The lobster roll — which is absolutely not a sandwich — might be the most polarizing of all polarizing New England fare. Some eaters favor their meat served cold, dressed heavily with mayonnaise, and stuffed between a hot dog bun with lettuce and tomato; others eschew excessive accoutrement, preferring their lobster served hot, dressed simply with butter, and packed into a warm, buttered New England-style hot dog bun. Mostly everyone agrees on the hot dog bun. Honestly, though: There’s no wrong way to eat a lobster roll (fast food versions notwithstanding). Here are 12 essential lobster rolls to snack on when in or near the city.Read More
Where to Eat Lobster Rolls in Boston
The northeast is full of lobster rolls — here’s where to find a good one in the Hub
This North End sandwich shop serves its lobster rolls “classic cold” or “hot in butter,” but note that both versions include mayo. There are three different sizes, including the 28-ounce “Lobstitution.” The smallest size comes on the traditional New England-style hot dog bun, while the others come on sub rolls. Want to send an out-of-town friend a taste of Boston? Pauli’s ships lobster roll kits and whoopie pies nationwide.
Neptune’s lobster roll is regarded as perhaps the best lobster roll in the city. Served on a toasted brioche roll, it’s available hot and buttered as well as cold with mayo. Neptune’s roll is massive, not one of those four- or five-bite situations. Expect to wait in line — Neptune doesn’t take reservations.
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Alive & Kicking Lobsters
Okay, so this thing is more of a sandwich than a roll. But does anyone really care? Alive & Kicking piles a lot of lobster meat between two pieces of buttered Scali bread toast. The lobster is also lightly dressed with mayonnaise, so if it’s the hot buttered variety on a buttered hot dog roll you’re after, Alive & Kicking isn’t your joint. Definition aside, this is a great way to consume lobster.
James Hook & Co.
These cats have been in business since 1925. It would be difficult to find a roll made with fresher lobster in the city because James Hook & Co. traps its own. An iconic roll in an iconic waterfront dining room. One of the best in town, no doubt.
Woods Hill Pier 4
Like Alive & Kicking (see above), Woods Hill Pier 4’s lobster roll is also a bit of an iconoclast in that it is not served on the more traditional New England-style hot dog bun. Instead, Woods Hill Pier 4 packs loads of lobster meat into a split-open popover. Traditions be damned. Find it on the weekend brunch menu.
Saltie Girl’s Gloucester lobster roll is an homage to the lobster fishers pulling bugs out of the waters off Cape Ann, which is about half an hour north of the city. It is served both hot and cold alongside a helping of housemade sea salt and vinegar potato chips.
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Cusser's Roast Beef & Seafood
Cusser’s is best known for its take on a North Shore-style roast beef sandwich, but its warm lobster roll — dressed with butter and chives and served on a potato bun — is very much worth a try, too. Served with a side of fries. Find satellite locations at two Boston food halls, Time Out Market in Fenway and Hub Hall in the West End.
This trendy oyster and beer bar in Fort Point is co-owned by Jeremy Sewall, whose cousin Mark catches the lobsters in York Harbor, Maine. Row 34 is best known for its hot buttered option, but it also offers a version dressed with mayonnaise and creme fraiche. Find other locations in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire; it’s also expanding to Cambridge’s Kendall Square soon.
It may be a chain, but it’s a chain serving a pretty damn good lobster roll. The restaurant offers both traditional mayo-dressed and hot buttered, both of which are worth trying. In nice weather, eat it on the deck for an excellent view of the Atlantic.
Little Whale Oyster Bar
There’s something about biting into a luxurious lobster roll while surveying the scene on Newbury Street that just feels right. Chef Michael Serpa’s excellent rendition is served cold or hot, with the meat piled into an Iggy’s brioche bun and a tidy scoop of fries on the side.
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There’s almost always a line at this classic Seaport spot, but it’s worth the wait. Yankee offers hot and cold versions — as well as a fried lobster roll, if you’re into that.
B & G’s lobster roll is the prettiest lobster roll in the city. It’s lightly dressed with mayonnaise and spiked with celery, garlic, and lemon. It’s filled with both claw and tail meat, and it is elegantly garnished with minced chives, which give it a “delicate onion nip,” according to former Eater restaurant editor Bill Addison.