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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.

      2 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. 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.

                  2. Ok, we did not wind up eating but, this is what we witnessed. The kids were being lets just say were a bit unruly. Village, no line at all, Farnham's very small line, Woodman's large line but if we were going to stop we would have,Clam box line around the building. No way in Hell could we do that with two young children. Are the masses asses or are the waiting for a good reason? Will have to try later in the season on a week day. Thank you all for the information. We did not use it today but, we will in the future.

                    Thank you so much, Joe and family.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: josephlapusata

                      If you're on the North Shore, Clam Box is the best option: in this particular case, the wisdom of crowds is exactly correct.

                      Also: weekdays, particularly in the afternoon, are easier. Just don't go around 2:30 when they're changing the oil.

                      Although those who really want the best clams head south to Hingham Lobster Pound.

                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                        I'm with you on the Hingham Lobster Pound. I also love their lobster rolls. Been going there for many, many years. Hard to beat.

                        1. re: CocoDan

                          Me too! Since I was a kid with my parents.

                        2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                          Here here for the HLP, the clam roll (on a hamburger bun, but who's counting?) is really quite nice to!!! We go to Nantasket beach for a few hours then have some clam rolls before heading home....for the record, HLP is SOOOO much better than Jake's Seafood, a place that's gone downhill since I was a kid.

                          1. re: devilham

                            Today, I was down Nantasket and got a small clams at Jakes because I wasn't done with the beach yet. Surprisingly, they were really good. Not chewy and like elastic bands at all which is what I've gotten stuck with at several places this summer. I was surprised that they gave me prepackaged Kens tarter sauce. I would have thought they'd have their own.

                            1. re: catsmeow

                              happy you weren't dissapointed as I was when I went last year. Mind you I had fond memories of Jake's from childhood, one of the first places I tried real fried clams (as opposed to a, albeit guilty pleasure, HoJo's clam roll). Last time we hit Jake's we got sad food at to high a price, memory does make the heart grow fonder they say, maybe I just misremember it from my youth

                        3. re: josephlapusata

                          I'll second justbeingpolite on Essex Seafood. If you don't want to buck the crowd at Clambox give them as try. Always fresh and delicious and they have indoor seating and some outside tables as well. Very retro and New Englandy. The Village isn't the place for kids although a friend and I really enjoyed our meal on the patio this Saturday.

                          1. re: mtm7654

                            I've only been to Essex once, but it was a really bad experience. Incredibly long wait for food after order, and everything had a really bad, old oil taste. Greasy....yuck! We threw more than half of everything away, which I *never* do!

                            1. re: Science Chick

                              That's a shame. Maybe we're usually there earlier in the day when everything is fresh but I've never experienced that.

                              1. re: Science Chick

                                keep going up 128 ,and Lobsta Land is right on the highway, in Gloucester.

                                Personally i think fish should be left in the ocean and i can keep the 100 dollars i am going to pay for a lunch in which the leftovers are actually disgusting, but never mind that now! My Brother in law is a huge fan and its the only place i have eaten with him in several years.

                                Full bar, competent fry job, ok views, different things for fish haters,( chicken piccata, decent burger, competent salads)

                                Multiple rooms so kids can be out of the fray.

                                multiple kids? i said Full bar, right?

                            2. re: josephlapusata

                              If you decide to go to CB, you can call your order in ahead and yes there is a reason for the long lines, it's the food! BTW - the line are longer at 2pm, that's when they change their oil.

                            3. Next time, you may want to check out the Lobster Pool on the outskirts of Rockport. It's a casual 'eat in the rough' kind of place, and kids have fun climbing the rocks along the cove.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: gracenote

                                I ordered the lobster pie last time I was at the Lobster Pool a couple of weeks ago. A bit light on the lobster but I liked it anyhow. Bits of picked lobster meat with a crumbly layer of crumbles (if that makes sense). I liked that it came with a cuke and tomato Greek-like salad on the side.

                                1. re: digga

                                  Best thing is the view, great for the kids to run around on the grounds. If you're there an a Thurs evening they have a Smores party.

                              2. We have been liking Bob Lobster in Newbury across from the airport on the way to Plum Island.

                                Their clam roll is outstanding and huge. Not greasy and very light batter.

