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great fried clams w/ bellies and onion rings in ct

We had great (underscored) fried clams w/ bellies at Westfair Fish and Chips in Westport CT. Fresh-tasting, perfectly fried--A+. I thought the Rhode Island clam chowder was too salty; and I wasn't so crazy about the wide-cut fries or the slightly too-sweet/gloppy cole slaw. But the onlon rings were to die for! You can get sodas/juices from a refrigerated case--too bad no beer. The woman behind the counter is efficient and friendly, w/ a warm smile. It's a bit hard to find--in the back of a sort of strip mall and very simple, w/ a few tables and a lobster pot and photographs of the sea and a TV going. But if you're looking for great fried clams w/ bellies and terrific onion rings in this part of CT, search no farther!

Westfair Fish & Chips
1781 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880

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  1. I had a fried whole belly sandwich this weekend at SONO seaport. Very tasty and the clams were not small. But a bit pricey at $12 for the sandwich and $19 for the a la carte dinner.

    1. Hi,
      I am not a big fried food eater but really good fried clams are a summer treasure. There is a place called Flo;s in RI but I tried it and it sucks. RI chowder is salty salt pork dirty looking dishwater chowder.I will give this CT place a try.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Frank Terranova

        I like the lesser known thick red chowder but that may have died with the joints open only on Fridays.

        1. re: Frank Terranova

          Tried Flo's in Middletown Rhode Island as well and was unimpressed. Anthony's Seafood, not far away, is my choice for seafood in the Newport area.

          I have to agree with the assessment of Westfair in Westport. A simple nondescript place, but the food was excellent.

          Lobster Gal, who does lobster roll reviews, is a big fan of City Fish Markets fresh-picked lobster roll. It's on my must do list.

        2. As reported in another thread:

          Westfair is now celebrating twenty-five years as one of the best ‘Chippers’ (fish-‘n- chip shops) in Connecticut.

          The history of Fish and Chips dates to the 16th Century when the Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal brought deep-fried fish, Pescado Frito, to the Netherlands and England. During the 17th century, Sir Walter Raleigh brought potatoes back to England from the New World. Fish and Chips were created when the potatoes were prepared in the manner of the French “chipped pommes de terre a la mode” and combined with the Pescado Frito. In the 1860’s, the first fish-and-chip shop (a “Chipper”) opened on Cleveland Street in London's Irish East End by the fishmonger, Joseph Malin. The dish’s rise to royalty culminated in World War II when it was exempt from rationing. Over 300 years later fish ‘n chips still remain major offering in English pubs alongside freshly pulled pint of beer.

          Fish ‘n chips gained notoriety in the United States during the 1960s. Chippers opened along the shoreline of Connecticut, but few were located in Fairfield County. In 1985 the landscape changed when Westfair Fish and Chips opened in Westport. Westfair is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary and their fish ‘n chips and other great seafood selections offer a fantastic version of many all-time favorites.

          Upon entering the cozy dining area, you can choose to order from one of the two menus. The wooden board on one side of the dining room describes the traditional menu, while the ‘specials’ are hand written on the board over the counter. Orders are placed at the counter and customers wait until called. This is a very no-frills establishment with paper plates, styrofoam, plastic containers and plastic utensils. Sodas and drinks are self-served from the refrigerator.

          Photo Credit: Michael Stern, Roadfood.comMy favorite starter is their New England clam chowder. Westfair also offers Rhode Island clam chowder seafood bisque and lobster bisque, but I love a good NE chowder. The broth offers a nice balance between the richness of the clam liquor and the mildness of a hint of cream. The clams are sweet and plump and the addition of celery, red potatoes and plenty of fresh spices make this a wonderful clam chowder.

          The fish ‘n chips consist of perfectly deep fried Cod. The challenge in preparing fish ‘n chips is bringing the crust to a perfect golden brown while simultaneously cooking the fish to firm, moist and flavorful flakiness. Westfair does both to perfection. The crust has a great consistency and flavor and has a different coating than many of their other fried choices. When I asked about the ingredients the owner humbly informed me that it is flour based “with just a few spices.” His secret “few spices” added a very nice flavor to this dish. The “chips” are steak fries and are good, but the fish is the centerpiece of the dish.

          I love whole belly fried clams and Westfair produces a very good rendition. The whole bellies contain that great clam liquor that bursts in your mouth and the crispiness of the coating adds the desired crunchiness. It is still early in the season and I found the bellies to be a little on the small side, but I would expect that the size of the whole belly clams to increase over the next few months. When these larger sized are available and flawlessly cooked at Westfair, they will be utterly delicious.

          It is unusual to find one of my favorite mollusks, sea scallops, breaded and then plunged into hot oil. But the result at Westfair is close to perfection. The breading creates a wonderful crunchy texture while the scallops are perfectly cooked; the heavenly sweetness of the scallop is still present. They are incredibly moist throughout and the crunchiness of the coating makes this a perfect choice for lunch or dinner.

