While Maine has long solidified its standing as the lobster roll capital of America–and with good reason–we’re here to tell you that the sandwich has spread its wings in a very big way.
Because chunks of lobster meat drizzled with butter or covered in mayo and served in a bun couldn’t be trendier right now, there are plenty of new and improved options from West Hollywood to Atlanta.
Here, our picks for the 30 best lobster rolls around the country. How did we come up with this list? Restaurant’s using the freshest lobster available scored points with us, and the quantity of lobster served on the roll was also important. The bun the lobster is served in, along with how the lobster is dressed (for instance lots of mayo, or no mayo at all) also played a role.
But, as all you lobster roll fans know, at the end of the day, the best lobster rolls are just great for reasons that are hard to describe. So trust us when we say, these 30 lobster rolls are just great, end of story.
Have a favorite lobster roll that we missed? Share your pick in the comments below!
Acadia; Chicago, IL
The lobster served at this Chi-town staple is flown in daily from Maine. Lobster meat is sprinkled with paprika and chives and served in a buttery grilled roll. You wouldn't necessarily expect a lobster roll of this freshness and quality in Chicago, but trust us when we say, Acadia doesn't disappoint.
River House; Portsmouth, NH
The very traditional lobster roll at Portsmouth's River House features lobster from nearby Maine that has been tossed in a citrus-mayo with diced celery and then stuffed in a grilled brioche bun. It really doesn't get better.
Ballard Annex Oyster House; Seattle, WA
The decadent lobster roll at Seattle's nautical-themed Ballard Annex Oyster House is served in a toasted buttery bun. Bonus points that a lobster claw and butter comes on the side.
Bite Into Main; Cape Elizabeth, ME
The Bite Into Maine "Maine Style" lobster roll, served out of a food truck, features massive chunks of sweet Maine lobster, which has been tossed in mayo, and is then served in a warm buttered roll, and sprinkled with chives. For those looking for something more creative, the truck also serves non-traditional rolls featuring flavors ranging from wasabi to curry.
Blue Bellies; Nantucket, MA
It's all about the lobster meat at the Blue Bellies food truck, based in Nantucket. The "Nantucket Lobster Roll" here features huge chunks of lobster tossed in Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise, then sprinkled with chives, and a a dash of Shichimi Togarashi (a spice powder containing red chili pepper, orange peel, sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ginger and seaweed). Simple and delicious.
Bob's Clam Hut; Kittery, ME
Bob’s Clam Hut has been using the same lobster roll recipe for 50 years, and with good reason. Juicy chunks of Maine lobster are tossed with mayonnaise and then packed into a grilled, buttered hot dog bun. It's worth a trip to Maine just for this roll.
Bostwick's Chowder House; East Hampton, NY
Don't let the laid-back atmosphere at Bostwick's fool you (especially in comparison to other Hamptons restaurants), they serve a damn good lobster roll. Lobster rolls here contain six ounces of meat, which gets seasoned with mayonnaise, celery, and parsley. The roll is then served with fresh-cut fries and cole slaw. Delish.
Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant; Newport, RI
The lobster roll's at this Newport staple come brimming with meat that has been tossed with mayo and Brick Alley's "secret sauce." After your first taste of this lobster roll, you'll be hooked.
Champlin's; Narragansett, RI
Champlin's has been an Rhode Island institution since opening its doors in 1962, and is famous for including tail meet in its lobster rolls for extra richness. The meat gets tossed with mayo and celery (simple is the name of the game here) and is then served in a New England hot dog bun.
The Clam Shack; Kennebunkport, ME
Possibly the most famous lobster roll establishment in America, The Clam Shack estimates that it sells around 1,000 pounds of local lobster a day. Their rolls consist of meat from the claw, knuckle, and tail, that gets stuffed into locally baked buns. Customers then choose between a dash of mayo on top or butter (or both).
Connie and Ted's; West Hollywood, CA
This West Hollywood restaurant draws crowds nightly, thanks in large part to its lobster roll. To make Connie and Ted's "hot lobster roll" lobsters are cooked live and then mixed with butter, and are then essentially served directly from the pot. The bread the lobster is served on is even toasted to order.
Ed's Lobster Bar; New York, NY
While there is now tons of lobster roll competition in the Big Apple, Ed's Lobster Bar remains one of the best. Lobster served here comes from Maine, but is cooked on the premises. The whole lobster--knuckles, claws, and tail--goes into the lobster roll here too, along with celery, mayo, and a bit of lemon. It's hard to go wrong with that combo.
GT Fish and Oyster; Chicago, IL
Giuseppe Tentori, the chef behind GT Fish and Oyster, dresses lobster meat with diced celery and his own craft mayo to create his signature roll, stuffing it all into a house-made brioche. The roll is then served alongside house-made pickles and fried onions.
