Delicious Fish & Chips, Outstanding Lobster Rolls and Bright, Fresh Oysters, Clams with Bellies and More - Connie & Ted's [Thoughts + Pics]

It’s hard to believe Connie & Ted’s is now considered a fixture in the L.A. landscape, a long-time spot worth stopping by for excellent New England-style Seafood dishes. It felt like it was just a short time ago that Michelin-starred Chef Michael Cimarusti (Providence) had announced opening up a casual, relaxed New England-style Seafood restaurant, as a homage to the food he grew up eating in Rhode Island and the surrounding areas.

Named after Chef Cimarusti’s grandparents, Connie & Ted’s has an eye-catching buildout, and walking in, you’re immediately at ease with its bright, open bar on one end, live seafood tank, and live oyster, clam and mussel bar in the middle and an open kitchen next to it.

The menu is a wonderful assortment of New England Seafood classics and beyond, offering things like 3 kinds of Clam Chowder (New England, Manhattan, and Rhode Island) - all delicious - Crab Cakes, Stuffies, and more.

We begin this visit (probably our ~12th visit or so?) with…

Oysters (Kaipara (New Zealand), Duxbury, Dodge Cove (Maine), Sweet Grass (Prince Edward Island), Wild Wellfleet (Massachusetts), Pacific Gold (California)):

They were all outstanding on this visit! So bright and fresh. My favorite was probably the Kaipara (New Zealand). Chef Cimarusti is hardcore about Oysters, and flies in a new selection of fresh Oysters daily, so the menu changes all the time.

The condiments should be noted, with the Mignonette and Horseradish offerings perfectly seasoned and balanced. Great shucking as well, no bits of shell in any of our bites (as usual).

Fried Oyster Sandwich (Cole Slaw & Spicy Mayo):

I realized we had never ordered the Fried Oyster Sandwich before in all of our visits. It turns out this is rather unique: You get a bunch of perfectly Fried Oysters, light, crunchy batter, not oily nor greasy, with creamy, tender Oysters within. The Slaw and Spicy Mayo help balance out the lightly briny cooked Oysters, and overall, it’s a tasty Seafood Sandwich worth a consideration.

Joanne’s Fish and Chips (Fresh Batter Dipped Cod, Tartar Sauce & Chips):

But one dish you should never miss ordering at Connie & Ted’s is their Joanne’s Fish and Chips. I don’t know who “Joanne” is, but her recipe is outstanding: Perfectly battered and fried Cod, light, crispy, with moist, just-cooked through Cod Fillets within every single time. It’s moist, flaky, and with some Malt Vinegar, you have bliss. :heart:

The best Fish & Chips in L.A. :blush:

But it gets better: Their French Fries are absurd. Double fried, they are beautifully crisp-crunchy on the outside, giving way to fluffy potatoey goodness within! It is not hyperbole in saying Connie & Ted’s Fries are also the best in L.A. (for this style). :heart:

13th Visit:

Grapefruit (Grapefruit, Lemon, Housemade Ginger Syrup, Orange Bitters, Gin):

Bloody Mary (Tomato Juice, Worcestershire, Olive Brine, Horseradish, Celery Salt, Hot Sauce, Fresh Lemon, Housemade Atomic Seasoning, Vodka):

One of the most noteworthy Cocktails at Connie & Ted’s is their Bloody Mary. Bold, spicy, umami from the Tomatoes, not too boozy, just a great version all around. :slight_smile:

Chef’s Choice Oyster Platter (One Dozen) (Nautilus (Baja), Naked Cowgirl (Washington), Pacific Plump (Washington), Duxbury Gem (Massachusetts), Barnstable (Massachusetts), Dodge Cove (Maine)):

Once again, Chef Cimarusti’s love of Oysters and Seafood shines here. Today’s fresh selection were outstanding! My favorites today were the Nautilus (Baja) and Naked Cowgirl (Washington).

