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Top 20 Restaurants & Shacks for the Best Lobster Rolls in New England

Charlestown Seafood Festival in Ninigret Park Charlestown RI Yes, there are at least two schools of lobster-roll preparation. Connecticut-style lobster roll is served warm and soaked with butter. In Maine, the lobster is cold and mixed with a little mayo. Some cooks like to add celery salt, paprika, diced celery, or lemon. Others keep it asimple, with the lightest touch of butter or mayo.

Note that many – but not all – of the restaurants listed below are open seasonally – summer into early fall -- and the setting is rustic, meaning picnic tables outdoors on docks and marinas. Many do not serve much in the way of side dishes or desserts or alcoholic beverages, but offer a BYOB invitation. Lobster shacks do not take reservations. Phone ahead if you might want to stop at the beverage store.

Rhode Island -- Midtown Oyster Bar

345 Thames Street Newport, RI Phone: 401-536-9985

Located in the summer-loving heart of Newport, the Midtown Oyster Bar has a rooftop deck with umbrella-shaded seating looking over the busy harbor and wharves below. The lobster roll achieves perfection, and there are many more seafood choices, with a key lime pie hovering in the background for dessert. Open year-round. Hours 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Reservations taken. Full bar. Credit cards accepted.

Cape Cod Massachusetts -- Sesuit Harbor Café

357 Sesuit Neck Road Dennis, MA Phone: 508-385-6134

This family-owned lobster shack overlooking Sesuit Harbor is open daily, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from May 1 to Columbus Day. Dining is all outdoors. The hefty lobster roll usually weighs about five to six ounces of lobster meat, and it comes with fries and coleslaw. Enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and watch the boating activity in the harbor.
Season: May 1-Columbus Day. Hours: daily 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Waiter service. BYOB welcome. No reservations. Cash only .

Massachusetts -- Neptune Oyster Bar

63 Salem Street Boston, MA Phone: 617-742-3474

Show up early to dine at this high-brow, popular, and small North End establishment. The lobster roll is served hot, with a heavy load of lobster meat and butter. The restaurant also serves the lobster roll cold, with mayo, for Maine-based purists. Plenty of other excellent seafood choices. Not recommended for children.
Hours: daily 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Waiter service. Wine and beer are served. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.

Massachusetts -- Woods Seafood

15 Town Pier Plymouth, MA Phone: 508-746-0261

Cozy seafood place in the heart of Plymouth. Your lobster roll at Woods comes from native live lobsters that range from one to six pounds. The owners note that if you’re in the area around mid-afternoon, you can stop by and see the local lobstermen arriving with their catch of the day! Lots of other delicious, expertly cooked, besides lobster.
Season: open daily year round. Hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Beer and wine served. Waiter service. Indoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.

Connecticut -- Lobster Landing

152 Commerce Street Clinton, CT Phone: 860-669-2005

Celebrate the virtue of simplicity at this tiny lobster shack on the Clinton Town Marina, where you eat at chairs and table on the dock, overlooking the water. Lobster pieces are served on a toasted, buttered hot dog roll – don’t expect mayo – this is Connecticut style. Bring your own sides and desserts. You can buy live seafood to take home.
Seasonal service. Hours: daily 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Waiter service. Outdoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted. Dogs allowed.

Rhode Island -- Bristol Oyster Bar

448 Hope St Bristol, RI Phone: 401-396-5820

This is a full-scale restaurant in Rhode Island’s quiet and beautiful East Bay region. Its slogan is “Everything from scratch using only the finest local ingredients” and customers do, in fact, rave about sies like house-made potato chips and specially brined pickles. For us, the topic is the lobster roll, described as simple perfection. Others in your party might want to taste the variety of oysters, from local waters where cultivation of this shellfish is a growing art.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 4-10:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; closed Mondays, Nor reservations. Full bar. Outdoor patio seating. Credit cards accepted.

Maine -- Morse’s Cribstone Grill

1945 Harpswell Islands Road Bailey Island, ME Phone: 207-833-7775

Another heartbreakingly beautiful Maine location, aside the bridge going out to Bailey’s Island. You can see lobster boats pull up to the dock as the restaurant owner heads out with his scales to weight and purchase your lobster lunch or dinner. Lobster roll is stuffed with fresh meat, as is the lobster stew. Many other delicious seafood items. Casco Bay cruise line ferries drop you off a short walk from the restaurant.
Hours: daily, 10:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. No reservations. Full bar, Indoor and Outdoor seating. Credit cards accepted.

New Hampshire -- The Beach Plum

Route 1 Portsmouth, NH Phone: 603-433-3339

Route 125, Epping 603-679-3200 Route 1A, North Hampton (open April-October) 603-694-7451 This popular place brags about its foot-long lobster roll with 20 ounces of lobster meat, no fillers, just a touch of mayo. A real lobster lover could do it. Lots of other seafood choices, too, and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Great for kids; fabulous local reputation. Other locations are in Route 125, Epping, (603-679-3200) and Route 1A, North Hampton (open April-October) (603-694-7451).
Season: open year-round except in North Hampton location (April to October). Hours: daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Serves beers and wine. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.

