Clam chowder is a must when you visit New England and even more so, when you visit Martha’s Vineyard. At (almost) any time of year, you can find these restaurants open and serving up some of the best chef-made clam chowders on island and today I’m sharing my top three clam chowders served on Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re searching for “best clam chowder on Martha’s Vineyard“, you’ve found them!
I get dozens of emails during the spring and summer, of people that find my blog and are planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard and have a few questions about the island. No matter what kind of trip they are planning, the question that is always asked in these emails is: “where can I get the best clam chowder on Martha’s Vineyard?”. To help future travelers and reduce the amount of emails, I’ve put together my top three clam chowders served up on Martha’s Vineyard: where you can find them, what’s in them, and why these are my favorite chowders will all be explained.
If you’re wondering how I went about this process of tasting clam chowders and deciding which was “the best”, see below:
- During the winter of 2018-2019, I called 14 restaurants on island that had clam chowder on their menu. A simple, “do you make your clam chowder from scratch?” received a variety of replies and that narrowed down the list, because I wanted to only taste freshly made chowders, not anything from a bag.
- From there, I visited a few of the restaurants that did make clam chowder from scratch and alongside my husband, a guy that’s had hundreds of cups of chowder since he loves it and is from Cape Cod, tasted these chowders.
- We judged the chowders on: ingredients (how traditional/modern was it), cookery of said ingredients (were the potatoes raw/overcooked/mushy), the texture of the chowder itself (too thin/too thick), and overall flavor.
The Wharf Pub, Edgartown
One of the first chowder loves I had on this island, was the clam chowder from the Wharf Pub in Edgartown. They’ve won awards for their chowder, that is made in house and is quite delicious. A very traditional chowder, made with the classics like bacon, potatoes, cream, and clams. The thickness is just right and in my opinion, pairs so well with a few splashes of Tabasco green pepper sauce.
Offshore Ale Company, Oak Bluffs
Next up, another restaurant made chowder that is similar to the Wharf’s chowder, but with clams that aren’t as chopped up, so big clam pieces make up this chowder. It also has the traditional ingredients, plus celery which I don’t encounter in a lot of traditional chowders but it made this one quite flavorful.
Offshore Ale, located in Oak Bluffs, also has a fun and inviting atmosphere. When you come in you get a bowl of peanuts in the shell that you snack on while you wait for your meal and throw the shells on the floor. Unless you have a peanut allergy, this place is really fun and the clam chowder is delicious.
Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company, Oak Bluffs
Last and certainly not least, my favorite chowder on island is at the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company! I was shocked to say this because I’ve known this chowder for a while now, knew it was gluten free and a bit less traditional than the others, but the flavor in this cup was unlike the others, which made it a clear winner. It has no gluten and no pork product, yet somehow became a quick winner. The potatoes, celery, and onions, along with the clams, are cut small which makes for a delicious eating experience. There is a secret blend of herbs and spices in this that is impossible to discover, but I do think there’s thyme and rosemary, and someone once told me there’s marjoram as well in it.
This is also the only trademarked chowder on island, so the name “Martha’s Vineyard Clam Chowder” is now a trademark!