Side - Wilted Spinach:

One of the best values on the menu and a great balance for the Seafood extravaganza is their simply named Wilted Spinach. All the home cooks out there will know how much Spinach shrinks when you cook it. This Side Order of Spinach is easily like 3 - 4 bunches of Spinach, soft, iron-y, vegetal and something healthy. :wink: (Note: Do not order the Side with Bacon, as tempting as it sounds. It just gets too salty and overwhelms the dish.)

Fried Clams with Bellies (with Tartar Sauce and Fries):

Fried Clams aren’t a common sighting at most restaurants around the city. And for us West Coasters, Fried Clams with Bellies is even more unusual. Hearing from New Englanders, Fried Clams with Bellies is the ideal way to enjoy them. The extra bit of Clam adds a chewier texture, but also adds some oceanic funk to each bite. On some visits, it’s a bit more potent than others. The Fried Clams themselves were tasty with a slight chew and beautiful batter (not too greasy).

The Fries were as legendary as always.

14th Visit:

Stuffies (Chopped Clams, Linguica Sausage, Garlic, Bell Peppers, Breadcrumbs):

A great way to start your meal: “Stuffies” are a wonderful bite of oven crisped Breadcrumbs giving way to meaty, tender Chopped Clams, Linguica Sausage for some porcine salinity, and a delicate, garlicky accent to round it out.

Jo’s Wicked Good Chowda’ - Manhattan Style:

As aforementioned, Chef Cimarusti has put 3 types of Clam Chowder on the menu, a nice touch to let customers try whatever style they’re in the mood for. I enjoy all 3 types, but on this visit, was feeling like a Manhattan Clam Chowder. Connie & Ted’s version is light and refined, but still hearty and warming enough to nourish the soul. Plenty of Clams, a beautiful Tomato-based Broth, Carrots, Celery, Potatoes and more bob about the bowl. One of the best versions around town. :slight_smile:

Live Santa Barbara Sea Urchin:

Another noteworthy dish to order is their Live Santa Barbara Sea Urchin from their Chilled Seafood section, which features the visually stunning Sea Urchin in its shell, along with a plate of freshly Buttered Crackers. You scoop out a “tongue” of the Sea Urchin which has been lightly seasoned with Sea Salt, place atop the Buttered Cracker, and enjoy.

The one looming question mark is of course the variable nature of Live Uni. At its best, this dish is the highlight of the meal - that’s how good the best versions of Santa Barbara Sea Urchin can be - but other times, it’s a miss: Tasting of bad sea water with only a fraction of the creamy brightness that you would expect. On this visit, it was pretty good. It was mostly there, bright and creamy, but with a tinge of bad brininess.

Fried Shrimp Basket (1/2 lb. Wild American Shrimp, Fries, Cocktail Sauce):

Another dish that we’ve never tried in all our visits to Connie & Ted’s is their Fried Shrimp Basket. Perhaps it’s the memories of “Fried Shrimp Baskets” growing up that were always OK, usually tasting quite briny and of the smaller variety. With Chef Cimarusti’s care on sourcing quality Seafood, perhaps this would be different?

This was very good: Plump, meaty perfectly battered and fried Wild American Shrimp, much larger in size than Shrimp Baskets I had growing up. :slight_smile: In the end, I still enjoy their Chilled Shrimp Cocktail over this Fried Shrimp version, but both are very good.

15th Visit:

Chef’s Choice Oyster Platter (Half Dozen) (Nautilus (Baja), Kusshi (British Columbia), Pickering Passage (Washington), Duxbury Gem (Massachusetts), Sweet Grass (Prince Edward Island), Silver Fox (New York)):

The Pickering Passage and Kusshi were the standouts this time. But all of them were excellent. :slight_smile:

Fried Calamari (Marinara and Sauce Figaro):

A crunchy, sturdy batter with slippery, tender rings of Calamari within. The Housemade Marinara Sauce is addictive.

Fried Clams with Bellies (with Tartar Sauce and Fries):

This visit’s Fried Clams with Bellies was even better than the previous visit, with each bite of Clam with Belly having practically zero funk, just extra texture and meatiness.

