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In search of the ULTIMATE Lobsta Roll (non-Boston area)

[PLEASE NOTE: This thread was originally started on the Boston board at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/..., and we've moved part of it to this board so the non-Boston lobster roll lovers can add their input-- The Chowhound Team


Hands down the best lobster roll I've ever had in Mass. is at a tiny watering hole known as the Raw Bar (or just Bobby's) in the Popponesset Marketplace (Cape Cod). The lobster roll is a meal and a half. Little to no mayo, great chunks of lobster. The bucket of steamers and cobbed corn are worth it as well. The atmosphere is lots of fun if you hit it at the right times. I'm going to try Neptune as a new adventure, as others have suggested it.

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  1. Arnold's in Eastham has a great lobster roll that comes with fries and cole slaw for about $14.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Fort Point

      If you are going to be in Eastham, I prefer the Friendly Fisherman up the road from Arnolds a mile or so, I N. Eastham. Small take out on the side of the fish market. One of the best/largest/freshest lobster rolls I've had on the Cape yet.

      1. re: Science Chick

        Great reccomendation, Sci Chick!! We tried Friendly Fisherman during the first week of August and it was just as you said, the best/largest/freshest lobster rolls we've had on the Cape. So good, we ate lobster rolls for lunch there two days in a row.


    2. I had a spectacular one at the Two Lights lobster shack in Cape Elizabeth, ME, this weekend. Beautiful meat, a blob of mayo on top with some paprika -- that's all. Get the onion rings rather than the fries.

      Also had one at Barnacle Billy's in Perkins Cove, which was perfectly fine but no competition for Two Lights. They toasted the roll, which is nice. But it's a "salad" type, with mayo and celery mixed in -- good-sized chunks of lobster, though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: maschwar

        Woo-hoo! I love that place. I have gone there the past few years when visiting friends in Cape Elizabeth. I am on the hunt for something similar in NYC/LI.

      2. To my taste, a lobster roll is never served cold, and is never adulterated with mayo or celery. Ingredients should be a buttered roll, lobster meat and butter. An optional squirt of lemon by the consumer is also acceptable. The most plentiful lobster roll that I have found is at Abbott's in Noank. It is so bit that a Split Hot Dog Roll could never hold it. Instead, it is served on a Hamburger Bun.

        1. That's easy, Reds Eats in Wiscasset, ME. Very simple, toasted bun filled with the meat from a chic (1 lb) lobster. Butter or mayo served on the side.

          I've had lots of lobster rolls in my 16 years of living in NH/Maine and so far Reds is the best of the lot.

          1. Two Lights has a great crabmeat roll, too! Yum!

            1. Cindy's on Rte 1 in Yarmouth/Freeport ME is pretty good too. Reasonably priced and very old-school, toasted split-top hotdog bun, generous with lobster, very light on mayo.

              It's a total roadside stand, operated out of two trailers. Closed on Saturday. Worth a visit.

              1. St. Clare's Annex in Watch Hill, RI.

                1. I heartily second the vote for Abbott's lobster roll -- one of the very best I've eaten. When I've had it the hamburger bun has been of the sesame-seed variety, which I'm not crazy about, but the lobster is go good, buttery and plentiful that it barely matters. Plus, they give you a ramekin of butter on the side for dipping.

                  I also like the hot lobster roll at Johnny Ad's in Old Saybrook, CT. Similar to Abbott's, but served in a frankfurter roll.


                  1. We had a terrific lobster roll at Just Barb's in Stockton Springs, Rt 1, ME. The temperature of the meat was warm as if they had just cooked the lobster. It was served lightly coated with mayo on a toasted hot dog roll. Came with perfect french fries, too. The only problem with Just Barb's is that it's on Rt 1 and not on the water. Seems to be a popular place and also serves great fried clams. Our second lobster roll of the week was a Este's Lobster House in South Harpswell, ME. You have to really go out of the way to find this place. It wasn't crowded at all yet on the other side of the water, Bailey's had a line out the door. This was our most expensive lobster roll but the view was terrific and there's a tiny beach across the road you can explore. We did not eat at Fat Boy's in Brunswick but checked out their menu. Lobster rolls were only $5.25 but I have no idea how much meat they contained. Este's definitely required you eat half the meat before you even try to put the roll into your mouth.

