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New England-style clam chowder – there’s no need to talk about about that tomato-based impostor to the south – may be the region’s perfect comfort food. It’s briny and creamy and crowned with oyster crackers for a crispy textural contrast. It is so beloved, in fact, that February 25 has been declared (though we’re not sure by who) National Clam Chowder Day.

And here on the North Shore, we have no shortage of places to indulge in this regional specialty, whether you want to spoon up a thick chowder from a paper cup while sitting at a picnic table or sip your briny soup as the appetizer to an upscale meal. Here are some of our favorites – share your must-try chowders in the comments!

A&D Clam Box, Marblehead

The newest chowder contender, A&D Clam Box opened in early 2023, but the stylish clam shack is already winning raves for its portion sizes, friendly service, and, of course, its super-fresh seafood, including the classic chowder.

195 Pleasant St., Marblehead, 781-476-2329,

Photograph by Joel Laino

Woodman’s, Essex

It may be known as the birthplace of the fried clam, but Woodman’s also knows its way around a chowder. The classic clam shack’s award-winning version uses freshly shucked clams and is always gluten-free (as is almost all of its menu).

119 Main St., Essex, 978-768-6451,

The Causeway Restaurant, Gloucester

This small seafood joint is an institution on Cape Ann, and its chowder lives up to its reputation. Thick without being pasty, cooked fresh every day, and studded with fresh, briny clams, the chowder comes in portions generous enough to be a meal – or two!

78 Essex Ave., Gloucester, 978-281-5256,

Photograph courtesy of C.K. Pearl

C.K. Pearl, Essex and Decklyn’s, Gloucester

Know for their elevated-yet-approachable takes on New England classics, C.K. Pearl delivers a chowder (or should we take a cue from the menu and say “chowdah'”) that builds flavor with pork belly and fresh clams, then finishes things off with an indulgent garnish of fried clam strips. The same recipe is served up at sister restaurant Decklyn’s on the Gloucester waterfront.

112 Main St., Essex, 978-890-7378,

J.T. Farnham’s, Essex

If you are looking for a National Clam Chowder Day fix from J.T. Farnham’s, you will have to wait a few days – the eatery comes back from its winter break on March 1. But it will certainly be worth the wait: Farnham’s slightly thinner version of the iconic dish wins raves from happy diners.

88 Eastern Ave., Essex, 978-768-6643,

Turner’s Seafood, Salem and Gloucester

Turner’s Seafood runs both fish markets and restaurants, so you can rest assured that their award-winning, gluten-free chowder is loaded with the freshest of clams, as well as red bliss potatoes, cream, and herbs. Enjoy your chowder in the elegant surroundings of Turner’s Salem restaurant, or swing in to the Gloucester fish market for a container to-go.

43 Church St., Salem, 978-745-7665; 4 Smith St., Gloucester, 978-281-7172;

Brine, Newburyport

Chowder fans seeking subtlety will enjoy the Pork + Clam Chowder at Brine, wild countneck clams in a velvety puree of potatoes cooked in a mixture of clam juice and classic flavorings like thyme, celery, and leeks, and cream topped with painstakingly housemade pork belly and crispy potato chips.

17 State St. Newburyport, 978-358-8479,

Choate Bridge Pub, Ipswich

Ipswich is known for its clams, so it is no wonder the Choate Bridge Pub comes up so frequently whenever North Shore locals start talking about their favorite chowders. The unpretentious pub serves a rotating selection of soups, but only its beloved chowder is served up every day.

3 South Main St., Ipswich, 978-356-2931,

Photograph courtesy of Davio’s

Davio’s, Lynnfield

Upscale Italian restaurant Davio’s puts an Italian spin on the New England classic with a recipe the includes fresh little neck clams and pancetta in place of the more common bacon or pork belly, making it a perfect complement to the rest of a Davio’s meal.

1250 Market St., Lynnfield, 781-944-4810,

Legal Sea Foods, Burlington, Peabody; Legal C Bar, Lynnfield

Served at just about every presidential inauguration since Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, Legal’s thick, creamy, clam-packed chowder boasts impeccable credentials and decades of happy customers. Can’t make it out to the restaurant? Order a quart with rolls and garlic butter online.

75 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, 781-270-9700; 210 Andover St., Peabody, 978-532-4500; 220 Market St., Lynnfield, 781-406-2500;