Rhode Island -- Matunuck Oyster Bar

629 Succotash Road Wakefield, RI Phone: 401-783-4202

The lobster roll at Matunuck Oyster Bar is made with fresh claw and knuckle meat and the roll is more like a grinder roll than a hot dog bun. Seating indoors and also on an outdoor patio, where you can watch the oyster boats come and go. Taste the oysters, even if that’s not what you came for. This place is popular; expect to wait for a table in summer.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Full bar. Waiter service. No reservations. Credit cards accepted. Valet parking.

Maine -- The Maine Diner

Route 1 Wells, ME Phone: 207-646-4441

The Maine Diner is famous, first, among people who love to eat, and who honor the tradition of roadside diners. Additionally, it serves some of the best lobster rolls in the state (note, however, that it is not sitting aside a dock or wharf, an extra perquisite of the typical lobster shack). The Maine Diner is known to viewers of "The Today Show" and “The Phantom Gourmet.” Its lobster pie and chowder also demonstrate heavenly uses of the maritime beast.
Open year-round, daily, at 7 a.m.

Cape Cod Massachusetts -- Chatham Pier Fish Market

45 Barcliff Avenue Ext. Chatham, MA Phone: 508-945-3474

Chatham, at the elbow of Cape Cod, is a famously snooty place, but to our relief the Chatham Pier Fish Market is all about substance and quality. It is more market than restaurant; you order from the counter and the only seating is at picnic tables outdoors, where you can watch the fishermen’s activities at the pier. The lobster roll is big and satisfying, serving on lettuce and a classic split-top roll.
Hours: daily 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. NO reservations; no indoor seating; no waiter service; no alcohol served; credit cards accepted.

Cape Cod Massachusetts -- The Friendly Fisherman

4580 Route 6 North Eastham, MA Phone: 508-255-3009

This family operation, which includes a fish market, has been buying, selling, and serving fresh seafood for nearly a decade. Customers say the lobster roll is packed, and the bun and mayo level are just right. Experts declare: Yankee Magazine’s Top Ten Lobster Rolls In New England; lobster rolls are even recommended by Rachael Ray! Winner for Best Lobster Rolls by Cape Cod Magazine; As Good as it Gets from ZAGAT; voted #1 Seafood Market by the Cape Codder; and named Best Seafood Restaurant on Outer Cape by Cape Cod Life.
Seasonal restaurant. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; no reservations; outdoor seating; no alcohol sold, but BYOB welcome; credit cards accepted.

Connecticut -- Abbott’s Lobster Shack

117 Pearl Street Noank, CT Phone: 860-536-7719

This is an authentic lobster shack: you order at a window and take a seat at a picnic table on a grassy space overlooking a beautiful harbor. In business since 1947, Abbott’s serves a lobster roll that’s a quarter-pound of meat on a toasted bun with an extra side of drawn butter. A cold lobster salad roll with mayo is available.
Season: early May to early October; weekends only in spring and fall. Hours: daily 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. BYOB welcome. Window service. Outdoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.

Maine -- Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier

16 Chauncey Creek Road Kittery Point, ME Phone: 207-439-1030

Located directly on Chauncey Creek River in the fun seaside town of Kittery, Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier has been serving the Maine classic since 1948. Many of the same families and friends have been enjoying their summertime lobster roll here for generations. Come by car or boat (you can dock at the pier). Lobster is fresh and bountiful.
Season: Mother’s Day- Columbus Day. Hours: daily 11 a.m.-8 p.m. BYOB welcome. Waiter service. Outdoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.

Maine -- Five Islands Lobster Co.

1447 Five Islands Road Georgetown, ME Phone: 207-371-2990

Five Islands Lobster Co. is on a working fishing wharf on Sheepscot Bay. The lobster in your lobster roll at this establishment is taken directly from the water, and not even stored temporarily in a tank. That means it is fresh, at the peak of flavor. The Ice Cream Building next door serves Annabelle’s Ice Cream, anther local specialty.
Season: May7-October 9. Hours: daily 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. BYOB welcome. Window service. Outdoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.

Maine -- Footbridge Lobster

108 Perkins Cove Road Ogunquit, ME Phone: 207-251-4217

Great lobster roll made with lobster fresh off the boat in this little joint in a touristy part of town. No frills, but big chunks of meat. Served on a toasted roll hot or cold, with butter or mayo. Simple and perfect.
Seasonal service. Hours: daily 7 a.m.-9 p.m. BYOB welcome. Window service. Outdoor seating. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.

Maine -- J’s Oyster

5 Portland Pier Portland, ME Phone: 207-772-4828

This is Maine, and a food-loving town, so expect good things at seafood restaurants in Portland, J’s Oyster is on the city wharf and overrun with tourists, because the food is excellent. Lobster rolls are stuffed with meat and served with no frills. There’s also a full bar and a wide selection of oysters and other seafood dishes. If you come in summer, expect to wait for a table.
Season: year-round. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Full bar. No reservations. Credit cards accepted.

Cape Cod Massachusetts -- The Raw Bar

HyLine Landing, 230 Ocean Street Hyannis, MA Phone: 508-775-8800

Located right at the pier, you can enjoy your first or last taste of Cape Cod at the start or end of your vacation at The Raw Bar. The lobster roll is packed with meat, and the lobster salad stands up equally well to a big appetite. If you are ambitious, try some raw oysters as a starter.
Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Indoor and outdoor seating. No reservations. Full bar. Credit cards accepted.