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Rhode Island’s Best Chowder + Clam Cakes 2013

Thursday, August 01, 2013

 

It's Rhode Island's quintessential summer combo; and one without the other would be like Cher without Sonny, JFK without Jackie, Miss Piggy without Kermit. Lucky for us, we don't have to think of such a thing. Chowder and clam cakes is a no-brainer, a perfect homage to summer. The only dilemma is what kind of chowder to order: the New York red, the New England white, or the Rhode

Island clear. We're here to help, so we set out to find 5 tasty examples of chowder and clam cakes and came back with these...

Aunt Carrie's, Narragansett

The Grand Dame of all clam shacks, Aunt Carrie's has been serving the sun splashed masses since 1920. It starts in childhood when your grandparents take you there after Sand Hill Cove, or... what do they call it now? Roger Wheeler State Beach? The intoxicating smell of the raw ocean made waiting for the freshly fried clam cakes and creamy chowder bearable. Still tastes like that. We have long loved Aunt Carrie's for the taste, for the nostalgia. It's a summer tradition for us to pack up after a day at the beach and head over and grab a pint with a dozen clam cakes. We usually get the plain--Rhode Island style--as we find the clean flavors a nice, light complement to the meaty and large clam cakes--never overly greasy. They contain large chunks of clams and a tremendous amount of flavor. What are you waiting for? 1240 Ocean Rd. 783-7930, www.auntcarriesri.com

Cap'n Jack's, East Matunuck

We began eating here when we were 10 years-old and have been loving it ever since. The operation is incredible: two full kitchens service two dining rooms and a take-out window that hums all day long. It is incredible to see people leave East Matunuck State Beach and line up for some of the best shore food around. We really love the white chowder here; creamy without being too thick and stocked with large potatoes and clams. The clam cakes are stuff of legend. It is rumored that a Cape Cod restaurant one offered A LOT of money for the original recipe and were turned down. The clams are fresh and cakes light and we love them with just a touch of salt and pepper. They are the perfect salve to a long beach day. 706 Succotash Rd. 789-4556, www.capnjacksrestaurant.com

Amaral's Fish and Chips, Warren

East Bay residents have long considered Amaral's the go-to spot for delicious and reliable shore food in a comfortable atmosphere. The thing that separates Amaral's from the others is the influence of their Portuguese heritage. We are here for the chowder and clam cakes but make sure you get some stuffies as they're the best around. We went with the red chowder here. It was slightly spicy and had a ton of flavor. Sometimes people just add tomoato or tomato sauce to a clear chowder... but not here. It was a delicious soup on its own. The clam cakes were slightly greasy on a first visit but perfect on a second. They held a lot of clams for their size and were perfect for dunking in the chowder. To heck with donuts and coffee! 4 Redmond St. 247-0675, www.amaralsfishandchips.com

Iggy's Doughboy and Chowder House, Warwick and Narragansett

If there were a fried-food powerhouse in Rhode Island, Iggy's would be it. With two locations, both close to the water, Iggy's turns out literally tons of clam cakes and thousands of gallons of chowder a year. Expect the lines to be long, especially in the summer, when a visit to Iggy's is as de rigueur to a Rhode Islander as a cup of Del's on a hot day. There's plenty to choose from on the menu, but we always fall back on the crispy, meaty clam cakes and the Manhattan, New England or Rhode Island clam chowders. CBS news liked Iggy's chowder so much they named it tops in their "Taste of America" series a couple of years ago. We don't need the endorsement, though, to know that this is clam chowder at its best no matter what variety you order (for us, it depends solely on our mood). Ooh! And don't forget for dessert the warm, sugary pillows of love that are their doughboys! 889 Oakland Beach Ave, Warwick, 737-9459; 1157 Point Judith Rd, Narragansett, 783-5608. www.iggysdoughboys.com
 

Horton's Seafood, East Providence

You know, to look at it, you wouldn't guess this place turns out some of the best chowder and clam cakes around. But for those of us who live in the city, Horton's is a reliable go-to. Consider its history and it makes sense: originally opened as a retail fish market during World War II, Horton's fresh catches were so in-demand that the owners decided to start frying some of the fish and sell it. In the 1980s, Horton's turned into a restaurant and have been feeding hungry-for-fried-seafood urban dwellers ever since. We like that they offer the three kinds of chowder--red, white and clear--and that their clam cakes are no-nonsense, old fashioned and always hot and tasty. Go on Wednesdays, when they offer a half-dozen free clam cakes when you purchase a half dozen. Nice deal! 809 Broadway, 434-8916 www.hortonsseafood.com

 

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