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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.

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            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.

              2. Cape Porpoise Lobster Company has a good roll.

                1 Reply
                1. re: hink

                  I haven't been to Cape Porpoise in a long time but when we were there last it was excellent.

                2. Without question, for my money the best lobster roll and deli sandwiches can be found at the Landing in Kennebunkport. Unpretentious and just good. You can pick em up and drive to a scenic spot, since the place isn't particularly pretty.

                  1. http://merecat.org/food/dining/lobste... That is where you will get the truth on Lobster rolls in Maine! Boothbay Lobster Wharf!!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kimsimmons

                      Mere Cat missed the best lobster roll deal in Maine. Joshie's Place in Milbridge. Where? Downeast! "The real Maine starts east of Ellsworth". Last season, a lobster roll at Joshie's was just $5.95, that's right, five dollars and ninety five cents! That's a 2fer compared to the Little Boston southern prices. Washington County is still ripe for Chowhounding! Psst don't tell anyone.

                    2. I'd like to put in an honorable mention for Dunton's Doghouse in Boothbay Harbor, Me. Their mayo based lobster roll is quite good.

                      1. Red's, Red's, Red's — how can you beat it? But, if you had only one day left to eat a lobster roll in Maine.... never ever to return... Beal's Lobster Pound in Southwest would be my pick. Two Lights is great too — see the review in Down East: http://www.downeast.com/Down-East-Mag...

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Farnam897

                          I love Reds, but hate the lines. For a better bargain head down Route 27 towards Boothbay Harbor and stop at Phil the Bakers. Great lobstah rolls, full and grilled in a buttered roll, great seafood chowdah, and the best key lime pie evah. It isn't fancy, the menu isn't large, and Phil doesn't deal well with substitutions or changing things around. But who cares, you're there for the roll and it is terrific.

                          1. re: guineverek

                            I'll second Phil's. He had a booth set up at the Foliage Festival in Boothbay last year and my wife and brother-in-law couldn't get enough of his "combination" rolls. They were a fraction of the price of the lobster rolls. I think they were a mix of crab, scallops, and shrimp. I'll never forget the look on my brother-in-law's face when he first bit into one. I don't think he was expecting much and he was very pleasantly surprised.

                            1. re: pbanjo

                              Sorry to disagree, but we stopped at Phil's this past Saturday, and found things not to our liking. The "poor boy" lobster roll (with mostly picked meat, no clear) was gummy and uninteresting; crab rolls soggy; and one of our party had the chowder, which was tasty, but ended up giving him an upset digestive system. The next day, we all had lobster rolls at Jay's Oyster in P'land: fabulous! $11.95 for the equivalent of a full 1 1/14 lb. lobbie, only claw and tail, crisp bun, mayo on the side.

                              1. re: pbanjo

                                I also appreciate Phil's on Route 27. I had to stop in as I was leaving Boothbay Harbor and get one of their $5.99 lobster rolls for a road snack. I tacked on a $5 crab roll and a whoopie pie, and these really hit the spot. I'm not sure if they belong on a "best of" list for the region, but for the value, they are wonderful, and Phil is one mellow old dude. I noticed a lot of bread/rolls cooling on the racks. Does he actually bake his own rolls for the lobster rolls? If I ever get back around here, I'll surely check in and get one of those key lime pies as well.

                            2. re: Farnam897

                              We were pleasantly suprised with how good the lobster roll was at the Falmouth Sea Grill. Pretty close to Red's in size - a toasted roll that is longer/bigger than hot dog size - with a nice portion of meat and just a little mayo.I think they only have them at lunch time? There's a pretty nice view at FSG, but you could also get them to go and take them over to Mackworth Island quite easily.

                            3. Definitely check out the Lobster Wharf in Boothbay Harbor! Their lobster roll is stuffed with lobster, light on the mayo (but you can always add more if that's what you're into), on a lightly toasted bun... mmm. Wish I was up there today. It's the third or fourth lobstah place on the strip, so keep driving! The staff are all friendly, and there's indoor seating upstairs for the windier days... with a GREAT view of the water and windjammers. Very worth it, and not too pricey, for real fresh fish. Loved the Boothbay Lobster Wharf... family owned and operated, too.

                                1. My favorite lobster roll is at The Castine General Store in the center of Castine. Crab rolls pretty good too.

                                  1. The Eagle's Nest, Brewer, Maine (next door to Bangor): not as gigantic as it used to be but simply HUGE and good, too

                                    1. Tracey's on Rt 1 in Sullivan. TWO lobster rolls for TWELVE DOLLARS! BYOB TOO.