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Best lobster roll thats not 30 bucks

Coming to boston on buissness and I would love a great seafood fix!! Please help an out of town guy get steered into the right direction. I lovelobster rolls and raw bars so fell free to offer your opinions. Thanks

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  1. The two suggestions you're going to get are Island Creek Oyster Bar and Neptune Oyster. Do a search and you'll find 3 million (rough estimate) threads talking about them. Both are excellent in their own way.

    6 Replies
    1. re: mkfisher

      Also the more take-out places like James Hook, Yankee Lobster, and Alive-n-Kicking. There's bunch of related threads below that will allow you to dive into the subject.

      1. re: emannths

        Yankee lobster down in the seaport area

      2. re: mkfisher

        Neptune can be hard to get a seat at - small place - so plan accordingly. Not sure about the rush at ICOB, the one time I've eaten there was a weekday night and although crowded, getting a bar seat was not a challenge..

        1. re: mkfisher

          sadly the lobster roll at ICOB seems to have gotten smaller...at least the one i had today was almost as small as the one at B&G Oyster...

          1. re: barleywino

            Agreed about ICOB.....moreover, the one I had a couple of months ago was finely minced lobster with lots of celery and onion (blech). Couldn't even taste the lobster.....quite frankly, the worst lobster roll I have *ever* had. I would even prefer D'Angelo's over ICOB, made with frozen meat (but lots of it, and unadulterated!).

          2. re: mkfisher

            Out side of Boston on the North Shore, but here's my .02. Going to Plum Island, Bob Lobster is very good, not too much mayo, great fresh lobster. MY favorite is the lobster roll at Hampton Airfield. Foot long roll filled nicely, and the bacon laced potato salad is good as well. Tough to beat for $12.00. Besides, how do you beat sitting outside watching planes while chowing down?

          3. Just make sure where you go, you have thought about whether you want mayo or not.. I've always enjoyed getting a take-out lobster roll from Belle Isle near the airport (although I will say a local told me that of all places - Kelly's - serves a better lobster roll.

            How are you coming? Flying into Logan or driving up? Because the CT classic hot lobster roll is a nice thing to try as well...

            To be honest, I've never really enjoyed these Boston lobster roll threads, because of how simple a good lobster roll is.. . You can buy a couple of chicken lobsters, steam them up right, pick 'em, and drop the into a toasted split top roll, maybe with some drawn butter, and have a great lobster roll. You can have an even better roll if you are sitting on a deck at Red's Eats or Young's Lobster Pound or Muscongus Bay Lobster on a sunny day. The ambiance adds a LOT to the experience.. not to demean a Neptune roll, its just a very fancy version of a very simple sandwich..

            8 Replies
            1. re: grant.cook

              Even locals can have bad taste....they use frozen lobster meat at Kellys.

              1. re: LeoLioness

                That is true but I still consider it to be a mighty fine lobster roll. Never encountered waterlogged meat which is the scourge of frozen. Others disagree but that's what this board is all about.

                1. re: yumyum

                  Ah, you're lucky, then. The last one I had from there was dreadful. Literally, it will be the last!

                  1. re: LeoLioness

                    Me too. The kelly roll to me is the worst. If they were free, i wouldn't want another one. Was totally soaking wet/soggy the meat was like eating sponge, no flavor at all and ice cold. horrible.

                    1. re: hargau

                      I had a Kelly's lobster roll once and it was terrible, I agree. Probably like the McDonalds one is like (not that Ive had one).

                    2. re: LeoLioness

                      I see a lot of detractors about Kelly's on this board, but I've lived in the Boston area for 20 years now and this lobster roll has spoiled me for any other. I've tried them all, from Maine through those frequently mentioned here in Boston. I lived in Winthrop for a while as well, and Belle Isle's don't do it for me either, niether do locals frequent the place. Kelly's roll, frozen meat or not (I don't have a clue), features about a half-pound of huge chunks of lobster on a perfectly grilled bun. I've not experienced the sogginess that other complain about. My Vermont family craves lobster rolls, so when I travel home I get them to go, lobster packed separately. Last time I asked for the fixings for 6 rolls, but easily got enough meat in the container for 10 huge rolls. I don't get why anyone would pay $25 for an appetizer-sized lobster roll at Neptune, or why one would go to a fishy-smelling shop like Belle Isle for a lobster roll fix, when you can dine seaside on a hearty Kelly's roll. Chowder is terrific too.

                      1. re: rosiebcook

                        I vastly prefer fresh to frozen lobster. It's that simple. Kellys does have its charms, but the lobster roll isn't one of them for me.

