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.
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.
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 Times‘ Heritage 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.
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.
Warrenton location: 103 US-101, Warrenton, OR, USA
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