Grilled Catch of the Day - Spanish Mackerel (North Carolina):

I grew up enjoying American-style preparations for Grilled Fish, but thanks to my SGV friends and beyond, dragging me to try Hong Kong-style Steamed Fish preparations, Szechuan-style, fiery hot Water Boiled Fish and many other ways of enjoying Fish, the standard American-way of Grilled Fish has become rather mundane to our taste buds. :sweat_smile: It had actually been a couple years since I last ate American-style Grilled Fish.

With Connie & Ted’s focus on fresh, quality Seafood, I wanted to see how this would turn out. For this visit, they had fresh Spanish Mackerel from North Carolina (amongst a few other offerings). This arrived perfectly grilled, so moist and tender. The Spanish Mackerel was not overcooked at all - excellent! The Lemon & Herbs and Olive Oil seasoning was fine and complemented the Fish.

But in the end, it was still a bit boring (I know, first world problems, forgive me). I think I’ve been spoiled by trying different cultures’ preparations that result in much more flavorful Fish. Another flavor profile I enjoy much more: Chef Sergio Penuelas’ amazing Grilled Pescado Zarandeado.

Side - Grilled Broccolini:

Nicely grilled Broccolini, tender, toothsome, lightly smoky.

16th Visit:

Jo’s Wicked Good Chowda’ - Manhattan Style:

As great as before. First timers should consider ordering their Sampler of all 3 Clam Chowders to see which one you enjoy the most. :slight_smile:

Lobster Roll (Choice of: Hot with Drawn Butter (Connecticut-Style), or Cold with Mayonnaise (New England-style)):

Another outstanding item not to be missed is Connie & Ted’s Lobster Roll. They have a Live Lobster tank and freshly dispatch and cook up the Lobster per order. You can taste the difference. We ordered this Connecticut-style (Hot Lobster meat with Drawn Butter), which is always my favorite. :slight_smile: The Bread is lightly toasted on the outside, and it gives way to meaty, bright, just cooked through Lobster meat within. It is the best Lobster Roll in the city. :heart:

And as @A5KOBE and other Hounds have pointed out, it’s a nice touch that Connie & Ted’s Lemon is presented in a cloth covering, to prevent the Lemon Seeds from falling out into your food; a nice touch.

Potato Salad:

You almost expect most restaurants’ Potato Salad offerings to be an afterthought, just something to throw onto the plate as a side. But this is another thing that makes Connie & Ted’s so appealing: Their sides are executed with the same level of care as their main dishes. The Potato Salad is creamy, chunky, with nice bits of Potato that retain some structure, not overly mustardy nor tart like some versions are wont to be. Wonderful!

Peach Pie (Yellow Peaches, Rolled Oat Streusel, Traditional Pie Crust, Vanilla Ice Cream):

A respectable, enjoyable Peach Pie. :slight_smile: It’s got a good texture, the Pie Crust isn’t too thick, but when compared with Pastry Chef Margarita Manzke’s stunning Peach Pie we had recently, it’s no comparison (get thee to Republique and enjoy as soon as possible!). :blush:

17th Visit:

Chef’s Choice Oyster Platter (One Dozen) (Nautilus (Baja), Kumamoto (Baja), Olympia (Washington), Sweet Petite (Prince Edward Island), Standish Shore (Massachusetts), Barnstable (Massachusetts)):

There’s that old cautionary tale about avoiding eating Oysters unless the month ends in the letter “r” from September through April, and avoid during the hottest months of the season. With the pandemic, we weren’t even thinking about that, just happy to get outside at a socially distanced table and to relax a bit.

Perhaps there’s some truth to that old saying. For this latest visit, under scorching hot heat, these fresh Oysters on this visit were the most mundane we’ve ever had at Connie & Ted’s, and that’s over 17 visits or so. They were all fresh, of course, but every single one of them were of similar flavor: Mainly oceanic salinity. Despite their disparate origins and sizes, they all literally tasted mainly of sea saltiness. Very unfortunate.

