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The Lobster Pool

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  • tw Jun 7, 2002 04:06 PM
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has my favorite fried clams by far. It's on Route 127, which circles Cape Anne, which is also one of my favorite drives by far. It's right near Halibut Point and has beautiful, deep golden brown clams and even a decent greek salad. It's a little pricey, something like 11.95 for a platter, but strips are cheaper for those who don't care about the best part. The picnic tables in the back have a beautiful ocean view and it's a great place to go after climbing around on Halibut Point rocks all day.

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  1. I have heard of this place from friends but I have not tried it. 11.95 is not pricey for a clam dinner, sounds reasonable. We won't even talk about the "strips".

    4 Replies
    1. re: chuck s

      I agree about the $11.95 price, I'd say that's a bargain these days. But where the heck is Halibut Point? I have no idea what town that's in and only see Rt. 127 as a location in the original post.

      1. re: Joanie

        Halibut Point / Lobster Pool: take 95 to 128 north. When you get to the rotary circle around halfway and head left. Follow Rt. 127 up the west side of Cape Ann. You'll pass some kind of pirate-themed sub shop - keep left. You'll pass a very mini shopping area with 1 or 2 antique stores and convenience store. Follow up the hill to the left. Continue for about 10 more minutes and you'll see both on your left (Lobster Pool first). Just remember: left.

        1. re: tw

          Thanks for the directions, but what town is it in?

          1. re: Joanie

            Glouchester.

    2. Is this place better than Woodman's??? I'm coming to boston for a visit & I only get fried clams once or twice a year so I want the best!!!

      15 Replies
      1. re: Dolly

        Woodman's stinks! Farnhams, also in Essex rules.

        1. re: Shaebones

          I'll second that...If you have memories from your youth, forget it...Woodman's is resting on it's laurels; now a tourist trap....

          1. re: galleygirl

            I'll stay out of this because I have not often met a fried clam that I didn't like, but I wanted to throw Essex Seafood and the Clam Box into the mix. The prices are reasonable at Essex Seafood and the Clam Box offers small platters. Remember that clams vary in size and taste not only from place to place but from season to season so the results can vary at any of the choices. But how can you go wrong with a fried clam (unless you get those "strips").

            1. re: chuck s

              Perhaps I should qualify that. I haven't BEEN to Farnham's, but based on the recs of this board, I would try them, Essex Seafood, and the Clam Box OVER Woodman's, which I HAVE been to numerous times, and have officially given up, as of last year, because I am tired of the rising prices, lowered quality(of things OTHER than clams..), and general tone of the place...

              I have tried to go to the Lobster Pool a few times after hiking at Halibut Point, but it always seems like such a mob scene(and the reviews I heard in the past were only average...) that it seems a shame to waste the sense of tranquility I gained hiking by braving lines... I did hear it was BYO, another dry town...

              1. re: galleygirl

                Yikes! I had no idea....it's been 10+ years since my last visit to Woodmans......thanks for the heads up. It's too bad though because as I remember they invented the fried clam.......

                I want the best fried clams around because they are just not available in LA......so what do you think, lobster pool, farnhams etc???

                1. re: Dolly

                  My vote goes to Farnhams, hands down. The fried clams are light, crispy and medium sized...not the huge ones w big mushy bellies. The restaurant is located right on the salt marshes of the Essex river and you can sit outside on picnic benches and watch the sun set.If your lucky you'll catch a glimpse of a snowy white egret or a great blue heron. The inside is bright and airy w lots of open screened windows for a nice cross breeze. For the health food sect they also serve a good piece of grilled fish over salad w big crunchy croutons. I LOVE the place.

                  1. re: Shaebones

                    This is good to know because 25 years ago Woodmans was a destination spot for our family (the coast is nice but the lobster at the end of the day was all anyone thought about) and 10 years ago it really did "stink."

                    1. re: Grrrh!

                      No reflection intended on those who decry Woodman's as either overrated or a tourist trap, but to the two who have fond memories and family traditions of Woodman's I urge you to go there and decide for yourself.

                      Woodman's has become more expensive. Other places are definitely a better value - but it is not just about value. Woodman's is still Woodman's. There are still a lot of regulars who love the place. The Mass. plates jamming the parking lot and the lines out the door pretty much attest to that.

                      Woodman's isn't my favorite fryer of clams, but it is hard to drive to Maine without detouring to Essex and to Woodman's.

                      Holly Moore
                      HollyEats.Com

                      Link: http://www.hollyeats.com

                      1. re: Holly Moore

                        Sorry to disagree. Strongly.

                        It's nothing to do with VALUE. It's about QUALITY.

                        As to, "No reflection intended on those who decry Woodman's as either overrated or a tourist trap, but to the two who have fond memories and family traditions of Woodman's I urge you to go there and decide for yourself.":

                        I respectfully urge you NOT to go there and try for yourself, unless you have time to waste being disappointed. The opinions on this board, if they have value (and that is the purpose of these postings), mostly urge you away from Woodman's.

                        The great thing about this board is to steer you to and from places that might waste your time.

                        Personally, I don't have time most afternoons to scoot from place to place comparing fried clams. When I do have the luxury of time to search, I'll try new places and check out old places, but if I'm just in town for the day, I appreciate being pointed in the right direction by trusted guides.

                        All that being said, enjoy your fried clams. Farnhams and the Clam Box get my vote. And we all remember Woodmans when it was great.

                        1. re: Win (Boston)

                          That a few Chowhound posters don't like a place could be a consideration, but would never, ever, prevent me from checking the place out for myself, especially one that I have always liked in the past.

                          And I would balance those negative Chowhound poster opinions against a tour of Woodman's parking lot on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Is it not packed every weekend during the season? Are not most of the cars from Mass., probably "locals" from the Boston area who presumably know fried clams? Is not Woodman's still the busiest of the Fried Clam Shacks in the Essex area?

                          I have found the quality of Woodman's fried clams to be consistently good, though I do find myself paying more for fewer clams. I enjoy the Woodman's experience and I respect their heritage.

                          Holly Moore
                          HollyEats.Com

                          Link: http://www.hollyeats.com

                          1. re: Holly Moore

                            So, Holly, when was the last time YOU were there? I also had great memories of Woodman's, bragged about it to out of towners, brought them, and was embarassed; it was so mediocre...Like Tom Wolfe says, sometimes you can't go home again.

                            1. re: galleygirl

                              October 2001

                              Great fried clams, small portion.

                              Holly Moore
                              HollyEats.Com

                              Link: http://www.HollyEats.Com

                              1. re: Holly Moore

                                Since I am looking for the BEST fried clam while in town, I think I will forget about the nostalgia of Woodmans & listen to the advice of many.Thanks to all.

                                1. re: Holly Moore

                                  I just had to add my two cents. I lived in Essex for five years and I have to tell you, no one who lives locally goes to Woodman's. The favorites were Farnham's or the Clam Box in Ipswich.

                                  1. re: Holly Moore

                                    Many local car plates could be a good sign, but then again, where I live there is a restaurant called the Dakota which packs the parking lot and boy would you want to avoid that place. I'll stick with the other recommendations but it's nice that Woodman's has an advocate.