The Best Clam Shacks in Cape Cod

The Best Clam Shacks in Cape Cod Lobster Roll at the Lobster Trap

While I love everything to do with the Cape Cod’s stretch ocean and the vibe of New England beach towns, the one thing that I seem to plot out each time I visit is how many clam shacks I’ll be able to squeeze into one trip. After a recent visit to the Upper Cape, where the best clam shacks in Cape Cod are arguably located, I was able to map out four seafood experiences that are worth a visit.


The Best Clam Shacks in Cape Cod

The Lobster Trap
The lobster roll is a sandwich that I often overlook on menus. It’s typically nothing more than over-mayonnaised meat, much of which gets supplanted by unwanted celery, on a hot dog bun. But at the Lobster Trap in Bourne, it’s incredible. The lobster is served on a buttery, sweet brioche roll and what should be the focus of the dish–the lobster–actually is. The lobster is dressed only slightly in condiment and has no vegetable filler, except for a few shreds of lettuce that are tucked away under what had to have been more lobster meat than what nature could stuff into that exoskeleton.

Besides the lobster rolls, the Trap’s huge bowls of chowder were excellent and the place itself is the most charming of the “clam shacks” on the Upper Cape. Set alongside a river and hardly ridden train trestles, you can sit in Adirondack chairs on the outdoor patio, watching the occasional kayaker skim past, and listen to the occasional performance artist.
The Clam Shack
At the entryway of Falmouth Harbor sits the Clam Shack, a name that almost perfectly describes every aspect of this shack that serves clams. If only the word fried had been attached to the storefront, the Fried Clam Shack would win awards for being the most appropriately named place in town. Inside, over-fried food is served by underpaid teens. The ambiance is that of a boat’s mess hall with buoys serving as decor, heavily shellacked chairs, and low-to-floor tables attached to the walls. While I avoided the fried food, there was something charming about the Shack’s salty atmosphere and harbor views. More importantly, their clam chowder served in a coffee cup rivaled that of the Lobster Trap. But it you want more than a quick chowder, the Trap is best.


The Best Clam Shacks in Cape Cod Steamers


Seafood Sam’s

With lobsters that vibrate and illuminate when one’s order is ready and Great White Sharks dressed in kitschy Hawaiian shirts, Seafood Sam’s feels almost like the corporate minds behind Bubba Gump’s crashed the Cape Cod scene with a bad chain restaurant. While Sam’s is less reminiscent of a seafood joint and more like an antiseptic cafeteria, this inland location in Falmouth serves up incredible steamers and fried butterfly shrimp. They have their original establishment up north in Sandwich.



If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, though far from fine dining, head over to the Sea Crest Beach Hotel’s restaurant Red’s. Named for one time owner Red Auerbach, the restaurant smartly strayed from a basketball theme and kept their focus on cuisine. The appetizers at Red’s are better than many of the clam shacks–the oysters were some of the juiciest–and you’ll be remiss if you don’t order the most innovative fried calamari that I’ve had since some chef realized you should deep fry squid. The Crispy Port Judith Calamari comes with a side salad of watercress, a few deep fried pickled peppers–a palatable tongue twister in the best sense–and a phenomenal dipping sauce made with blended tarragon and grain mustard. Besides cuisine, Red’s offers oceanside dining with beautiful sunsets over Buzzards Bay.


The Best Seafood in Cape Cod Oysters


Posted on by Noah Lederman in I Ate What?

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