For the Love of Chowdah

At the annual Chowder Festival at the State Pier in New Bedford, MA, several local eateries took up the challenge to serve their traditional New England clam chowder for the bragging rights to be judged the best of the best.  
Spoiler Alert: Venus de Milo ranked No. 1. 

The following restaurants made the top chowdahs:  

  1. Venus de Milo in Swansea, MA - 
    This Swansea institution is the “go to” spot in the region for clam chowder and minestrone soup. Their version of clam chowder is described as "perfectly seasoned" by patrons; and their minestrone soup is a robust blend of tomatoes, black beans, ground beef (this writer can vouch for both soups!). Their chowder recipe has won awards in the Boston Chowder Festival and Newport Chowder Cook-off. You can get your hands on this creamy chowder recipe at the Empire Grille, in stores, or on the web.
    Venus de Milo is located at 75 GAR Highway, Swansea, MA 02777. Be sure to stop by Venus’ new addition; the Empire Grille is located right inside!
  2. Trio in Fall River, MA
    The cozy restaurant, located in downtown Fall River boasts a contemporary European atmosphere and is perfect for a relaxing evening on the town. Trio’s rendition of a caldo verde (translated as green soup) is a home-run of a classic homemade Portuguese recipe. The garden-fresh aromatic dish is a perfect blend of potato broth, kale, olive oil and chourico, and a must have when visiting.
    Trio is located at 201 South Main Street, Fall River, MA 02721.
  3. Codfathers Seafood & More in Taunton, MA
    Codfather’s offers a casual dining atmosphere and family friendly prices. The chowder here is supremely creamy, and “stick to your ribs” thick without using too much flour. If you’re feeling for a more festive fill-up, bring your friends along for a local favorite, the traditional clam boil.
    Codfather’s Seafood & More is located at 91 Weir Street, Taunton, MA.
  4. Black Bass Grill - South Dartmouth, MA
    Of the sea, by the sea- This little gem stands quietly on a side street, taking in Padanaram Harbor’s exquisite waterfront. With fisherman lining the harbor bridge every night until the mere sightings of November, it’s easy to see where Black Bass Grill gets its inspiration for one-of-a-kind seafood dishes. Be sure to check out the Black Bass’ version of a traditional clam chowder. This hearty New England-style chowder has a fresh-from-the-sea flavor, brimming with clams and potatoes and still managing not to be overwhelmingly heavy.
    Black Bass Grill is located in Padanaram Village at 3 Water St, South Dartmouth, MA 02748.
  5. Freestones City Grill in New Bedford, MA
    Built as the Citizen’s National Bank in 1877, Free Stones City Grill has since taken on operation, and is every much a local treasure as the National Historical Park it stands in. The charming cobblestone streets and merchant shops of downtown New Bedford, MA take visitors back to the core of American Industrialism and a “golden” whaling era for the city. Embracing the city’s seafaring traditions, Freestones delivers home-style familiarity with a flavor packed version of the dish by using fresh clams in every batch. An alternative to shellfish is a cup of their award winning Fish Chowder, which is ‘so’ worth the mention!
    Freestone’s is located at 41 William Street, New Bedford, MA.
  6. Chad’s Chowderhouse in Somerset, MA
    We never get sick of saying it… This award-winning chowder tastes like it's straight out of grandma’s kitchen. See, there are three prerequisites for an amazingly authentic chowder experience: It’s got to be creamy; it has to be fresh; and last but not least, the recipe needs to be downright flavorful. Chad’s scores a “10” in all of the above by focusing on the basics with lots of clams and a few potatoes. The simple chowder has a show-don’t-tell flavor factor that attracts die hard New Englanders from all over.
    Chad’s Chowderhouse is located at 1160 Grand Army Highway, Somerset, MA.