I am continuing my series of the best thing I ever ate in Illinois with a Chicago favorite of Baked Clams. I love baked clams. I remember having them when I was younger, especially when my family would celebrate their Italian tradition on Christmas Eve, with the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
I have traveled all over the country and soon found out that baked clams are very unique to the Chicagoland area. Having said that, I have had many baked clams at many Italian restaurants in Illinois. One restaurant that stands out head and shoulders above anyone else is Armand’s Pizzeria Restaurant in Elmhurst.
The Armand’s Pizzeria family Restaurant group has multiple locations throughout Illinois, including Elmwood Park. I have found the Elmhurst location makes them the best on a consistent basis.
The secret that Armand’s Pizzeria gets right with their clams is the size of the clam. The clam cannot be too big, so that’s why you need to use top neck clams when making a great baked clam. If the clam is too big it will be tough and not taste good at all.
The other key component to great baked clams is the breading that is used. The breading should not overpower the clam and should be seasoned with mainly garlic and parmesan cheese. Armand’s Pizzeria knocks it out of the park with their breading, which is super flavorful and delicious.
This last part is the most important. I have been to so many restaurants that prepare great baked clams only to destroy them by saturating them in an oil or grease-like sauce. The clams at Armand’s have a perfect subtle sauce that goes on top of the clams and does not overpower any of the flavors.
The inside of Armand’s Pizzeria is a small eatery, nothing fancy. I mainly order takeout when dining from here.
I recently ordered for Christmas Eve my baked clams from here and it was perfect. I was in heaven. I want to mention that the prices of their clams are fairer than other restaurants in the area, so that is always a plus.
I give Armand’s, strictly based on their baked clams, a rating of 9 out of 10. It is definitely a food item that everyone should check out from here.
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