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10 Best Lobster Rolls in New England

10 Best Lobster Rolls in New England
8 votes, 4.25 avg. rating (84% score)

The lobster roll has become the New England summertime sandwich of choice. Tasty chunks of lobster meat drizzled with butter or tossed with mayo and served up on a crisp, buttery bun are all the rage these days. Food and travel writer Mike Urban, author of Lobster Shacks: A Road-Trip Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints (Countryman Press, 2012) has shared his picks for the ten best lobster rolls in New England.

clam shack

Photo/Art by Brenda Darroch
The Clam Shack’s deceptively simple lobster roll on a fresh-baked hamburger-style bun is as good as lobster rolls get.

The Clam Shack This is the best lobster roll in the six-state region. Owner Steve Kingston’s meticulous use of fresh-daily, soft shell lobsters and chilling each handpicked order on ice creates a freshness of flavor unmatched anywhere. Served on toasted, buttered hamburger-style buns from a local bakery, the Clam Shack’s cold-meat rolls may be had with mayonnaise or warm butter. This is the lobster roll by which all others should be measured. Kennebunk, ME. 207-967-3321; theclamshack.net

Each roll at the Lobster Pool is hand-mixed for just the right amount of mayo on the meat.

Photo/Art by Mike Urban
Each roll at the Lobster Pool is hand-mixed for just the right amount of mayo on the meat.

The Lobster Pool Nestled in a quiet corner of Cape Ann, this pretty little spot serves up the best lobster roll between Boston and the New Hampshire border. Each roll at the Pool is made to order with generous chunks of lobster mixed in a small bowl with mayo, then placed atop a crunchy leaf of lettuce and wedged into a toasted, buttered split-top bun. Butter may be substituted for mayo, on request. The Pool’s lobsters are procured fresh daily from a supplier in neighboring Gloucester, then cooked up and hand-picked at the Pool throughout the day. Rockport, MA. 978-546-7808; lobsterpoolrestaurant.com

Five Islands Lobster Company This shack is perfectly positioned on the town dock to receive a steady flow of super-fresh lobster from the cold, deep waters of nearby Sheepscot Bay. The lobster is fresh-picked throughout the day, tossed with a bit of mayo, and served in a toasted, buttered, split-top bun lined with a leafy piece of lettuce. Cold rolls only are served here; no butter.  Georgetown, ME. 207-371-2990; fiveislandslobster.com

Lobster Landing Owners Enea and Cathie Bacci have put a unique Italian spin on their hot, buttered lobster roll at this quaint, dilapidated shack next to the Clinton town harbor. Instead of making their lobster rolls with split-top hot dog buns, they load their warm, buttered lobster meat into hefty Italian grinder rolls that have been toasted on a standard-issue, propane-fired backyard barbecue grill. The result is a warm, buttery, crispy-crunchy lobster roll that pleases in both quantity and quality. Clinton, CT. (860) 669-2005

With tail, claw, and knuckle meat from a 1+/-pound lobster, the lobster roll at Red's Eats is bigger than most and may be had with mayo, warm butter, neither, or both.

Photo/Art by Brenda Darroch
With tail, claw, and knuckle meat from a 1+/-pound lobster, the lobster roll at Red’s Eats is bigger than most and may be had with mayo, warm butter, neither, or both.

Red’s Eats If you can handle the hour-plus wait in line on the sidewalk along busy U.S. Route 1, your sweet reward will be a magnificent lobster roll that’s known far and wide as one of the best in Maine. With tail, claw, and knuckle meat from a 1+/-pound lobster, this roll is bigger than most and may be had with mayo, warm butter, neither, or both.  Wiscasset, ME. 207-882-6128

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Mike Urban

Author:

Mike Urban

Biography:

Mike Urban is a food and travel writer, book editor and packager, and former vice president and associate publisher of the Globe Pequot Press. He has written three books on New England: Clam Shacks: The Ultimate Guide to New England’s Most Fantastic Seafood Eateries; Lobster Shacks: A Road-Trip Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints; and The New England Diner Cookbook: Classic and Creative Recipes from the Finest Roadside Eateries. Mike lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, with his wife, Ellen, and their four children.
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32 Responses to 10 Best Lobster Rolls in New England

  1. Brunswick resident August 20, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    The butter might be hot at Red’s, but when you pour it over chilled lobster meat, it coagulates. And, that’s just a downright icky taste and texture. No waiting in line on the side of the highway for me. I’ll take my lobster with the killer view at Five Islands.

    • PeterM August 29, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

      My wife and I totally agree and don’t understand the hype about Red’s. Huge portions but we were disappointed by the chilled lobster meat and the person at the table next to us had the same reaction.

  2. Guy Benoit August 20, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    The Beach Plum in North Hampton,N.H. Is by far the best lobster roll around. Winner of the Hampton Seafood festival year in year out.

    • Kristan August 22, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      I have to agree! I can’t take this post seriously without the Beach Plum on it. I have been to six of the places on here and beach plum wins out!

  3. Shirley August 20, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    Glenwood. Hamden, CT. So buttery + huge chunks of generous LOBSTER meat

  4. Lenny August 20, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    I have to mention City Fish in Wethersfield Connecticut. They are a sea food distributor with a small restaurant that serves a variety of sea food meals “to go” or sit in. They have a lobster roll that should be sampled for consideration to the top 10 list. You can choose from hot with butter or cold with lettuce. The roll is almost 6 inches long and is more like a sub with fresh lobster piled on. Definitely worth the visit in my humble opinion.

