As any good New Englander, I live on lobster rolls during the summer. Just one bite and I am brought back to summers on the Cape (minus the bad tan lines, tg). As a college student in DC, intern in NYC, and Boston native, I have certainly experimented with many East Coast rolls.
There is certainly some contention to what makes a good lobster roll, so I’ll give you my criteria. The components to the perfect roll are at once simple and masterful: a perfectly crisped bun lightly glistening from butter, fresh lobster meat, light mayo, and some greens (preferably celery and chives) to make it "healthy." Here are the best lobsters rolls on the coast.
The Clam Shack (Kennebunkport, ME)
Right by the Bush Compound in Kennebunkport, The Clam Shack is uber old-fashioned and incredibly yummy. All lobster meat is hand-shredded and served warm on the bun. Don’t get sketched out by the dinner rolls, these lobster rolls are a classic.
Five Islands Lobster Co. (Georgetown, ME)
This place is legit INSANE. If you order lobster, you get to pick your dinner from the tank. Nothing screams summer in New England more. Arrive early to beat the crowds, and be sure to bring a camera to take in the views.
The Beach Plum (North Hampton, NH)
The Beach Plum is located right on the coast of New Hampshire along Route 1, and it offers your classic New England grub: rolls completely stuffed with fresh lobster, and loads of premium ice cream and froyo. If you want to sound like a local, ask for jimmies instead of sprinkles on your ice cream.
Alive and Kicking (Cambridge, MA)
While not technically a lobster roll, this sandwich packs in the punch with high quality lobster meat and buttered sesame bread. Also the restaurant is called Alive and Kicking, and that name is truly lolz.
Larsen’s Fish Market (Chilmark, MA)
It ain’t knee deep in the water somewhere, but it’s as close as it gets. Right on the Menemsha Basin on the Vineyard, Larsen’s is truly as stereotypically New England as it gets, and I love it.
Blount Clam Shack (Warren, RI)
Matunuck Oyster Shack (South Kingston, RI)
Luke’s Lobster (NYC, Boston, DC, Philly, Maine)
With locations up and down the East Coast, Luke’s Lobster is practically an institution. Their lobster rolls are a classic, but try the lobster grilled cheese for an updated version of the OG (you will not regret it).
Lobster Landing (Clinton, CT)
One look at Lobster Landing and you can practically taste the salty ocean air. I like Lobster Landing because it doesn’t put mayo in their lobster rolls. They serve these bad boys as they should be: buttery and delicious.
Bostwick’s Chowder House (East Hampton, NY)
If you are lucky enough to spend your summer in the Hamptons, 1) thanks for the invite and 2) eat lobster rolls at Bostwick’s Chowder House. It has an amazing summer vibes and serves up incredibly juicy lobster.
Red Hook Lobster Pound (NYC, Montauk, DC)
Red Hook Lobster Pound offers four types of lobster rolls (with mayo, butter, basil vinaigrette, or bacon). So basically, all lobster preferences are welcome. Go on Wednesdays for a $25 lobster dinner #dealsdealsdeals.
Oyster House (Philadelphia, PA)
The chefs at Oyster House have incredibly high standards: all lobsters are served within 24 hours of being in the ocean. So basically, this fish is fresh af.
Thames Street Oyster Bar (Baltimore, MD)
I know that Maryland is known for their soft shell crab, but Thames Street Oyster Bar has me questioning my allegiance. Straight out of the pot lobster meat on a buttered bun? Sign me up.
A Bite of Maine (Virginia Beach, VA)
The Ordinary (Charleston, SC)
The Optimist (Atlanta, Georgia)
Lobster rolls at The Optimist come with a side of shoestring fries or crispy chips. I’m kinda annoyed because both look amazing.
Eaton Street Seafood Market (Key West, FL)
All the way down in the Florida Keys, the lobster is still fresh and the rolls are wicked warm. Eaton Street Seafood has one of the best Yelp ratings in the country for their lobster roll, and it’s clear why — these babies are amazing.
Use this as your summer GPS, and you’ll never be without this crispy fresh treat again.