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Nice fried clam dinner (in winter) in Hartford area and in Old Saybrook area

We'll be traveling from southwestern Massachusetts next weekend, going just south of Hartford then getting on Route 9 in New Britain to go over to Old Saybrook. I'm looking for a place my wife and two daughters, ages 4 and 9, can stop for a nice fried (whole belly) clam dinner Saturday night on the way or once we get there. Prefer not too fancy or too upscale. I currently have reservations at the Saybrook Fish House in Rocky Hill (near Hartford). Any better suggestions? Johnny Ads in Saybrook will be closed by the time we get over to the coast. Then, we may be looking for a nice fried clam dinner over in the Old Saybrook vicinity (or a neighboring town) early Sunday afternoon for my wife's birthday party (6 adults, 6 kids). Someplace "nice" for her birthday would be nice, but again, not too upscale. I'm thinking Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale in Westbrook 'cause I can't find anyplace else that's going to open around 1:30-ish and serves fried clams (no fried clams at the Hideaway, Boom, Doc and Dine, Aspen, Penny Lane Pub or S&P Oysters in Mystic). Am I missing someplace?

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  1. In Hartford you can try the Chowder Pot on Brainard Rd. Right off I91. Large menu, full table service. Or for a little more casual there's Tinkers on Park Rd. in West Hartford. It's not far off of I84. It's part seafood store/ part restaurant. Good food including clams. Good prices too. You have to order at the counter and they bring it to your table usually in a basket. Plastic forks and knives kind of place. Beer and wine available. I frequent Tinkers myself.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hotwing

      I would suggest Lenny & Joes in Madison for fried clams theirs are much better than Chowder Pot. They have another location in Saybrook but I have never been to it
      Nothing fancy self service you can bring a bottle of wine
      Never been to Saybrook fish

      1. re: hotwing

        Thanks...Tinkers may be a just a bit too, too casual...but I checked out the Chowder Pot web site. Looks like a good possibility. (not sure if I should stick with. Not sure if I should stick with Saybrook Fish House in Rocky Hill or switch to the Chowder Pot.

        1. re: robpalbny

          Lenny & Joe's in Madison and Johnny Ad's in Old Saybrook are definitely more casual than the Chowder Pot, but are infinitely better. I've tried both the Chowder Pot in Branford and the one in Hartford and was NOT impressed.

        2. re: hotwing

          Thanks. Tinkers may be a bit too, too casual. But Chowder Pot looks like a good possibility. I wonder if I should opt for the Chowder Pot in Hartford over the Saybrook Fish House in nearby Rocky Hill????

        3. Lenny & Joes in Westbrook, Westbrook Lobster just down the road from them, and Vinnie's Saybrook Fish House in Old Saybrook, all have whole bellies on their online menus. While Liv's Oyster Bar in Old Saybrook doesn't list them online, they have a remarkably diverse raw bar and could probably fix you up if you called ahead.

          1. all I can ever say about Chowder Pot is BLECHHHHH - -
            def ok @ Lenny & Joes - but be prepared to wait on a Sun afternoon if you get there too late.......surpised about Johnny Ads as they stay open yr round now- not sure abt their Sun afternoon hours in the winter.......Aspen is pricey......Dock & Dine has a great view if you like view over food.......

            1 Reply
            1. re: few

              All of this help is excellent, thank you...and it sort of confirms what I was planning: On our way through the Hartford area we're going to stop for dinner Saturday at the Saybrook Fish House in Rocky Hill...then Sunday early afternoon we're going to have a birthday dinner for my wife at Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale in Westbrook. 'Cause my wife and daughter like fried clams...and those two places have them. Unless someone has a better suggestion...

            2. Although I cant eat shellfish (allergy), the others in my family do. And if you come to Old Saybrook, where we live, you CANNOT go wrong with a visit to Johnny Ad's.

              My wife and sons LOVE the clams there, and I'm never unhappy eating a chili-cheeses-kraut dog.

              Redstone

              1. I love whole belly clams, but man are they expensive.