Clam chowder, or ‘chowda’ as you’ll hear native Bostonians say, is perhaps the most famous New England delicacy.
Traditionally, it’s a thin soup containing fresh local clams, potato and onion, and may also contain bacon or corn. However, Boston especially is also known for a slightly different version, which is much thicker and more like a stew than a soup. Some claim that the best clam chowder in Boston is the traditional kind, whereas others prefer the heartiness of the more modern chowder.
Whichever version you choose, you can be sure there’s no tomato in your soup – New Englanders are so against this that they actually tried to get a law passed making it illegal!
Although chowder is today synonymous with New England, its origins come from all over. Clams were widely available in coastal areas, and the combination of clams, potatoes and other vegetables was inexpensive and easy to whip up for hungry sailors. What was once ‘poor man’s food’ is now one of the most sought-after dishes in all of Boston.
Here’s our guide to where to taste the best ‘chowda’ in the city…
1. Legal Seafoods
Located right on the waterfront (which is always a good sign when you’re going to a seafood restaurant!), Legal Seafoods boasts three separate floors; but for an authentic experience grab a table on the ground floor.
If you’re looking for a venue that’s reminiscent of the old days, where back-to-basics restaurants installed a few wooden picnic benches to cater to visiting sailors, then this is the place. There’s nothing fancy about it (that’s upstairs), but the food is to die for.
It’s a great place for those on a budget, with a hot mug of Boston clam chowder costing just $6.95.
1 Harborside Dr, Boston, MA 02128
2. Atlantic Fish
The Atlantic Fish Company is situated next to Copley Square, holding an ideal location within easy distance of Downtown, but far enough away that it’s not a tourist trap. The clam chowder here has won awards, and you can have chowder served in a mug or in a bowl made of bread for the ultimate comfort food.
If you’re interested in trying something different, order the sea bass chowder, which is milder than clam chowder but equally delicious.
761 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
3. Captain Marden’s Foodtruck
There is a huge street food culture in the United States, and it’s at these food trucks that you’ll taste some of the best delicacies the country has to offer. If you’re lucky enough to stumble across a Captain Marden’s truck in Boston, also known as the ‘Cod Squad’, you won’t be disappointed.
Bostonians queue each and every day for the clam chowder or fresh lobster rolls. The truck tends to park just south of Copley Square, or around South Station. Check @codsquadtruck on Twitter to find out today’s location.
Off to Boston soon? You can find plenty of places to stay in Boston cheaply with us that are close to the city’s most delicious restaurants.