Where are the best lobster rolls in Maine? The humble Maine lobster roll has been served up at rustic lobster shacks and take outs along the coast of Maine for generations. Now, companies like Luke’s Lobster and Cousins Maine Lobster are exporting the authentic Maine lobster roll experience to the bustling metropolises of New York City, DC, LA, Vegas Chicago and more. Such distribution as helped shine a spotlight on Maine lobster rolls and folks travelling to Maine are increasingly eager to find the best places to consume rolls within the state.
The Best Lobster Rolls In Maine
1. The Clam Shack, Kennebunkport, Maine
This bare-bones, roadside hut has been voted “fan favourite” in a heated NYC lobster roll competition (officially called The Lobster Roll Rumble). What makes The Clam Shack lobster roll so darned good? It all comes down to the way they treat their lobsters. The Clam Shack store their lobsters in fresh salt water tanks at the restaurant right up until they’re ready to be cooked, which keeps them plump and hydrated. They also only use new shell (or shedder) lobsters, which contain much sweeter meat than hard shell lobsters. Finally, they hand-shred the meat for their rolls, believing that knives cause oxidation, tainting the flavour. The Clam Shack do break code by serving their lobster meat warm and for using homemade dinner rolls vs. split-top buns. Diners also get the option of butter or mayo as a dressing.
2. Red’s Eats, Wiscasset, Maine
Red’s Eats is another unassuming roadside hut yet foodies are happy to wait over an hour in line in the summer months to experience Red’s lobster roll nirvana. Why is Red’s roll so good? As with The Clam Shack, they deliver a generous portion of unadulterated Maine lobster meat. Their roll comes with an entire one-pound lobster’s worth of nearly intact meat. This meat is served up in a grilled, split-top bun, with mayo or butter on the side. As with The Clam Shack, the lobster meat is hand torn.
3. Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Wharf, New Harbor, Maine
If you’re looking to wolf down a lobster roll in an authentic, “working” fishing village, head to New Harbor, Maine. Paul Newman filmed scenes from Message in a Bottle in this salty seaside town. From the second-story deck at Shaw’s wharf-side bar, you can watch fishermen pull up in their boats and drop off their catch. Shaw’s are renowned for their lobster roll which is described by Travel and Leisure Magazine as a scarcely buttered hot dog bun which “cradles glistening chunks of perfectly shredded, bite-size meat, nicely chilled yet not overly so, with a touch of mayo and lemon that doesn’t overwhelm the lobster.”
4. The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
A local landmark since the 1920s, The Lobster Shack at Two Lights offers postcard perfect views and excellent lobster rolls. Diners can enjoy their meal oceanside, on picnic tables perched just above the crashing surf, with a view of Portland Light, the most photographed lighthouse in the world. As for their lobster roll, it contains a generous serving of fresh lobster meat (each roll gets one soft shell lobster’s worth of meat) tucked into a buttered and toasted split-top bun on top of a bed of iceberg lettuce. It comes with a scoopful of Ken’s Extra Heavy Mayo sitting on top, as well as a pickle. They’ll also do melted butter upon request. During the busy months of July and August, The Lobster Shack at Two Lights easily hustle out 1,500 to 1,800 rolls a day. Expect long lines and total satisfaction.
5. Cook’s Lobster House, Bailey Island, Maine.
As rustic as its surroundings, Cook’s provides such a classic Maine environment that it was once featured in a Visa commercial about lobster. Cooks lobster rolls come with meat from a 1 pound lobster, a teaspoon of mayo and a pinch of salt and pepper and are served in a grilled split-top bun with a leaf of lettuce. The AAA once voted them the best lobster roll in Maine.