Best Clam Chowder in Massachusetts: Captain Parker's Pub

West Yarmouth comes out on top in Readers' Choice vote

Just about every state on the East Coast has their own take of this seafood soup, but Massachusetts was where the New England variety (made with a thick, creamy broth) was popularized during the 1700 and 1800s. By 1836, the dish was on the menu at Ye Olde Union Oyster House, the oldest continuously operated restaurant in the nation. The version of clam chowder you’ll find on menus across the Bay State is typically made from clams, potatoes, onions and a base of milk or cream. Bacon or salt pork sometimes makes an appearance, and it’s often served with oyster crackers.

  • Captain Parker's Pub
    West Yarmouth

    The thick and creamy clam chowder coming out of the kitchen at Captain Parker's Pub is teeming with sweet, tender clams and diced potatoes. This variation on the seafood soup has won numerous awards throughout Cape Cod, Rhode Island and Boston.
    Photo courtesy of Captain Parker's Pub

  • Skipper Chowder House
    South Yarmouth

    Cape Cod’s Skipper Chowder House has been serving the famous seafood soup since 1936. The award-winning chowder features great American surf clams, bacon, butter, onion, celery and a signature blend of seasonings. You can even get it deep-fried in the form of two panko-crusted chowder cakes with a side of hot sauce.
    Photo courtesy of Skipper Chowder House

  • The Raw Bar Yoho
    Nantucket

    Based on his wife’s grandmother’s original Nantucket recipe, Brian Cullen has been making his famous beach clam chowder for over a decade. Unlike other chowders on our list, this version is made entirely on the beach, from digging up quahog clams to setting up the seaside cooker, shucking and chopping the bivalves, frying the bacon and onions, chopping the potatoes and finishing with cream and a secret herb mixture.
    Photo courtesy of The Raw Bar Yoho

  • Union Oyster House
    Boston

    The recipe for clam chowder at the Union Oyster House in Boston hasn’t changed much since they first began serving it in the mid 19th century. They still use fresh clams, cream, butter, potatoes, salt pork, celery, onions, flour and seasoning to create a rich and creamy variation of this New England classic.
    Photo courtesy of Union Oyster House

  • Legal Sea Foods
    Boston

    Those who order the New England clam chowder from Legal Sea Foods in Boston are treated to a rich, thick and hearty soup made with fresh Cape Cod clams. The signature menu item has been served at every presidential inauguration since 1981.
    Photo courtesy of Legal Sea Foods

  • Atlantic Fish Company
    Boston

    The award-winning creamy clam chowder from Atlantic Fish Co. in Boston’s historic Back Bay neighborhood starts with clams sourced fresh daily from New England waters. Get it in a cup or bread bowl.
    Photo courtesy of Atlantic Fish Company

  • Lobster Pot
    Provincetown

    The New England chowder recipe served at the Lobster Pot in Provincetown has won numerous awards across the state, including Grand Prize at the Cape Cod Chowder Festival four times. Get it by the mug or bowl.
    Photo courtesy of Ptown Lobster Pot/Mike Potenza

  • The Causeway Restaurant
    Gloucester

    Made fresh daily, the clam chowder at The Causeway Restaurant in Gloucester isn’t as thick as some other variations, made instead with a flavorful clam broth loaded with tender clam meat. A bowl is a meal on its own.
    Photo courtesy of The Causeway Restaurant

  • Summer Shack
    Boston and Cambridge

    Summer Shack serves up a classic New England clam chowder made with fresh clams, salt pork, butter, onions, celery, Yukon gold potatoes, fresh thyme and heavy cream.
    Photo courtesy of Summer Shack

  • Turk's Seafood
    Mattapoisett

    The clam chowder on the menu at Turk’s Seafood is made from scratch each day using fresh New England clams and house-smoked bacon to lend it a distinctive smokey flavor.
    Photo courtesy of Turk's Seafood

The top 10 winners in the category Best Clam Chowder in Massachusetts are as follows:

  1. Captain Parker's Pub - West Yarmouth
  2. Skipper Chowder House - South Yarmouth
  3. The Raw Bar Yoho - Nantucket
  4. Union Oyster House - Boston
  5. Legal Sea Foods - Boston
  6. Atlantic Fish Company - Boston
  7. Lobster Pot - Provincetown
  8. The Causeway Restaurant - Gloucester
  9. Summer Shack - Boston and Cambridge
  10. Turk's Seafood - Mattapoisett

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Taylor Hicks (State Plate) and Kim Foley MacKinnon (Association of Food Journalists) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the state food scene.

Congratulations to all these winning restaurants!

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Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks

Kim Foley MacKinnon

10Best Editors

10Best Editors