I went to 5 iconic lobster roll spots this summer on the quest to find the best lobster roll in Maine. To judge them fairly, I came up with a specific set of criteria to judge and compare all the lobster rolls I've eaten: size, bun, sauce, favor, and options.
How I rated my lobster rolls:
Was there a considerable amount of lobster?
The bun should be stuffed with lobster meat.
How did the bun taste?
The bun should be buttered and grilled and let the lobster shine.
Did the sauce enhance the lobster roll?
I am looking for lobster tossed in the perfect amount of mayo or hot butter so that it highlights the lobster meat.
How was the overall flavor of the lobster roll?
Each bite should have a combination of sweet lobster meat and sauce (butter or mayo) with a buttery bun.
Was there different sauce or topping options to customize your lobster roll?
Toppings and sauces like lemon zest, chives, and additional mayo options will be considered here.
Note: All prices are from Summer 2022
#5. The Clam Shack - Kennebunk, ME
$29.95 per lobster roll, $34 for a lobster roll box (with fries and Coleslaw)
The Clam Shack is a walk-up seafood counter located at the bridge over the Kennebunk River in Kennebunkport. It's a traditional Maine seafood shack that sells fried seafood and freshly caught lobster right next to the water 7 days a week, 11am-7pm. You get your food fast and it has a scenic spot to eat your lunch.
Favorites: size and value
We enjoyed the convenience of ordering a lobster roll box which includes French fries and Coleslaw. There was a healthy amount of lobster meat (two tails) and it was easier to eat on the hamburger bun since it was less likely to fall out.
Least favorites: sauce, flavor, and bun
The lobster didn't seem tossed in the sauce, rather a sloppy slathering of mayo on the top bun so it could be kicked out fast. Although not the traditional Maine lobster roll bun, the hamburger bun could have been the star here.
There are plenty of shaded picnic tables along with a small deck lined with stools to enjoy the waterfront view. The crinkle-cut fries were perfectly crispy and the fresh-squeezed lemonade was refreshing. We visited on a hot day so it was the perfect sweet and sour combo to have with my meal.
Overall the highlight at The Clam Shack was the location (those scenic views)!
#4. Red's Eats - Wiscasset, Maine
31$ per lobster roll
A Maine classic lobster shack where the queue often stretches to the bridge over the Sheepscot River. It also doesn't help cut down the long lines when Red's Eats was recently showcased on Netflix's Somebody Feed Phil. Keep in mind this is a hot spot, so if you show up at noon you are going to have to wait a long time.
Favorites: size, value, flavor, and bun
If you are looking for the best lobster value, it's here! The lobster is piled on and doesn't look like they weigh it or try to be stingy. It doesn't fit in the bun, but that's more than ok with me!
One of the notable features of Red's is the hot butter that you can drizzle on your lobster. The bun was the traditional buttered/grilled split top roll, so what more could you ask for?
This is a true Maine experience that you should try at least once! The service was friendly and the business seemed to have an efficient process. I felt like a tourist in my own state when I eagerly lined up before the shack opened and the owner hyped up the crowd through a speaker. We ate on the deck behind the shack and our food was brought out to our table by the staff.
#3. Eventide - Portland, Maine
$19 per lobster roll, appetizer size
Eventide is famed for its Brown Butter Lobster Roll, a twist on the classic. Fortunately for us, we visited when the restaurant was celebrating its 10-year anniversary so there were two additional lobster roll flavors on the menu. We got the Lobster Roll Flight to try all three kinds: Brown Butter, Ginger and Scallion, and Lemon, Dill, and Mayo.
Favorites: flavor, sauce, and bun
Eventide is one of the restaurants owned and operated by Big Tree Hospitality. They also own The Honey Paw and Hugo's. This restaurant group always comes through with the flavors and presentation of the dishes they create. It's no surprise that the Brown Butter Lobster Roll is so talked about. It was so flavorful and delicious that I basically inhaled it and asked where did it go!
My close second favorite was the Lemon, Dill, and Mayo version. The blend of citrus, herbs, and lobster meat made the overall flavors stand out. They also have one of the best buns, which tastes more like a dinner roll.
Least Favorites: size
The size of the lobster rolls are much smaller than the others in this review. At the price of $19, they do stuff the roll as much as they can, but it is small so you will have to buy two rolls or other plates to fill you up. Regardless, you have to get the potato chips!
The service at Eventide was great - the wait staff checked in on us frequently and also brought out our food quickly, whenever it was ready. Eventide is a busy restaurant so I recommend going on a weeknight if possible. Otherwise, you may have to wait a while for a table.
#2. Bite into Maine - Cape Elizabeth, Maine
$28 for 4.5 oz. lobster roll, $36 for 6 oz. lobster roll
Bite into Maine is a food truck located at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth. They also have a take-out joint in Scarborough that you can order ahead or online. Eating at Bite into Maine is a must-do whenever you visit Portland Head Light.
Favorites: size, flavor, sauce, bun, and options
One of the best parts about Bite into Maine is the number of options they have. If you are feeling adventurous, they have some unique menu items like zingy wasabi mayo or smoky chipotle mayo. They also have the traditional lobster roll flavors such as the "Maine" with mayo and chives and the "Connecticut" served with warm butter on top. When we picked up our order, they in fact poured the hot butter from a kettle over the top of the roll.
Additionally, you have options when it comes to the size of your lobster roll. You can pick either a 4.5 oz. or a 6 oz. roll. We went with the larger size for the best experience and it was heaped so high over the bun that you had to eat it with a fork first. The flavors were outstanding and the buns exceptional, at 6 oz. there's a lot to love here.
Even though Bite into Maine ranks #2 on this list, it is one of my top recommendations. Not only do they have a solid lobster roll, but the views around the park are astounding. The picturesque lighthouse and ocean make a perfect backdrop for your lobster roll experience!
#1. The High Roller Lobster Co. - Portland, Maine
34$ per 4 oz. lobster roll
Out of all the lobster roll spots, Portland's High Roller Lobster Co. ranked the highest in every category. The best part - the restaurant is in our city so it's not too far to visit again. I need to bring my family here so they can try my favorite lobster roll joint!
Favorites: sauce and flavors
Highroller offers homemade sauces to customize your lobster rolls like lime mayo, jalapeno mayo, charred pineapple mayo, and more. I tried the lime mayo with my lobster roll and it was the perfect amount of citrus. The pineapple mayo with our French fries was also delicious!
The best bun and a good amount of lobster.
The bun is a fresh-baked brioche and stands out amongst the other rolls we've had. It was pillowy soft and heavenly! The rolls were stuffed with 4 oz. of lobster meat. We thought this might have been on the pricier side, but we soon came to realize this seems like the standard price this summer.
Highroller is a fast-casual set-up restaurant so you order at the counter and they bring it to your table when it's ready. Highroller has creative menu options like lobster grilled cheese, tacos, and burgers so I can't wait to go back and try something else!
Here's how I ranked the 5 lobster rolls I tried this summer!
Where is your favorite lobster roll? Drop a comment to let me know!
Thanks for reading!