Finding The Best Maine Lobster Rolls
Maine’s thriving culinary scene is well-established. With a growing assortment of global and regional menus being introduced each year, you can virtually travel the world on one vacation to Southern Maine - never indulging in the same culture’s cuisine twice.
Seafood is the long-perfected, natural taste of New England, with ports and harbors perfectly situated to dominate the culinary genre. The lobster industry specifically, captures the very essence of Maine, and the lobster roll is the state’s signature catch at its tastiest. You can’t truly say you’ve visited Maine if you haven’t devoured a lobster roll (or a few), so we’re happy to help point you in the direction of the best lobster rolls in the southern region of the state.
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86 Middle St., Portland, ME | 207-774-8538 | eventideoysterco.com
Eventide Oyster Company is a classic oyster bar that also serves up one of the finest Maine lobster rolls around. Eventide’s famous brown butter lobster rolls are so highly demanded that the company now offers to ship them directly to your door, anywhere in the nation.
The signature nutty brown butter base is made by cooking a careful mixture of powdered milk with unsalted butter to a perfect walnut hue before tossing in lobster meat and stuffing the indulgent mixture into house-made, fluffy steamed buns. James Beard Award-winning chefs serve up these and other legendary favorites daily from 11 AM until midnight, including a weekly Sunday brunch!
Bite Into Maine
1000 Shore Rd., Cape Elizabeth | 207-289-6142 | biteintomaine.com
You can’t beat fresh lobster on the ocean, and Bite Into Maine offers delectable tastes with a view. Overlooking Portland Head Light, the flagship food truck provides the picture-perfect setting for a break in the middle of a day out exploring Fort Williams Park at Cape Elizabeth.
This is the place to be for the ultimate lobster roll battle as Maine Style and Connecticut Style options share space on the menu (alongside curry and wasabi-topped options)! Bite Into Maine also serves up dishes for Allagash Brewing Company patrons from a classic airstream! While both locations are seasonal in operation, visitors can partake in Bite Into Maine’s famous lobster rolls, chowders, melts, and more year-round at The Commissary takeout location On US Route One in Oak Hill Scarborough.
The Lobster Shack at Two Lights
225 Two Lights Rd., Cape Elizabeth | 207-799-1677 | lobstershacktwolights.com
Located at the end of Two Lights Road along the prominent rocky coastline of Cape Elizabeth, The Lobster Shack at Two Lights is an award-winning restaurant offering scenic oceanside dining for 50 years. Enjoy outdoor dining beneath the lighthouse or stay inside in the cozy dining room with vast open views of the bustling Portland Harbor. The lobster rolls are fresh and memorable, but it’s the setting that puts The Lobster Shack over-the-top as an authentic New England experience.
The Lobster Dinner and Haddock are alternative stand-outs on the menu, with the former even serving as a notable challenge on The Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food. Save room for dessert, as there are a variety of homemade pies, cakes, and cookies available! Open 11 AM – 8 PM daily (in July and August open until 8:30).
DiMillo's On The Water
25 Long Wharf, Portland | (207) 772-2216 | dimillos.com
Popular nautical-themed marina hot spot nestled within a car ferry serving up the freshest seafood with brilliant views of the thriving harbor. Opened in 1982 as DiMillo’s Floating Restaurant, the decommissioned ferry serves as one of the largest restaurants of its kind in the nation,at a length of 206 feet, and a beam of 65 feet. Seating is available in the First Deck Dining Room, Port Side Lounge, Second Deck Dining Rooms and three Outside Decks.
The DiMilo’s lobster roll is a lunchtime favorite, consisting of chilled Maine lobster served on a brioche roll with Boston lettuce and topped with a brown butter aioli. Though all of the lobster dishes strike a winning chord with guests, the lobster roll is the way to go during an afternoon at the port. For dinner, consider lobster in or out of the shell, or perhaps the lobster mac and cheese!
