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Aug 10, 2013 02:18 PM

Doing the North Shore drive with wife and kids tomorrow. Best clam shack !!!

I Have done them all. Woodman's, the Village, Clam box, I have not been to any of these places within the last five years. If you had to pick a place for lunch where would you go. We will have a three and five year old in tow. Looking for best quality and best price. I still freak out when I see a small clam side order costs $ 30.00. Reminder, looking for places past Burger King on Rt.128 North. My wife will want to go there.

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  1. I like Farnhams for clams and The Village for more of waiter service seafood restaurant. Both in Essex.

    1. Clam Box hand down. Farnhams uses Cains mayo for their tarter sauce which I find to be too sweet. Woodmans has way too many flys and The Village's tasted unseasoned and bland the last time I was there. I also find the atmosphere at the Village to be depressing when it's a beautiful day outside.

      13 Replies
      1. re: catsmeow

        Essex has flies, too. How do they keep 'em away from the Clam Box? I haven't been to the Clam Box in a couple of years, 'cause the lines are always so long.

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Nope. As an old friend says, "It's your mind; only you can change it." Much to my surprise, with regards to fried clams, I have become a Choate Bridge Pub convert. Choate and Clam Box both do an excellent job with their coating,with the cleanliness of their frying fat, and with using sweet and fresh local clams. For me, the difference is that Choate must use a vegetable oil, and Clam Box must use a tallow/ beef fat. The fat affects the taste but mostly the mouthfeel, both during your meal and after you've eaten, as the tallow lingers on. ymmv.

              1. re: justbeingpolite

                nope. see above. Science Chick recently called them and they use a combo of veg oil and beef fat.

                1. re: Madrid

                  Yup I saw that after I'd posted. My bad, I thought I'd read a few places how they changed their vegetable oil regularly, and read that it was just veggie oil. Wrong, if we can trust Science Chick, and whoever she spoke to.

                  1. re: justbeingpolite

                    I see no reason not to trust Science Chick or the employee she spoke with at Clam Box. In addition, if you do a thorough google search for Clam Box, you will find several (or more) articles that do specifically mention the vegetable oil/beef tallow mix at Clam Box. It's always best to confirm with the restaurant itself, given that practices often change over time.

                      1. re: Science Chick

                        As a creationist, I'm having a problem with it.

                        1. re: justbeingpolite

                          ???Huh? Perhaps your posts would be better served if they reflected your nom de plume a bit more closely

                          1. re: Science Chick

                            Just joshing you, SC.
                            No harm meant, in fact, I'm usually a big fan.

                            Also, I was a paleo-anthropology major as an undergrad, many years ago.

                            and i loves me a batch of lard cooked clams!!!

                            1. re: justbeingpolite

                              You are therefore cordially welcome to eat my share! ;)

                              Actually, I am totally bummed because I have wanted for a long time to suck it up and wait in line for those much acclaimed Clam Box clams. is not to be!

                              1. re: Science Chick

                                Grins..not to worry, SC...there are other choices!

                                While I do have my own personal preference for the type of oil used, I can tell those talking about an "off-taste" that 90% of the time it is either in the Age of the Oil being used or the type of breading. Also, the heat level of the oil, but that is more about sogginess

                                The choices for me (in order) are:

                                1. The choice of Clam (way out in Front!)
                                2. The age of the oil
                                3. The type and amount of breading
                                4. The heat of the oil..A bit on Clams.....deadly on Onion rings!
                                5. The type of oil

          2. Gotta say, I'm still a fan of Essex Seafood. You'll see it on the left on 113, before you get to Farnhams or Woodmans. When the lines are out the door and down the street at either of those two, you can walk in and be one or two from the counter at Essex Seafood. A real plus with small kids getting ready to melt down. When they're on, the clams are as good as anyones (i think they still fry 'em in lard, yum!) The decor is not the best, but is classic clam shack. I think they've upped their tartar sauce this year as well.

            1. You can call ahead and order at the Clam Box which might come in very handy with small children. If you call about 20 to 30 minutes before you got there your order will be waiting and you can skip the line.

              If you haven't been in five years don't get too hung up on the prices and just enjoy the food. Life is short.

              3 Replies
                1. re: Gabatta

                  They don't answer the phone when they are busy.


                  1. re: chuck s

                    I'm not sure what constitutes busy, but both times we have called on weekends (once this summer and once last) they answered and had the order ready. YMMV.

                2. The Causeway on 133 in Gloucester has really tasty fried clams at only $19 a plate. Full service restaurant and it's byob with a liquor store next door. Portions are huge and well worth the trip.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: drewinmrblhd

                    I haven't been to The Causeway myself but have always heard good things about it from friends living in the area. I've also been to Lobsterland a few times and have always enjoyed it.

                    1. re: drewinmrblhd

                      Still BYOB but the liquor store next door has closed.