Best of Boston

2014 Best Fried Clams, North

Woodman’s of Essex

This New England institution churns out all manner of crispy delicacies, but it’s the fresh clam bellies—plump, briny, and fried to perfection—that keep crowds of tourists and locals alike in the dining room year round. In fact, rumor has it that the place actually invented fried clams nearly 100 years ago, right here in Essex. The bivalves taste even better when enjoyed at one of the restaurant’s outdoor picnic tables, which offer views of salt marshes and the Essex River.

121 Main St., Essex, 978-768-6057,