Summer in New England is synonymous with seafood. As the days grow long and warm, coastal waters from Connecticut to Maine teem with life and become a fertile fishing ground. No matter where you are in these northern Atlantic states, a tried and true seafood shack is bound to be nearby. (Of course, you don’t need to be in New England to enjoy seafood. Here is the best seafood restaurant in every state.)
To compile a list of the best seafood shacks in New England, 24/7 Tempo consulted lists, ratings, and reviews from websites including Yankee, Providence Journal, Rhode Island Monthly, Connecticut Post, New Haven Register, New Hampshire Magazine, The Daily Meal, Gayot, and Eater.
From bivalve mollusks like oysters and clams, to lobsters, to cod and haddock, marine life has long supported the economies of many New England villages. And luckily for residents and tourists alike, these fruits of the sea are harvested sustainably and available fresh off the boat at many of these take-out stands and snack shacks.
Whole belly fried clams are the gold standard at these eateries, and virtually every seafood shack serves their own version of a lobster roll, whether it’s Connecticut style (warm with butter) or Maine style (cold with mayonnaise). Fried cod and haddock sandwiches are ubiquitous, too, and so is clam chowder. Here is the best seafood to eat.
Aside from the perfectly fried seafood baskets, a major draw at many of the best seafood shacks in New England is a superb coastal or harbor view. While some may have indoor dining areas, most have only outdoor seating, which comes with a healthy dose of salty ocean air. Keep in mind that many are seasonal eateries that open in late March or early April and close when the weather cools down and the skies darken early.
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