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Best fried Clams in Rhode Island?

My mother is visiting and I'd like to take her out for fried clams (whole clams, not strips, not clam cakes, not stuffies). A clam shack is fine, we're just looking for something fresh and good and all your suggestions are appreciated.
Thanks!

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  1. Hi,

    Hortons in East Prov is very good, Champlains in Narra is good also. Flo's in Middletown Way overrated Iggys in Narra the same . Plus champlains has a nice view you can sit and people watch or ocean watch. Also ask where the clams are harvested from. From the Cape to Maine the shellfish beds were shutdown and they may use frozen ones. Clam strips are good I buy them scrape off the breading and use them for Striper fishing thats all their good for lol.
    Enjoy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Frank Terranova

      While the flounder is excellent (and pricey) at Champlins, I now avoid their clams. Had them once as a side order and twice as part of the seafood platter - poor at best which is surprising considering their location. Iggy's just serves age old frozen, so I now avoid them as well. The scallops next door at Aunt Carrie's are so good that I've never gotten around to their clams. I second Flo's as having very good fried clams.

      1. re: Frank Terranova

        Believe it or not I have had tasty fried clams at WB Cody's BBQ on Rte 1 near Dunns Corners in Westerly. The clams are not huge and the size of the portion varies from small to reasonable. (one time the waitress took a look at the small portion and took it upon herself to bring another order.) However, I have never been disappointed with the preparation. Normally we go to Cody's for the ribs, but I do order the clams every now and then.

      2. If you are near the border of Ct. I would definately recomend the Sea Swirl in Mystic. Some of the best fried clams I ever had.

        11 Replies
        1. re: hotwing

          This Fried Clam made me hungry and I am heading towards Mystic Thanks for the heads up. I will let ya know how they are

          1. re: Frank Terranova

            I think I have heard Abbotts is better than Sea Swirl.

            1. re: Alica

              Abbot's view is superior to that of Sea Swirl but the fried clams as well as the lobster rolls are much better at Sea Swirl.

              1. re: chowmensch

                NO ONE'S fried whole belly clams are better than the Sea Swirl's. I love Abbotts for lobster -- it is delicious, and the experience of eating it out overlooking the water on a sunny day is unbeatable. But the best thing to do is going to the Sea Swirl FIRST -- have your fried clams as an appetizer -- then if you must have lobster, make your way to Abbott's. I would also agree that the lobster rol at the Sea Swirl is better -- but Abbotts' whole lobsters are fabulous.

                1. re: krondeau

                  Thanks now I have to try it. Flos in RI on the water SUCKS. plus its very dirty bad health dept reviews.

                  1. re: krondeau

                    When I'm in the mood for fried whole bellies or scallops, only one place in RI comes to mind - Buttonwood Fish & Chips in Warwick (no lobster). Not much ambiance, but excellent fried seafood with outstanding fresh-cut fries & onion rings.

              2. re: Frank Terranova

                Oddly, the best fried clams I've ever had were at Harry's in Colchester. I tried them on a whim (not expecting much quality being more a hot dog / burger stand) where they were so excellent, I've had them several times since with equal results..

                1. re: Clams047

                  My new gold standard for fried whole bellies in southern New England is now at the Glenwood Drive In in Hamden, CT. Far suprior to any I've ever had at any traditional restaurant. Hard to say if they are better than what's available in the the Boston north shore area since a side-by-side comparisons is not practical. Best guess is comparable.

                  IMO, best in northern New England is probably at Five Island Lobster in Georgetown, ME - my other gold standard.

              3. re: hotwing

                Sea Swirl = some of the worst fried clams I've ever had. Think rubber bands. Tough and hard to chew. Totally disappointed. Never going back for clams. Burgers and chicken ternders are probably fine. My idea of a good fried clam are fresh Ipswich/Essex clams, though, so my expectations might be higher than average.

                1. re: thinkemm

                  Sounds like the typical whole bellies commonly found in RI (exception being at Buttonwoods Fish & Chips in Warwick, RI where I've found them to be consistently exceptional).

                  1. re: thinkemm

                    I agree. I've been there twice and both times it was like chewing on elastic bands. Never again!

                2. Quitos in bristol,Evelyns in tiverton,Commons lunch in little compton.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: im hungry

                    Last year, I went to Evelyn's in Tiverton after hearing that it was suppose to be good. After eating 3 clams, I threw the rest out. They were clumped together and very chewy like elastic bands. I second the ones at Sea Swirl in Mystic. Definitly worth going out of your way for.

                    1. re: im hungry

                      Would second Evelyn's. It's mighty popular on a perfect beach day!

                      http://earthlyepicurean.blogspot.com/

                      1. re: im hungry

                        I had fried clams at Quito's last Friday. They were tasty & not greasy at all, a pretty good spot for RI fried clams.

                      2. I have been getting fried clams here for years. One of the best.

                        http://offthebroiler.wordpress.com/20...

                        3 Replies
                          1. re: chefjohn

                            we hit up hortons last nite after seeing those pictures,pretty amazing.the clam cakes were the best weve ever had,totally incredible.the fish was awesome,the clams were great,killer onion rings too.the only thing that wasnt great was the stuffie,but everything else made up for it.

