Few food destinations are more synonymous with the New England coastline than the region's countless clam and lobster shacks, which incidentally do little for the waist line. Still, who can resist the promise of your choice of seafood, battered and fried to perfection? Here are some of the best of the New England coast. Keep in mind that many of these locations are seasonal. Be sure to call ahead or check websites for the latest information. Next
Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock, New London, Conn.
<br> <br>This family-owned restaurant with views of Shaw’s Cove marinas is known for the large amount of lobster they put in a lobster roll. The restaurant is named after Captain Thomas A. Scott, who supposedly saved the passengers and crew of a sinking ship by plugging a leak with his own arm. They also have a fish market open seven days a week.
<br><br> 80 Hamilton St., New London, Conn., captscotts.com Next
The Beach Plum, North Hampton, N.H.
<br><br> The Beach Plum serves 78 ice cream and frozen yogurt flavors in addition to all manner of seafood. They won the Best of the Festival award at the 2011 Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, and were NECN's 2010 Best Lobster Roll in New England winner. A second location in Portsmouth is open year-round, with an expanded menu.
<br> <br>17 Ocean Blvd., North Hampton, N.H., www.thebeachplum.net Next
Thurston’s Lobster Pound, Bernard, Maine
<br> <br>You can get clams and mussels by the pound at Thurston’s, as well as lobster and other seafood served “in the rough.” Enjoy the seaside ambiance and watch the lobster boats come in, bringing the fresh catch that Thurston’s then serves. They also serve wine and beer.
<br> <br>2 Steamboat Wharf Road, Bernard, Maine, thurstonslobster.com Next
The Clam Shack, Kennebunkport, Maine
<br> <br>The Clam Shack, by the bridge that crosses the Kennebunk River, has both a takeout menu and a seafood market. While you chow down on a lobster roll on a fresh locally-baked bun, you can also try their fried dough or visit their lemonade stand.
<br> <br>2 Western Avenue, Kennebunk, Maine, theclamshack.net Next
The Bite, Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard
<br> <br>Grab some fried clams at this unassuming shack and make the quick stroll down to Menemsha Beach for one of the finest sunsets in the state. All food, including oysters, shrimp, and scallops, is fried to order, and if that has your nostrils and stomach needing an immediate fix, skip the beach and land one of the two picnic tables next door and enjoy an island favorite.
<br> <br>29 Basin Road, Menemsha, www.thebitemenemsha.com Next
Mac's Shack, Wellfleet
<br> <br>For a fancier take on the clam shack approach, Mac's Shack fits the bill. Serving up sushi in addition to its coastal fare, the Wellfleet establishment promises a casual evening on Duck Creek. Just without the paper plates and plastic silverware.
<br> <br>91 Commercial St., Wellfleet, www.macsseafood.com Next
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, Noank, Conn.
<br> <br>Voted Best Place to Eat a Lobster in New England by About.com, Abbott’s lobsters come with a bag of chips and cole slaw. Don’t be afraid to eat outside on the picnic tables – the wires stretched overhead are there to keep seagulls from swooping down and stealing your food. Try their “Noank style” clam chowder. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
<br> <br>117 Pearl St., Noank, Conn., www.abbotts-lobster.com Next
Cooke's Seafood, Hyannis and Mashpee
<br> <br>Driving along Route 6 in Hyannis, it would be easy to dismiss Cooke's as just another chain seafood restaurant. But that's not the case, as locals and tourists alike rave about the place that "Cape Cod Life" has voted it "Best Seafood" every year since 1993. Diners here will find a family-friendly atmosphere, not having to deal with the elements of dining on the docks. At Cooke's, it seems, that's a tradeoff many don't mind making.
<br> <br>1120 Route 132, Hyannis and 7 Ryan's Way, Mashpee, www.cookesseafood.com Next
Nantucket Lobster Trap, Nantucket
<br> <br>The bare-bones, rustic feel may not play well with the island's hoity-toity crowd, but that's reason enough to set out for this Nantucket shack. Bring some wine and a blanket to the island, and let them do the rest, as the Lobster Trap offers a private lobster dinner you can take with you for a relaxing, romantic dinner on the beach. Make your way to Madaket for spectacular sunsets.
