New England

The 10 Best Lobster Rolls in New England

We held our local lobster expert’s feet to the fire and made him choose the 10 best lobster rolls in New England!

By Mike Urban

Jul 06 2022


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 Credit : Brenda Darroch
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, New England hot dog 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 10 best lobster rolls in New England. (And no, theMcDonald’s lobster roll is not one of them!)

10 Best Lobster Rolls in New England

Chatham Pier lobster roll
Chatham Pier’s paprika-dusted lobster roll.
Photo Credit : Mike Urban

Chatham Pier Fish Market | Chatham, MA

Located at Cape Cod’s “elbow” in the town of Chatham, the Chatham Pier Fish Market serves up an excellent cold lobster roll made with fresh-picked lobster meat from the market’s super-fresh supply. A small fleet of lobster boats anchored just off the pier keeps the market well-stocked throughout the season. The roll features a buttered, toasted, split-top bun, a crisp leaf of lettuce, copious amounts of chilled lobster, and a generous sprinkling of paprika on top. While noshing on your roll, be sure to check out the fishing boats offloading their catches throughout the day on the adjacent pier.
Bite Into Maine | The Ultimate Maine Lobster Truck Experience
The Picnic-style roll at Bite Into Maine is served with coleslaw, celery salt, and butter.
Photo Credit : Mike Urban

Bite Into Maine | Cape Elizabeth, ME

This chrome food trailer in Fort Williams Park has developed a huge following in the past few years, and with good reason. Not only is the view of Portland Head Light fantastic, but the lobster rolls (six different kinds) are also equally breathtaking. The Maine-style roll is chilled and dressed in mayo and fresh chives. “The Connecticut” features warm lobster with butter. “The Picnic” roll starts with a bed of coleslaw, topped with chilled lobster and melted butter. The other three feature chilled lobster bathed in mayo seasoned with (take your pick) wasabi, curry, or chipotle. Whichever roll you pick, you really can’t go wrong.SEE MORE:Bite Into Maine | The Ultimate Maine Lobster Truck Experience
reds lobster roll
Red’s Lobster roll comes with mayo and/or butter served on the side.
Photo Credit : Brenda Darroch

Red’s Eats | Wiscasset, ME

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 lobster rolls 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. SEE MORE:Red’s Eats Lobster Roll | The Best in Maine?

Five Islands Lobster Company | Georgetown, ME

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.
best lobster rolls
The Clam Shack’s deceptively simple lobster roll on a fresh-baked hamburger roll is as good as lobster rolls get.
Photo Credit : Brenda Darroch

The Clam Shack | Kennebunk, ME

This is arguably the best of the best lobster rolls in New England. 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 one of the best lobster rolls, by which all others should be measured. SEE MORE:A Visit to the Clam Shack | Kennebunk, Maine
Lobster Pool lobster roll
Each roll at the Lobster Pool is hand-mixed for just the right amount of mayo on the meat.
Photo Credit : Mike Urban

The Lobster Pool | Rockport, MA

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. 

Lobster Landing | Clinton, CT

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. SEE MORE:Lobster Landing  | The Best Lobster Roll in CT?
Rye Harbor Lobster Pound’s hot lobster roll
Take a walk on the wild side with Rye Harbor Lobster Pound’s hot lobster roll in a butter-and-sherry sauce.
Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker

Rye Harbor Lobster Pound | Rye Harbor, NH

Down by the town dock in Rye Harbor is a tiny, sunny shack that serves some of the most innovative lobster dishes anywhere in New England. From Lobster Gazpacho to Lobster Pizza, there’s plenty to try here. Don’t miss the hot lobster roll with the meat bathed in a warm butter-and-sherry sauce and served on a buttered split-top bun that’s toasted on a plug-in griddle. There’s also a cold roll with mayo, a touch of celery, and a hint of lemon. SEE MORE:Rye, New Hampshire | Beaches, Seafood & Seaside Fun
best lobster rolls
The Lobster Roll Platter at Anthony’s Seafood satisfies the keenest of lobster cravings.
Photo Credit : Mike Urban

Anthony’s Seafood | Middletown, RI

This warehouse-like seafood market on a commercial strip north of Newport masks a wonderful eatery that serves up a heaping, six-ounce lobster roll that comes with fries, coleslaw, and a pickle for a belt-busting plate of lobster-roll goodness. The picked-fresh-daily lobster meat is tossed with a bit of mayo and lightly sprinkled with white pepper. The price tag is higher than most, but the extra cost is well worth it.
New England Lobster Rolls | The Best in Every State
One of the many advantages of a roll from McLoons in South Thomaston is that you can order it prepared with half-mayo and half-butter.
Photo Credit : Amy Traverso

McLoons Lobster Shack | South Thomaston, ME

In 2017, Yankee Senior Food Editor Amy Traverso embarked on The Lobster Roll Adventure up the Maine coast, from Kittery to Eastport, to sample nearly two dozen rolls and crown a champion. Here’s what she had to say about her top-pick McLoons.
Imagine the lobster shack of your dreams: a tiny red hut perched over the water with a tented patio and picnic tables. Across a small cove, another red building serves as the drop-off point for day boats like the Four Winds, whose crew is unloading lobster crates while the Edith C. idles behind, waiting for the berth. And one family does it all, the catching and the cooking. There’s homemade peach pie and coleslaw and the freshest lobster. And here’s the genius part: Not only can you get a half-and-half roll (one side butter, one side mayonnaise, sliced crosswise), but also they put the mayo in the bottom of the bun. Like a condiment! Which is what it is! The lobster tastes like lobster, the bun tastes like butter, and the sauces enrich the lean meat. One thing is certain: This will be hard to beat.
What do you think? Are these the best lobster rolls in New England? Share your picks in the comment section below. This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated. 

More New England Lobster Roll Love:

Where to Find the Best Lobster Roll in Boston

The Best Cape Cod Lobster Rolls

Where’s the Best Lobster Roll in Maine? | Expert Yankee Picks

The McDonald’s Lobster Roll Experience

12 Best Lobster Shacks in New England