The lobster roll — with its few, simple ingredients — might be the most polarizing of all polarizing New England fare. Some eaters favor their meat served cold, dressed 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. Honestly, there’s no wrong way to eat a lobster roll. (Although, let’s be real here, why would anyone order a hot lobster roll and risk a soggy bun?) Here are 8 essential lobster rolls to snack on when in or near the city.Read More
8 Fantastic Lobster Rolls in Boston
The area is full of lobster rolls — here’s where to find a handful of excellent ones
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.
Served on toasted brioche, Neptune Oyster’s lobster roll is available hot and buttered as well as cold with mayo. Keep in mind: Neptune’s roll is massive, not one of those four- or five-bite situations. And, expect to wait in line outside — Neptune is a super popular North End haunt and doesn’t take reservations.
James Hook & Co.
James Hook & Co. sells an iconic roll in an iconic waterfront dining room. These cats have been in business since 1925, and trap their own lobster that they sell in the restaurant.
Woods Hill Pier 4
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 either hot or cold alongside a helping of housemade sea salt and vinegar potato chips.
This trendy oyster and beer bar in Fort Point is co-owned by Jeremy Sewall, whose cousin Mark Sewall catches the lobsters in York Harbor, Maine. Row 34 has both a hot, buttered option, and a version dressed with mayonnaise and creme fraiche. Find other locations in Burlington, Cambridge, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Little Whale Oyster Bar
Okay, let’s get this out of the way first: Little Whale’s lobster roll is $55. Pound for pound, it is the most expensive lobster roll on this list and perhaps the most expensive lobster roll in Boston. But, in the hands of chef Michael Serpa, it is also perhaps the best lobster roll in Boston. According to server Evan Bradford, the price takes into consideration the following steps: Fresh lobster (which hit $48 per pound this summer; double pre-pandemic rates) is delivered to the restaurant every morning from their purveyor. Each roll comes with 8.5 to 9 ounces of meat, expertly prepared in either hot or cold fashion, piled into a sturdy Iggy’s brioche bun, and served with a generous pile of fries on the side. When it comes to traditional lobster rolls, this one is absolutely delicious.
Like Little Whale, Eventide’s lobster roll is also one of the more controversial options on this list. Eventide’s roll costs $19 for what is essentially a lobster roll appetizer — it’s about four bites in total, served without any sides. It’s definitely not a full meal in the way that the other options on this list are. But it’s doing something that no one else on this list has dared to do: buck tradition. Eventide’s roll is only served one way, hot, and tossed in brown butter instead of the usual melted regular butter. Brown butter, otherwise known as butter that has been “toasted,” or slowly heated past its melting point, adopts a wonderfully nutty taste that pairs perfectly with the neutral lobster meat. In a town that loves its traditions, Eventide’s lobster roll suggests that the accepted way is not the only right way, and we are all better for it.