Dad’s: Traditional New England Seafood in Niantic

Restaurant Sign Niantic

Dad's has been a coastal Connecticut classic for decades.

Dad’s is long-time favorite of people who have flocked to the seaside resort town of Niantic. Owners Patricia Waddington and daughters Dede Waddington and Dawn Londregan have ensured that the fried seafood emporium has remained a “shoreline tradition since 1963.”

Restaurant Niantic

Picnic tables flank Dad’s covered dining room, which is strictly order-at-the-window.

Restaurant Niantic

Table service is a rarity at casual New England seafood spots like Dad’s. In the summer, so are employees over age 18.

View Niantic

Niantic Bay resides just across the train tracks and hosts a walking path, a beach, Millstone Nuclear Power Plant and a green hilltop park called McCook’s Point, former home of the WWII era “fighting McCooks.”

Seafood Niantic

Whole Belly Seafood Dinners ($22.95 each) included onion rings, French fries, cole slaw, fried bay scallops, clam bellies and strips, shrimp and Pollock.

For dipping purposes, we received tartar and cocktail sauces. The juicy shrimp and scallops paired well with the crispy batter. Unfortunately, the clam bellies weren’t cleaned as well as I’d hoped, with spots of dirt and sand build-up. The fries were respectable, and the cole slaw was very good, not too creamy and seasoned with spicy horseradish.

Lobster Roll Niantic

We also ordered the Hot Lobster Roll ($12.95) with drawn butter. Succulent claw and tail meat was recognizable, but what was up with those chewy pieces that looked like bay shrimp?

Seafood Niantic
New England Clam Chowder (cup, $3.25) was voted unauthentic by the locals I was dining with, who thought the clams probably came from a can.

Garbage Can Niantic

Near Dad’s twin entrances, open-mouthed animal shaped garbage can covers, an elephant and a hippo, tout signs that read, “Please feed the animals.”

Dad’s was a classic New England seafood spot. Some of the sea creatures could have tasted better, but the total effect was positive, the setting was terrific and it was fun to be there.

Dad’s: Traditional New England Seafood in Niantic


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Unfortunately Dad’s has lost some of it’s quality in their preference for clams, I was very disappointed. It was very pricey for a pint of whole belly clams, and most of it was
strips…I won’t be rushing back.


ah! we must find a good lobster roll in LA.

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