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

The best lobster rolls in Boston to try right now

These seafood-focused destinations all serve worthy interpretations of the beloved, hand-held local treat

By Eric Grossman and Time Out Boston Staff

How much do you love lobster? A fresh lobster roll offers all the delicious meat without the mess. The best lobster rolls in Boston can be found at some of the best seafood restaurants in Boston. You can try a classic variety made with just a touch of mayo and served on a humble hot dog bun, or one of the modern interpretations that many local chefs have devised—a Chinese-style bun and brown butter, perhaps, with a little creme fraiche. For other hand-held meal options, check out the best burgers in Boston or the best pizza in Boston. For more lobster deliciousness, explore the best lobster dishes in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Lobster roll purveyors we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

Cusser's Roast Beef & Seafood
Photograph: Stuart Rault

Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood

Restaurants Fenway/Kenmore

You’ll be cussing at the moon when forced to pick between the critically-lauded lobster rolls — served warm with lobster beurre rouge or cold with tarragon and grainy mustard mayo at Cusser’s, which began as a street-side takeout window at the Back Bay’s upscale Mooncusser Fish House. Chef Carolyn Johnson is inspired by the popular roast beef and seafood shacks that dot the North Shore, and her gourmet interpretations of comforting classics will forever change the way you view lobster rolls and sliced beef on a bun.

Best lobster rolls in Boston

Row 34
Photograph: Courtesy Row 34/Emily Hagen

1. Row 34

Restaurants Seafood Seaport District

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.

Neptune Oyster
Photograph: Courtesy Neptune Oyster/Ava Nace

2. Neptune Oyster

Restaurants Seafood North End

North End favorite 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 Oyster Bar, lobster roll
Photograph: Michael Harlan Turkell

3. Island Creek Oyster Bar

Restaurants Seafood Fenway/Kenmore

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.

B&G Oysters lobster roll
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Marianne P.

4. B&G Oysters

Restaurants Seafood South End

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.

Eventide Fenway
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sophie P.

5. Eventide Fenway

Restaurants Seafood Fenway/Kenmore

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.

Saltie Girl
Photograph: Courtesy Saltie Girl

6. Saltie Girl

Restaurants Seafood Back Bay

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 and, for a real splurge, extra lobster can be ordered by the ounce.

Yankee Lobster
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/ Robert K.

7. Yankee Lobster

Restaurants Seafood Seaport District

Head to this Seaport mainstay for lobster rolls, fried clams, steamers, chowder, and other classic seafood shack dishes. You'll find the classic hot and cold varieties, but why not go all out and try the fried version? Yankee Lobster is a perfect stop for a refuel while touring around Boston, and there's outdoor seating in good weather.

Belle Isle Seafood
Photograph: Courtesy Belle Isle Seafood

8. Belle Isle Seafood

Restaurants Seafood

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.

James Hook and Co lobster roll
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Dan J.

9. James Hook & Co

Restaurants Seafood Waterfront

This no-frills spot ships 50,000 pounds of lobster to restaurants and wholesale distributors around the country each day, so you know it's fresh and delicious. Served on a buttery roll and overflowing with meat, this lobster roll has just the right amount of mayo and seasonings. In shack-like environs, the roll feels like a decadent splurge.

Pan-roasted lobster at Summer Shack
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Summer Shack-Boston

10. Jasper White’s Summer Shack

Restaurants Seafood Back Bay

With its cheery, colorful decor and friendly vibe, the laid-back atmosphere at Summer Shack is reminiscent of a Cape Cod clambake. Sit back, relax, and chow down on a tarragon-mayo cold lobster roll or a warm, buttered version—both are served on a soft potato bun.

Legal Harborside lobster roll
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jon S.

11. Legal Harborside

Restaurants Seafood Seaport District

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.

More destinations for seafood

Neptune Oyster
Photograph: Courtesy Neptune Oyster/Ana M. Reyes

The best seafood restaurants in Boston

Restaurants Seafood

Boston’s best seafood restaurants serve fresh, local fish in a variety of preparations, from freshly shucked oysters and creamy clam chowder to delicate crudo. Some restaurants focus on traditional New England recipes, while others prepare their seafood with Italian or Mediterranean influences.


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