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Island Creek Oyster Bar, lobster roll
Photograph: Michael Harlan TurkellEthel’s Creamy Lobster Roll at Island Creek Oyster Bar

Boston’s most iconic dish has just been announced

Boston voted, and the results are clear: The luxurious lobster roll is The Hub's one can’t-miss dish.

Written by
Eric Grossman

Earlier this year, thousands of people responded to the Time Out Index survey, and we can now reveal what our readers declared as Boston's most iconic dish. The lobster roll stood head and shoulders (or is it claws and antennae?) above the field, with clam chowder coming in second, and lobster coming in third.

Curious to see some other can't-miss dishes, according to Time Out's global audience? Check out our list of the world's most iconic dishes.

A fresh lobster roll offers all the sweet delicious meat without the mess. Traditionalists swear by the classic treatment—served on a humble hot dog bun with just a touch of mayo and a smidge of chopped celery—while serious foodies seek out creative interpretations crafted by top local chefs.

True aficionados know any lobster roll should be primarily judged on the freshness and quality of the protein; all the butter in the world can’t make up for rubbery chunks of bland, previously frozen lobster. But where should one go if they can only sample a single lobster roll in our fair metropolis?

The city's most lauded purveyors—Neptune Oyster and the Island Creek Oyster Bar/Row 34 empire—are a smart place to start. Each eatery offers a pair of (mostly traditional) lobster rolls, one warm with butter, the other cold with mayo.

For an acclaimed, modern option, check out Cusser’s at Time Out Market Boston, where guests choose between a hot version with red wine butter or a cold one with tarragon mayo.

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Stay tuned to Time Out for all the latest news on food and drink in The Hub.

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