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2018 Fried Clams

Editors’ Choice, Restaurant

Seaport Grille, Gloucester Standout Qualities: Heaping portions of deep-fried bivalves, available as a starter or as a full-on fried feast, both with house tartar sauce. Philosophy: A spirit of willingness will bring whatever it takes to give the guest the best food, service, and cleanliness. What’s New: Rail Stop, a sister restaurant in Brighton, offers posh banquettes and a 19th-century vibe, with classic cocktails and dry-aged steaks. 6 Rowe Square, Gloucester, 978-282-9799,  

Clam Shack

Top Dog, Rockport What’s Unique: Their hot dogs attract international press, but North Shore insiders know the fried clams are the real deal. Fun Fact: The walls inside are lined with chalkboards to keep you occupied while waiting for your crispy bivalves. Insider Tip: We dare you to get crazy and combine both specialties; sprinkle an order of fried clams atop a dog—we’d suggest the German, with fresh sauerkraut. 2 Doyles Cove Rd., Bearskin Neck, Rockport, 978-546-0006,  

Readers’ Choice

Woodman’s of Essex, Essex Fun Fact: Lawrence “Chubby” Woodman invented the fried clam in 1916, at the joking suggestion of a friend. 121 Main St., Essex, 978-768-6057,
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