Scarborough Fish and Lobster
697 US-1, Scarborough | 207-883-5398 | scarboroughlobster.com
Sometimes, the most unassuming locations will prove themselves to be the most exceptional gems. Scarborough Fish and Lobster is the epitome of a hole-in-the-wall eatery, and it’s chock full of coastal treasures to delight your sea-bound cravings. This family-owned local favorite serves only the freshest Atlantic Coast lobster (and other ocean delights), provided by select local fishermen.
Scarborough Fish and Lobster is known for loading up their lobster rolls with nothing but high-quality meat. There’s no room left for filler, and with food this fresh and tasty, you wouldn’t want anything to stand in the way of the flavor anyway! For a double-dose of lobster love, opt for a cup of lobster chowder to go! Open every day from 10 AM - 6 PM.
Highroller Lobster Co.
104 Exchange St., Portland | 207-536-1623 | highrollerlobster.com
You’ll find that it’s a real challenge to pass up the Lobby Pop at Highroller Lobster Co., but if there’s one thing that makes it worthwhile, it’s choosing the Lobster Roll instead! Piled high with delicious lobster chunks, topped with your choice of unique sauces and spreads, and served up on brioche rolls fresh-baked daily from Southside Bakery, this is the ideal modern take on a regional tradition.
Pair your customized roll with any number of craft brews or wines. It’s no doubt that Highroller is one of the fastest growing seafood favorites for creative, fresh tastes in the region. It’s the little food cart with big ideas and a must for an original dining experience. Open daily from 11 AM till late.
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180 Commercial St., Portland | 207-775-2112 | portlandlobstercompany.com
Voted “Best of Portland” (2018), Portland Lobster Company’s location at the foot of the pier assures prime placement for legendary coastal fare. Being nestled in the heart of Portland’s Old Port district insures that there’s plenty to do before and after your meal, as well! Their storied lobster rolls are a hybrid of Maine and Connecticut styles, featuring fresh-picked tail and claw meat from a one pound lobster, brushed with sweet butter.
Served atop a bed of romaine lettuce on a toasted roll with mayonnaise and lemon on the side, the sweet and buttery flavors of a PLC lobster roll combine to melt in your mouth in the most glorious way. Consistently named the best patio/outdoor bar in Portland, PLC hosts live music events every Saturday and Sunday, and dinner-time Happy Hour daily Monday - Thursday. Open each day at 11 AM.
J’s Oyster at Old Port
5 Portland Pier, Portland | 207-772-4828 | jsoysterportland.com
A seal of approval from Anthony Bourdain himself affords J’s Oyster a place of instant envy among the area’s most notable eateries.
The seaside restaurant has also received acclaim from Gourmet Magazine, specifically acknowledging the universal appeal of their lobster rolls. Located on Portland’s waterfront, J’s proudly claims: “If it swims, we’ve got it on our menu”, and there’s hardly a chance of disappointment with beloved classics like scallops, crab, oysters, and a bevy of shellfish - but the lobster roll served on a grilled hot dog roll with lettuce (and mayo on the side) seems to be a hands-down favorite, perhaps only second to the tantalizing lobster stew, or of course - the oysters! Open daily from lunch time until late.
60 Portland Pier, Portland | 207-274-6097 | lukeslobster.com/
Named the “best lobster roll outside of New England”, by USA Today, Luke’s Lobster has taken the Maine staple to a global level - but the best place to experience a Luke’s lobster roll is right on the waterfront in Portland. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the working port and shorelines as you partake in the lobster roll that has seen the likes of Martha Stewart and Oprah left hungry for more, and angling for Luke’s secret.
The secret is the minimalism. Luke’s stays true to tradition, using New England-style split-top hot dog buns stuffed with knuckle and claw meat, topped with just the right combination of salted butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice, and a pinch of Luke’s seasoning. When you have to leave Portland in your rear-view, you can always check for a Luke’s Lobster location near you. Their quality menus and signature dishes are known to consistently meet their established standard, even beyond the New England coast. You can even enjoy a taste of Luke’s at home, thanks to their partnership with Whole Foods Markets!
1135 Forest Ave, Portland | 207-878-3240 | susansfishnchips.com
Housed in a converted auto shop, the rustic decor and permeating aromas of fresh seafood are the only hints to the coastal dishes that put Susan’s Fish-N-Chips on Maine’s culinary map. However, what it lacks in coastal proximity, Susan’s more than makes up for in taste and value.
