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Sweet potato clam chowder, The Ginger Man, Greenwich

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Butternut squash bisque, Cask Republic

Seafood isn’t just for the summer. Hot chowders and bisques are a great way to fend off those winter chills. Whether you prefer thick New England style or the more watery Rhode Island, or if your favored protein is lobster, clams or even mussels, these steamy soups are sure to satisfy. The only thing you won’t find in these chowders and bisques are tomatoes — no Manhattan style here. Oh, and extra oyster crackers, please!

Sweet potato clam chowder

The Ginger Man, Greenwich

64 Greenwich Ave., 203-861-6400,

Butternut squash bisque

Cask Republic, Norwalk

99 Washington St. #2, 203-354-0163,

The Ginger Man in Greenwich and its Cask Republic sister restaurants (locations in Stamford, New Haven and Norwalk) are known for being best-in-class beer bars, but as anyone who has ever eaten at one of the locations knows, lots of thought and skill goes into the food. The restaurants’ chowder and bisque offerings are no exception. The Ginger Man’s sweet potato clam chowder combines two seemingly dissonant flavors into one effective dish. The sweet potato provides the subtle backbone to this mildly thick chowder filled with an assortment of finely chopped veggies and clams. The butternut squash bisque offered at Cask Republic Norwalk (and expected to soon be added to the menu in New Haven) is on the other side of the culinary spectrum. Full of hearty fall squash flavors, this engagingly sweet bisque is enhanced by chopped scallions and soft pecans.

Original mussel chowder

Bobette’s Take Out, Milford

93 Boston Post Road, 203-874-9414,

This chowder is made with love. When co-owner Bobette Moore’s mother was diagnosed with cancer more than a decade ago, Moore decided to whip up this unique creation and dedicate it to her mom. Before passing, Moore’s mother tried the chowder, and loved it, and it’s been on the menu ever since. Succulent and sweet Prince Edward Island mussels, cream, finely diced potatoes, a dash of white wine and a secret ingredient that co-owner Gary Caulfield wouldn’t divulge come together in a delicious and not-too-thick chowder. It’s one of many soup creations offered daily. (Check the website, as specials often change.) Friday is lobster bisque day. As the bluesy, Caulfield-penned song that plays on Bobette’s website proclaims, “She’s got the soup.”

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Lobster bisque and New England clam chowder, S&P Oyster Co., Mystic

Lobster bisque

S&P Oyster Co., Mystic

1 Holmes St., 860-536-2674,

This thick, creamy bisque is likely to elicit a satisfying “yum” from anyone who tries it. The local lobsters are hand-picked and cooked on site, and all parts of the crustacean are used to create the rich, flavorful base. A spicy finish is a pleasant surprise. Chef Edgar Cobena’s roux, the thickening combination of flour and butter, gives the bisque its satisfying consistency. Another standout is the equally thick New England clam chowder with chopped quahogs from local waters. Cobena’s knowledge of South American flavors shines in the Peruvian-style vegetable soup, a vegan concoction of local veggies and spices from South American markets and accented with toasted canchitas (unpopped corn kernels).

Quahog chowder, New England and Rhode Island style

Oyster Club, Mystic

13 Water St., 860-415-9266,

It comes down to a matter of preference: these chowders are the same except for the addition of fresh heavy cream that goes into the New England variety. These are not the thick, heavy chowders you may be accustomed to, however. With no flour or thickeners, you can focus on the fresh clams, potatoes, bacon and herbs. Starting with whole live quahogs from the nearby Noank Oyster Co-op, the clams are scrubbed and steamed open to create the base of the broth, before the clams are picked and cut into chunks. Slab bacon is cut into meaty chunks and rendered down. Onions and celery are sauteed in the bacon fat, building into a broth with large-diced potatoes and fresh herbs. A big splash of heavy cream (for the New England style only), fresh pepper and chopped parsley complete these smoky chowder creations.

