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Lobster in Portland, Maine?

I'm going to be up in Portland at the end of the month, and I have a craving for lobsters (and maybe a lobster roll for lunch the next day). I'm staying at the Clarion, midway between the airport and downtown. What I'm looking for is what we used to call a "lobster pound," a joint where you can get a platter of lobsters, steamer clams and maybe some sides (corn on the cob, slaw, etc.), and eat them outside (or maybe better, a screened porch) on a picnic table. The best atmosphere is, of course, a place right on the docks.

Anyway, I know of a place in Freeport that meets the description, but I wonder if there are any closer to Portland itself. Haven't had a good lobster dinner in a while, and want to indulge.

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  1. The only place that meets this description in Portland is 3 Sons Lobster Company on Commercial St. It's not quite lobster pound in the regular sense. It's on the pier (almost like an alley way) next to RiRa near the ferry terminal. You can look for the guy wearing a well worn lobster suit on the sidewalk with the words "Eat Me" printed on. You litterally walk into the place, order your lobster and sides then go outside to eat at the picnic benches. They give you newspaper and paper towels and you have at it. It's the best you can do in Portland for your very basic lobster at a reasonable price. Portland Lobster Company is a lot more civilized but you'll pay a premium. 3 Sons is nowhere near as scenic as Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company in South Freeport if that's your other choice.

    1. If you take a walk down by the Ferry Terminal, you will find many such places

      1 Reply
      1. re: MaineLobster

        Many such places? That doesn't sound right. Can you name a few?

        What @bobbert said is good info, though I would add Two Lights for an amazing setting for a lobster dinner.

      2. In Portland, the Porthole is a kind of funky place with a great dock/deck. Also J's Oyster for funky fun. Has outdoor eating on the wharf, though paved with asphalt. More "scenic" indoors than out perhaps? There's Portland Lobster Co. right on Commercial St., but maybe Bobbert is right about 3 Sons for best deal. Great oysters. Again, love the Cundy's Harbor location. A drive up from Portland: to Brunswick, and then down a peninsula.

        1. Oh yeah, G & R Dimillo in the bayside neighborhood (not the restaurant boat) has been running an all you can eat lobster special -up to five lobsters - for $25.

          7 Replies
          1. re: bobbert

            Make the trip to Gurnet Trading Co. in Brunswick. You won't regret it.

            1. re: spotpea

              Had lunch at Gurnet Trading today and wow--best haddock plate I had in years... Very large portions @ very low prices.... They must of sold 50 soft shell lobsters while I was having lunch @ $3.59 #.
              Big menu, 6-8 tables inside and more outside. Huge selection of fish for eat-inor take home...

              1. re: irwin

                Thanks you guys, we're spending our last night in Maine in Brunswick; now I know where we'll be eating. This place looks great.


                1. re: irwin

                  Am curious exactly what is soft shell lobster???am a seafood freak but never heard of this,is it like soft shell crab???please share.

                  1. re: mutti

                    A soft shell lobster is one that has recently molted; the new shell is not exactly soft, but thinner than that of a hard shell lobster. It's easier to wrestle with - sometimes you can eat the whole thing with your bare hands - and some say the meat is sweeter. A soft shell lobster is often watery, since he hasn't yet filled out his shell.

                    1. re: mutti

                      The other thing about soft shell lobster is that it is too fragile to sell outside of Maine, so those outside Maine do not get it. I always use just hands to break it up. I think it is sweeter, and prefer it. Also cheap right now.

                      1. re: mainehound

                        I personally much prefer hard shall although they cost twice as much, you get twice as much or more meat in hard shell. Yes, soft shell is sweater and much easier to break apart, but it has much less meat then hard shell. I believe I read that it takes 5-years to grow a 1 # lobster, so a 2# lobster is about 10 years old. Lobster business is big in Maine but also big in Canada where the water is colder.

              2. Lobster simple is best at the pounds or shacks like the Portland Lobster Co. On a pier off Commercial Street or the Lobster Shack in SouthPortland at Cape Elizabeth. Fresh simple affordable. If you want lobsters to go Brown Seafood Trading Co also alomng Commercial St. If you want impeccable seafood including lobsters or scallops turn to Fore St. Restaurant, or the BackBay Grille or Street And Company. If you want affordable, commodity but serviceable chowders and shellfish look to Gilberts on Commercial St. Hard not to find really fresh seafood inPortland, but a wide range of preparations. Man v Food did an article on lobster rolls outside of Portland that could be fun to track down and target some visits based on his experiences.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ThanksVille

                  I think you are referring to a chapter in Adam Richman's book. One of the places he hit was Fisherman's Grill on Forest Ave in Portland. When we ate there last year -- when the place had barely been discovered (it had two reviews on Yelp, now it has 83; I consider the place one of my top chowhounding finds) -- they had a copy of the book sitting out.

                  Whatever you may think of Yelp, Fisherman's Grill has a 5-star rating, which is very unusual given the number of reviews.On urbanspoon, 100 percent "Like" out of 22 raters, again very unusual.

                2. OK, here's my report.

                  I went to 3 Sons on the wharf. A great experience, but be forewarned, it's primarily a fish market, not really set up for those who want to eat there. But still a great experience. I got a 1.5 lb soft shell (at $4.69/lb), 2 pounds of steamers (about $3.50/lb) and an ear of corn. They have a Moundain De soda machine out front by the picnic tables, but you can walk back to Commercial St., where there's a beer&wine store that also sells a wider variety of soda. I got a Moxie, just to keep it regional.

                  Going there on a Saturday evening was probably not the best idea -- they were busy, and it took a while for my order to get steamed. But it was worth it. I ripped that lobster apart, and though the claws were a bit small, I thought there was plenty of meat inside. The clams were OK, but they don't serve clam juice, which I like to use to wash the sand off the clams before dipping in the butter. I got to watch the ferries come in and out, and a water taxi came by to pick someone up. All in all, a great Maine lobster experience.

                  The next morning, I had breakfast at the Porthole. The poached egg was fantastic, the corned beef hash was a bit salty and could have been cooked a bit longer to crisp up the outside. Great atmosphere, though. Then I went back to 3 Sons and bought some swordfish steaks and haddock to take to camp and crill up and make in chowder.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ConsApi

                    Nice touch going with the Moxie. You earned my respect. BTW, the beer and wine place has a great beer selection.