Best lobster rolls in Boston
Established in 2004, Neptune Oyster is exemplary in its East Coast raw bar perfection. Neptune’s lobster roll - available hot with butter or cold with mayo, and served on a toasted brioche roll - is one of the city’s most lauded. Given the cramped environs, expect to wait out the door for one of the marble-topped tables or a seat at the bar.
Island Creek’s rosemary-flecked roll provides a solid base, but the star is the ultra-fresh lobster, which comes straight from Maine’s York Harbor, via Chef Jeremy Sewall’s “Cousin Mark.” The lobster is mixed with mayo, celery, pickles, red onions, and crème fraiche. Sewall's lengthy, seafood-focused menu also includes Rhode Island striped bass, Montauk bluefish, grilled Maine salmon, Cape Cod scallops, and more.
Row 34 serves a pair of lobster rolls (based on Chef Jeremy Sewall’s grandmother’s recipe) similar to those served at its sibling establishment, Island Creek Oyster Bar. Those looking for a sinful treat tend to go for the warm option, in which sweet lobster meat, prepped with just a little melted butter and salt, is packed into a griddled soft roll.
Barbara Lynch fans argue there’s no better spot for a lobster roll than her subterranean South End eatery. Fresh meat from a one-and-a-quarter-pounder is dressed with just a little mayo plus celery, lemon juice, salt, fresh cracked pepper and a pinch of chives on top. When the weather allows, the backyard patio is a popular spot for alfresco dining.
Lobster lovers drive to the sleepy seaside town of Winthrop in search of Belle Isle’s lobster roll. A traditional griddled hot dog bun somehow supports a huge portion of lightly-dressed lobster chunks, topped with a full claw. Given the shack’s waterside location, consider a water taxi for the full experience.
The James Beard Award-winning Portland restaurant is famous for its brown butter lobster roll: a singular treat in which the bao-like bun soaks up the delicious dressing while complimenting the sweet Maine lobster meat. Since it opened its Fenway location, Eventide has been luring gourmands to sample its unique take on the classic sandwich.
For those who might claim they’ve tried it all, seafood-wise, Saltie Girl finds ways to always reinvigorate the classics; the warm lobster roll is topped with beurre blanc and lobster roe. (There’s also a refreshing cold version, kissed with mayo.) The kitchen uses fresh lobster meat from Gloucester, and, for a real splurge, extra lobster meat can be ordered by the ounce.
As the flagship location within the iconic Legal Sea Foods empire, Legal Harborside offers three floors of different dining experiences, all with sweeping views of Boston Harbor. Grab a waterfront table in back and dig in to a traditional warm or cold roll; as with all of Legal’s dishes, the seafood is exceptionally fresh.
The two-floor North Square is a throwback gem, with penny tiles, cafe-style seating, oversized windows and a neon sign out front. The kitchen puts out a classic roll, stuffed with fresh lobster and served cold with mayo or warm with brown butter. A return trip is required to properly explore the raw bar offerings, including various Massachusetts oysters.
Set right on Boston Harbor, this red-shingled seafood shack and open-air tent provides an idyllic waterfront spot for enjoying a lobster roll. The cold version is made with mayo and celery, while the warm version features lobster poached in butter. Office workers and out-of-towners crowd the picnic tables beneath lamps made of Christmas light-strung lobster traps.