Mussels vs. Clams

Some foods can seem a lot alike, and if you’re not very familiar with either one, you might not understand what the difference is at all. One of the best examples of this is mussels vs. clams. If you’ve never had either before, you might be wondering what the differences between the two are to help you decide which one you’ll like best. Whichever is your favorite, you can get them both at Rikasa. You can choose from zuppa di mussels or zuppa di clams on our small plates menu to enjoy before your entree.

What Exactly are Mussels and Clams?

Mussels and clams are both bivalve mollusks, so it’s understandable that the two share similarities. Bivalve mollusks have a two-part hinged shell. When you open the shell, you’ll find a soft-bodied invertebrate. Other bivalve mollusks you’ve likely had before are scallops and oysters. Both mussels and clams can be found in saltwater or freshwater. Clams typically bury themselves, while mussels attach themselves to other objects, such as rocks.


It’s easy to tell the difference between clams and mussels just by looking at them. Mussel shells are often dark-colored, typically black or dark blue, while clam shells are light-colored, often shades of beige and tan. The size and shape are also very different between the two. Clamshells are often very circular, whereas mussel shells are oblong. Although you can find many small clams, they can grow to be much bigger than mussels.


One taste similarity mussels and clams have is that they’re both chewy. Clams are known for having a strong briny, salt-watery taste. While mussels also have a salty taste, they can also have a slightly sweet and umami flavor. However, mussels are known for having a much more mild flavor than clams, so whether you prefer mussels or clams can depend on how strong you like your seafood. The taste can also vary significantly depending on the type of mussel or clam you’re having.


While you can often find people eating clams raw, mussels are hardly ever served raw. Although eating clams raw is popular, they’re also delicious steamed, baked, grilled, and more, just like mussels. As mussels tend to have a much milder taste, you often won’t find them being served on their own. Rather, mussels are typically prepared with a sauce. Mussels and clams both go great in different dishes like pasta and chowder. Of course, the taste of clams will stand out much more, while mussels will blend in more with the flavors of whatever dish you put them in.

Get Your Favorite Shellfish at Rikasa

While mussels and clams are more different than some might think, you can’t go wrong with either. Both have great flavors and are the perfect addition to many different dishes, including some that we offer at Rikasa. We have more than just clams and mussels as well. You can also find dishes featuring crab, shrimp, and oysters. When you have dinner at Rikasa, you can always expect the highest quality ingredients expertly prepared, so you know you’ll have a meal you can enjoy every bit of.
Join us for dinner in Pittston and make your reservations today!