          Photo Credit: Michael Stern, Roadfood.comAnother dish that I thoroughly enjoy at Westfair is the fried shrimp. The 20-25 size shrimp are the ideal size versus the smaller popcorn shrimp served elsewhere. The shrimp at Westfair, like everything else, are perfectly cooked. The coating is flavorful, perfectly crisp and adds a nice complement to the sweet and succulent shrimp. The lunch sized portion of six shrimp plus the French fries are a perfect lunch if you add a cup of chowder to the mix.

          Other items on the menu include fried oysters and squid and most of the fish selections are available as a platter, a side dish or a roll. Likewise most of the fish and seafood can be broiled. The side choices include cole slaw, potato salad and macaroni salad and each is made on the premises.

          Westfair is now celebrating twenty-five years as one of the best Chippers in Connecticut and is worth a visit from near or far.


          1 Reply
          1. re: jfood

            Mayfair Fish & Chips in Stamford, across from Grade A, down in the Shippan area is way better....BEST fish and chips around people.

          2. Glenwood Drive- In, Whitney Ave, Hamden. Ipswich whole belly clams, hand cut onion rings. The original burned down when I was a kid, but the new place has had equally good chow for 45 years since. Also features Hummel foot longs, killer C'burger w/ works, and buttery lobster rolls, and an ice cream parlor.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              A strong second for Glenwood in Hamden.

              Glenwood Cafe
              420 Springfield St, Springfield, MA 01107

              1. re: jenni49

                I don't know where the link to Springfield came from. My rec. is for The Glenwood on Whitney Ave., Hamden, CT. Sorry for any confusion.

                Glenwood Cafe
                420 Springfield St, Springfield, MA 01107

              2. re: Veggo

                I don't remember that place. Was it near Putnam Ave or further north in the Spring Glen area? My go-to place for buttery lobster rolls was D'Andrea's Drive in on Dixwell near Pershing.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  Further north still - Centerville, a few blocks north of Dixwell Ave. A great place for dogs, fried bellies, & lobster rolls.

                  1. re: benbenberi

                    Near the Brownstone House??? Has to be on WHitney; I don't recall any commercial establishments on Dixwell on the other side of Whitney.

                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      It's on Whitney Ave, a mile north of the Brownstone house. mucho, it was there when you were there. Wayne Stone is iconic in Hamden.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        I'm not that familiar with the Centerville area, Veggo. All I really remember there was the Brownstone and, across the street, Reilly's. My 'stompin' ground was further down Dixwell, between the Plaza and the center of Hamden.

                        1. re: mucho gordo

                          The Reilly's you remember burned down on a warm Christmas day, I went and watched. George Reilly rebuilt it and died some years later, and his son Sean ran it for a while, then tried his hand at a couple upscale places. All in the past now. The Brownstone house endures, good breakfast.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            That's a shame about Reilly's. They had good stuff. There weren't too many food places in my area back then, Aside from the Colonial House the notable places include D'Andrea's Drive In, Raccio's Pizza and Gag's Pepper Pot. I doubt any are still around.

                2. re: Veggo

                  Veg, I kno I'm bumping an old thread, but got this in an email alert from a friend who works for WVIT Channel 30-NBC Hartford

                  "NBC 30 is coming in on Tuesday February 5th to do a story on Glenwood!! They will be here at 12:00. Come between 12--2 and help support the Glenwood crew. Use codeword TOP DOG and receive 25% of your bill. Be prepared you might be interviewed!!

                  Later on, you might be able t see the clip on: nbconnecticut.com

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    Cool! Wayne Stone, the owner, does a lot of civic work and sponsoring of youth sports programs. Wish I could have been there this noon.

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Thanks, bagel, good stuff. You are making me homesick. The photo of the original building, which burned down, really brings back memories.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          we were in the neighborhood today for an internment in Centerville cemetery on Washington Ave, so we couldn't resist a stop at Glenwood before driving home to Trumbull.
                          MIL had the whole belly, wife and I had franks.
                          Still as good as my memories of long ago

                3. I think the best fried clams or fried food in general (especially the onion rings!) in CT can be had at Lenny's in Indian Neck Branford CT, not to be confused with Lenny and Joe's Fishtales.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: boehmkeb

                    Can you help a non-local get the right location?

                    205 S Montowese St, Branford, CT 06405

                    Lenny's Indian Head Inn
                    RR 146, Branford, CT 06405

                    1. re: neil

                      They are both the same place and both addresses are correct depending on whether you want the town street or the State route number. Personally in my opinion the restaurant is living on past glories and doesn't deserve a visit by anyone for their fried food. Terrible, odd colored batter which falls off the food and is grossly overpriced.

