Must-Try

14 Must-Try Lobster Rolls Across the U.S.

By Zagat Staff  |  July 1, 2016

The delicious lobster roll sandwich (fresh lobster meat, lemon juice and mayo on a split-top bun) is a New England icon, but you don't have to make a trip to Maine to track one down. Nowadays, diners can find variations of the iconic summer sandwich at seafood shacks and restaurants all around the country. Check out 14 to try in the slide show below. 

  of  
  • Credit: Andrew Thomas Lee

    Atlanta: BeetleCat

    A lobster roll’s a kind of a sacred thing where restaurants usually strive for the Platonic ideal, rather than stray from the well-worn path. But sometimes a little irreverence is called for, and that’s what you find at this Inman Park spot from restaurateur Ford Fry and executive chef Andrew Isabella, one of our 2015 Zagat 30 Under 30 honorees. Here you’ll find a lobster roll — one of three varieties on the lunch menu — served not on the predictable split-top hot dog bun, but rather on a hamburger bun. The lobster meat’s poached in butter and served warm, with lemon, herbs and a healthy-sized glob of aïoli to slather around before chowing down.

    Price: $21

    299 N. Highland Ave. NE; 678-732-0360

  • Austin: Garbo's

    Owner Heidi Garbo ships Maine lobster to Austin daily to create the super-fresh, authentic lobster rolls she serves both Connecticut-style (warmed in butter) or Maine-style (tossed with mayonnaise, celery and lemon) with pickled vegetables and fries. She still runs her popular food truck, even after opening her brick-and-mortar last July, where she now serves an expanded menu in a nautical, New England–inspired dining room.

    Price: MP

    14735 Bratton Ln.; 512-350-9814

  • Credit: Courtesy of Neptune Oyster

    Boston: Neptune Oyster 

    On one hand, this North End icon runs hot and cold: You can get your claws into lobster rolls with the meat served warm with melted butter, or chilled and tossed with mayo. But on the other hand, it's also one of the most consistent spots; grabbing a lobster roll here is practically a Bostonian rite of passage, and though some may balk at the frequently long waits, there's a reason why they're not getting shorter anytime soon. (Bonus for the carb averse: You can request your lobster roll without the roll.) 

    Price: $27

    63 Salem St.; 617-742-3474

  • Credit: Smack Shack

    ChicagoSmack Shack
    Of the two lobster rolls available at Minneapolis-based Smack Shack, the original is the most life-changing. Why? Unlike the warm, buttered Connecticut-style roll, this signature item contains an enormous amount of tender, chilled lobster salad tossed with cucumber and tarragon. It's all stuffed inside delicious griddled milk bread, which adds just the right amount of richness without overwhelming the seafood. 

    Price: $20

    326 N. Morgan St.; 312-973-1336

  • Dallas: 20 Feet Seafood Joint

    The simple, authentic lobster roll from this Lake Highlands seafood favorite is almost as much about the bread as it is the lobster. The kitchen bakes the buttery challahlike rolls from scratch on-site each morning before grilling them with softened butter, while the daily catch of lobster is tossed in mayo, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

    Price: $19

    1160 Peavy Rd.; 972-707-7442

  • Credit: Adam Larkey

    Denver: Lobster Bliss

    "Bliss" isn't an overstatement when it comes to the sublime lobster rolls dispensed from this super-popular food truck owned by Rich Manzo and Jeff Reebie. The fresh lobsters, sourced from Maine and Canada, are held in a 45-degree, 2,500-gallon lobster tank upon their arrival in Denver, and the unique filtration system mimics the water-cleaning action of the ocean, naturally eliminating bacterial buildup. The rolls are a mixture of claw, knuckle and tail meat tossed with a lemon aïoli, and they're served on a toasted New England–style split-top bun drizzled with clarified butter.

