If there’s a greater feeling than taking your first bite of a fresh lobster roll while sitting in the sunshine near a coast (any coast), we’d like to hear it. We’ll take any excuse to eat the humble lobster roll and with every state in New England offering different varieties (cold or hot? Butter or mayo? Toasted or cold bun?) it would be unfair to only try one.
Instead, break out your shorts, summer sandals and T-shirts and jump on I-95 for our lobster roll crawl along the coast. We suggest starting in Maine – famous for its cold lobster mayo variety – and travel down sampling each state’s regional twists along the way.
Here’s our guide to a lobster roll crawl – May to October is shack season, so what are you waiting for?
The chefs at Bite Into Maine in Cape Elizabeth have taken some creative license with the traditional lobster roll and luckily manage to pull it off. Their picnic roll incorporates coleslaw, celery salt, curry and chipotle. Lobster rolls also come served accompanied by some equally as unique sides.
Alternatively, for a reasonably priced, no-nonsense representation of the traditional Maine Lobster roll, head to Scarborough Lobster just south of Portland.
Bite Into Maine
1000 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
697 Route 1, Scarborough Lobster, ME 04074
Claiming to serve the best lobster rolls in New Hampshire, The Beach Plum is an easy stop on I-95. The mode here is go big or go home - their rolls are huge (weighing in at 10.9oz) and available to order in a foot-long size.
You’ve probably noticed by now that lobster shacks accompanied by tranquil water views seem to be a running theme on any trip down the East Coast. Located next to a salt marsh, Markey’s Lobster Pound in Seabrook is no exception. Bonus? They also serve beer.
The Beach Plum
17 Ocean Blvd, North Hampton, NH 03862
Markey’s Lobster Pound
420 New Hampshire 286, Seabrook, NH 03874
Rabia’s is an Italian restaurant in Boston that serves seafood with an Italian American influence – resulting in a lobster roll smothered in mozzarella (controversial, but worth a try!). Travel down route 128 from I-95 and you’ll reach the acclaimed Woodman’s Seafood Restaurant in the small town of Essex where they serve fresh lobster ‘in the rough’ with peaceful water views. Each lobster roll contains 1/3 of a pound of fresh lobster meat, no fillers, and is mixed with a family recipe.
Word on the street also has it that Neptune Oyster in Boston is the best of the best. Choose between hot butter or cold mayo with a toasted roll while drinking a cold glass of white from their extensive wine list.
73 Salem Road, Boston, MA 02113
121 Main Street, Essex, MA 01929
63 Salem St
Boston, MA 02113
When it comes to regionalized New England seafood, no state stands out as much as Rhode Island. Best known for its clam chowder and stuffed clams or “stuffy” in Rhode Island speak, it’s also worth stopping here for a lobster lunch. Known for it’s incredible ocean views as well as its fresh seafood, Coast Guard House in Narragansett is more upmarket than your average lobster shack. Alternatively, Matunuck Oyster Bar, on the Southeastern-most tip of the state near Connecticut serves its lobster rolls alongside fresh, locally grown produce from their local farm.
Coast Guard House
40 Ocean Road, Narragansett, RI 02882
Matunuck Oyster Bar
629 Succotash Road, South Kingstown, RI, 02879
Forget cold mayo varieties. Connecticut locals are as fiercely loyal to their hot butter version as they are to their favorite shacks. Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock in New London is an outdoor shack with views over the water, so roll up your sleeves and enjoy your lobster al fresco in an environment lacking in pretension and full of charm.
If you don’t want to stray too far off I-95, Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale is located in New Haven and offers a relaxed vibe and fresh seafood.
Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock
80 Hamilton St, New London, CT 06320, United States
Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tail
Various – New Haven, Madison, Westbrook
New York City may not have its own fishing dock but there are still some great spots to get your lobster fix. Lobster Pound in Red Hook, Brooklyn serves up lobster fresh from the Maine coast. The rolls come in three varieties – cold with mayo (Maine-style), warm with butter (Connecticut-style) or if you’re feeling adventurous and prefer your lobster dairy-free you can get the Tuscan roll (lobster-pound style) – tossed in basil vinaigrette.
A New York institution, Luke’s Lobster is a favorite among locals. Luke is a Maine-native, investment banker turned lobsterman, who uses only the tender claw and knuckle meat with a secret spice seasoning.
Red Hook Lobster Pound
284 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, United States
Various locations across NYC