<br> <br>23 Washington St., nantucketlobstertrap.com Next
The Clam Shack, Falmouth
<br> <br>A shack in name and appearance, Falmouth's Clam Shack is as close to the real deal as you can imagine. Situated adjacent to Falmouth Harbor, the clams and scallops are fresh and made to order. No frills here, which is exactly the way the clam shack experience should be.
<br> <br>227 Clinton Ave., Falmouth, falmouthvisitor.com Next
Kelly's Roast Beef, Revere
<br> <br>Not exactly a clam shack, but Kelly's Roast Beef attracts the hungry just as much for its menu of fried seafood. Fans swear by the lobster and clam rolls in addition to the clam plate, a steal at $16.95. There's a reason why when you drive down Revere Beach you're liable to see a Kelly's bag in more hands than not.
<br> <br>410 Revere Beach Blvd., Revere, www.kellysroastbeef.com Next
Iggy's Doughboys and Chowder House, Warwick and Narragansett, R.I.
<br> <br>As if the clams weren't going to get to your arteries sooner or later, we present the doughboy, a donut-like offering that has helped Iggy's make a name for itself. Deep-fried and topped with sugar, the doughboy is a Rhode Island favorite, but the offerings only begin there at Iggy's, which offers the usual seaside fare at affordable prices, with spectacular views no matter which location you choose to visit.
<br> <br>899 Oakland Beach Ave, Warwick, and 1157 Point Judith Road, Narragansett (seasonal), R.I., www.iggysdoughboys.com Next
Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar, Eastham
<br> <br>The sign above the door tells patrons waiting outside that they're better off here than across the street (a cemetery). No doubt, particularly when it comes to the fried clams, which have received raves from Gourmet Magazine. Located on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, Arnold's is the perfect spot for a cycling break. Whether you can get back on, though, might be in question.
<br> <br>3580 State Highway, Route 6, Eastham, www.arnoldsrestaurant.com Next
Spanky's Clam Shack, Hyannis
<br> <br>Not so much a clam shack as a place to bide the time as you wait for the ferry to Martha's Vineyard, but Spanky's still delivers with the lunch crowd. Families jam the establishment's digs for arguably the best clam chowder in Hyannis, as well as a vast menu of libations for the nonseasick crowd.
<br> <br>138 Ocean St., Hyannis Next
The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
<br> <br>This lobster shack could live off its location alone, offering fabulous views of Maine's rocky coast, and the sounds of the waves crashing at the shore. But the food warrants rave reviews as well, including a lobster roll that many maintain is the best in the Portland area. You might assume this spot gets awfully crowded in the summer months. You're right. Expect long lines and total satisfaction.
<br> <br>225 2 Lights Road, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, lobstershacktwolights.com
Champlin's Seafood Restaurant, Narragansett, R.I.
<br> <br>Proving that Narragansett is arguably the premier spot in the state for fried clams and fresh lobster, Champlin's is another favorite, featuring both a restaurant and a fish market that many proclaim sells the freshest seafood in Rhode Island. With this sort of location, that's not impossible to believe.
<br> <br>256 Great Island Road, Narragansett, R.I., www.champlins.com Next
Kream 'N' Cone, West Dennis
<br> <br>Fifty-seven years after opening its doors, the Kream 'N' Cone keeps its reputation as one of Cape Cod's best seafood joints. It perennially appears on Cape Cod Life's annual awards (named best fried clams in 2009), for its enormous seafood dishes and famous onion rings. Open through October 30.
<br> <br>961 Main St., West Dennis, www.kreamnkone.com Next
Clam Box, Ipswich
<br> <br>If a debate rages on the North Shore over who has the best clams, the Clam Box seems to always be in the discussion. Housed in a structure that aims to appear like the container in which you might enjoy your meal, the portions at the Clam Box are often celebrated as generous. Be prepared to wait, as the shack can get slammed during busy summer hours.
<br> <br>246 High St., Ipswich, www.ipswichma.com/clambox/index.htm Next
<br> <br>Of course, if anyone is denying the Clam Box its due, they're probably loyal to nearby Woodman's, a place that only claims to have invented the fried clam back in 1916. Today, Woodman's stills serves "Chubby's Originals" in addition to a menu that its fans praise as clam shack nirvana.
