(credit: Slapfish  )

(credit: Slapfish )


Clam chowder is more meal than soup, and as such, it should be hearty as well as delicious. When you feel a clam craving coming on, what are the best places in Orange County to find the ultimate in sweet clams, fresh corn, soft potatoes, and creamy broth? Whether you prefer New England white chowder or the red, tomato-rich Manhattan Style, here are some of the top chowder choices in the OC.
(credit: Bluewater Grill)

(credit: Bluewater Grill)


Bluewater Grill
630 Lido Park Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 675-3474
www.bluewatergrill.com

Bluewater Grill has a relaxed, cozy atmosphere with a nautical theme, and one of the thickest chowders around. Offering both a New England and Manhattan style broths, the soups here are hearty at at this locally based small chain and have a delicious and slightly sweet edge. Each soup includes ingredients which are diced, and the soups are neither too small nor too large. So, you can expect ample medium sized chunks of potatoes, carrots, and clams which are well blended to create a satisfying soup. The clams themselves taste fresh and meaty, without being too chewy.

(credit: Slapfish)

(credit: Slapfish)


Slapfish
2727 Newport Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 723-0034
www.slapfishrestaurant.com

Slapfish, a popular and casual eatery, offers a chowder that is exceptionally fine. And, while fine dining may not apply here, don’t be alarmed as it doesn’t apply to the terrific chowder. Made with red potatoes and bacon, with plenty of sweet, meaty clams, the New England-style chowder is savory, slightly salty, and extremely flavorful. The restaurant also offers a unique chowder hybrid addition: chowder fries that are natural-cut along with chunky potatoes smothered in clam chowder and topped with bacon.

(credit: OC Weekly Blog/Niyaz Pirani)

(credit: OC Weekly Blog/Niyaz Pirani)


Billy’s at the Beach
2751 West Coast Hwy.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 722-1100
www.billysatthebeach.com

A classic island-style spot with a bright patio and ocean views, Billy’s at the Beach is the spot to settle in with a Mai Tai, and of course, with a bowl of lush chowder. One of the best parts of the clam chowder served here is the homemade croutons that top it. House-made from sweet Hawaiian bread, it also offers large, soft potato chunks that are well-matched by a solid quantity of smaller diced clams. A little salty, a lot buttery, the broth is less thick than others tasted, but just as rich and filling.

(credit: Yelp/Mei Loh-Becker R.)

(credit: Yelp/Mei Loh-Becker R.)


Fly-N-Fish Oyster Bar and Grill
2304 W Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 673-8400
www.flynfishoysterbar.com

A bustling fine-dining spot with one of the lightest chowders around, Fly-N-FIsh Oyster Bar and Grill offers a modern take on New England-style chowder, with plenty of potatoes and clams, and a small portion of the flavorful broth. The broth itself feels less thick than other top contenders, possibly allowing enough room for the restaurant’s equally delicious coconut shrimp.

(credit: Yelp/Geri S.  )

(credit: Yelp/Geri S. )


Original Fish Company
11061 Los Alamitos Blvd
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
(562) 594-4553
www.originalfishcompany.com

Renowned for both New England and Manhattan style clam chowders, this modern, busy restaurant has its own fish market, too. Original Fish Company serves large bowls and ample cups of both varieties of chowder. The New England style comes full of potatoes, carrots, and of course – an ample amount of clams. The broth is thick, creamy, and buttery. Manhattan Style has a tangy edge, great for those who prefer not only a tomato broth base, but a little spice with their clams.

(credit: Yelp/Denise T.)

(credit: Yelp/Denise T.)


Harborside
400 Main St.
Newport Beach, CA 92661
(949) 673-4633
www.harborside-pavilion.com

Watch sea lions play and waves hit the shore while you enjoy your soup at this aptly named seafood spot. Harborside offers enjoyably ultra-thick New England-style chowder with large chunks of carrot, celery, and potato, topped with smoky corn and chopped scallions. Best of all, the clams are supremely tender and large in size. The restaurant’s ocean view setting makes this stellar soup even more pleasurable.

(credit: Foodspotting/H.K.S.)

(credit: Foodspotting/H.K.S.)


Rusty Pelican
2735 West Coast Hwy,
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 642-3431
www.rustypelican.com

This elegant upscale chain offers a chowder where the pieces of clam, potato, and celery are evenly diced, and the broth supremely buttery. The creamy rich broth here is seasoned with black pepper, adding a little kick to the Rusty Pelican version of this hearty traditional soup.

Genie Davis is a multi-published journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. She lives near the beach in Los Angeles. See more on: CBSLA | eco-exist.com | geniedavis.com | Divulge.com | Twitter.

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