Today is National New England Clam Chowder Day, but any day is a good day to celebrate this bowl of creamy goodness. When the temperature in Los Angeles rose above 80 degrees in the middle of January there was one thing to do: head to the beach, but not just any beach, Santa Barbara beach. This small beach town is the perfect getaway for Angelenos. The pace is laid back, the air is clean, the drive is beautiful and eating a bowl of clam chowder is a must.
Brophy Bros has received the best clam chowder award for more than 20 years and draws in a crowd of locals and tourists. The best plan of attack is to arrive at 11 a.m. when they open to avoid the long wait, grab a table in the patio area, listen to the calm ocean, breathe in the fresh sea air and enjoy a their award winning clam chowder. If there is a long wait, grab a drink in the downstairs bar, enjoy the gorgeous view and your table will be ready in no time.
The sourdough bread is partially sliced and accompanied by packages of salted butter. The bread is sour, but not overpowering. The crust is crunchy and the inside is sponge like, which holds up well to dunks in the chowder.
Every shot contains a freshly shucked oyster topped with horseradish, cocktail sauce, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce and grated Parmesan cheese. The heat and tangy highlight the flavors of the oyster and the Parmesan adds a nutty richness. The heat level might be a little much for those more sensitive to spiciness. Just be careful, because once you've had one, chances are you'll have at least one more.
New England Clam Chowder
6.50 for a bowl
The bowl of chowder arrived with a packet of oyster crackers, but the sourdough bread is the better option. The chowder has a nice balance of clams to potatoes and the right amount of creaminess. It's fresh, hearty and comforting. I can't say that this is the best bowl of clam chowder I have ever tasted, but it is more than satisfying and one of the better bowls I have tasted in Santa Barbara.
Overall, Brophy Bros is a great way to start the day in Santa Barbara. The atmosphere is relaxing and the decor screams beach town. The prices are reasonable and the location is unbeatable. After a few oyster shooters and a bowl of clam chowder, you'll have plenty of energy to take a stroll along the beach, go for a bike ride or even jump in a kayak. Don't miss this hot spot the next time you visit Santa Barbara.
4 out of 5 Stars
119 Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Private lot, free 90 minute parking