<br> <br>121 Main St., Essex, www.woodmans.com Next
Roy Moore Lobster Co., Rockport
<br> <br>Diners here maintain that Roy Moore serves the freshest seafood on the coast. Tough to argue based on its location on the docks of Rockport with a simple storefront that would make high society hightail it to a five-star restaurant as quickly as they could. Their loss. The simplicity of ordering off chalkboards out front, then enjoying your meal on the docks is a true New England coastline experience.
<br> <br>39 Bearskin Neck, Rockport Next
Tony's Clam Shop, Wollaston
<br> <br>If that image doesn't make you want to run to the beach in Wollaston, not much else will. Tony's casual atmosphere and delicious fried and broiled offerings leaves more and more Boston area residents with the knowledge that clam shacks like those on the Cape and in Maine can be found close to home along with the added bonus of a Middle Eastern menu featuring falafels and tabouli salad.
<br> <br>861 Quincy Shore Drive, Wollaston, www.tonysclamshop.com Next
Evelyn's Drive-In, Tiverton, R.I.
<br> <br>Despite the name, plenty of Evelyn's customers choose to dock their boat in Nannaquaket Pond and walk the ramp to place an order, which might include the infamous lobster chow mein, which features lobster atop a chow mein gravy and local crispy noodles. Not feeling adventurous? The clam cakes are some of the best in Rhode Island.
<br> <br>2335 Main St., Tiverton, R.I., www.evelynsdrivein.com Next
Flo's Clam Shack, Middletown, R.I.
<br> <br>Another Rhode Island locale for clam cakes is just down the road in Middletown, where Flo's has claimed to have sold over 30 million of them. At just $4.95 a dozen, that's not hard to believe. Feeling a bit classy? Maybe hit up the No. 8 combo—a bottle of Moet and two gourmet hot dogs. Now that's a date.
<br> <br>1223 Green End Ave., Middletown, R.I. Next
Sea Swirl, Mystic, Conn.
<br> <br>What looks like merely a roadside ice cream stand in Mystic also happens to offer some of the finest seafood takeout dishes on the Connecticut coast with a menu featuring whole belly clams, Rhode Island and New England chowder, and yes, ice cream. The spot was once a Carvel, but has been home to this local favorite now for 25 years.
<br> <br>30 Williams Ave., Mystic, Conn., www.seaswirlofmystic.com Next
Bob's Clam Hut, Kittery, Maine
<br> <br>Once chosen among Forbes Magazine's 40 favorite restaurants in the United States, this Kittery shack has been serving up seafood delight since 1956 with no air of pretentiousness. While Forbes called Bob's a "seaside, roadside Nirvana," the restaurant would rather label itself a "Corny Little Clam Hut by the Side of the Road." Either way, Bob's is a Maine landmark.
<br> <br>315 US Route 1, Kittery, Maine, www.bobsclamhut.com Next
Red's Eats, Wicasset, Maine
<br> <br>Situated in an old-school trailer, this Wicasset shack is a Route 1 landmark famous for its lobster rolls which they maintain is created with an entire one-pound lobster. Best of all, Red's lobster roll isn't slathered with mayonaise (though you can get it on the side, along with melted butter), allowing diners to enjoy the true taste of Maine lobster. Generally regarded as the state's best roll of its kind.
<br> <br>Main St., Wiscasset, Maine Next
Petey's, Rye, N.H.
<br> <br>Located "across the beach from an old shipwreck," Petey's was voted Best of New Hampshire in 2006 by New Hampshire Magazine readers. That's more for the view than the food. There's a small outdoor seating area with picnic tables. It overlooks a little stream and vast flood plain. It also features a helipad, but what clam shack doesn't these days?
<br> <br>1323 Ocean Blvd., Rye, N.H., www.peteys.net Next
The Lobster Pool, Rockport
<br> <br>The view of Ipswich Bay is about as good as you can get on Cape Ann, but don't let that make you believe that is this establishment's best feature. The self-service Lobster Pool offers a self-proclaimed "dining in the rough," which is code for the focus being on the food and not the atmosphere. Who needs a fancy establishment anyway with a natural surrounding like this? Grabbing a picnic table may be difficult around sunset time, but well worth the wait and hassle.
<br> <br>329 Granite St., Rockport, lobsterpoolrestaurant.com Next
Aunt Carrie's, Narragansett, R.I.
