Restaurants in Essex, MA

Essex claims to be the place fried clams were invented. That’s debatable, but there’s no doubt that Cape Ann — Essex in particular — is a wonderful place to eat fried clams. Foremost, there is Woodman’s of Essex, the place where Chubby Woodman is said to first have fried them, in 1916. Essex Seafood has terrific clams, too, as well as lobster dinners and fried seafood plates. For those who seek a town-cafe ambience for clam eating, the Village Restaurant is an Essex institution with a menu-for-everyone that includes terrific fried clams and goes far beyond them. Ten miles north of Essex is Ipswich, home of the Clam Box, the iconic clam-eating restaurant that is shaped like the cardboard box in which fried clams are presented at eat-in-the-rough clam shacks.

Essex’s Most Famous Dishes

On a sunny picnic table, fried clams are piled high in a red-checked cardboard boat.

Fried Clams

In a red drive-in basket, onion rings are crisp and golden-brown

Onion Rings

A bowl of thick, creamy chowder, loaded with clams and sprinkled with green onion

Clam Chowder

Opened and ready-to-eat littleneck clams in a bowl of white wine sauce with pasta and herbs

Clams

Essex’s Best Restaurants

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