Husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary with a trip to Maine this summer. It was a week of perfect weather, gorgeous coastal views, spotty Wifi (a wonderful thing), and several servings of fresh lobster. We had lobster salads, lobster eggs benedict, lobster mac & cheese and even whole lobsters over the course of the week. And to be perfectly honest, I never got tired of it. Anything we tried with lobster became our new favorite dish, but perhaps the most famous East Coast way to consume lobster is in the classic lobster roll.
Over the course of 8 days, we drove from Portland to Bar Harbor and back through Camden and spotted a restaurant every few miles that claimed to have the area’s “best lobster roll.” While it’s highly likely we missed out on someone’s amazing lobster roll, we were incredibly happy with the ones we tried. We used Eater’s “17 Essential Main Lobster Rolls” list to guide our shellfish adventures.
We ended up trying 4 of the 17 Eater nominated rolls during the week. Each had its own style, but all had one thing in common: the star of the show was never the bread or a sauce, but rather the fresh lobster meat itself. Exactly how it should be.
Here’s my ranking of the ones we tried. And I firmly believe the first place roll is worth the earliest plane ticket you can purchase to Maine.
*Please note many of these places had their rolls at “market price” which fluctuates daily. Prices may vary.
Fourth place: Side Street Cafe (Bar Harbor, ME)
- Website: https://sidestreetbarharbor.com/
- Price: $20
- What made it unique: they sprinkle the lobster meat with a bit of Old Bay Seasoning
- Pros: Nice restaurant. Fast service. Came with really good french fries.
- Cons: Small roll (in comparison to others) for the price.
Third place: Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company (Freeport, ME)
- Website: http://www.harraseeketlunchandlobster.com/menu.html
- Price: $16
- What made it unique: Served with a lettuce leaf.
- Pros: Cheap, super fresh lobster meat. Good toasty bun. For $1 more you can get some french fries too. BYOB place too.
- Cons: Also pretty small roll (in comparison to others). Cash only.
Second place: Bite into Maine Lobster Roll Food Truck (Cape Elizabeth, ME)
- Website: https://www.biteintomaine.com/
- Price: $19
- What made it unique: They offer a few creative styles of lobster rolls in addition to the classics. We tried the original Maine style (light mayo & fresh chives).
- Pros: It was incredible! We actually named it our favorite until trying Red’s Eats. Fresh lobster meat. Big & perfectly toasty roll. Great ratio of meat to mayo.
- Cons: A bit of a line to wait, but it moved quickly.
First place: Red’s Eats (Wiscasset, ME)
- Website: http://www.redseatsmaine.com/
- Price: $22
- What made it unique: Everything. The sheer volume of meat. The specialty salted butter. The incredible bun. There is basically an entire lobster’s worth of meat piled high on top of an already stuffed-to-the brim normal-sized lobster roll. And it served with the best melted salted butter I have EVER had called Kate’s. It is made in Maine with real sea salt and needs to come to Texas immediately.
- Pros: Everything. There was easily over TWO lobsters worth of meat in our roll! And the butter! Did I mention the butter?
- Cons: A bit more expensive (but totally worth it given the amount of lobster). VERY long and hot wait in the sun (over an hour) and the line moved slowly. But none of it matters in the end when you finally take your first bite of this lobster roll. It is worth anything and everything you have to overcome to get here. Book that Maine trip ASAP!
Let me know if you head to Maine and try any of these places! Or if you have another favorite lobster roll place we should catch on our next trip to the Pine Tree State.