Best Lobster Roll in Maine/Massachusetts (2016)


The lobster roll is not a sandwich made for penny pinching with most of the nominated sandwiches coming in around the $20 mark. But as they say, you get what you pay for, and if sweet chunky lobster is what you want it is well worth the price.

  • Bayview Takeout

    Bayview Takeout
    Beals, Maine

    Open seasonally, this fast food joint describes itself as serving "wicked good seafood and burgers” and is a favorite of locals, including lobster boat owners. The lobster roll is what lobster dreams are made of: a butter-toasted bun topped with tender, sweet lobster meat and just enough mayo to bind it all together. Diners order from a takeout window and enjoy to-go or on nearby picnic tables.
    Photo courtesy of Bayview Takeout / Facebook

  • Bramhall's Country Store

    Bramhall's Country Store
    Plymouth, Mass.

    In 1828 George Bramhall paid $25.00 for a circa 1750 building that had housed one of the first U.S. post offices. That building would become Bramhall’s, known today for three summer staples: lobsters, corn and ice cream. Despite being open less than half the year, their lobster rolls are described as “lobster roll heaven.” This takes the form of a buttered and grilled New England style roll filled with fresh, sweet, cold, chunky lobster meat and just enough mayo to hold everything together, served with a smile through a take-out window .
    Photo courtesy of Joey Dimaggio

  • The Clam Shack

    The Clam Shack
    Kennebunkport, Maine

    The roll at The Clam Shack, Kennebunkport's famous seafood shack, is one of the few lobster rolls in our travels not served on the traditional split top bun, but this has no bearing on the greatness of this sandwich. This roll comes with a fresh-picked meat from a pound of claw, knuckle and tail meat with either a swipe of mayo, a drizzle of warm butter or a little of both.
    Photo courtesy of The Clam Shack

  • Bite into Maine

    Bite into Maine
    Cape Elizabeth, Maine

    This “Mainecentric mobile eatery” has a lobster roll for everyone, including “Maine Style” with light mayo and fresh chives, “Connecticut Style” with hot butter and “Picnic Style” with layers of coleslaw, hot butter, celery salt, wasabi, curry or chipotle. This array of options may give lobster roll purists great pause, but it has landed Bite into Maine on many top lobster roll lists – including ours – and the backdrop of the lighthouse lends itself to a perfect lobster roll experience.
    Photo courtesy of Bite into Maine

  • Perkins Cove Lobster Shack

    Perkins Cove Lobster Shack
    Ogunquit, Maine

    The building that houses The Lobster Shack was fittingly a lobstermen’s shack used for storage of traps and other fishing equipment. It was converted into a restaurant in 1947. This classic minimalist lobster roll comprises a buttered and grilled New England Style bun with a quarter-pound of lobster meat, served without or without mayo. Diners with a big appetite can order a Double Lobster Roll with twice the meat.
    Photo courtesy of Perkins Cove Lobster Shack / Facebook

  • Bagaduce Lunch

    Bagaduce Lunch
    Penobscot, Maine

    Famous for its fried clams, Bagaduce Lunch also serves up a mean, no-frills lobster roll, considered a good value for money compared to many places nearby. This seafood shack on the banks of a tidal river only opens seasonally, and diners chowing down on lobster rolls might spot a seal while sitting at one of the many riverside picnic tables.
    Photo courtesy of Bagaduce Lunch / Facebook

  • The Lobster Pool

    The Lobster Pool
    Rockport, Mass.

