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Best fried clams in City Island.

It's getting cold, the season is over but the short days are mighty pretty right now.

Where can I enjoy fried clams and a view before winter sets in?

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  1. Steve, it seems like City Island gets blackballed over here. There must be SOMETHING worthy of praise there!

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodiemom10583

      You may be right.

      I'll do a little recon and get back.

    2. Fried clams (although I don't remember if the have bellies or just strips) and a view in City Island = Johnny's Reef Restaurant. The upscale and family types restaurants on CI deserve their low rating, but this low brow (but not super cheap) cafeteria style place is legendary.

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      Johnny's Reef
      2 City Island Ave, Bronx, NY 10464

      2 Replies
      1. re: bobjbkln

        Thanks. Johnny's Reef sounds perfect.

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        Johnny's Reef
        2 City Island Ave, Bronx, NY 10464

      2. We made an unplanned stop at City Island over the summer. I didn't research the best place to go before hand so we just drove around and stopped at a cute old-school looking place with a view.

        It was pretty bad.

        That place was (you guessed it) Johnny's.

        I was shocked to learn when I got back to my computer that we had been to the best place on City Island.

        I'm sure if you've been going to Johnny's since you were a kid etc it's great nostalgia. But the food is just not very good.

        4 Replies
          1. re: steve h.

            Sorry, that is the only place on City Island I've ever been. It was my first visit.

            I recommend low expectations of the food. Enjoy the old school atmosphere.

            1. re: steve h.

              I don't share the negative opinion of Johnny's. You want fried clams, so lets not get too carried away with what to expect. I visit Johnny's a few times per year and get exactly what I am looking for - fried seafood that is tasty. In my opinion, it has been consistent year after year, so for me, nothing has changed. I find it amusing that MRich "drove around" and stopped at Johnny's. Since its the last place on the island, one has to do a lot of driving around to arrive there, passing many other "cute" seafood establishments. And I wouldn't call Johnny's cute. In fact, its pretty much a dump, but the food is fine - if that's what you are looking for.

              1. re: fragnet

                Glad my driving habits amuse you.

                The clams were below average--they tasted frozen to me. Everything else was downright terrible (soup, fish, veggies, corn etc.)

                The view from the outdoor tables was terrific. The place was cute in a 50's drive-in kind of way.

                You can certainly do worse than fried clams and a beer while looking out across the whole NY sound, but like I said don't go for the food.

          2. Whoa! As a resident of CI I've tried them all. As one poster mentioned they just drove around. Most that do that miss the places us residents of the island like best.

            CI has never been a great place to get whole bellies, espeicially year round. When local dug Ipswich clams are not plentiful forget it, they will as one poster mentioned be frozen or schucked days before out of town if they have them, which is not what you want.

            Johnny and Tony's both wet batter their full bellies when they have them, not corn meal dredged which is what you do want.

            For the real deal, when they have them the Lobster House on Bridge Street does it right.

            Other times The Snug at CI Avenue and Frodham Street has really good house made clam strips year round' and even though it's not what you asked their fish and chips is near about the best I've ever had. The thick gently battered center cut filets of cod are done just right. Go Satrurday night and they are two for one. A total deal.

            6 Replies
            1. re: johnindabronx

              Thanks for the inside scoop.

              So is Lobster House a good bet overall? How's the rest of the food?

              1. re: MRich

                I like the place overall so I don't want to denegrate is but let's say the fish is predictably not bad. I think of it as more of a good clam and beer place that isn't down and dirty like the greasy spoons at the end of the island. I like it better in the summer ambiance wise so if you are going this time of the year I'd say go to Sea Shore. SH is old school penguin suited waiters and a bit classier and more of an impress your date place. Hope I havn't confused you.

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                Sea Shore
                591 City Island Ave, Bronx, NY 10464

                  1. re: steve h.

                    My favorite steamers on the island if they have them this time of year...enjoy.

                    1. re: johnindabronx

                      I have a lot to learn about this corner of the Bronx. Thanks for your help.

              2. re: johnindabronx

                There seems to be a lot of criticism from ones who have gone to few restaurants. :(

                I always preferred Tony's over Johnny's as the place to grab some fried shrimp or a broiled lobster, and I agree with John that when they have fresh clams, they are done well. Last summer, I tried the Snug for the first time and I agree that thier fried fish is great. With that deal they had with the 2 for one, it shocked me how empty it was, compared to the former Rhodes a few doors down. We ate there after the reunion and it was some of the worst pub food we ever ate.

                I found a gem the next day, Tapas City Island, Which while not serving tapas style in small portion, was fantastic food. We had a grilled Calamari, ensalad de Mariscos and a skirt steak and all were well prepared. They also had some of the better service I have come across in a long time.

              3. My buddy and I arrived at Johnny's Reef around noon on Wednesday. Morning rain left the area, the sky was crackling blue with scudding clouds when we arrived. Winds were gusting over 30 mph, white caps aplenty on the water.

                Johnny's is a cafeteria, plain and simple, with stunning water views from City Island. Our fried clams were strips of indeterminate origin (I asked). Fries were slender and properly cooked. Plenty of condiments (ketchup, tarter sauce, chile sauce), self-served, that were pretty good. Beer was cold.

                I liked the place. I'm a sailor and frequently head down Long Island Sound on my way to the East River. I've sailed by City Island many times and it always piqued my curiosity. This was my first "up close and personal" visit. I'll be back. Lobster House is now on the radar.

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                Johnny's Reef
                2 City Island Ave, Bronx, NY 10464

                5 Replies
                1. re: steve h.

                  So what's your take...because that sounded like damning with faint praise.

                  "Plenty of condiments" and "beer was cold" doesn't sound like a recommend.

                  1. re: MRich

                    Said my piece. If you want ratings, there's always yelp. :-)

                  2. re: steve h.

                    Lobster House is not worth going to. And the clam strips at Johnny's are pretty bad. City Island in general has lousy food.

                    If you want mediocre food and cold lousy beer and you want to sit by the water...by all means. But it's not about the food. Not at all.

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                    Lobster House
                    691 Bridge St, Bronx, NY 10464

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      City Island, in the Fall, is interesting to me. I may check out the nautical museum before a stop at Lobster House. I'm not expecting great food. Rather, I'm interested in poking my nose in yet another corner of the Bronx. My buddy is a Columbia MBA and part-time urban archaeologist. CI is a target-rich environment.

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                      Lobster House
                      691 Bridge St, Bronx, NY 10464

                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                        Said before ther best strips on the island are at The Snug at Fordham Street & CI Ave.

                    2. Our Manhattan friends have a place on City Island and I love going there. Haute cuisine? Nah. But a good time and better than decent food.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: c oliver

                        Hi c,
                        You do get around.
                        Happy Thanksgiving.

                        1. re: steve h.

                          As do you, buddy. Happy TD to you also. In DC this week, eating our way about, Gotta start posting on it.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I'm pretty fond of DC. Looking forward to your thoughts/comments/criticisms.

                            1. re: steve h.

                              Just did my first. Not going out for dinner til tonight.

                      2. I love johnny's for the whiting...onion rings and tartar sauce. As a matter if fact I believe they put crack in the tartar sauce. Sure it is as appealing as a public school cafeteria but if you get a henny colada and get you order with out the fries and sub the fabulous onion rings for just 2 dollars more you won't even notice the lack of atmosphere. I guess it isn't the kind of food you would rave about...the corn on the cob sucks but that whiting is the best I ever had...anywhere!