Cape Cod's Best Clam Shacks

Posted by Fodor's Editors on August 25, 2010 at 10:04:25 AM EDT | Post a Comment
If you are what you eat, then most Cape Codders would be a clam . . . or maybe a lobster roll. It should go without saying that a land named for a type of fish would abound with opportunities to sample tasty seafood, and Cape Cod does not disappoint. Some talented New England chefs work in high-end restaurants on the Cape, yet no-frills seafood shacks still have an undeniable appeal. Their food is authentic, their prices are pretty reasonable, and even if their decor leaves something to be desired, most serve up dishes with a side order of scenery. Clams.JPGCap'n Frosty's Since 1976 Cap'n Frosty's in Dennis Village has been demonstrating just how diverse the humble clam can be. Whether you have a hankering for clam chowder, clam cakes, clam rolls, fried clams, or a high-heaped clam combo plate, you will find them all at this modest spot. Clam Shack There is more to the Clam Shack in Falmouth than those fresh, fat-bellied mollusks for which it is named. Killer lobster rolls, plump scallops cooked to perfection, and a lovely location right on the harbor have all helped solidify its reputation as a Cape Cod institution. Cape-Cod-Bouys.jpgMac's Seafood Mac's Seafood in Wellfleet is a hole-in-the-wall take-out joint with perfect views of sailboats and fishing trawlers. For those who can't get enough of its oysters or scallops, Mac's also operates a sit-down restaurant nearby (Mac's Shack), plus three seafood markets. Kream 'N Kone Don't let the name fool you. Sure the Kream 'N Kone serves soft-serve ice cream, but the main course—in fact, the main draw—at this vintage West Dennis eatery is deep-fried seafood. Unless you're concerned about your cholesterol, opt for the clam plate with fries and onion rings. Seafood Sam's Sam Vecchione started a chain reaction when he opened the original Seafood Sam's in 1974. Now with locations in Harwich, Sandwich, Falmouth, and Yarmouth, Sam's comprehensive menu (which includes broiled seafood and salads) leaves diners clam-oring for more. Hyannis-harbor.jpgBaxter's Fish 'n' Chips Baxter's Fish 'n' Chips in Hyannis has been doling out delicious short-order seafood for more than 50 years. Outdoor tables overlook the picturesque harbor, and a passageway also leads to Baxter's Boat House Club, where the same menu is offered in a more upscale atmosphere. Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar in Eastham is always busy—and once you see the menu, you will understand why. The standard deep-fried fare here is supplemented with shucked-while-you-wait oysters, raw bar clams, steamed lobsters, and New England "chowdah." Photo credit: (1) iStock/PhilAugustavo; (2) iStock/PhotoRX; (3) EasyBuy4u
Posted in Trip Ideas Tagged: New England, Massachusetts

Member Comments (8)  Post a Comment

  • seafox on Sep 9, 10 at 12:13 PM

    Notably missing are Cooke's in Orleans and the Lobster Pot in Provincetown. Cap'n Frosty's and Kream 'n Kone are great if you like extra grease with your fried clams

  • clewis628 on Aug 30, 10 at 10:31 AM

    Sir Crickets is another fantastic option that was left off this list. It's so worth the trip to Orleans!! I also agree with the earlier post - Clam Shacks are called shacks for a reason. If you want fine dining, go elsewhere but the whole point of a clam shack is wicked good seafood for a good price and they can do that by not spending too much on "decor." If it was a nice, well decorated place, I would question the freshness of the seafood and assume it was frozen/processed and not fresh.

  • JanChatham on Aug 29, 10 at 07:16 AM

    Tried Cobies on 6A in Brewster yesterday for lunch. Excellent fried clams.

  • gamster on Aug 28, 10 at 04:53 AM

    Seafood Sam's in Harwich is shut down not sure of the rest of the stores. I would recommend the Original Seafood Restaurant in Dennisport.

  • JanChatham on Aug 27, 10 at 05:42 PM

    Cap'n Frosty's was a favorite of ours until last fall when the fried clams it served were rubbery at best. We have decided not to return. Kream ;n Kone in Chatham has delicious fried clams, but they can often be overwhelmed by the batter. Liam's at Nauset Beach and Sir Crickets in Orleans are better choices for fried clams.

  • dlavine on Aug 26, 10 at 02:09 PM

    In Wellfleet, the most consistently sweet and juicy fried clams are at Moby Dick's on Route 6, near the Wellfleet/Truro line. Also great steamers and everything else.

  • kitraveler on Aug 26, 10 at 11:34 AM

    Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar - Best Lobster on the cape. There is a reason why people wait for an hour to get served. Great ice cream; also fantastic hot fudge.

  • warrenmass on Aug 26, 10 at 10:22 AM

    I take exception to the phrase "...even if their decor leaves something to be desired,...." The writer just doesn't GET IT! New England clam places are SUPPOSED TO look rustic (e.g., unpainted, weathered wood, old boat parts in the yard that is neither landscaped nor paved over but covered with natural beach pebbles interspersed with beach grass.) And the staffs wear jeans and carpenters' aprons, not starched jackets. To upgrade the decor of such places to meet the reviewer's standards would literally RUIN their ambiance.

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