New England clam chowder

Rory’s Restaurant, Darien

416 Boston Post Road, 203-655-9453,

A relaxed, family-style seafood and American restaurant, Rory’s offers an excellent and justly celebrated chowder. Less thick and creamy than many chowders, it has an almost chicken-soup-like consistency. On paper, that can make it sound less appealing, but don’t be fooled. This chowder is a grab bag of tasty spices, finely cut veggies and clams with just the right level of chew that combine into one elite and distinctive bowl of broth. Order in at a table or at the bar, or get this steaming bowl of goodness to go. After trying this chowder, Rory’s lobster bisque, which is only available on Tuesdays and Fridays, is on our must-try list.

New England clam chowder

Close Harbour Seafood, Plantsville

959 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike 860-621-7334,

While the Plantsville section of Southington is not necessarily “close” to any harbors, its chowders certainly taste like it. Big, hearty chunks of clam give this chowder a raw, straight-from-the-ocean taste. It is also one of the creamier chowders on the list, creating a rich taste but not overwhelmingly so. It’s great for the first snowy month of the year. The closeness of the name has to do with owners Bill and Sandy Close. Having just reopened this year after a 2015 fire, Close Harbour Seafood is a must for those who love that shoreline taste, but don’t quite live there.

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New England clam chowder, Take Five Cookery, Hartford

New England clam chowder

Take Five Cookery, Hartford

1 Financial Plaza (The Gold Building) 860-524-9669,

Chef Kevin Moran only makes his chowder one day a week, on Friday. His Take Five Cookery in the basement of the Gold Building in Hartford means that it might be a bit difficult to get to for those who don’t work in downtown Hartford on a Friday. Take Five’s New England clam chowder is worth it though, we promise. It is gorgeously blended, with no one flavor overpowering any other. In the taste tests at Chowdafest this past October, this soup took first prize in Connecticut and third in the nation.

New England seafood bisque

Dunville’s, Westport

41 Saugatuck Ave., 203-227-0511

A laid-back bar and restaurant, Dunville’s prides itself on its soups, and it is these hot bowls for which chef Bob Backus is best known. In 2015 Dunville’s won the traditional chowder category at Chowdafest in Westport and came in second at the competition in October of this year. Since the chowder festival began six years ago, Dunville’s has always placed first, second or third. After tasting the restaurant’s signature New England bisque, it’s easy to understand the basis of all the awards. Slightly thick with big chunks of potato and tasty clams, a bowl of the bisque quickly warmed us up on a recent afternoon.

New England clam chowder

City Fish Market, Wethersfield

884 Silas Deane Hwy., 860-522-3129,

The Silas Deane Highway might seem like an unlikely place for some of the freshest seafood around, but indeed, at City Fish you can still see the fish swimming in large tanks. City Fish sells fish wholesale all over the state, but has a small counter for fish and chips, fried clams, and, of course, clam chowder. This one is for those who like their chowder a little thicker. The place has the look and feel of a Seattle-style fish market, and you won’t be disappointed to sample the various offerings.

New England clam chowder

The Griswold Inn, Essex

36 N. Main St., 860-767-1776, 

Essex’s beloved “Gris” not only has an excellent clam chowder, but the setting is as faithful an ode to an 18th-century colonial New England tavern as you are likely to find. The place hasn’t changed all that much in the last few centuries. For the true chowder gourmands (or any type of gourmand, really), be sure to check out the famous Griswold Inn buffet. It’s authentic chowder in an authentic setting, mere yards from the Colonial-era harbor on the Connecticut River. Too much chowder (or house-made Revolutionary Ale)? Grab a bed upstairs at the inn.

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University

Albie Yuravich is the editor in chief of Connecticut Magazine. A product of the Naugatuck River Valley, he's also been a newspaper editor and writer at the New Haven Register, Greenwich Time, The Register Citizen and the Republican-American.