    Price: $16

    Check Twitter for locations; 720-636-6493

  • Houston: Cousins Maine Lobster

    The food truck's standout sandwich has caught the attention of Houstonians, including former President George H. W. Bush. The lobster-packed treat is served light on mayo atop a grilled, buttered hot dog bun with a side lemon wedge.

    Price: $13

    Check online for location; 832-241-9533

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    LA: Knuckle & Claw

    Anyone who spent summers on Martha’s Vineyard or even along Cape Cod will be happy to know there’s one place to get a taste of the New England coast in Silver Lake. Live lobsters are flown in daily for these rolls, each featuring a quarter-pound of whole claw and knuckle meat in a split-top bun. There’s no argument over whether cold lobster with mayo or warm with butter is best; these rolls have both, plus a shake of a special secret spice on top. Bonus: The hot spot recently opened a location in Santa Monica as well.

    Price: $18 

    3112 Sunset Blvd.; 323-407-6142

    Santa Monica: 2715 Main St.; 310-399-9939

  • Miami: Izzy's Fish & Oyster

    Sure, there are plenty of seafood spots in Miami, but if it's a lobster roll you want, there's no better place than Izzy’s, Jamie De Rosa’s New England–style oyster bar and restaurant located in the trendy South of Fifth neighborhood. Not for the faint of heart, the whole 1 1/4-lb lobster is cooked in butter and served on a pillowy toasted brioche bun made fresh daily, and finished with a butter béarnaise, pickled cucumber and seasoned waffle fries. Even though it’s served hot, a cold version is also available with lobster mayo instead of butter. For the full experience, pair it with the restaurant’s signature Izzy’s Fizzy cocktail, made with Beefeater gin, Campari, egg whites, citrus and carbonated cherry. 

    Price: $26

    423 Washington Ave.; 305-397-8843

  • Philly: Pennsylvania 6

    This swanky Midtown spot gives lobster the New England treatment by way of a green onion- and celery-spiked salad tucked into a buttery, split-top roll complete with a pickle spear and crisp duck fat fries.

    Price:  $26

    114 S. 12th St.; 267-639-5606

  • NYC: Luke's Lobster

    One of NYC's gold-standard lobster rolls, Luke's starts with the very freshest Maine lobster that its team imports daily to NYC, a process that co-owner Luke Holden oversees personally. This lobster roll doesn't go crazy with mayo like some of its competitors; in fact, it's barely even detectable upon tasting. Instead, they top it with warm butter and celery salt and serve it atop a perfectly toasted buttered roll. For $15, this superbly juicy and flavorful lobster roll is not only a steal, it's also one of the best in town.

    Price: $15

    Multiple locations

  • Credit: Knack Factory/Zack Bowen

    Portland, ME: Eventide Oyster Co.

    Along with its namesake Bivalves, this always-packed hot spot doles out superior lobster rolls in the form of pint-size steamed buns stuffed with meat and doused in an addictive brown butter vinaigrette.

    Price: $10

    86 Middle St.; 207-774–8538

  • Credit: Darlene Horn

    San Diego: SuperNatural Sandwiches

    Basing all its sandwiches on mythical creatures, the lobster-stuffed Cthulhu takes its name from H.P. Lovecraft's nightmarish demigod. But it’s no fiction that this creation plays up all its delicious charms with house umami butter laced with sweet-salty-sour za’atar. A toasted Sadie Rose brioche bun engulfs the savory filling and comes served with togarashi-seasoned shrimp chips.

    Price: $16

    7094 Miramar Rd. #105; 858-831-7835

  • Washington, DC: Hank's Oyster Bar

    For many, the lobster roll at chef-owner Jamie Leeds' seafood-focused trio has long been the gold standard in DC. It’s appropriately simple and not overdressed, allowing the lobster meat to shine. Sure, they’re served with Old Bay fries, which is more of a Mid-Atlantic thing, but lobster rolls don’t need to be 100% authentic to be delicious, in our view.

    Price: $25

    Multiple locations