  5. jen/joe August 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    Clearly, you have not been to Cape Cod, MA! The Kettle Ho restaurant, Cotuit MA. They beat every one of these in size alone! It is not even meant to be shared, but some can get a second lovely treat for later! Check it out!

  6. Marie Waechter August 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    Best lobster roll is here inland in a roadside Williamsburg Snack Bar food shack here in Williamsburg, Ma, lots of great lobster, minimum mayo and nothing else! Oh price $8.00.

  7. Kathie Floyd August 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    The Galley Hatch has a year-round lobster roll that is the best – almost no mayo with great lobstah!

    • Kathie Floyd August 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      Almost forgot, it’s located in Hampton, NH Rte. 1.

  8. Cathy Richardson August 20, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    QUODDY BAY all the way! They do it right, makes all Mainers proud!

  9. Cynthia Boland August 20, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    Quito’s Restaurant in Bristol, RI right on the Harbor has a great lobster roll offered either dry (no mayo) with butter side, or with dill and light mayo. Nothing measures up to NH or Maine coastal lobster, though.

  10. Peg Leg August 20, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    You really have to try the lobster roll at the Fisherman’s Coop in Boothbay Harbor. The other good option is the Trevett Store on the Barter’s Island Road. Super fresh and very good the Trevett’s is also reasonably priced. The lobster roll at Robinson’s on Southport is pretty decent too.

  11. Andrea August 21, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    Growing up in New England I’ve tasted a lot of lobster rolls, a whole lot. Both the CT-style hot with butter (my preference hands down) and also lobster-salad-with-mayo. Two of the best spots are 1) Lenny & Joe’s fish tale in Madison, CT for a CT-style hot butter lobster roll (which is consistently less dry than Clinton’s Lobster Landing although Lobster Landing wins for charming locale, hands down!!). And although I don’t particularly care for cold lobster rolls with mayo, the one sold at 2) Grace Church in Martha’s Vineyard is by far one of the best ever to be had. Stellar lobster flavor through and through.

  12. Shauna August 21, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    Almost anywhere on Mt. Desert Island!

  13. Barbara Colantuoni August 21, 2014 at 7:48 am #

    Cannot beat the lobster roll at Red’s! Family owned for generations resulting in a pride in their product….you get more than a whole lobster in each toasted roll and it’s served with love!

    • Joan Lally August 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

      Where is Red’s Family Restaurant, it sounds great.. Thanks.

  14. Suzanne Pfizenmaier France August 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    I think they missed the boat when they didn’t include my favorite. JPs in Westboro, MA. Can’t beat $14.95 for the one they serve up.

  15. Buzz Adams August 21, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    The Barnacle in Marblehead, great cold lobster roll. Neptune Oysters in Boston’s North end has by far and away the best hot lobster roll. For CT fans Abbots is very good, but in the tiny town of Noank people also line up for Fords. It’s right on the water and has very good food.

  16. Paul Holden August 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    As a self proclaimed expert on New England Lobster rolls I like many of your choices. Others I don’t know. However your missing one. Captain Scotts in New London consistantly has the best Lobster rolls anywhere. They do such a large volume that the lobsters are always, always fresh. It is a hard place to find if your not a local, but make the effort you won’t be disappointed.

  17. Tara August 21, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Come on! what about Marky’s or Browns?!

  18. Caroline August 22, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Was recently lucky enough to find The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport-that lobster roll was incredible. Fresh baked round bun which is toasted and lots of fresh, buttery lobster. I thought I wouldn’t like cold lobster, but it was so full of flavor and refreshing on a summer day.

  19. Steven August 22, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    I come home to New England every August and one of my must do items is have a Lobster Roll at Aquidneck Lobster Company in Newport, RI. It is HUGE! It has a touch of mayo with some dill. Definitely one of my favorites!

  20. Mary Jane August 22, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    You must try the lobster roll at The Skipper Restaurant in south Yarmouth ,cape cod. 1/2 lb lobster. Yum!

  21. Susan August 23, 2014 at 7:24 am #

    Cap’t Cass on Rock Harbor in Orleans, MA on Cape Cod offers the single greatest lobster roll out there.

  22. carol garrison August 26, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    seaswirl in mystic on route l has awesome lobster rolls, – have eatern in all of the above places in my travels – excellent

  23. Mark August 26, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    Vals, in Holden, Ma. served with very thin fried onion rings on top

    Flip Flops, in Holden,Ma. served in a foot long toasted hd roll,

    Sundancers, Dennis Ma. Jumbo Lobster Roll ($24) seemed like the meat of 2 lobsters.

    ps when ordering say no lettuce. always seems like you get more lobster.

  24. Marti August 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    The Lobster Shack At Two Lights!
    225 Two Lights Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
    (207) 799-1677
    A lobster roll with a view that will make you cry like a baby…..LOL

  25. Michael August 29, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    Spinney’s at Popham Beach has been a family favorite for over 50 years.

  26. Jenny Tripp September 12, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    The Red Barn in Augusta, ME has a lobster roll so massive, so stuffed with ultra-fresh, tender and magnificent meat, that three healthy eaters can split it. And their seafood chowder redefines the genre. Can you tell I’m hungry right now?!

  27. Robert M. September 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    What’s your favorite type of BUN?

  28. Donna Goldner September 14, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    I think you forgot to check out Connecticut! The Seven Sails in downtown Milford (don’t blink) can hold it’s own with any more northern state! It’s worth the trip!

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