                    1. Bob's Clam Hut in Kittery, ME has something called Landy's Lobster Sandwich -- chunks of lobster on two slabs of buttered toast with a couple squirts of some kind of basil/pesto dressing, served with fries. Delicious! When my dad visits from Jersey he insists we drive to Maine just to get this sandwich...

                      Otherwise it's Kelly's lobster roll all the way!

                      1. For my money the best lobster roll in Maine is at the Boothbay Lobsterman's Co-op, on the wharf on the east side of the harbor. Very generous. I seldom go to Boothbay Harbor in the summer but the lobster is worth the traffic.

                        A couple of other suggestions if you're going deeper into Maine: Esty's, in the Harpswells (near Brunswick), and Shaw's Wharf in the Pemaquid area.

                        1. Finally got back to the Lake Winnipesaukee area lobster roll we thought was best. It still is, even compared to the 2 lobster rolls we had in early July in Maine. Last week OTH we had a tasteless lobster roll with too much celery and dusted with paprika (there's a hint right there, good paprika has a flavor) at the High Tide in Hillsboro NH. There fried food is still pretty good but I won't order a lobster roll again. For a great lobster roll in Center Harbor NH go to Red Hill Dari. It's just a tiny take out place just north of Senters Marketplace. For $11.95 with very good french fries, it is definitely a good buy ... except I noticed other people got onion rings instead. The menu sign is so basic it doesn't even say the lobster rolls come with french fries so NEXT time we'll ask to sub onion rings which we thought were some of the best we've had this summer. Surprisingly on a Sat night, no lines at all. There's an extra salty flavor in a good lobster roll that I associate with steaming in salt water. I could have sworn that the roll was packed with knuckle meat, the sweetest and most tender part of the lobster IMHO. In fact, I wondered if there wasn't any tail meat in it at all or if the tail meat had been shredded. Oh yes, not a speck of celery and just one piece of lettuce on a toasted hot dog roll.

                          1. The best lobster roll I ever had was at Scales at the Portland Public Market, which closed a few months ago. Warm lobster meat tossed in butter on a perfectly toasted roll. I've heard the owners are looking for a new site in the Old Port. Does anyone have any up-to-date information on this?

                            1. My favorite is Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth ME.
                              I'd like to point out that, while I really like the warm (not hot) lobster roll, it is NOT a traditional or classic lobster roll.
                              The traditional lobster roll - butter-toasted hot dog roll, not too much mayo, lettuce possible but nothing else -is not at all difficult to find, and given freshly-cooked and shelled lobster meat, good mayo, the right roll, there are dozens of places in Maine where you can find a very good one. For me, the "ultimate" lobster roll is the one I'm eating at the moment.

                              Oh yeah, if you're Down East, try the lobster roll - $6.50!!! - at Joshy's Place in Milbridge. Also FABULOUS crabmeat roll - $6.00!

                              1. You're right: there's a distinction to be made between "classic/traditional" and "best". The lobster rolls I remember from my childhood in Maine didn't even have mayo, and I've been told by old-timers that mayo and lobster don't--or shouldn't--mix. I admit that the roll at Scales might have been a little too "gourmet" to qualify as "traditional" (the roll, for example, was definitely a cut above the customary hot dog bun, and the meat tasted as though it had just been pulled from the shell of a freshly-cooked lobster). But isn't there just a little room for improvement?

                                Maybe I should accept my status as a heretic and move on.

                                1. Something that might shed a little light on the matter would be where the lobster is the freshest? I'm in CT, and I wonder some times whether they're getting LI Sound lobster or mail-ordering Mainers.