Best linguine and clams?
Mrs. Guapo wants linguine and clams for her birthday. Looking for recs for the who makes the best. Boston/Cambridge/Somerville or north of the city.
Yes, Daily Catch. I don't know what the heck they do to make this simple dish so delicious. I've only had them at the tiny original location, but I would assume they are the same at the nicer location. By the way, I'm talking about the "white" version, not tomato sauce version.
Used to swear by the Daily Catch, but Carmelina's on Hanover St in the North End is a definite step up. Pasta made fresh, just the right amount of spice, delicious clams. A nicer atmosphere too. More expensive, though I confess I cant quite remember the prices of either.
Here is the list of places over the last 10 years or so that I have had linguine and clams - note that I love this dish and almost always try it when ever I see it on the menu and always get the "white" version when available:
- Giacomos North and South Ends, Boston
- Daily Catch North End and Courthouse, Boston
- Pasta Beach in Rowe's Wharf hotel, Boston
- Salvatore's Washington St., Boson
- Fiorella's Newton
- Gran Gusto, Cambridge
- Finz, Salem
- La Famiglia, Boston
- Cafe Razdora, Boston
- Antico Forno, Boston (note only red sauce available)
- Pagliucas, Boston
- Dolce Vita, Boston
- Piccolla Venezia, Boston
- L'Osteria, Boston
- Pescatore, Somerville
- Moultons, Medford
- Out of the Blue, Somerville
I feel like there are probably more places, but some have gone out of business and some I just can't remember.
Sacrilegious though it may be on this board, I feel like I have had the best Linguine and Clam dishes at the two Giacomos. They can be widely variant - sometimes too much olive oil, sometimes too much garlic, sometimes only canned clams - but overall I think the taste of the dishes from Giacomos, and the amount of clams (usually chopped fresh, sometimes canned when out of season) is bountiful and the flavor is the best. The dish at the Daily Catch at the Moakley Courthouse is next best in terms of amount of clams and clammy flavor. Also up on the top of the list is Pasta Beach's rendition, which I think is more authentically Italian with small (manilla?) clams with just olive oil and garlic (not much sauce) is also great for the depth of flavor. But you have to pick the meat out of a lot of pretty small clams.
For a birthday dinner I would take someone to Giacomo's South end - but be sure to make a reservation and be ready to be seated closely to others and for it to be loud. An alternative is to sit outside on a beautiful evening at the Daily Catch in the Moakley Courthouse with a view of Boston.
Not fancy enough for a birthday, but I liked the very simple, classic linguini and clams with white sauce at Victor's Italian in Saugus, the original location. I heard there was a family split between the original location and new one on Route 1, but I've never gotten to the new space anyway.
The version at Il Casale in Belmont is pleasing. Not knock-your-socks off, but definitely special occasion-y enough.
I'm sure it's usually a fine dish, as much of the food at Scampo is, but he one time we ordered it at Scampo it was served with rank, bad clams. It was some time before I could give the restaurant another shot, let alone ever consider ordering clams there again. My wife hasn't been since, and I suggested it as a pre-Garden dinner for next week. She's on the fence (it was that nasty).
Thanks for this thread, and thanks to the contributors -- took the Duke to Daily Catch for his linguini and clams this past week and he can't stop talking about it! We ended up there at a little before 5 p.m. (it was late lunch for us), waited maybe 10 minutes, and shared a table with this cute college-kids-on-an-early-date couple (who ordered pretty much everything they heard me order lol).
I am not a fan of linguini with clams but I got the impression this would work for me -- and I ate about a solid third of his pan. Clams were fresh, fabulous, tender and non-rubbery and the seasoning/sauce was perfect. We shared my broiled scallops (meltingly tender and sweet) and salad; started with the delicious fried calamari (lightly battered).
Can't wait to go back. Maybe I won't wait another 20 years to visit Boston again. :)