HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Traditional chowder (cream based)

I was reading this post in anticipation of a trip to Boston.


It seems that the traditional (cream based) chowder is a lot harder to come by. What's your favorite?

Mr Taster

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have to agree with myself on that post, but if you're driving, you might want to try Moulton's in Medford.

    178 Winthrop St # A, Medford, MA 02155

    2 Replies
    1. re: Guinness02122

      Sadly, I will not be driving. I'm staying with family in Ashland and will be commuting by train to the city for a few days.

      Mr Taster

      1. re: Guinness02122

        Moulton's is great for most seafood. If I wanted a slam-dunk for chowder, I'd go to Legal..

      2. Oops! Spoke to soon. Great Bay has closed it's doors.

        1. Jacob Wirth by the Boylston T stop has good traditional chowder.

          I usually get the fish chowder at Legals and expect that their clam chowder would be exceptional.

          I also like John Harvard's, not thickened-white-goo but real cream-based chowder. I always get it when the weather is turning cold and rainy, with a pint or two.

          I'll repeat here again my bad experience with the Summer Shack in Alewife, all potatoe and not a clam to be found! Outrageous!

          1 Reply
          1. re: steinpilz

            I thought Legal was a thickened chowder.... is that not the case?

            Mr Taster

          2. Stone's Public House in Ashland has a very good clam and smoked haddock chowder. Very good food in general.

            1. My personal favorite is still Turner Fisheries, in the Westin Hotel. You'll keep going back!
              They also have the coldest drafts I've ever had.

              1. Noted that you won't be driving, but if you are T willing, go to Kelly's at Revere Beach. I'm pretty particular about clam chowder (can't be thickened, can't be over cooked, must include pork without being too salty), and Kelly's is the only "good" restaurant clam chowder I've had in years. Oddly enough, I also like Durgin Park's fish chowder, but I've never had their clam chowdr, and that places' menu is a bit hit or miss for what's "real" and what's not.

                3 Replies
                1. re: qianning

                  I might just have to try Kelly's. Google maps says bus 441 will take us to Revere Beach. We'll check it out.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    So will the Blue Line. It's a bit of a hike from Wonderland station to Kelly's, but it's a nice enough walk along the beach.

                    1. re: Allstonian

                      0.7 miles? Hell, that's no hike! I could stumble out of the station and land flat on my face in front of Kelly's! :)


                      Mr Taster

                2. The No Name has insanely good fish chowder. I would avoid the rest of the menu there though.

                  1. My favorite is at Neptune Oyster, which does a chowder barely tinged with whole milk, and has a broth based on clam stock, which I think gives it the best clam flavor. Like everything else there, it's made with impeccably fresh seafood.

                    Green Street in Cambridge has offered a corn/clam chowder topped with fried clams which I also love; not sure it's on the current menu.

                    The uber-traditional approach in my view is to serve a clear-broth chowder and pass a pitcher each of warm milk and warm cream at the table so diners can add to taste, but I've never seen this done in a restaurant here.

                    Even in Boston, the home of clam chowder, most places do an awful, flour-thickened, gloppy mess: disgusting. Incidentally, the Legal clam chowder is thickened with a little flour; my objection to it is its overuse of light cream. You could do worse than that one, however, and the chain's outlets are ubiquitous.

                    (I agree with joth68 on No Name, too.)


                    1. Kelly's is the best non-thickened in the area, and while your there grab a scallop roll.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: phatchris

                        Scallop roll? Is that like the famous Maine lobster roll?

                        Also, I keep seeing Kelly's "roast beef" ... seems odd for a seafood shack to be this diverse in its expertise. Is the roast beef worth checking out too?

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          Kelly's is a roast beef sandwich place that also does seafood, not the other way around.

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            You can't go wrong with a roast beef sandwich and a pint of chowder at Kellys. Take it across the street and sit on the wall and enjoy a nice beach view while you eat. Kellys is my go to place for chowder.

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              I prefer the seafood to the roast beef, but thats only because growing up in Revere I had about 10 options for roast beef. I prefer my beef thinner sliced than Kelly's. If you want a good beef Pete's on North shore road (short walk from Revere Beach T station) or Beachmont roast beef (short walk from Beachmont T station) are much better than Kelly's IMO.

                              1. re: phatchris

                                So do Pete's do a decent roll? This is my gripe with Kelly's and just about every other North Shore style roast beef joint: crappy, Wonder-Bread-like rolls. Still looking for a something a real baker wouldn't be ashamed of.


                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  I like the super beef ,although it is a standard supermarket onion roll, its still an onion roll. A lot of times I'll get my beef on a sub roll instead.

                          2. Not to be picky but, traditional chowder is either clam or fish stock based and finished with cream. I like Legal's lite chowder, not thick at all, Kelly's is also good and finally The Causeway in Gloucester, perfect!