Summer in New England is not complete if you haven’t bitten down into a meaty lobster roll packed with fresh-caught seafood. Below are some of our favorite places to get lobster in New England. Many are “shacks” – delightful places where you might order from a window and eat outdoors on the pier or on picnic tables. Lobster shacks are often BYOB, and they are very, very casual.
Quick lesson here in the difference between Maine-style and Connecticut-style lobster rolls: in a Maine lobster roll, the meat is served cold and often tossed with mayonnaise, tarragon and celery or scallions. A Connecticut-style roll is served warm, with butter. Enjoy!
Abbott’s Lobster Shack, 117 Pearl Street, Noank, CT — This is an authentic lobster shack: you order at a window and take a seat at a picnic table on a grassy space overlooking a beautiful harbor. In business since 1947, Abbott’s serves a lobster roll that’s a quarter-pound of meat on a toasted bun with an extra side of drawn butter. A cold lobster salad roll with mayo is available. BYOB welcome. Window service. Outdoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.
Lobster Landing, 152 Commerce Street, Clinton, CT — Celebrate the virtue of simplicity at this tiny lobster shack on the Clinton Town Marina, where you eat at chairs and table on the dock, overlooking the water. Lobster pieces are served on a toasted, buttered hot dog roll – don’t expect mayo – this is Connecticut style. Bring your own sides and desserts. Dogs allowed. Waiter service. Outdoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.
Hours: Seasonal service. Hours: daily 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Phone: 860-669-2005. Map.
Matunuck Oyster Bar, 629 Succotash Road, Wakefield, RI — The lobster roll at Matunuck Oyster Bar is made with fresh claw and knuckle meat and the roll is more like a grinder roll than a hot dog bun. Seating indoors and also on an outdoor patio, where you can watch the oyster boats come and go. Taste the oysters, even if that’s not what you came for. This place is popular; expect to wait for a table in summer. Full bar. Waiter service. No reservations. Credit cards accepted. Valet parking.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Menu. Phone: 401-783-4202
Neptune Oyster Bar, 63 Salem Street, Boston, MA — Show up early to dine at this high-brow, popular, and small North End establishment. The lobster roll is served hot, with a heavy load of lobster meat and butter. The restaurant also serves the lobster roll cold, with mayo, for Maine-based purists. Plenty of other excellent seafood choices. Not recommended for children. Waiter service. Wine and beer are served. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.
Bristol Oyster Bar, 448 Hope Street, Bristol, RI — This is a full-scale restaurant in Rhode Island’s quiet and beautiful East Bay region. Its slogan is “Everything from scratch using only the finest local ingredients” and customers rave about sides like house-made potato chips and specially brined pickles. The lobster roll is described as simple perfection. No reservations. Full bar. Outdoor patio seating. Credit cards accepted.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 4-10:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; closed Monday. Menu. Phone: 401-396-5820. Map.
Footbridge Lobster, 108 Perkins Cove Road, Ogunquit, Maine — Great lobster roll made with lobster fresh off the boat in this little joint in a touristy part of town. No frills, but big chunks of meat. Served on a toasted roll hot or cold, with butter or mayo. Simple and perfect. BYOB welcome. Window service. Outdoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.
Hours: Seasonal service. Hours: daily 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Phone: 207-251-4217. Map.
Five Islands Lobster Co., 1447 Five Islands Road, Georgetown, Maine — Five Islands Lobster Co. is on a working fishing wharf on Sheepscot Bay. The lobster in your lobster roll at this establishment is taken directly from the water, and not even stored temporarily in a tank. That means it is fresh, at the peak of flavor. The Ice Cream Building next door serves Annabelle’s Ice Cream, another local specialty. BYOB welcome. Window service. Outdoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.
Chatham Pier Fish Market, 45 Barcliff Avenue Ext., Chatham, MA — Chatham, at the elbow of Cape Cod, is a famously snooty place, but to our relief the Chatham Pier Fish Market is all about substance and quality. It is more market than restaurant; you order from the counter and the only seating is at picnic tables outdoors, where you can watch the fishermen’s activities at the pier. The lobster roll is big and satisfying. Serving Giffords of Maine ice cream. No reservations; no indoor seating; no alcohol served; credit cards accepted.
Woods Seafood, 15 Town Pier, Plymouth, MA — Cozy seafood place in the heart of Plymouth. Your lobster roll at Woods comes from native live lobsters that range from one to six pounds. The owners note that if you’re in the area around mid-afternoon, you can stop by and see the local lobstermen arriving with their catch of the day! Lots of other delicious, expertly cooked, besides lobster. Beer and wine served. Waiter service. Indoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.
Midtown Oyster Bar, 345 Thames Street, Newport, RI — Located in the summer-loving heart of Newport, the Midtown Oyster Bar has a rooftop deck with umbrella-shaded seating looking over the busy harbor and wharves below. The lobster roll achieves perfection, and there are many more seafood choices, with a key lime pie hovering in the background for dessert. Reservations taken. Full bar. Credit cards accepted.
Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier, 16 Chauncey Creek Road, Kittery Point, Maine — Located directly on Chauncey Creek River in the fun seaside town of Kittery, Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier has been serving the Maine classic since 1948. Many of the same families and friends have been enjoying their summertime lobster roll here for generations. Come by car or boat (you can dock at the pier). Lobster is fresh and bountiful. BYOB welcome. Waiter service. Outdoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.