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Jul 13, 2010 12:31 PM

Lobster Roll

I am goin got be in Boston for one day so I have one chance to get this right... where is the best lobster roll in Boston?

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  1. My two favorites (neither of them cheap) are B&G Oysters in the South End and Neptune in the North End. Enjoy!

    13 Replies
    1. re: bostonbroad

      Try alive and kicking in Cambridge on Putnam Street; they are great guys, and their prices are very good. You can walk over to the river and eat your sandwich there.


      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

        I love Alive n Kicking, but note it's not a lobster roll -- it's a lobster salad sangwich on scalli bread. It's GREAT but it's not the platonic ideal.

        I always plug this, but I enjoy the lobster roll at Kelly's -- Revere Beach is best.

        If you're limited to town, I'd go to Neptune.

      2. re: bostonbroad

        I finally tried out B&G's famous lobster roll this weekend and it lived up to its reputation. The lobster roll was chock full of great lobster meat and lightly tossed in mayo with herbs. The roll was fantastic but for me, the highlight were the cole slaw and house pickles. Delish.

        1. re: bostonbroad

          Oh and here's a photo of the lobster roll from B&G!

          1. re: CreativeFoodie42

            That looks delicious; lots of meat there and the fries aren't looking shabby either.

                  1. re: Spike

                    That's a tiny F'n lobster roll for $27.

                    1. re: Beachowolfe

                      go to alive'n kicking and have a good-sized one for 14.00. the only difference is they do theirs on toasted scali bread and not on a roll.

                      1. re: teezeetoo

                        I'll second that...A'nK has got the the best New England lobster "roll". No filler, not even any celery, just enough mayo to hold the lobster meat together. I put roll in quotes because they do it on toast rather than a hot dog type roll.... and at 14 bucks!

              1. re: bostonbroad

                I agree, these are my two favorites as well...Wonder if you can get one as good and yet not quite as expensive? Probably not....

              2. Belle Isle seafood is technically in Boston (by about 30 feet), but if you're talking downtown, then James Hook is the answer

                11 Replies
                1. re: L2k

                  Yeah, and Hyde Park is technically in Boston too, but I wouldn't send someone all the way there for a lobster roll......;)

                  1. re: L2k

                    If the OP is coming in/out of the airport, Belle Isle might be an option. The lobster roll there will put anything in downtown Boston to shame.

                    It is literally right at the end of the runway, and easily accessible without going out of the way if the OP has a rental car. It could be a quick stop off in a taxi as well, but YMMV with the driver's knowledge of the area.

                    1. re: Gabatta

                      That's a good point! I hadn't considered the "on the way from the airport" factor....more of "in town and have to get to Eastie". That said, I didn't care for the Belle Island lobster roll all that much. The meat wasn't all that fresh, and the shop was hideous and dirty with flies everywhere. You can stand on the bridge, I guess, but I'd rather recommend something with a little better atmosphere for a visitor.

                      1. re: Science Chick

                        The OP asked where the best lobster roll is in Boston (not downtown Boston); Belle Isle (not Island) is in Boston, and if s/he has atmosphere requirements it wasn't mentioned.

                        Belle Isle is what it is: a true Chowhound destination, like Speeds, Chacarero, etc. Based on my many visits there I have never found it hideous (?) nor have I ever seen a fly. It is just a small, simple place with a few stools that serves quality fresh seafood. Serving Science Chick a lobster roll that wasn’t all that fresh is regrettable, but I don’t think it is representative of what they do day in and day out, which is nothing short of outstanding and superior to 95% of anything you could get downtown.

                        (BTW, if a place in Hyde Park served the best lobster roll… hell yes I would send someone all the way there to get it. That’s what makes us Chowhounds!)

                        101 Arch St, Boston, MA 02110

                        1. re: StevieC

                          No argument there, StevieC.....I tend to frequent casual, in the rough, style places myself (Bob Lobster on Plum Island one of my favs). My experience at Belle Isle just wasn't good. I mean, it was *teaming* with flies where I was sitting, with tons of dead ones lying around and trash and bits of food waste lying all over the bar. Yes, the roll had alot of meat, it just didn't taste that great. It had sort of a disinfectant overtone to it, which was ironic given the lack of cleanliness in the eating area! If this was not the usual there, I might try it again if I'm in that neck of the woods.

                          If someone were visiting for a few days or a week, I would probably recommend more difficult to get to places. But since the OP said they were only here for a day, I figured they probably weren't configuring the entire day around the lobster roll and would prefer something more centrally located. But who knows, they might be spending all their time hounding down that roll! :)

                        2. re: Science Chick

                          Sounds like you had an uncharacteristic experience. I have never seen flies or filth at Belle Isle myself. It is pretty basic and looks like the type of place which might have flies, but looks can be deceiving.

                          Also, in my 10+ visits the lobster has never been anything but the freshest (on par with quality from J. Hook). The quality and preparation are on par with the roll at Neptune and other spots in downtown. The only difference I have found is that Belle Isle gives you about 2x as much meat for the same price.

                          1. re: Gabatta

                            Always had a great lobster roll there (the clams are fantastic, too). And I've seen flies, both dead and alive, most of the times I'm there. As long as they stay out of the cold case (which is kept closed), and off my food, I'm ok with it.

