The Best Clam Chowder on Oregon’s Coast

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written by Julie Lee | photo from Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge





Does anything resonate better with the tummy than a piping hot bowl of clam chowder as winter blends into spring? We are well-situated in Oregon to take advantage of fresh chowder spots on the coast. Here are five of our favorites.

 

Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge

There is perhaps one thing better than a steaming bowl of chowder on a blustery coastal day: chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl. Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge delivers a trifecta of delicious clam chowder, cozy ambience and impeccable service.

179 N. Hemlock, Cannon Beach | driftwoodcannonbeach.com

 

Mo’s Seafood Restaurants

It’s an undisputed fact: Mo’s is the godfather of clam chowder. Generations have frequented Mo’s for thick, creamy bowls of chowder, served with a perfect yellow cube of melting butter and little packets of oyster crackers. With seventy years of perfecting the craft under their belt, multiple coastal locations and recent addition at the Portland airport, there are many ways to stop in for a hearty bowl.

Coast locations include: Cannon Beach, Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Newport, Florence

moschowders.com

 

Old Oregon Smokehouse

This recommendation for the coast’s best chowder comes from foodie (and friend) Chris Angelus, who hosts the podcast “Right at the Fork” and founded Portland Food Adventures. Angelus exemplifies the dream of living on the coast and working in the city, waking each morning to a clean slate of sand on which to run his dog Oakley, before commuting to Portland. His hands-down favorite chowder? Old Oregon Smokehouse’s version which is “not too thick.”

3800 Highway 101 N., Tillamook

 

Pelican Pub & Brewery

Every dish is delish at Pelican Pub & Brewery, and their chowder has garnered multiple People’s Choice awards in recent years at Lincoln City’s Chowder Cook-Off. Clam Chowder at Pelican Pub comes with a side of oceanfront view and is best paired with their Tsunami Stout. Good news for Cannon Beach dwellers: Pelican Pub is soon to open a second location in the former Dooger’s spot.

33180 Cape Kiwanda Drive, Pacific City | pelicanbrewing.com

 

Dooger’s Seafood and Grill

If chunky clam chowder—chalk full of clams, veggies, secret spices and potatoes in a medium density broth—is your thing, Dooger’s is your pick. Dooger’s clam chowder and a local draft IPA will leave you satisfied, but not stuffed. We love their to-go clam chowder kits. Just add a quart of half & half, a cup of heavy whipping cream, and some heat and Dooger’s infamous chowder is ready for five hungry chowder hounds.

Locations include: Seaside, Warrenton, Long Beach | doogersseafood.com




70 Comments

  • Mo's have always been my favorite and some people rave about kyoes . I remember when Herseys was down by Mo's in Taft. One other place that deserves mention is pier 101 in Lincolnshire Cory really good clam chowder.

  • The best Clam Chowder ever is at Bedrocks in Reedsport! So much better than the rest. I live in Oakland and have made trips just to get their chowder! I am in no way affiliated with them and they don't even know I send them customers all the time.

  • Had a really bad Mo's experience last summer at Otter Rock location. Potatoes were from bag of frozen hash brown cubes, and many were still frozen. Soup was very watery. It was at noon, but it seemed that the cooks had simply stretched the chowder by adding water and frozen potatoes. VERY disappointing.
    Hi Tides in Charleston has incredible chowder! Also Dory Cove in Lincoln City does a great job. Both are much better than Mo's. Mo's has become too big and is taking shortcuts because they figure people will come because of their reputation, not their food.

  • Since when does the Oregon coast stop half way down? Maybe change to title to say 'Oregon's northern coast'?

  • My wife and daughters crave Dooger's chowder. No thickeners, nice combo of clams and potatoes.
    I also like the Friday clam chowder served @ most of the McMenamin's restaurants.

  • Mo's has been living on their rep for years. I live on the coast and I haven't had a good bowl of chowder from Mo's in at least 15 years.

  • I am confounded by everyone's love of Mo's. Their chowder is mediocre at best, hardly something to rave about. For the record, I lived on the Oregon Coast for a number of years and have been there frequently. Last time we went, it was quite sandy. Just because a place has been around a long time does not mean the food is great. I won't be back anytime soon.

  • Not sure if it's still in business, but The Chowder Bowl in Newport served fantastic clam chowder! Top it off with their Marion berry cobbler, and you've used up your calorie allotment for the day. 😀

  • Well I dunno…Mo's is good, but pretty generic. I can only speak of the central coast area and Ocean Blue at Ginos and Georgies (next to the Hallmark Inn). There's good chowder and then there's EXCELLENT chowder with lots and lots of clams in it.

