256 Great Island Road, Galilee, Narragansett
(401) 783-3152
www.champlins.com

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

Champlin's began as a simple wholesale and retail fish market in the 1920s. In 1937 owner Harry Champlin began selling a clear chowder to the retail crowd, but it wasn't until 1970 that Champlin's became a full-fledged restaurant. In the intervening years the building was battered by hurricanes, rebuilt, and expanded a number of times. Today all the restaurant stuff, including the take-out window and indoor and outdoor dining, are on the second floor (hence the "deck" part of the name), while the seafood market continues to operate on the ground floor.

Both the restaurant and the market benefit greatly from access to the largest fishing fleet on the East Coast. All day every day fishing boats tie up at the docks behind the building and unload their catches of flounder, haddock, shrimp, salmon, scup, tuna, bass, mackerel, butterfish, codfish, scrod, squid, herring, swordfish, lobster, clams, oysters, and quahogs. The upshot is, it's very likely the meal you eat at Champlin's was swimming in the sea only a few hours earlier. Can you ask for any fresher?

Champlin's is deservedly popular and everything is cooked fresh to order, so depending on when you go, you may find yourself waiting a while to even place your order, but we promise it's worth it. If you want to beat the crowds, go there early in the day or in the off season.

If you have to wait, take a few minutes to check out the wall of photographs commemorating 1954's Hurricane Carol. Much of Galilee, including Champlin's, was all but destroyed.

You can still get the same clear broth chowder that was first sold at Champlin's in 1937, or try the red or white that were introduced (due to popular demand) in 1970. All three are based on the same tried and true recipe, just with tomato paste and milk added to the latter two types. According to Champlin's vice president Brian Handrigan, half of all chowder sales are for the clear, while red and white make up thirty percent and twenty percent, respectively. Handrigan further notes that "most people on a return visit will order the clear."

Champlin's clam cakes are crispy on the outside, dense and chewy on the inside, with tender bits of clam that don't get stuck between your teeth. The red chowder has just a hint of tomato that doesn't disguise the great clam flavor. Stuffies come in varieties for all tastes: Basic; "Casino" (with bacon); and "Portuguese" (with chourico and green pepper). Snail salad, fish and chips, lobster rolls, steamed clams... it's all so good. Fodor's once called Champlin's fried scallops the "best in New England, possibly the world."

Just remember that while it may be tempting to feed the seagulls from Champlin's deck, what goes into a seagull, must come out!

Champlin's is open daily. In Summer, Sunday through Thursday, 11am to 8pm; Friday and Saturday, 11am-9pm. Winter hours are Monday, 11am-6pm; and Friday through Sunday, 11am-7pm.

Awards

Providence Phoenix Editors' Picks: Best Lobster Roll (2013).
Rhode Island Monthly's Best of Rhode Island: Best Seafood in the Rough (1992), Best Fish, Best Seafood, Best Place for Lobster, Best Lobster Roll (1998-2001).
Rhode Island Monthly's Readers' Poll: Best Fish and Chips in South County (2006), Best Local Seafood Market in South County (2010).

What’s nearby

Distances between points are actual distances, without regard to ponds or plundering dogs. Your travel distance will be longer.

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