                            I've seen flies in restaurants ranging from Fuddruckers to Mortons.

                            But never in McDonalds. Hmmm.

                            1. re: L2k

                              An occasional one is fine......not hoards, though.

                            2. re: Gabatta

                              I've had about a half dozen rolls from Belle Isle and all have been quite good...

                              1. re: grant.cook

                                I was in Florida last week (it was cold there, too), and was really looking forward to flying into Logan, wife picking me up, and hitting Belle Isle. Figure since we're already through the tunnel, we're actually saving the toll money we'd otherwise pay to get up there. Flight was 1 hour late, wife had to really floor it to get to Belle Isle at 7:56PM, and they were more than happy to make 2 (GIGANTIC) lobster rolls for us and let us sit there to eat them, even though they close at 8PM.

                      2. Neptune. Its the best lobster I've ever had. No doubt. If you go for lunch on a weekday, you won't have a problem.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: ecwashere7

                          When at Neptune deciding on the lobster roll is just step one; then the big decision= hot with butter or cold with mayo?

                          1. re: Blue Point

                            Hot with butter is my choice. Neptune's roll is a winner because of the copious amounts of lobster (in huge chunks). If cold with mayo was the only option, it would still be be the best.

                            1. re: ecwashere7

                              In all fairness souldnt the Neptune roll be compared to TWO of the other roll since it costs 2x the price? Attached is a photo of a roll I got at a shack in Maine last weekend. Perhaps the best roll i have had. I got the mayo option but it was available with butter too.

                              1. re: hargau

                                Love the huge claw chunks in there. Which shack in ME was this? We had god rolls (and onion rings) at Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Co near Freeport recently, but always looking for that transcendent ME experience.

                                1. re: Gabatta

                                  this was at the pemaquid fishermans co-op in pemaquid maine. Note this hotdog roll is an extra long one. Came with a bag of cape-cod chips and roll was grilled. $16. No celery or filler. And not frozen meat like many places use. Freshly picked on location.

                              2. re: ecwashere7

                                Neptune Lobster Roll, so warm and delicious.

                                It was enough for my sister and me to split!

                            2. re: ecwashere7

                              Is there any other place that sells great lobster rolls of the buttered kind other than Neptune?

                              1. re: sonali

                                99 is advertising one ;)

                                /me ducks

                                Buttered isn't the Boston way of serving lobster rolls. More of a Connecticut tradition.

                                If the meat is good, it doesn't need butter. A little on the hot dog roll? Absolutely. But don't overwhelm the meat!

                            3. I also like the one at Castle Island(only $9.99!) and the view of the harbor halfway around the castle can't be beat!

                              1. B&G and Neptune are excellent options, but I love the simplicity of getting a lobster roll at James Hook Lobsters ( always loaded with super-fresh, plump lobster meat,) and sitting on one of the picnic tables out front overlooking the park that was once the elevated expressway. This is only an option during the day, but since it is right next to the water, it is a good one.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Salognese

                                  James Hook looks interesting; which location? The retail location on Northern? I would like a lobster roll (or three) and don't really want a restaurant sit down, order drinks do, but casual, sit outside shack type (in Boston). This might do.

                                  1. re: itryalot

                                    I think that is the only location, but yes that is the correct address.

                                    Hook has the best lobster meat going. That is where we buy whole tails and claws for a holiday or party treat. Sometimes I get a roll to go if I am there to pick up other stuff. However I find the roll a bit lacking on meat (not a terrible value for the price though). It isn't crazy to put down 2 of them.

                                  2. re: Salognese

                                    I like James Hook too; but my only complaint is that the rolls are pre-made and kept in the fridge. I would like my hotdog buns grilled and warm. Apart from that, its freshness and price can't be beat!

                                    1. re: y2000k

                                      Completely agree. The ungrilled rolls prevent Hook's from achieving greatness. BTW, their crab rolls are very good too..but same prob with rolls.

                                      For best, I prefer Neptune..great fries and oyster selection too..though very pricey.

                                      Admittedly, I'm downtown centric and haven't been to Bell Isle or others mentioned.

                                      Fortunately, I've been out of the market for lobster rolls the last few weeks because my own pots have been very productive..:)...but if I'm buying, it's usually Hooks or Neptune..depending on he atmosphere I want.

                                      OT, but had a real good roll at the Muffin Shop in Mblhd at a fair price..maybe $12

                                      1. re: 9lives

                                        Nothing like having your own pots, I'm fortunate as well with a few friends from the Neck who are very generous with their catch. It's hard for me at times to order lobster out, because I like my own prep. While, I like Neptune's roll, I give a slight edge to B&G but I think that's because I like their homemade slaw and pickles. I really like the roll at Kingfish Hall as well.

                                        Kingfish Hall
                                        188 South Market Building, Boston, MA 02109

                                      2. re: y2000k

                                        Agreed. The problem with Hook is the non-fresh, non-grilled roll. Part of the lobster roll experience for me is the hot, buttered, grilled roll.

                                        1. re: y2000k

                                          The only thing worse than the fact that the Hook roll is ice cold is that it contains a copious amount of finely diced celery that is way too small to pick out.