Hinoki & the Bird; Los Angeles, CA
One of the best-tasting creative interpretations of a lobster roll, Kuniko Yagi of Hinoki & the Bird flavors lobster meat with Vietnamese green curry aioli and fresh Thai basil. She then toasts her rolls with charcoal powder, giving it a very unique look. We attest, while scoring points for being interesting to look at, this is still one really yummy roll, end of story.
Larsen's Fish Market; Chilmark, MA
It's worth booking a vacation to Martha's Vineyard just for Larsen's Fish Market's lobster roll. The rolls here center around just-harvested lobster meat, seasoned with butter and bit of lemon, and that's about it. And it's perfect.
Garbo's Fresh Maine Lobster; Austin, TX
The owner of this Austin food truck hails from Maine (lobster roll street cred), and she gets her lobster for her rolls flown in from Maine daily. Try the CT-style roll which is brushed with lemon-tarragon drawn butter and scallions.
Neptune Oyster; Boston, MA
Lobster rolls consist of claw, tail, and knuckle meat here (no wonder the wait for a table is always so long). Served in a brioche bun, fans of this restaurant suggest ordering a lobster roll here “Connecticut style” so it comes dripping in hot butter.
New England Lobster Company; Burlingame, CA
Who would have guessed one of the best lobster rolls in the country can be found on the outskirts of San Francisco? Owners of this lobster truck fly in lobsters daily from Maine. Order either a "dressed" version with a light touch of mayo or their "naked" butter version (a crowd favorite).
Oyster House; Philadelphia, PA
Lobster only makes it to the table at this restaurant if it came out of the water fewer than 24 hours before (in other words, freshness should not be a concern). Order either the chilled lobster roll or the warmed lobster roll with a citrus butter. Both are standouts.
Red Hook Lobster Pound; Brooklyn, NY
Red Hook Lobster Pound started as a food truck, grew to a storefront operation (and now there are satellites in Montauk and Washington, DC, that's how much people love this place). Order a lobster roll here one of two ways: Maine style, which comes with lobster dressed in a lemony house-made mayo, or Connecticut style, with lobster drizzled with butter. Both versions come in a bun made by Country Kitchen based in Maine.
Sesuit Harbor Cafe; Dennis, MA
Just shy of a half of a pound of lobster meat goes into the lobster rolls at famed The Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Cape Cod. Meat is tossed in mayonnaise, along with garlic, celery, and just a touch of salt and pepper. Lettuce and tomato is then strategically placed in the buttered hot dog bun to prevent it from getting to soggy. Now that is lobster roll goodness if we have ever heard it.
Silver's; Southampton, NY
One of the fancier options on our list, lobster rolls here are made with juicy New England lobster tail, freshly cooked each day, and then stuffed into an Eli Zabar brioche and dressed with a ripe tomato. We don't blame you if your mouth is watering.
Smack Shack; Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis? Great lobster rolls? Believe it. The Smack Shack is an ode to all things lobster, but trust us, come here for their signature lobster roll, with meat that is dressed with a tart lemon aioli, fresh tarragon, and crisp diced cucumber, and then stuffed into a locally made pain au lait.
Thames Street Oyster House; Baltimore, MD
Lobster rolls here are made with a combination of tail and claw meat, brushed with butter, then stuff in a butter-brushed, toasted white roll. Even more butter is also served on the side (just in case). Choose from sides including sweet cucumber slices sprinkled with chives, lima beans baked in brown sugar, or boardwalk-style fries spiked.
Yankee Lobster Company; Boston, MA
Yankee Lobster Company has been buzzing since 1950, probably because of its signature lobster roll. Rolls here are made with knuckle and claw meat, just a bit of mayo, and some tarragon. It is served in a classic split-top bun that's lightly grilled and been coated in butter.
Red's Eats; Wiscasset, ME
At this roadside Maine staple, lobster rolls are made with essentially the whole lobster (we kid you not, they are that generous) that has been stuffed in a hot dog bun. Mayo or butter comes on the side.
JCT. Kitchen & Bar; Atlanta, GA
Only available on Fridays or Saturdays, the lobster roll at JCT. Kitchen & Bar has developed quite the reputation (and following) in Atlanta. Served in a girdled bun, lobster meat is tossed in chives, celery, lemon juice, and mayo. Voila.
Sam's Chowder House; Half Moon Bay, CA
Chef Lewis Rossman prepares his lobster rolls "naked style" or without the mayo. Lobster rolls here are served with butter, fresh herbs, and diced celery, and come in a made-to-order toasted bun.
Thurston's Lobster Pound; Bernard, ME
Thurston's is one of the most picturesque lobster shacks in Maine, and luckily its lobster rolls live up to the hype, in a big way. Rolls here come stuffed to the brim with chunks of freshly-caught lobster dressed in mayo and then served with lettuce in a split-top bun. Classic and just perfect.