    Open April through October, The Lobster Pool offers "no-nonsense, no celery lobster rolls”. The location on Cape Ann in Rockport isn't bad either; frequent patrons aren’t sure if the view makes the food better or the food makes the view better, but in any event, you can’t go wrong.
    Photo courtesy of The Lobster Pool

  • Red's Eats

    Red's Eats
    Wiscasset, Maine

    Another best lobster roll contender open seasonally, Red’s is an actual lobster shack, about the size of a minivan with no inside seating and wait times often exceeding an hour. That is hardly a deterrent for those in search of the best lobster roll. The “Roll of Fame” as it is called, was inspired by the late Al Gagnon, owner of Red’s Eats for 31 years, and is an overflowing mound of sweet, chunky meat in a butter-grilled cradle. It is served dry with a side of mayo or butter. Each roll has the meat of two claws popping up from below and a whole split lobster tail over the top, a rather enjoyable way to eat a whole lobster, claim frequent patrons.
    Photo courtesy of Mandy / Flickr

  • Eventide Oyster Co.

    Eventide Oyster Co.
    Portland, Maine

    Definitely not your average lobster shack, with beautiful indoor seating available year round, Eventide has the most unique and chefy lobster roll of all our nominees. Despite its departure from the classic, it's still quite simple: bread, lobster and a light sauce to keep it all together. The vehicle is a home-baked steamed bun filled with a lobster that has been tossed in a brown butter vinaigrette and served alongside an Asian-inspired salad with pickled vegetables.
    Photo courtesy of Eventide Oyster Co.

  • Periwinkles Restaurant

    Periwinkles Restaurant
    Essex, Mass.

    Periwinkles is located in one of the most historically significant areas of Essex, a community famous for wooden shipbuilding for nearly 300 years. Large picture windows line two sides of the restaurant, where diners can view the beautiful waterfront. Although it has won numerous awards for its clam chowder, Periwinkles boasts a “Gourmet Lobster Roll” well worth its price tag. It has the meat of an entire lobster mixed with very light mayo on a toasted buttery brioche roll. Quality and quantity make this a top notch lobster roll.
    Photo courtesy of Periwinkles Restaurant


There is more debate about the history of and the proper way to make a lobster roll than perhaps any other Readers' Choice sandwich. Some claim it was invented in Maine, considered home to the best lobsters in the world, at Bayley’s Lobster Pound at Pine Point. Others claim it was the Nautilus Tea Room in Marblehead, Massachusetts that came up with the idea.

The debate doesn’t stop at the origins. Should it be dressed in mayonnaise or butter? Does it need celery and paprika or is it better served plain? The most consistent features of a lobster roll are the flat sided, open topped “New England Style” hot dog bun that is buttered and toasted and the lobster chunks – never shredded – to maintain the delicate sweetness of the meat. Several of the region's best lobster rolls are only available in summer and fall as the venues close during the off-season, while others are offered in more upscale establishments year round.

We asked 10Best and USA TODAY readers to help us name the best lobster roll in Maine and Massachusetts. After four weeks of voting, the results are in, and according to readers, Maine wins the battle of the lobster rolls with seven of the top 10 representing the state.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Lobster Roll in Maine/Massachusetts are as follows:

  1. Bayview Takeout - Beals, Maine
  2. Bramhall's Country Store - Plymouth, Mass.
  3. The Clam Shack - Kennebunkport, Maine
  4. Bite into Maine - Cape Elizabeth, Maine
  5. Perkins Cove Lobster Shack - Ogunquit, Maine
  6. Bagaduce Lunch - Penobscot, Maine
  7. The Lobster Pool - Rockport, Mass.
  8. Red's Eats - Wiscasset, Maine
  9. Eventide Oyster Co. - Portland, Maine
  10. Periwinkles Restaurant - Essex, Mass.

Other eateries nominated in this category included B&G Oysters in Boston; Belle Isle Seafood in Winthrop, Mass.; Chatham Pier Fish Market in Chatham, Mass.; Eagles Nest Restaurant in Brewer, Maine; Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown, Maine; Ipswich Clambake in Ipswich, Mass.; Neptune Oyster in Boston; Roy Moore Lobster Co. in Rockport, Mass; Thurston's Lobster Pound in Bernard, Maine and Windward Grille Restaurant in Essex, Mass.

Congratulations to all our wining restaurants, and remember to keep this list handy next time you're visiting New England!

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