A bowl of chowder in Newport, Oregon

Imagine sitting at a table near the edge of a sea cliff, watching the tide pull in, while enjoying a perfect bowl of clam chowder – something fresh and authentic – the essence of the sea. It can fill you up, but it will always leave your mouth watering, begging for another bite.

This is what it’s like to visit the Chowder Bowl at Nye Beach in Newport, Oregon. With less than 100 yards between the restaurant and the sands, they don’t just serve food; They serve as an experience. This is how they earned their spot on “The Today Show”, why they appeared in Coastal Living Magazine, and why they won the 2010 Newport News-Times Award and 2011 “Best Clam Chowder”.

Perfect soup bowl

The Chowder Bowl is warm and inviting, modeled after its New England counterparts, making it the perfect contrast against the harsh coastal climate. Even the outdoor seating is comfortable, filled with heaters and semi-transparent covers to protect diners from the rain. It’s a welcome relief, especially if you’re spending the day in the sand or on the water.

The restaurant also has a dog friendly rooftop, which couldn’t be more perfect. You can take your pup out for a walk, then have a beer without having to take him home first. All on time with the decent attitude you can expect from the staff there. It’s rare to hear about poor service at the Chowder Bowl, which is one of the reasons Newport loves them so much.

Chowder and wine in a Newport soup bowl
Newport soup bowl at Nye Beach / Facebook

what are you asking

Unlike many chowder houses, the Chowder Bowl relies on variety. They have a huge menu, featuring almost every dish of American seafood you can think of. But the main ingredient, of course, is chowder. It is presented in many different ways. You get a cup, bowl, or bowl of local sourdough bread, and they all overflow. You can also order it with Pacific shrimp, which is a very welcome addition. It goes great with garlic bread or cheese garlic bread, adding to the flavor when dipped in broth. If you’re in the mood for a drink, it goes well with one of their dark beers—well in fact, you’ll never eat chowder without a bottle again. It’s the only flavor the dish is missing, and believe me, it’s much needed.

The list can be a bit confusing for the first time. There’s so much to check out, and often you can’t go wrong. There are sandwiches, salads, fried seafood, fish and chips, and even burgers. Many items come with a cup of chowder, so you can order whatever you want without missing out on the main course.

But unless you’ve been dragged on the journey, you’re probably not there for a ham and Swiss or a jalapeno burger. You want seafood. What stands out most are their sandwiches from the sea section, particularly the shrimp witch, clams, and oysters, all of which are fried and served on a toasted pub bread. They come with tartar sauce or a side of cocktail sauce and coleslaw. The reason for choosing these items is because the Chowder Bowl somehow manages to come up with the perfect combination of bread and fish. It’s not too crunchy, not too meaty; It’s just the way you want it to be, and flavors and textures combine, creating a well-balanced end product to suit most tastes.

Another signature sandwich is the Cajun oyster club. If you haven’t tried grilled oysters, order it. It’s covered in homemade Cajun seasoning – strong but not spicy – on sourdough bread with lettuce, tomato, and bacon – that’s right, oysters and bacon. Seasoning blends with the rest of the sandwich, turning the once sweet club into a delicious flavor. It’s a genius combination, unique and satisfying.

The Chipotle Bacon Shrimp Roll is another item you don’t want to miss. It’s a spinach roll with avocado, greens, tomatoes, succulent shrimp, and bacon. Chipotle ranch dressing gives you the delicious flavor you need to complement the flavors and enhance the meat.

Cobb Salad on Nye Beach
Newport soup bowl at Nye Beach / Facebook

The Chowder Bowl excels at turning festive essentials, even if the ingredients are basic or simple. This Cobb Salad is the perfect example. There are greens under the blue cheese, chicken, bacon, avocado and tomato, but you can’t see them because everything else is on display on top alongside a huge cup of sauce. This is not an authority. It’s a buffet, but it looks delicious.

The range of fried fish and seafood is fantastic and grilled options are available for those who prefer something a little smaller. There are true Pacific cod, oysters, oysters, calamari, and three types of shrimp: coconut shrimp, popcorn shrimp, and regular shrimp. All of these dishes are served with golden fries and either cocktail sauce or tartar sauce.

They seem to use a combination of cornmeal and flour in most of their baking, which means there’s a crunch, but there’s enough starch that you can still expect the same whipped texture you’re used to. Nice dark beer and a cup of clam chowder, and you get the full chowder bowl experience.

what you don’t ask for

Sorry to disappoint, but the fish is not fresh and most of it is probably not local. The Chowder Bowl menu is carefully designed to avoid calling fresh items unless they’re already fresh, like bread from Panini’s Bakery, or fresh homemade soup. Most of their food comes from unlisted locations, with the exception of oysters, which are actually from Yaquina Bay. They also sell oysters in Washington if you pay extra. With the rest, all they can guarantee are the types, and they do a good job of talking about it. Does that mean you get shrimp from mud farms or the oil-filled depths of the Gulf of Mexico? Can. There are beachfront restaurants on the West Coast that get their shrimp from Mississippi, but the taste suggests something closer.

Another tricky topic is tacos. This is not tortilla flour. Tortillas are made with flour, oil, salt, and water – not with clumping agents and preservatives and certainly not sugar or corn syrup. Real tortillas are not bloated. They don’t look like the tortillas they serve in the restaurant. It’s a shame because the chowder bowl is trying to do that. All components are there. They have fresh pico de gallo, mango chutney, and fried fish. They even have chipotles, thanks to which they do what they can to work with their purported tortillas, but it’s still a long way off. The Chowder Bowl has the same problem with their tortillas. The masa used to make it should be fresh, semi-elastic, not crumbly and old. Without it, there is no point in ordering Mexican dishes.

Don’t let that stifle your desires. What chowder does right, it’s right. They made news with their chowder because it’s the best. Their seafood, their choice of drinks, and sandwiches all taste great. If that doesn’t convince you, try to get a table. As the website says, they are popular for a reason.

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