Where to Find the Best Clam Chowder on the Oregon Coast

Mos makes Oregons most famous clam chowder
Mo's makes Oregon's most famous clam chowder | © Kirt Edblom / WikiCommons

Nothing pairs better than a cold, windy day on the coast and a hot bowl of clam chowder.

Hot, thick, creamy New England clam chowder with a pad of butter melted on top. You don’t have to live on the east coast to consume a bowl of masterful soup such as this—the west coast’s chowder game is strong.

Though many of the restaurants on this list use east coast clams, the Oregon coast offers fresh clams at your fingertips, so it’s no wonder there are a bounty of seafood shops that do it well. No matter where you are on the lush 363-mile coastal strip, you’re bound to find a great bowl of chowder. These are our favorites.

1. Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge

Restaurant, American

There’s only one thing that could make a great chowder even better: eating it from a bread bowl. Cannon Beach’s Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge has been serving the public for over 70 years, and 30 years ago picked up a chowder recipe from a New England-born chef named Kirk Anderson. Chock full of east coast clams, celery, onions, roux, sea clams and clam juice—no bacon in this recipe—and scooped into a hollowed out, sourdough bread bowl, this creamy concoction is a downright masterpiece.

2. Gracie's Sea Hag

Restaurant, American

With a name like Gracie’s Sea Hag, you know this Depoe Bay spot is going to have good chowder. Though no one on the current staff knows exactly where the recipe came from, it hasn’t been changed for more than 40 years. Why change something that’s been featured in The New York TimesHeritage Cookbook as one of the best chowders in the country, anyway? The chowder is peppered just right and spiced with herbs like basil and thyme to give it a nice little kick. The roux is light, and filled with plenty of clams. Topped with a dollop of butter, parsley and paprika, this bowl of chowder has just the right balance of salt and bite.

3. Georgie’s Beachside Grill

Restaurant, American

For those that like their chowder with a view, Georgie’s Beachside Grill is the prime location. Not only does the bougie Newport restaurant boast breathtaking ocean views, but it also serves some of the best French-rouxed chowder around. The broth is rich with bacon and onion, and the potato is diced finely enough it helps thicken the soup rather than detract from it.

4. Dooger’s Seafood

Restaurant, American

Dooger’s Seafood is an Oregon (and Washington) coast staple. For 30 years, the seaside institution has served beachgoers, and after expanding to a location in Warrenton and Long Beach, Washington, the net’s reach is even wider. Their chowder is simple—half-and-half, east coast clams, and diced potatoes are its main ingredients—but sometimes simplicity is the best way to go, and Dooger’s proves that.
Warrenton location: 103 US-101, Warrenton, OR, USA

5. Baked Alaska

Restaurant, American

Baked Alaska is probably the fanciest restaurant in Astoria, but it started out as an Alaskan mobile soup kitchen with the motto: “Have Soup, Will Travel.” Though the travel has ended for chef Christopher Holen, he’s still making some deliciously decadent soup in his brick and mortar establishment, and his clam chowder is as rich as it gets. If you like butter, this is the chowder for you.

6. Mo’s

Restaurant, American

To write a best clam chowder on the Oregon coast list without Mo’s would be criminal. The seafood shop has been a local institution for more than seven decades, and its rich, hearty chowder is one of the main reasons people flock to the Newport-based restaurant whenever they get the chance. Today, Mo’s has numerous locations, including a food truck and airport locale, so you don’t necessarily have to be on the coast to grab a steaming bowl of quality chowder. And if you love it so much you want to take some home with you, Mo’s offers its stock at local grocery stores.

7. Pelican Brewing Company

Pub, American

Pelican Brewing may be best known for its beer, but the Pacific City brewery also makes a tasty bowl of clam chowder. So delicious in fact, that it’s won multiple People’s Choice awards at Lincoln City’s Chowder Cook-Off. The soup isn’t too thick but isn’t runny either, and it’s chock full of herbs to give it a nice, earthy flavor. Now, with three pub locations, you can enjoy a brew and a bowl of chowder oceanside in Pacific City, Tillamook, and Cannon Beach.

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