250 Sand Hill Cove Road, Galilee, Narragansett
(401) 783-2306 or (800) 399-8477
www.georgesofgalilee.com

George's and Champlin's are the two big fish in the little pond of Galilean seafood.

George's began as George's Lunch, a tiny place named for its owner, George Partelow. Around 1948 it was purchased by a bakery truck driver and his wife, Norman and Edna Durfee, who soon built up an early-morning clientelle of Galilean fishermen. In fact, breakfast became so integral to the business' bottom line that "Lunch" was dropped from the name. In 1969, prompted by health issues, Norman passed the restaurant on to his three sons, Don, Wayne, and Richard, who expanded the building and the menu. George's was then expanded even further under Richard's sole management with the addition of new decks, a function room, and take-out windows. Along the way breakfast was discontinued as the demographics of the customer base changed from early-rising fishermen to day-tripping tourists.

Among the items on George's extensive menu are baked stuffed quahogs, "famous" clam cakes, Rhode Island clam chowder (in white, tomato, or plain)—all of which have won numerous awards (see below)—, Quonset Point oysters, snail salad, and Little Rhody brand hot dogs. Another item is Lobster Galilee Style, in which the star crustacean is stuffed and baked and topped with scallops, shrimp, and lobster sauce. And if you want to booze it up with locally made vino or suds, they carry Newport Vineyards Chardonnay, Newport Storm, and Narragansett Lager.

Since at least 2011, George's has used traceandtrust.com to shine a light on some of the fish they serve. The site allows chefs and customers to track info about the fish they're cooking and eating, including where and when it was caught, and by what boat.

Rhode Islanders are very opinionated about a lot of things, and George's is no exception. On the one hand there are all those awards—if there's any kind of Ocean State "best of" list out there, you can pretty much bet that George's will have a spot on it. On the other hand, in our conversations with Rhode Islanders in person and online we've been hard-pressed to find anyone who claims to actually like George's. We've heard numerous stories of people who first went to Champlin's, found a long line, and settled instead for George's, where there was a short line (or even empty tables), and where their meal was described as "mediocre at best." We've also heard it posited that "George's is for out-of-towners who don't know any better." Somehow there's a huge disconnect between the folks who are voting George's onto the "best of" lists and those we're hearing from. So our best suggestion is for you to go there yourself and make up your own mind.

First-hand experience

We don't usually do "real" reviews of the places we list, preferring instead to merely note the specific menu items we're concerned with, convey the facts behind the business's history, and perhaps give a sense of what we've read or heard others say about the establishment. We're not above giving praise where we feel it's deserved, but otherwise we try to offer our own opinions sparingly. The following, we hope, is a rare exception to the rule.

In Spring 2006 a representative of George's took issue with our suggestion that George's is second-best to anybody, and challenged us to try them again. So we did, showing up unannounced on a rainy afternoon in late April. Despite the weather and time of year there were a good number of cars in the lot. It turned out that most of them belonged to a wedding party that had rented the second-floor banquet room, though, and there were plenty of empty tables in the other dining areas of the restaurant. To be fair, it should be noted that Champlin's wasn't even open that day.

An order of clam cakes was shared between the four of us and all seemed to agree they were pretty good—fluffy, not greasy, and with big clam chunks. Kim declared them "really good," but Christopher would have liked more clam broth flavor. Kim and Christopher both agreed that the stuffies were somewhat mealy and not anything special. Christopher liked the clear chowder, but Laury wasn't impressed with her red chowder, which she gave a grade of C-, or "two-and-a-half out of five quahogs."

Laury ordered the calamari for her entree, and she said she felt it followed "the true Rhode Island tradition, lightly breaded and fried, with very little oil in evidence." It was "nicely cooked… not overcooked as many will do. However," she added, "I prefer the Italian preparation that leaves it swimming in olive oil and hot peppers, and thus flavor." Kim and Bill both had the Stuffed Scrod and Shrimp Combo platter which they seemed to enjoy. Kim especially liked the lobster sauce, but again wasn't impressed with the stuffing, which seemed the same as that used in the stuffies. Bill, who is something of a baked stuffed scrod aficionado said, "I was surprised [it] was as good as it was. It's tricky to cook it to the right done-ness, but they did fine. It was a little richer than I like but overall, very good." Christopher rounded out his meal with a lobster salad roll. "I thought it was tasty," he said, "but I think the thing I like best about lobster rolls is the irony of eating lobster on a hot dog bun and paying $15 for the privilege."

We were seated at a table on the second floor near the bar, about which Laury enthused, "We thought the bar was great! There was the spectacular view, and [considering the weather] it was great to be able to appreciate that view in climate-controlled comfort. Whether you order a drink or coffee, I think it's a fine place to pass a Sunday afternoon." She said also that she and Bill, both devout coffee drinkers, thought George's coffee was "very good."

Overall, in spite of a few disappointments, our experience at George's was enjoyable. We'd go back, and we'd recommend others to try them, too.

George's is open daily, year 'round, 11:30am-midnight.

Awards

ABC6 Best of Southern New England Viewers' Poll: Best Fried Clams, Best Fish and Chips, Best Clam Chowder (1998), Best Chowder and Clam Cakes (1999).
International Quahog Festival: Best Stuffies.
Narragansett Times Readers Choice: Best Fish and Chips (1998), Best Clam Cakes and Chowder (1998), Favorite Chowder (2005), Favorite Stuffies (2005).
Rhode Island Monthly: one of the ten best clam shacks in Rhode Island (1997).
Rhode Island Monthly's Best of Rhode Island: Worst Clam Cakes (1992), Best Stuffies (1989-1991), Best Fish and Chips, Best Fried Clams, Best Chowder, Best Clam Cakes (1989, 1994-1998).
Rhode Island Monthly's Readers' Poll: Best Fried Clams (1991), Best Chowder in South County (1994, 1995), Best Stuffies (1995), Best Fried Clams in South County (1995).

What’s nearby

Distances between points are actual distances, without regard to police roadblocks or swashbuckling leopards. Your travel distance will be longer.

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