Mussels & Clams (Manila Clams and Mussels, Choice of White Wine Sauce or Marinara, Served with Herbed Crostini):

Thankfully the Mussels & Clams didn’t suffer the same fate: These were beautifully cooked, the White Wine & Garlic Sauce accentuating every bite of the plump Manila Clams and the Mussels. Sweet, tender-meaty, wonderful. :heart:

Side - Wilted Spinach:

Fantastic as always, and such a great value.

Joanne’s Fish and Chips (Fresh Batter Dipped Cod, Tartar Sauce & Chips):

Light, crispy-crunchy batter, flaky, tender, moist Cod within. The best Fish & Chips in the city! :heart:


Their Fries continued to shine as well, double-fried with a texture to dream about, crispy-crunchy, but keeping a nice soft potatoey center.

With Connie & Ted’s, Chef Michael Cimarusti and his team have delivered an approachable, cheery, New England-style Seafood restaurant with the execution and eye for detail that’s more befitting a fine dining establishment. It would be easy to mail it in, and just have a kitchen team quickly fry up various items as fast as possible. But the recipes and level of skill are apparent:

Beautiful Crab Cakes, buttery Lobster Rolls with freshly dispatched Live Lobster just cooked through, tasty Mussels & Clams, the most comprehensive selection of fresh Oysters flown in from around North America locally, beautifully fried Fried Clams with Bellies and those Fish & Chips! Not to be missed.

Connie & Ted’s
8171 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Tel: (323) 848-2722


Great review; Connie & Ted’s makes some outrageous fish n chips.

But … 17 visits?


Do they have a special shout out for you every time you visit like they did with Norm in Cheers?


Hi @ipsedixit ,

:slight_smile: I wish. This is just a guesstimate from when it first opened up, 4 - 5 years ago? So that equals out to be about 3 or 4 visits a year. :wink: It’s just a great, inviting place for various New England-style seafood dishes, and casual enough that it’s not overly fussy. :slight_smile:

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Nice reports!

Connie and Ted’s never disappoints. I embarrassingly have never had the fish and chips, must rectify this immeadiately!

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As a native Rhode Islander, I have long admired Chef Cimarusti from afar. Homeboy is representing!

I was longing for a pic of the RI chowder, which is my favorite style by a longshot and not because I’m being a homer, but because I prefer clear broths over creamy and not a huge fan of tomato-based soups/chowders.


Hi @A5KOBE ,

!!! You’ve never had Connie & Ted’s Fish & Chips?! :open_mouth: Yes, definitely order it next time. I think you’ll like it. :wink:

Hi @digga ,

Thanks. It was thanks to Chef Cimarusti that we even heard of “Rhode Island Clam Chowder” (I had no idea). :slight_smile: And Connie & Ted’s is the only place around here that I’ve seen offer this style.

And it is delicious! :slight_smile: It’s my favorite of the 3 styles even though I’ve never had any other version but his.

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So ya like the place?

As a part time New Englander who married into a family who say things like cah and pahk, I will say it looks good but clearly has been tainted by too much time in California. Oysters here come with cocktail sauce which over powers the oysters and lemon which I like to use with a dash of Tabasco. Can’t say I’ve ever seen mignonette in a seafood shack.

I am also a fan of Rhode Island chowdah. Tastes like clams and not cream or tomatoes.

Looks like a nice place. What do they charge for the lobster roll? At the place I go to on the shore it’s $18 for one about a foot long and piled high.


The full belly clams are enough to get us to call the pilots standing by to file a flight plan and be ready for wheels up in 45 minutes. Mention of the clam strips reminds us that Howard Johnson’s is now out of the question.


Hi @BKeats ,

Thanks for the perspective of a New Englander! :slight_smile: Yah we quite enjoy this place, realizing there’s not as much variety / options as on the East Coast for food like this.

The Lobster Roll used to be ~$24 - 26 IIRC, but it went up in price the last time we were there; something about the price of Lobsters going up. I also read a news article around the same time (a few months back), that confirmed that even on the East Coast, Lobster Rolls were going up in price as well because of Lobster shortages or something? But I figured it should be much cheaper out there. Sounds like a great value! :slight_smile:

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It was $36 when I went today. And the fried clam bellies were $56 (I didn’t order that).

