The 10 Best Lobster Rolls to Devour Right Now in Boston
Lobster, oops, Labor Day! While some may say this is the last true weekend of summer and your last chance to get a lobster roll for the season – they’re wrong! First of all, summer doesn’t officially end until September 23rd and let’s be honest, Boston is a seafood haven and you can still find this iconic dish on many menus beyond the summer months. That being said there are a lot of lobster rolls to navigate in Boston and all lobster rolls are definitely NOT created equal. We’re here to save you from spending your money on a subpar lobster roll, because let’s be real, lobster ain’t cheap, and to guide you in the right direction of the tastiest and most memorable ones. No limp, soggy, full-of-filler lobster rolls here folks! We’re talking lobster busting from the seams of a toasted bun and whether you like it melted, drizzled, tossed, hot, cold, we’ve got you covered with this list of the 10 best lobster rolls in Boston.
Note: there are two preparations for a lobster roll – hot buttered and cold, tossed (lightly) in mayo and sometimes a bit of fresh celery. Most places offer both so be sure to let them know which one you want! While the debate is far from over which one reigns supreme, we’ll let you decide for yourself!
This local third generation family-run business has been providing the Boston restaurant scene the freshest lobster since 1925. While they still provide Boston lobsters to restaurants and wholesale seafood distributors around the country, to the tune of over 50,000 pounds of lobster each day online, they also serve their fresh seafood from their humble waterfront shanty. We’re so thankful that they do because their lobster roll is hands down one of the best in Boston.
If you’re looking for a great lobster roll where the history is equally matched in quality then The Bell in Hand Tavern is your place. They are one of our beloved partners for our Classic Bites of Boston Food Tour. The Tavern has been around since 1795 and was a gathering place for printers, politicians, sailors and students. It quickly became the most famous alehouse in the city and is America’s oldest continuously operating tavern (not counting Prohibition, which shut down every legitimate bar in the U.S.) today. Oh yeah, and the food is GREAT! We absolutely love their cold lobster roll that’s busting at the seams with fresh, lightly mayo-ed lobster (as it should be)!
When you think of seafood in Boston you can’t not mention Chef Jeremy Sewall. Growing up on the coast of Maine, seafood and fishing is in Jeremy’s blood. He is widely considered one of the country’s best seafood Chefs and we can’t argue with that. Row 34 is a modern and elevated take on the humble seafood shanty that everyone flocks to for a summer lobster roll. The main difference is that here you can DINE, supping cocktails whilst enjoying one of the city’s best and most beloved lobster rolls. In keeping it in the family, they source their lobsters from Jeremy’s cousin Mark in York, Maine.
Unless you are looking for it, Red’s Best can be easily missed amongst the bustle of Boston Public Market – an indoor, year-round marketplace featuring about 30 New England artisans and food producers. Red’s Best is Boston’s neighborhood fish market & kitchen featuring fresh, local catch from New England fishermen located right inside the BPM in downtown Boston. While they sell fresh raw seafood they also serve one of our favorite cold lobster rolls in Boston full of sweet, plump lobster meat right out of the water!
Who is the “Saltie Girl” behind Saltie Girl you many ask? Well it’s Kathy Sidell, President and Culinarian of the MET Restaurant Group. She grew up on the East Coast on a sailboat with her dad and she has a deep affinity for the saltiness of the sea and the fruit it bears, she says. She describes Saltie Girl as a reflection of a way of life and a passion for eating nature’s bounty. Not only do they have an impressive array of tinned fish but they also have a sensational hot buttered lobster roll. You almost need a second bun to hold all the lobster they pack in!
The Zanti family, owners of Yankee Lobster Company, have been in the fishing business for many generations. From the little fishing village of Augusta, Italy, Guiseppe Zanti Sr ventured to America in 1898 seeking the fertile fishing grounds that he had heard so much about from brave fishermen that had gone before. Eventually, Guiseppe could see that his family’s future was in the lobster industry so he began to focus his operation exclusively on lobster fishing. In 1950, his sons Joseph and Frank saw an opportunity in the wholesaling of their catch and they convinced their father to open a wholesale-retail operation called “Commercial Lobster” after Guiseppe retired. The boys have been running it ever since, serving up bountiful lobster rolls from their new state-of-the-art facility on Boston’s waterfront. These are definitely a double hand, multiple napkin type of lobster roll experience!
While a traditional lobster roll is fairly simple when it comes to ingredients and preparation, as it should be – allowing the fresh lobster to be the star – it’s 2023 and people are bound to mix it up. While we don’t like to stray too much from tradition when it comes to a lobster roll, Eventide’s brown butter lobster roll has caught our eye. This mini hot buttered lobster roll is made with all of the usual suspects but there’s something a little different about this butter – it’s brown butter. If you don’t know what that is, it’s butter that has been cooked a tiny bit past the melting point creating a deep gold, almost brown color and a rich and nutty butter flavor. That mixed with the fresh, sweet lobster meat is such a great way to take something that is already amazing and make it that much better without changing the integrity of what it is. Brown butter lobster roll – we’re here for you!
Nestled in the heart of downtown Boston and conveniently located on the famous Freedom Trail, Beantown is a classic American pub offering a casual drinking atmosphere and fine pub dining. They also happen to be another one of our awesome partners for our Classic Bites of Boston Food Tour. Come and join us to learn more about how the nickname “Beantown” came about. While Beantown has been a local favorite since it opened in 1999, and you’ll find locals and visitors a like enjoying a pint, you can’t skim over their lobster roll – it’s definitely one of the best in Boston and can get lost amongst the other enticing pub fare.
You can’t overlook this spot if you’re in Boston’s Fort Point / Seaport area – literally, the bright red and yellow stripped awning is hard to miss. Good thing for that bright awning because you definitely want to get your hands on one of their lobster rolls. This lively waterfront seafood joint along Boston’s historic Fort Point Channel gives that beach-side shanty feel in the middle of the city. They have been serving up summer seafood favorites since 1994 and started as a seasonal outdoor eatery that has since evolved into a year-round operation with an expansive deck featuring a wood-burning stove for those cozy, snowy, winter nights. They offer a hot and cold lobster roll and both are brimming with fresh, juicy lobster meat!
One of the most coveted seats in town, this small North End raw bar hold only 34 seats and has been serving one of Boston’s best lobster rolls on grilled brioche since it opened in 2004. They want to share the lobster love, so while getting a seat inside may be tricky, they now offer take out so you can order ahead and get your lobster roll to go! They offer both a hot and cold lobster roll and they are both *heart eyes emojis* all the way. If the look of these doesn’t have you salivating may we recommend getting your temperature checked.
Hot or cold…we’ll leave it up to you! Happy Labor Day – we hope you’re eating a lobster roll!Tags: best lobster roll boston, bites of boston, boston food tour, labor day, lobster roll, lobster roll boston, lobster rolls, lobster rolls boston
Return to Boston Food and Fun Blog