                                19 Replies
                                1. re: marilu

                                  Enthusiastic second on Bob Lobster. We ate there three times in the last two weeks. Had lobster, fried clams, and fried scallops - which are like candy. These are probably my favorite (second only to The Choate Bridge Pub in Ipswich) for fried clams. It boggles me mind to see people standing in line at The Clam Box. All Ipswich natives know that The Choate Bridge is the place to go for clams. If you want to go a little further North to Bob's then you will be just as pleased. (Although on weekends around 5-6pm there is a bit of a line - doesn't wrap around the building however - probably about 10 people deep.)

                                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                      I guess then you don't go! :)

                                      Bob Lobster is not a pub, however. Choate Bridge is a pub on one side and a dining room on the other.

                                      1. re: Small Plates

                                        I agree about Choate Bridge. One of our favorites. Their clam roll is amazing. Although we don't always go their for that item, we just generally like the place.

                                        1. re: marilu

                                          I think Choate Bridge is cool but the one time I went, the tartar sauce came out of a packet and that's just wrong. Do they still do that? You also have to want to be in a dark bar as opposed to the more sunny clam shack feeling.

                                          While I too think Clam Box is the best, I've had good stuff at Farnham's and Essex Seafood but want to throw a never mentioned place into the mix: Ipswich Clambake. CB had a 30-45 min wait last weekend so we started driving toward Farnham's and figured we'd give this place just down the road a try. It was really good. Order at the front, one of the young gals brings your food. Lots of non fried choices that sounded good and were very reasonably priced.

                                          We got a small clam plate w/ 1 side for about $13.95, plus $3. Is everywhere charging extra for clams now? I hadn't heard of a problem but Ip Clambake did and Dube's in Salem added $2, which they say was posted but we never saw it. At least IC had it posted everywhere and told you when you ordered. Anyway, good fry job, medium sized bellies, decent amount for the smaller sized plate and we got the cucumber salad side. Also split a lobster roll which had no lettuce or celery on a grilled roll (no butter) with a side of great onion rings. Seats about 24 with a few tables outside, cramped parking lot in the back. Worth a shot for sure.

                                          1. re: total13

                                            Tartar sauce in the packet is a thing of the past. It has been at least 5-6 years since I have seen that.

                                            1. re: Small Plates

                                              As of a few months ago, they definitely serve pre-made tarter sauce. Ken's in a little round plastic thing w a cover.

                                              1. re: mohotta

                                                That's the same crap that's served at Causeway.

                                                1. re: treb

                                                  I'm willing to bet that most clam shacks serve a commercial tartar sauce of some sort. The only differences are whether they give you an individual branded container like that, or use a large bottle of tartar to either fill a large pump bottle for self-service, or fill up those small plastic cups they give you.

                                                  1. re: Science Chick

                                                    Well I eat mine either naked (the clams that is.not me) or with a spritz of lemon so tartar sauce never made a difference to me

                                            2. re: total13

                                              Don't understand the surcharge for clams, there's been no red tide this year and there's no shortage.

                                        2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                          Choate is a great place but, not for kids. The OP has kids in tow.

                                          1. re: treb

                                            Not necessarily. We have been going with the entire family of my 5 brothers and sisters and our six nieces and nephews for years. We'd take over half the dining room - 4 booths, 4 in each. Wonderful memories from when our mom was alive - it was her favorite excursion. Bonus is the free popcorn from the popcorn machine. Highly recommend for families!! And service is wonderful too!

                                            1. re: treb

                                              If you don't sit in the bar area at the Choate I would think it would be fine for kids. Even in the bar I have never seen any issues although late night might be different, but I don't think a family with kids would be going late night.

                                              1. re: marilu

                                                IMHO, a pub is not an appropriate atmosphere for kids.

                                                1. re: treb

                                                  Not really a chowish issue, though, is it?

                                                  1. re: justbeingpolite

                                                    Maybe, ask the OP. Anywho, the OP asked for clam shacks, Chaote is not a clam shack.

                                                  2. re: treb

                                                    Well, while the word "pub" is in the name of the place - it is indeed a family restaurant with booths in a well-lit dining room, lovely service, and crayons for the kids. I would call that appropriate for family and children. There are two entrances as well (so one need not ever see the heathens drinking [gasp] in the bar)! It is not Chucky Cheese - so if that is what you are looking for, then yeah, it doesn't fill the bill.

                                                    1. re: treb

                                                      My son has been going to Pubs since he was 4. But not after 7pm.