Maine Lobster Rolls
September 2, 2005 10:16 PM   Subscribe

I'm heading up to the coast of Maine from Boston and want to know the best places to eat lobster rolls. Where can I get the most bang for my "lobster bucks" and without a ton of mayo & filler?
posted by thebarron to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Let me be the first to recommend the Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown. Don't remember the cost of the lobster roll, but it was cheap, basically everything was. They're right on the water, with one house for frying and one for steaming. At the same dock there is homemade ice cream.
posted by whatzit at 10:35 PM on September 2, 2005

Where can I get the most bang for my "lobster bucks" and without a ton of mayo & filler?

This is a very tough question. However, I grew up in Midcoast Maine, so I have some insight.

First off, an authentic lobster roll will be served in a grilled hot dog roll. Serving it on anything seeded and/or sliced horizontally is an affectation and must be avoided if you are looking for a genuine product. Also, a good lobster roll is made with the best parts of the lobster-- claw and tail meat. Unscrupulous vendors will make the filling out of body and leg meat and hope that you won't notice.

whatzit's Five Islands recommendation is very good and the associated scenery of Five Islands is better than my suggestions. But there are plenty of options.

Red's Eats (right on Route 1 in Wiscasset before the bridge) is the place that gets national attention (featured on CBS Sunday Morning, Food Network shows, etc). Consequently, it's not the cheapest lobster roll. But it is probably the best-- all claw and tail meat with the mayo and some melted butter on the side. Some people will tell you to avoid this place. Because tourists eat there. And while Maine's largest industry is tourism, many Mainers think of tourists as ignorant lepers with money (despite the fact that most people's livelihoods would be adversely affected without tourism). So Mainers will think they're giving you an insider's tip and tell you to avoid Red's because they know some dirty little place that sells lobster rolls for four dollars that will stress you out to merely find. But they probably haven't had Red's anyway if they think like that-- you can't do better quality, you can't do any more consistent and you can't do any easier to find. You can only do cheaper than Red's. And if you're driving up the coast anyway, what's an extra couple of bucks per roll?

If you're more interested in eating at a less touristy place that you'll still be able to find, I suggest the Fat Boy Drive In on Old Bath Road in Brunswick. They have car service and a very good lobster roll is five bucks. They also have hand-made onion rings and real frappes and locals go nuts with lines when it reopens every spring because they miss it so much over the winter.

You're not going to be disappointed with any of the suggestions so far.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:27 AM on September 3, 2005

Though I grew up a few miles inland from The Mayor, we are from the same general area of Maine. I would agree with his assessments: Red's is good but touristy. Fat Boy is worth experiencing, even if you don't order the lobster roll -- the cheeseburgers and onion rings are awe-inspiring.

You don't say where you're headed in Maine, so mid-coast may not be part of your trip. If you are not going much beyond the Portland area, I recommend the Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth (also touristy, and a little pricey, but good) and Freeport Landing.
posted by briank at 5:48 AM on September 3, 2005

(ditto on the tourist/price situation in Freeport, too)
posted by briank at 5:49 AM on September 3, 2005

Don't get a Mclobster.
posted by 445supermag at 7:11 AM on September 3, 2005

Red's in Wiscasset. Definitely.
posted by garbo at 7:38 AM on September 3, 2005

Response by poster: briank: Actually ANY place that serves great lobster rolls would be fun to know about. It doesn't have to be only the coastal areas. Portsmouth, NH, yep, that's the coast, but even inland in Mass, NH or ME. I'm sure there are many lobster roll connoisseurs who'd love to sample new venues for this ultimate, sweet, shellfish meat. :-)
posted by thebarron at 11:55 AM on September 3, 2005

I agree that Red's has excellent lobster rolls, though the scenery leads a bit to be desired as they're located on busy route 1. Another place to try is Shaw's Lobster Pound, up the coast a bit in New Harbor. They have excellent lobster rolls and onion rings, along with a deck on the harbor. It's a very pleasant drive up there.
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:37 AM on September 4, 2005

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