As luck would have it, one of the area’s most affordable lobster rolls - or “lobstah” rolls, as the quaint eatery calls them - are also among the most renowned. Chefs are hard at work preparing fresh catches daily, starting early in the morning, providing high-quality heaped lobster on grilled, top-loader hot dog buns with a thin layer of mayo and iceberg lettuce. Susan’s is an off-the-beaten path stop that’s right on target to provide a tastefully surprising and memorable experience. For a quick grab-and-go alternative, consider the deep fried lobster tails on a stick! Open daily from 11 AM until at least 8 PM.
Photo Credit: Rob Kleine via Flickr CC2.0
1447 5 Islands Rd., | Georgetown 207-371-2990 | fiveislandslobster.com
The island village of Georgetown is one of Maine’s most picturesque and vibrant harbors, welcoming some of the coldest and deepest waters on the coast. This sets the scene for spectacular waterfront views and ideal conditions for prime lobster catches at Five Islands Lobster Co. seafood shack!
The signature “big boy” lobster roll has been described by Andrew Zimmern as “the perfect sandwich”, served on a buttered, toasted bun with just a touch of mayo. Perched above Sheepscot Bay, Five Islands Lobster Co. is also known to serve the best fried clams in Maine. Open seasonally - check for current hours.
Photo Credit: Jimmy Emerson, DVM via Flickr CC2.0
315 US-1, Kittery | 207-439-4233 | bobsclamhut.com
Bob's Clam Hut was named a finalist in Down East World's “Best Lobster Roll” competition in 2018. That comes as no surprise to the folks of Kittery, where Bob’s has been dishing up fresh seafood and friendly service since 1956. A second location opened last year in Portland, with the same dazzling menu, including the beloved lobster rolls.
Bob’s lobster rolls feature tail, knuckle and claw meat with butter, mayonnaise, kosher salt and precisely three drops of lemon juice in a hot dog bun - and it goes well with their uniquely-conceived New England clam chowder. Bob’s has been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and was named a “Great American Lobster Destination” by USA Today. With the exception of Tuesdays in Portland, both locations are open daily from 11 AM until 9 PM or later.
Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz via Flickr CC2.0
41 Water St., Wiscasset | 207-882-6128 | redseatsmaine.com
Consistently acknowledged as one of Maine’s most beloved eateries, Red’s Eats is a family-run business, and a summertime tradition, at the heart of Wiscasset’s Main Street. Using only the freshest lobster meat piled high onto an unobstructed, buttery, grilled New England–style hot dog bun with sides of butter and mayo for you to dispense as you see fit. The iconic little hut on the Sheepscot River has been acknowledged in a slew of television and magazine features for its tremendous and consistent offerings - so popular, in fact, that lengthy lines are the norm once Red’s season begins… and guests seems unanimous in their view that it is every bit worth the wait. Open daily in the summer season from 11:30 AM - 9 PM.
Gilbert’s Chowder House
92 Commercial St.,Portland | 207-871-5636 | gilbertschowderhouse.com
As the name suggests, Gilbert’s specializes in chowder,but this no-frills seafood eatery offers an array of fresh maine seafood dishes, including a great lobster roll! With generous chunks of sweet lobster tossed in mayo and served in a toasted hot dog bun along with crispy, salty French fries, the only thing left to complete the perfect New England picture are a cold brew and a view. Gilbert’s checks these boxes with local craft beers and seating available both inside or on the patio overlooking the water. Stick around a while to enjoy the atmosphere, and take some award-winning chowder to go! Open daily from 11 AM until at least 9 PM.
With so many great food options, there is no doubt you will be eating well on your visit. The seafood industry is the backbone of the culinary culture in Portland, and for good reason. The locals will tell you there is nothing like a Portland lobster roll and it’s hard to argue with them. Be careful, because once you start on a lobster roll adventure you may find it difficult to come back! We recommend you take it slow, relax and enjoy each and every bite. Which of the Portland-area lobster rolls ranks at the top of your list?