                            1. re: im hungry

                              Ok hungry hope your happy now, now I have to do there but dont think its open Sundays. Good thing clams are not Heroin I would be screwed. lol.

                          2. It's pricier than the clam shacks, but the Back Eddy in Westport MA has outstanding fried clams. The real deal. When I visit RI I like to spend my $$ in RI but I make an exception for the Back Eddy.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: Bob W

                              I have not been to a number of these places. Looking forward to trying them, especially the Swirl & Hortons. I would reccomend Quitos in Bristol. Very tasty, my girlfriend used to live out there, and my parents still make the drive out there from Worcester because they liked it soo much!

                              1. re: AntonEgo

                                When I was a kid we used to always go to the place Ronnies in Auburn, Ma. I forgot the name but it just came to me. Haven't been in years it used to be REALLY good. Lines out to the street with 45 employees working. They also had an ice cream shop in the same lot, so after you had your fried clams you could get a dipped soft serve. Would be interested to know if anyone's been here recently and if it is still as good?

                                  1. re: maryper70

                                    flos is terrible now,just living off the reputation from years ago.avoid at all costs.

                                    1. re: im hungry

                                      totally gone down hill Hey Hungey have you been to the Back Eddy I see lots of nice things about it on here ?

                                      1. re: Frank Terranova

                                        yeah,the back eddy is great.all local seafood,veggys,etc.chris schleshinger from the east coast grill in boston opened it originally,pretty famous guy,he has some great cookbooks too.i think he was partners and the other guy bought him out.anyways the place awesome,right on the water,simple but really good food,its all about the freshest ingredients they can and do get.its kind of out in the middle of nowhere,the drive isnt to bad though.well worth the effort to get there,i think youll love it frank.....

                                        1. re: im hungry

                                          I grew up in EP, Horton's is very good....

                                      2. re: im hungry

                                        I respectfully disagree, Flo's is by far still the best, maybe you hit a bad day?

                                        1. re: bonacbub

                                          Its difficult when you pay $16.00 plus with the high price for clams to have an off day. If you went to a food store bought a piece of fresh food and it was bad you would return it and they would fix it. I went Once get this there wear no fried clams they said clam strips were as good. They are not even the same clam most are used for commercial chowders or fish bait for Blues or flounder thats why the price is half of the belly clams. Iwill stick with Hortons or Champlains.

                                        2. re: im hungry

                                          I agree...really disappointed last trip.

                                  2. re: Bob W

                                    Anyone ever tried Bayside's fried clams? It's down the road from The Back Eddy...

                                    http://earthlyepicurean.blogspot.com/

                                  3. Well, tonight (Thursday) we went to Horton's Seafood in East Providence. For the record, it's only open Wednesday-Saturday (we went Tuesday night to find it closed). My mother found the fried clams to be on the small side and quite soggy. She said it couldn't compare to Kelly's fried clams on Revere Beach north of Boston. Since I'm a vegetarian, there wasn't much on the menu for me (actually, nothing) but I did enjoy a great slice of key lime pie. The service was lovely and the waitress did offer to make the clams crispier for my mother. Oh well. Maybe next time we'll try Sea Swirl.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: MissVeg

                                      Hi,
                                      Not to make excuses for Hortons but the clams are small due to poulution but soggyness either breaded way ahead of time or cold frying fat. I bet they were pretty expensive also and there is no excuse for a bad meal anywhere. I did a food project in Boston a few years ago and forgot about Kelly's the clams were the biggest I have ever seen but sweet,tender and neatly fried. Wish Kelly's would move to R.i.

                                      1. re: Frank Terranova

                                        My friend and I shared delicious clams last night at Carrie's Seafood Restaurant (Douglas Ave, North Providence). The ambience is nothing special, the prices are reasonable, and the service is excellent (ask for Jay's table). Open Wed-Sun.

                                        1. re: Frank Terranova

                                          Kellys is awesome too,but i always get the sangy.everytime we go,im all"im getting the fried clams this time",we get there,see somebody with the sandwich,forget the clams,order the sangwich,damn.next time........RI could use a Kellys ,bigtime!!

                                      2. Quito's in Bristol, Jim's Dock in Jerusalem, Flo's in Middletown, Faial in Smithfield (also has terrific, big, cheap cocktails). Or go up to clam alley on the North Shore of Mass and try them in Essex at Farnham's or Essex Seafood (never Woodman's!) or the ultimate at the Clam Box in Ipswich.

                                        1. The best kept secret to most anyone except Warwick residents is that Governor Frances Inn's fried clams are perfection and unbeateable. Even those famed places right on the water can't hold a candle to them. Try them...you will love them!

                                            1. re: AikiLou

                                              Holy Cow and oldie,
                                              Now its the famous Cheaters Strip club. Bet lots of clams in there

                                            2. The place I have been going to just about every Friday is Scott's fish market in Warren, RI. They only have fried seafood on Fridays.
                                              http://bristol-warren.patch.com/listi...
                                              Went to Flo's Clam Shack in Portsmouth the last week. Fried clams were OK. A little greasy.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: chefjohn

                                                Really, Governor Francis is the best. Good old school honest food. Try it you'll like it.

                                              2. Twin Oaks in Cranston.. awesome Fried Clams and Fried Oysters