                        (appetizer-sized roll at Neptune? Yikes, I'd hate to see what you consider an entree!)

                        1. re: LeoLioness

                          I agree. the Neptune lobster roll is huge and so is the portion of excellent fries tht comes with it.

              2. had a very tender lobster roll recently at Harvest ($22)

                1. I really like the lobster roll at Castle Island for $10 and the priceless harbor view to enjoy it with.

                  7 Replies
                      1. re: lc02139

                        Good to know. I haven't been over to CI in a few months but I didnt think they opened till later.

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          Just had a lobster roll from Sullivan's for lunch today. Excellent value for $10! Onion rings were good, too! CI and all of the South Boston beaches are mobbed today. MAJOR state police presence!

                          1. re: Tonality666

                            Skip Day for local schools so cops are at all the beaches.

                            "But officer I'm not skipping, it's my lunch break. I'm just here for the lobster rolls"

                            1. re: Tonality666

                              Was at castle island yesterday late and it was still crowded. Sullivans also does breakfast sandwiches and decent coffee.

                      2. re: catsmeow

                        Yes, I hope Sullivans is Smart enough to open before Saint Patricks day. They have been open for a while for the season. Everything at Sullivans is pretty good. Yes, the view is tough to beat.

                      3. IIRC it's like $15 or $20 at Belle Isle and very generous. Definitely out of the way for where you're probably going to be doing business but worth considering. I don't like a lot of their fried stuff but for a lobster roll it's a good place to go if you have a car.

                        1. The hot lobster roll at Neptune is really delicious. Just lobster and butter. About $25 including fries.

                          1. $18.99 (still) at Belle Isle. Was up there on Sunday, and it comes with either too many french fries or too many onion rings, or too much cole slaw, or waaay too much rice. But the roll is easily 8 ounces of fresh, sweet lobster meat. Chock full of tail and claw and knuckle meat. You have to eat the first 2/3 of it with a fork, no way to get it into your mouth in the roll.

                            Sullivan's (at Castle Island) is the best $9.99 lobster roll you'll find. Frozen, and no tail chunks, but still very good for the price.

                            Kelly's lobster roll is dreadful. Frozen and damp and not very tasty. If you go to Kelly's, get the roastbeef or the fried clams (although the clams are better at Belle Isle)

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: L2k

                              Thanks for the info that Sullivans uses frozen lobster meat. I am not a snob on most things..but I don't eat lobster rolls w/frozen meat regardless of how cheap they are. What's the point? It can't compare to frozen. To me..the best thing they sell at Kellys is the hamburger.

                              1. re: BlueMagic

                                I believe the reference of frozen lobster applied to Kelleys. Sullivans lobster is fresh.

                                1. re: libertywharf

                                  "Sullivan's (at Castle Island) is the best $9.99 lobster roll you'll find. Frozen, and no tail chunks, but still very good for the price."

                                  I don't know how much clearer that can be...but since I haven't tried Sullivans yet..I will let you two hash it out and eventually the truth will come out. If Sullivan's is serving fresh lobster in it's rolls for 9.99 then I am going there tout de suite...!

                                  1. re: BlueMagic

                                    Ok, I see it now. But there seems to be more positive comments about Sullivans. I can see how you would fixate on the only negative comment. Sullivans does volume and is packed all day. I can also tell you that two cheeseburgers and a small fry is close to six dollars, and you will not find anything better around.
                                    If you actually went to Sullivans, you might understand how and why they keep their prices low.

                                    1. re: libertywharf

                                      I've no doubt that Sullivan's serves great burgers and other stuff..since I have heard it from many of my friends. I certainly wasn't fixating on a negative comment..simply saying thank you to the poster who said it was frozen lobster meat.I believe that is one of the purposes of this site. Not sure what you are seeing since you obviously don't know me..but I happen to dislike frozen lobster meat that is all. Certainly wasn't "trashing" Sullivans.
                                      It is possible to like a food establishment without liking everything on the menu. I can think of half a dozen restaurants that I like but would not get a lobster roll at. No need to take it personally.
                                      Just out of curiosity..have you even tried the lobster roll?

                                      1. re: BlueMagic

                                        I'm pretty sure Sullivan's doesn't use frozen lobster meat.

                                        1. re: catsmeow

                                          Thank you for the clarification without drama or personal attack. That is always appreciated :-)

                                          You would be right when you say that Sullivan's uses fresh lobster meat..not frozen. Because I know how these "he said, she said" conversations can continue in a never ending fashion online, I decided to go right to the source. I had a very pleasant conversation with a guy at Sullivan's and he assured me unequivocally that Sullivan's uses fresh lobster..so L2K had some wrong information and Liberty Wharf was right when she/he said "fresh". Between the fresh lobster meat and the funny conversation, I finally see a trip to Sullivan's in the near future.