  • No, the WAYFARER in Cannon Beach is absolutely unbelievable. Rich, velvety, creamy. I've had Mo's twice, and I had sand in the chowder both times. Someone is definitely not cleaning the class well.

  • I think Mo's is thin like soup. Chowder should be thick and rich. I prefer the clam chowder at Surfrider in Lincoln Beach (south of Lincoln City and just north of Depoe Bay) in the central beach area.

  • Any list of clam chowder places on the coast is not complete without including The Chowder Bowl at Nye Beach… It consistently serves good chowder at every visit!

  • Don't know the name of this place but it's right across the road from the Wheeler hotel. The very best clam chowder I've ever had

  • Gracie's Sea Hag in Depoe Bay has some of the best chowder I have ever had! I'll be keeping an eye out for the others on the list.

  • Add The Bridgewater in Old Town Florence, Oregon to the list. Their seafood chowder is thick, creamy, chock full of seafood and potatoes. Scrumptious!!

  • Celebrated 43 years with my lovely bride last weekend at Cannon Beach and Seaside. Stopped by Doogers and as always savored their amazing clam chowder. Jake made it an extraordinary occasion!

  • We love the chowder at J's Fishhouse in Lincoln City! So good…not a fancy environment, but really good food.

  • Ya all missed it. THE BEST CLAM CHOWER is at Quimby's in Newport, Oregon. Clams are so fresh and tender, they are not chewy like a lot of chowders. Check it out.

  • Have always loved everything about the Driftwood. We have eaten there since 1978, and it's always been consistently good.

  • Captain's Table in North Bend and The Chowder Bowl at Nye Beach in Newport are both better than Mo's in my opinion.

  • I`ve had Chowder from a lot of places including Mo`s and Chowder Bowl and my favorite stands at Georgie`s in Newport.. Clams in every bite and the perfect thickness (not very thick but perfect) great view and wonderful service..

  • I'm always on the lookout for another chowder to try, but still haven't found one that I enjoy more than Norma's in Seaside. Dooger's, Mo's and Wayfarer are also very good. Will have to try some of the others mentioned.

  • Mo's chowder is tasteless and looks like wallpaper paste, do NOT understand it's popularity. Lived within walking distance of Mo's for over a decade…couldn't stand it then, and just as tasteless last summer. Didn't improve any with the shrimp on top, i.e. Mulligatawny. Try Sea Breeze at the split of 26. I agree with others about Doogers in Seaside..pretty good. Best yet: homemade!

  • Definitely agree… I am a clam chowder enthusiast and an Oregon resident. I have never liked Mo's chowder but love the clam chowder at The Wayfarer in Cannon Beach! The Silver Salmon in Seaside has great chowder and seafood as well!

  • Definitely agree… I am a clam chowder enthusiast and an Oregon resident. I have never liked Mo's chowder but love the clam chowder at The Wayfarer in Cannon Beach! The Silver Salmon in Seaside has great chowder and seafood as well!

  • I have to say, I have been to Mo’s a number of times and I have yet to find a clam in their “Chowder”. It tastes exactly like my aunts Potato soup. For Clam Chowder I love the Chowder Bowl in Nye Beach, Newport! Dory Cove is my second choice.

  • I didn’t read every word of every contribution BUT could you tell me which restaurants have real cream based chowder ir use gluten free thickeners like cirnstarch as opposed to a wheat based rue? Gluten free is what we are looking for. My husband adores a hot bowl of chowder and the only place we know of that is EXCELLENT is at The Loft Restaurant in Banon Or. Yum!

  • Wow – you missed the best clam chowder of all. Ecola Seafoods in Cannon Beach. And if you really want something fab get it in the sourdough bowl. I’ve tried most of them mentioned and Ecola has them all beat hands down. More clams, rich taste and YUMMY!!! Ooooh time for a trip to the beach!

  • Yachats has an awesome chowder, but I can’t remember the name of the restaurant. They don’t add flour which means us Celiacs can eat it. My mom didn’t like MO’s when we went there, she says it was blah?

  • Mo’s is not what it used to be. The last two times I have been, the chowder has been sandy and not delicious. I even took my folks from out of town and they were disappointed too. I used to live near Tolovana Park and went to Mo’s all the time, so I know it used to be very good back in the day. It is sadly not what it used to be. I will not be back.

    • Take a look at the other comments on this post, Amy, and I think you will find a lot of people agree with you.

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