Boston Clam Chowders Ranked

After living in Boston for more than three years, I’ve been somewhat spoiled when it came to eating seafood (let alone food in general).  My favorites would be trying different chowders, specifically clam chowders, to see how they compared.  Here’s my unbiased, non-paid review of the top five that I’ve tried recently.  And don’t worry – all of these places are in the Boston area (no going to New Hampshire or Maine to get these).

Tied for 5. Link Cafe in Sheraton Needham and Jerry Remy’s Seaport
I did a lot of work in the Needham area and therefore stayed in the Sheraton there a lot. I always knew I was going to get a good clam chowder if I ordered it off the menu. They got to know me there and started to bring me bowls of soup for free if I came down to the bar. As an alternative, my family and I went to Jerry Remy’s down in the Seaport area and don’t write off their clam chowder either. It’s good and cheap (about $5 a bowl), but definitely worth it.

4. Granary Tavern
What might be a surprise to most on this list is a bar downtown in Financial District that serves a mean clam/seafood chowder. The place recently changed over their chowder to more of a seafood medley including shrimp, scallops, & clams however it’s still one of the most delicious.

3. Alive & Kicking Lobsters
This shack in Cambridge has a great lobster bisque and clam chowder. It’s not always available because they make their soups daily (and from what I hear use only the freshest ingredients from that day). If you are lucky enough to get there when the clam chowder is available, you can’t go wrong.

2. Legal Sea Foods
A staple for many out-of-town guests, this place sure does impress. The place is a little pricey, but has a chowder as an appetizer that is second to only one in Boston.

1. James Hook & Co.
This place is by far the best place to get a lobster roll and chowder in the city. Don’t let the service or small building fool you – this place is worth it. What was a tragic fire that destroyed their building right across from Seaport, these guys have reopened a shack just off the water (and boy is it better than ever). Order the chowder and regular lobster roll. I swear you’ll have died and gone to seafood heaven.


Honorable mention to Brighton Fish Company that went out of business. You were one of the best and truly will be missed.

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