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May 7, 2003 07:26 AM

favorite Maine lobster roll spots?

  • d

Going to be in southern Maine for a week in late June, and am pining for good lobster rolls. Any suggestions? thanks!

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  1. (Rated 1-5, 5 being highest by Lobster Salad Quality, Bun, quantity portion, waterview location and price (although price is seasonal)):

    Haraseeket Lunch and Lobster 5, 4, 5, 4,3

    Red's in Wiscasset 4,4,3,3,5

    Two Lights on Cape Elizabeth 3,4,2,5,2

    Inn By the Sea (out on the deck) 4, 2,4,4,5+

    Joe's Boathouse (out on the deck) 3,1,3,4,3

    There are plenty of reviews on this board....

    6 Replies
    1. re: Noreaster

      Where are Inn By the Sea and Joe's Boathouse? Bob's Clam Hut in Kittery has a good lobsta roll, too. But Red's is my favorite. With a side of their fried clams.

      1. re: blintz

        Inn by the sea is in Cape Elizabeth outside Portland a bit.
        Joe's boathouse is in South Portland, but you should avoid eating there.

        1. re: Wb

          Why would you say that? I have eaten at Joe's many, many times and have always been very happy with my meals and service.

          1. re: Jaylea

            I ate at Joe's last year. Certainly the room was "nice" the view wonderful, the sunset, memorable. The food was inedible, waitstaff: suffering from a bad case of narcisism, and they served our wine to a neighboring table by mistake, but insisted when questioned about it, that they did not have any more of "that wine". Then, after about 10 minutes or so they served ANOTHER bottle of the wine that we were just told that they were out of. to another table near us. I wrote of my dinner experience at that time in a letter to the editor of the Casco Bay Weekly.
            Now, a year later, perhaps the opening jitters have worked themselves out, but my local contacts don't eat there either. You know Jimmy, down east, you don't want upset the locals.

            1. re: wb

              I think they've definately worked out the kinks - because I've always thought the food was great. Usually I just go in for lunch though - when visiting the parents on the weekends...

              Portland's not "Down East" though. Down East is actually the area much further up the coast - to the East.

          2. re: Wb

            Ate at Joes last year,and our appetizers were delivered to the next table by error, so therefore our food came just after the appetizers came. I complained. The waitress said very politely there would be no charge for the appetizers. I thought the food was very good.
            We went back last night, and the food was excellent, as well as the service, etc.

      2. Did a personal tour of some of the lobster roll spots in Southern Maine last year and I LOVED The Clam Shack
        (Route 9 at the Kennebunkport Bridge, Kennebunkport, Maine. 207-967-2560. Mother's Day to Columbus Day: daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m.) Just fresh fabulous lobster in a roll and you can get it with just a touch of butter instead of the mayo which I found in many of the others - but that's my personal preference. Also had fantastic whole lobster at Nunan's in Kennebunkport - simple place with picnic tables and delicious unadorned fresh lobster.

        5 Replies
        1. re: wurstle

          Regarding the Clam Shack at Kennebunkport, I second the comments above. One of the best lobster rolls I have found so far in Southern Maine.

          1. re: jhammon


            The world is now safe in another small way.

            Southern Maine is now open for business for another wonderful year. YIPPEE!!

            Merriland Farms opened for breakfasts on Saturday and the waitress brought me the "Porky Pig" breakfast (without any wisecrack) yesterday morning. This may be as close to heaven as I get.

            And, I deigned to return to the White Barn Inn last night for what was an Absolutely Wonderful Meal. Details will follow.

            I will, of course, be at Fore Street on Fridays as usual. Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall. God willin...


            1. re: Win (Boston)

              We are going to be visiting the second week in June. Counting down the days now! :)
              We always enjoy the Clam shack but in Kennebunk I also have to have fried clams and blueberry pie at Mabels.
              We have a reservation at Arrows on Fathers day. This was a tuff choice because we love the White Barn Inn but have never tried Arrows.

              1. re: Docsknotinn

                I would place Mabel's lobster roll on a par with Clam Shack.

                1. re: chowmensch

                  I usually get fried clams at Mabels but we will give the clam shack a try.

        2. There was some little shack on a dock that was mostly a fresh fish market but also made a killer lobster roll. It was so good that I actually went back and immediately got another one. It was somewhere north of Ogunquit and I think below Kennebunkport. There was no seating in the store as I recall. Any idea where this was or the name of the place?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Manhattan Diner

            Pool Lobster in Biddeford Pool has only picnic tables. It's wonderful. But you could be describing a couple of places on Cape Porpoise. I've had good lobster rolls and clam rolls there also. (These are all north of Kennebunkport)

          2. Out on Bailey and Orrs Island there was (still is??) a wonderful outdoor lobster pond that pulled them from their trap and boiled them when you ordered. Still warm and mixed with Hellmans, salt & pepper (can't remember if there was celery). And eaten on their picnic table on the dock.


            1 Reply
            1. re: chowrottie

              Bailey and Orrs covers a fair amount of turf. Can you be more specific?

            2. For my money, the best lobster rolls in Maine can be had at the Lobstermen's Co-op, right down on the dock on the east side of Boothbay Harbor. I seldom go to Boothbay in the summer but the traffic is worth the lobster. Do not feed the seagulls!

              Second best is probably Estes. There are three Estes: South Harpswell, Bailey's Island, and Cundy's Harbor. The ambience is nil but the lobster is great

              3 Replies
              1. re: checkman

                Hi checkman, everyone’s tastes are different and each of us are allowed our own opinions but I must disagree with your favorite lobster roll place. I have been traveling the Southern Maine coast and going to Boothbay Harbor for 25+ years and was only impressed with the Co-op the first couple times back in the 80's.

                As of 2006 it had been sold and is now The Boothbay Lobster Wharf. Unfortunately it is even worse in my family’s opinion. The prices went up, the quality went down and the portions on fried foods are smaller. And yes, as I have seen somewhere in these posts it is all Sysco products as I have seen the truck there on numerous occasions on my way to The Fisherman's Memorial for a picnic.

                As for their lobster rolls, we had them in 2005 and last year as we were with out of town guests that had read posts (yours was probably one of them) on food sites about the spot and insisted we visit. Well, all I can say is I needed a strainer to separate all that mayo off the lobster meat. It was both times WAY too much and although I like mayo, inedible without removing some. This also made the bun soggy. We tried the fried seafood which all tasted the same and frankly we would have preferred the seagulls ate it.

                Our favorite lobster roll in Boothbay Harbor is at The Lobster Dock. Same price, only a dab of mayo or the way my son likes it warm with just a bit of butter and no mayo. And, you don’t have to send three family members to wait in three lines for lobsters, beverages and than your burgers or fried foods. And they bring the food to your table when its ready, you don't need to go and fetch it yourself.

                1. re: whitem

                  I didn't care for Lobsterman's Co-op when I was there, either. Same prices as places with a bit more ambience and though the boiled lobster was excellent, the sides etc were not worth half the price.

                  Anyone been to Robinson's wharf since the new ownership?

                  1. re: jackattack

                    Went to Robinson's once last summer (2006) had a nice view as we sat outside, ordered a fish sandwich, some rings and a beer with my wife. She got clam chowder, scallops and fries. Was decent but like I said we only went once. Nice and clean since the remodel, it was a late afternoon around 3pm so it was very quiet. There were maybe 8 people eating and as many seagulls watching us.

                    As I've read in someone's previous post looks like a lot ofl Sysco products as you can see the boxes. I personally prefer homemade chowder, potato salad etc. and don't mind paying the extra for in house made items. It's just tough to find that type of food these days in casual dining spots because of costs I guess.