The bread and meat were perfectly cooked, but I can’t say that I think it was worth 2x what the Lobsta Truck charges (I haven’t been to the Truck recently, so I don’t know what the current price is). And the roll was not large.

The albacore crudo and fried calamari seemed fairly reasonably priced, so I assume that perhaps the issue is that, as @Chowseeker1999, the price of lobster may just be really high? The server had said that the bellies had returned after an absence, so maybe also sourcing issues?

The restaurant gets an A+ for spacing. I hate restaurants that cram in tables outdoors, and I felt very comfortable and safe here. If they gotta charge up the a$$ to stay in business while keeping the tables so far apart, I won’t hold that against them.


Dear god. $56 for bellies?! I hope they gave you 5 pounds for that price. It’s less than half that where we go for more than a single person can eat.

Crudo? No self respecting seafood shack in NE would have that. Most wouldn’t even know what it is. Very upscale I can see.

Yeah, I was about to ask what the serving size (or if it was a typo) was b/c I ordered them yrs ago and am pretty sure that it wasn’t anywhere that price (since I am very unlikely to spend $56 for an app or entree).

If that wasn’t clear from previous posts, it’s casual but def upscale (meaning everyone is wearing T-shirt and shorts but the price – and, to be fair, the prep, is/can be appropriate for the price).

Providence (Ciramusti’s other restaurant) is unquestionably fine dining. This is the dress down, New England sister restaurant. But it is nowhere near inexpensive (IMHO).

I really like the food here, but this place is def not a regular rotation for me specifically b/c of the price. But, except for Ali’i Seafood, I have no regular rotation seafood restaurant b/c I think they all tend to be fairly expensive.


Hi @paranoidgarliclover ,

Thanks for the report back. Yah those prices are definitely due to sourcing issues.

@BKeats , I just checked and one of Boston (East Coast)'s highest rated Lobster Roll joints is selling their Lobster Rolls right now for $36, and another highly rated restaurant in Boston was selling theirs for $32. :frowning: So it’s not just a markup issue with Chef Cimarusti. :wink:

The Fried Clam with Bellies was $28 before COVID-19 / 2020. Wow. :open_mouth:

I don’t know if it’s just a sourcing thing for us on the West Coast, but I didn’t see that price, either @paranoidgarliclover , but the last visit we had was maybe 2+ months ago?

Thanks for the report back and glad you enjoyed your food at least. :slight_smile: Their Fish & Chips still rock and thankfully Cod isn’t having a sourcing problem for us here, so the prices are fair IMHO.

It’s been a very long time since I was in Boston, and I don’t know if I had gone to a highly rated place… BUT, I think the lobster roll I had there was literally double the length of Connie and Ted’s (and the Lobsta Truck).

Which places did you look at? Just wondering if I can try to find pics to figure out the size. :slight_smile:

There is a hefty markup in Boston. Get outside of the city and prices drop a lot. My wife and I went to one of our favorites yesterday for fried clams. I got whole bellies. The wife went with a clam strip roll and chowder. Two Arnold palmers. One concession to modernity was the sweet potato fries which are very good. Total tab including tip was $62. They also had a sign saying they had to raise prices as their costs had gone up. Said price of bellies had doubled.

I will try and get to the lobster roll place this week and see what their price is now. I will post a pic of the size if I get there.


So we went to the Lobster Shack to have a lobster roll, Connecticut style as that’s where it is. Price was $22.99, up $4 since last time we went. Bigger than what I think the photo showed from Connie & Ted. This one is about 10” long.


Inquiring minds want to know where you ate? And the lobster shack?

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Thanks @BKeats . Looks delicious! :slight_smile: I can’t wait to try some Lobster Rolls if I’m visiting the area when it’s safe again.

Hi @paranoidgarliclover ,

I checked Neptune Oyster, which was $36:

James Hook & Co. Lobster Roll comes in 2 sizes, the “Regular Lobster Roll with Butter” is $32. I confirmed it’s only 6 oz (1/3 of a pound). Large Lobster Roll is 1/2 pound (8 oz) for $35.


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