<br> <br>Hailed by seafood aficionados for its fresh array of seafood, Aunt Carrie's has been doing it for 85 years on the shores of Point Judith, where vacationers pack the restaurant daily, whether waiting for the Block Island ferry or exclusively to order a bowl of their famous chowder—milk, tomato, or plain. Many consider Aunt Carrie's the best in Rhode Island.
<br> <br>1240 Ocean Road, Narragansett, R.I., www.auntcarriesri.com Next
Quarterdeck Restaurant, Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard
<br> <br>You couldn't ask for a better location than what Quarterdeck boasts, right on the docks of Edgartown Harbor, providing fried goodness for locals, tourists, and boaters alike. Stroll through town before landing at this shack for burgers, dogs, and ice cream, in addition to the fried seafood offerings.
<br> <br>29 Dock St., Edgartown Next
Ray's Seafood Restaurant, Rye, N.H.
<br> <br>Ken Ackley and his son Cameron, of Bedford, N.H., share a New England tradition at Ray's Seafood in Rye, N.H. One of the oldest seafood restaurants on the state's seacoast, it offers great views of the harbor, as well as tasty options on the menu, from the traditional, to the more original lobster baked stuffed mushrooms.
<br> <br>1677 Ocean Blvd., Rye, N.H., www.raysseafoodrestaurant.com Next
Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster, South Freeport, Maine
<br> <br>Some will argue it's the quintessential Maine summer dining experience, lounging on the dock of the South Freeport waterfront gorging on clams, scallops, and lobsters, all washed down with a selection from the restaurant's homemade dessert menu. Bring along your own six-pack or bottle or wine, and head to Harraseeket, a place that continues to live up to the hype.
<br> <br>36 Main St., South Freeport, Maine, www.harraseeketlunchandlobster.com Next
Five Islands Lobster Co., Georgetown, Maine
<br> <br>It takes some effort to get to this shack on the wharf, but few have ever left without feeling it was worth it. The Travel Channel recently named it one of the top 101 places to chow down, and with the lobster caught fresh from the ideal, cold waters of Five Islands, that seems the proper assessment.
<br> <br>1447 Five Islands Road, Georgetown, Maine, www.fiveislandslobster.com Next
Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier, Kittery Point, Maine
<br> <br>Not into lobster? First off, who are you? Second, don't worry. In addition to welcoming you to bring along your favorite beer or wine to their docks, the folks at Chauncey Creek invite you to bring anything not on their menu to enjoy. Just keep in mind that if you do, you'll miss some of the finest "bugs" (as they put it) in Maine, only about an hour north of Boston.
<br> <br>16 Chauncey Creek Road, Kittery Point, Maine, www.chaunceycreek.com Next
Portland Lobster Co., Portland, Maine
<br> <br>A relative newcomer on the Maine shack scene, the Portland Lobster Co. has been serving on the docks since 2001. With that sort of name and its location, it might scream tourist trap. But locals rave about the place and its wide selection of fried seafood dinners, lobsters, and Maine's finest brews on tap.
<br> <br>80 Commercial St., Portland, Maine, portlandlobstercompany.com Next
Essex Seafood, Essex
<br> <br>Just up the road, find Essex Seafood, where you can partake in both retail and wholesale seafood. The restaurant boasts that clams are shucked on the premises, guaranteeing you the freshest, best tasting fried clams on Cape Ann. That's a tall order, but based on the feedback, one that Essex Seafood seems to deliver more often than not.
<br> <br>143 Eastern Ave., Essex, www.essexseafood.com Next
J.T. Farnham's, Essex
<br> <br>Further along "Clam Alley" is J.T. Farnham's, housed in a building that might be mistaken for a local pizza joint or bait and tackle shop. But the quality of clams and their juicy nature aren't second-guessed. Enjoy them on the adjacent salt marsh, and that's pretty much the New England clam shack experience.
<br> <br>88 Eastern Ave., Essex Next
Cook's Lobster House, Bailey Island, Maine
<br> <br>As rustic as its surroundings, Cook's provides such a setting typical of Maine that it was the site chosen for a Visa commercial about...well, lobster. Some label it a tourist trap, others praise it for its fresh offerings. You be the judge.
<br> <br>68 Garrison Cove Road, Bailey Island, www.cookslobster.com Next
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