The Chowder Barge in Wilmington Lets You Enjoy Your Meal on the Water

View from Window at the Chowder Barge.  Photo by Ed Simon for The Los Angeles Beat.

Los Angeles has no shortage of restaurants at or near the water. There is, however only one restaurant in Southern California that is literally ON the water and that is the Chowder Barge in Wilmington. Built in 1934 as a support vessel for the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty”, then filming 26 miles across the sea at Catalina Island, the original barge was converted to a sit-down restaurant. Scenically located among many sailboats and powerboats in Los Angeles Harbor, guests can either drive up to the dock where the Chowder Barge is located or simply run a dinghy or other small boat up to the guest dock in order to begin their dining experience. The Chowder Barge is a casual, funky place that won’t break the bank while delivering quality food in a scenic location. This is not an expansive ocean view, however it is an up close view of a real working harbor.Photo essay after the jump

Chowder, of course, is the Chowder Barge’s signature dish and it does not disappoint. This clam chowder, chock full of clams and potatoes, this is not the ‘stand your spoon up’ kind of chowder but instead a flavorful, rich and creamy bowl of chowdery goodness. The chowder is made fresh, with cream, milk, lots of butter and a healthy does of seasonings and spices. It is available in either a cup or a bowl, with the cup being a generous portion and a great way to start any meal. You need to travel all the way up to Pismo Beach (at Pismo Fish and Chips) to find clam chowder that is as good.

The Chowder Barge’s menu runs from breakfasts to dinner, with the usual breakfast egg and meat dishes a draw for local boaters on their way to a day out on the water. For lunch and dinner, sandwiches run the gamut from an excellent fish sandwich to their famous 5 and 10 ounce Angus beef burgers available with many assorted toppings. For non-carnivores, there are grilled cheese and tuna sandwiches, turkey burgers and even a veggie burger. Their signature burger, “The Rev’s Special”, is a cheese burger served swimming in a bowl of the house chowder.

A nice reminder of the ocean right under your feet can be had by ordering the fish and chips or fried clam baskets. The battered cod was flaky and moist, while the clams reminded me of my visit to Mystic, Connecticut. They both come with fries and an excellent cole slaw. The portions are extremely generous and perfectly fried. A combo is also available which pairs the clams and fish wish some nice breaded shrimp.

There is both inside and outside dining available at the Chowder Barge. There also is a nice bar with a special house Bloody Mary as a perfect starter for the day, or anytime! A nice selection of beer and wine makes it a nice place to relax. On a perfect Southern California day, the warm outside deck for dining is also misted to keep guests comfortable. The Chowder Barge is a perfect place to enjoy a real nautical experience, with excellent food that is perfect to enjoy when exploring the beach and harbor areas of Los Angeles and Long Beach. That alone makes it a great place to start or finish a fun day exploring the Los Angeles waterfront.

Chowder Barge

611 Henry Ford Avenue

Wilmington 90744

PH: (310) 830-7937

Ed Simon

About Ed Simon

Ed is a native of Los Angeles who loves food and food cultures. Whether he's looking for the best ceviche in Colombia, the best poke in Hawaii, the best tequila in Jalisco, the best Bun bo Hue in Vietnam or the best Taiwanese Beef Roll in Los Angeles, it's all good food! He also loves a good drink. He's had Mai Tais in Hawaii, Bourbon in Kentucky, Tequila in Mexico and Rum in Jamaica. His wine escapades have taken him to Napa, Sonoma, the Willamette Valley and the Santa Ynez Valley. And he's had beer all over the world! Music is another of Ed's passion, writing and interviewing many classic rock, rock and blues musicians. Getting the great stories of road experiences from them is a particular delight. Traveling also fits in with Ed's writing, exploring all over to find the most interesting places to visit, even in out of the way areas.
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