                      1. re: neil

                        From New Haven
                        Take I-95 N

                        Take the Cedar St exit 54 to Branford - go 0.1 miles

                        Turn right at Cedar St - go 0.5 miles

                        Bear left at Laurel St - go 0.1 miles

                        Turn left at Main St - go 0.2 miles

                        Turn right at Montowese St - go 0.6 miles

                        Continue on S Montowese St - go 0.9 miles

                        Arrive at 205 S Montowese St
                        Branford, CT 06405

                        From New London
                        Take I-95 S

                        Take the US-1 exit 55 - go 0.4 miles

                        Turn right at E Main St - go 1.6 miles

                        Continue on Main St - go 0.2 miles

                        Turn left at Montowese St - go 0.6 miles

                        Continue on S Montowese St - go 0.9 miles

                        Arrive at 205 S Montowese St
                        Branford, CT 06405

                        From Hartford
                        Take I-91 S

                        Bear left into the I-95 N entry ramp

                        Take the Cedar St exit 54 to Branford - go 0.1 miles

                        Turn right at Cedar St - go 0.6 miles

                        Turn left at Main St - go 0.4 miles

                        Turn right at Montowese St - go 0.5 miles

                        Continue on S Montowese St - go 0.9 miles

                        Arrive at 205 S Montowese St
                        Branford, CT 06405

                        1. re: boehmkeb

                          Slightly easier directions - from either direction take I-95 to exit 53. Follow the signs to Rte 146 (a right fork from Rte 1). Stay on Rte 146 till you see Lenny's on the right.

                    2. In the Hartford area I'd suggest City Fish Market, Route 99, Wethersfield 860-257-6465. They are primarily known as the market that the best restaurants by from, but they have a fantastic menu of cooked-to-order fried seafood, o-rings, fries, etc. Cafeteria style, fast, but they have a gorgeous well-air-conditioned dining area if you want to eat-in. Beer, wine, ice cream available in eating area. This snack detective knows when my husband has made a side trip there without me by there signature yellow box and napkins!! On the shore, goes without saying, Lenny & Joes in Westbrook (eat-in-sit-down table service) or Madison, caf style, eat in or out, carousel for charity.

                      Lenny & Joe's
                      Westbrook, CT, Westbrook, CT

                      City Fish Market
                      884 Silas Deane Hwy, Wethersfield, CT 06109

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: monafelice

                        Has anyone been to Captain's Catch in the Woodmont section of Milford?

                        1. re: razkel

                          We went there 2 weeks ago- have been meaning to post- thanks for the nudge.

                          DH had a fish sandwich- good but not memorable-, fries (same) and lobster bisque- the bisque was ok, but it was, oddly, to us, loaded with langostino, and no evidence of actual lobster meat. So call it langostino bisque, wouldja?? It wouldn't stop him from ordering it again, its just that when something is described as lobster, you expect lobster.

                          I had the oyster early bird dinner, which again, was ok, but not particularly memorable.

                          Prices were reasonable, space is clean and bright.

                          In comparison, we have been going to the recently relocated Main Port Fish and Chips in Stratford pretty regularly- it has been as good as it was in the way past, before the menu got crazy. It is in a shared location with a deli/sandwich shop called V's Sandwich Construction, on the corner of Broadbridge and Huntington Turnpike, caddy-corner to Treeland.

                          We're not sorry we went to Captain's Catch, but would be more likely to drive the extra few minutes to Stowe's, or Main Port, depending on the time, or stay home in Milford and go to 7 Seas.

                      2. I've heard Black Duck Cafe in Westport has great fried clams and steamers. It was featured a few years ago on D/D/D on the Food Network, anyone have a recent review?

                        Black Duck Cafe
                        605 Riverside Ave, Westport, CT 06880

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bonacbub

                          We go there often. The steamed clams are the best! Not just steamed, but steamed in wine and garlic. They ain't cheap, though. I was, however, not impressed with the fried clams. Just make a meal out of the steamers.

                        2. I just tried the Clam Castle in Madison, After years of Lenny & Joe's the Castle is much better~!
                          Still I think that the Glenwood in Hamden is the winner. a lighter batter

                          1. Upstate, Mickey's Oceanic Grill in East Hartford is great -- and best fish sandwiches around. Nice folks, too. Yeah, East Hartford, go figure. Not hard to get to for a quick stop off of Routes 2, 91 or 84.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: howaboutthat

                              I agree about the "nice folks," but I got onion STRINGS...not rings. Too skinny...I prefer my rings like I prefer my women...a bit on the wide side...but that's another web site.

                              1. re: njmarshall55

                                My experience runs to the clams, not the onion rings.

                            2. Always had really good ones at Saints in Southington.

                              1. Say it again on an old thread. Black Rock Oyster Bar has great bellies and onion rings. Also nice raw bar.

                                1. They're porbably long gone but, the best belly clams and onion rings I ever had were from the small open stands in Momauguin.