                                          To the OP...obviously 9.95 for fresh lobster meat should put Sullivan's at the top of your list. You certainly won't find it cheaper.

                                          1. re: BlueMagic

                                            Color me surprised and apologetic!

                                            Having never seen tail meat in the dozen or so Sully's lobster rolls I've eaten, I jumped to a conclusion.

                                            Shame on me.

                                            1. re: L2k

                                              Maybe whomever picks it for 'em (they might not pick on site - that's the next question to ask) sends the tail meat elsewhere.. would help keep a $10 roll somewhat profitable..

                                              1. re: L2k

                                                L2K..No worries..! It would be easy to understand how you assumed that. My guess is GrantCook is exactly right on why they are able to keep the cost so low. Lack of tail meat would lower the cost substantially....if they sell a large volume..that would also bring the cost down and at 9.95 I am sure they sell a ton.

                                                1. re: BlueMagic

                                                  That is a big assumption by you blue magic, for never have tried the lobster roll at Sullivans. I am surprised you did not ask your "friend" from Sullivans if they had it or not.
                                                  There is a new thread regarding the lobster roll at hook lobster. Their prices are pretty low as well so I guess no tail meat there either.
                                                  One reason Neptune needs to charge so much is: their rent is thru the roof.

                              2. The Lobsta Love food truck is worth a mention as they have lots of "small bite" style options for sub-$10 lobster+bread combinations. For example I think they do a brioche bun with a dollop of their lobster mixture for around $5 that satisfies for a few bites.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: chickendhansak

                                  Yes, the lobsta food truck is good and another one who brings the price of their lobster in at a reasonable price.

                                2. North End fish market, courthouse Seafood, both around $12.

                                  1. Choate Bridge Pub--Ipswich Center

                                    1. I had a very nice CT-style lobster roll in Salem at the Lobster Shanty last week. 19 bucks, moderate size, came with fries (which could have used an extra minute in the fryer). The lobster meat itself was great, though - tender and sweet. Not really heavily buttered at all - the roll actually held up until the end. I wouldn't make a special trip for it but if you're in Salem it's a good option. Very friendly people as well and a tasty grilled romaine salad made for a place I'd definitely go back to.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: MichaelB

                                        +1 on the Lobster Shanty. To be honest with you, I do feel the best lobster rolls are outside of Boston anyhow. I have never once paid more than $20 for a great lobster roll chock full loster meat including claw and tail meat. I mean really, unless you live in Boston and don't have access to a car, then I would venture outside the city. On the North Shore, there is Lobster Shanty, Woodmans, Ipwich Clam Box, Joe Fish/The Loft and in NH there is the Beach Plum ( where by the way, you can get a footlong lobster roll for $32 but you'd better bring a couple of people to share it because it would be impossible for one person to finish). The best hot lobster roll I've had is at the Maine Diner in Wells.
                                        I am sure there are equally as good places South of Boston as well.

                                        1. re: BlueMagic

                                          Up next on Man vs. Food...

                                          "you can get a footlong lobster roll for $32 but you'd better bring a couple of people to share it because it would be impossible for one person to finish"

                                        2. Shouldn't this thread be titled "Best lobster roll under 20 bucks", or something to that effect? Finding a $30+ lobster roll is nearly impossible (thankfully). With that said, if you love lobster rolls and you are visiting Boston from out of town, I would definitely pony up the $25 and go to Neptune. My girlfriend and I are no strangers to fine dining and we both agree that if we could pick our last meal on earth, the entree would be a lobster roll from Neptune (and we've tried some of the best, including Red's Eats in Wiscasset, ME). Although Neptune doesn't take reservations, they do take your phone number when you get there and they call you about 10 minutes before your table is ready. Get there early, give them your name and number, and go grab cannoli to-go from Mike's and Modern (along with a piece of terrone from Modern). Later, you can go back to your hotel with two of the best cannoli on earth and do a blind tasting. You can thank me later!

                                          1. If you are ever in Andover (25 min north) try Hometown Seafoods for BEST Lobster roll ever! And great chowdah too.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: kremati

                                              That lobster roll at hometown is on the same playing field as Courthouse and maybe Mercato del Mare.

                                              1. re: kremati

                                                I go to Hometown Seafoods a couple of times a week for fresh fish. To be honest, I've only tried their lobster roll once and thought is was soggy. To be fair however, I bought it at a booth they had set up during Andover Days ( or one of those little fairs they have throughout the year). Based on the good comments..I will try it again..this time directly from the shoppe.