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16 Essential Maine Lobster Rolls

It's summertime in Maine, and lobster is on the menu.

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Ah, the ubiquitous question: "Where can I get a good lobster roll?" Locals are charged with answering this question thousands of times each year. Here to help is Eater Maine's essential guide. Whether a diner falls into the butter or mayonnaise camp, it's widely recognized that simple preparations are best — letting that sweet lobster meat shine. Here are 16 recommendations sure to please any seeker of crustacean nirvana, from hardcore foodies to those looking for a roll with a view.

Note: map points are ordered south to north.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Bob's Clam Hut

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Once featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, this longtime Route 1 staple serves its rolls straight up, available in two sizes. The buttered, toasted roll is stuffed with local lobster meat (of course) and comes with a side of fries.

Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

The Clam Shack

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While this shack eschews tradition with its locally-sourced round bun, it's still buttered, grilled, and stuffed like the best of 'em. Check out a behind-the-scenes look at how the Clam Shack rolls.

Eventide Oyster Co.

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It's no surprise that this hip Portland oyster bar elevates the humble lobster roll with a Chinese steamed bun and a brown butter vinaigrette. Eventide's selection of local oysters and craft beers forms the perfect accompaniment.

Corey Templeton/Eater

Bite Into Maine

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Get the best of both worlds with lunch from this Fort Williams Park food cart: spectacular views of the ocean and Portland Head Light plus delicious rolls overflowing with fresh lobster meat. There are even flavored rolls — curry, wasabi, and chipotle — for adventurous eaters. Find BIM's food truck at Allagash Brewing in Portland and the commissary on Route One in Scarborough.

Kyle J. Norris/Eater

Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company

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Head out of the busy Freeport village to this waterfront lobster shack to enjoy a quiet lunch or dinner. Cash only.

Erica's Seafood & Lobster Shop

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This humble stand at the end of the Harpswell peninsula overlooks the pot-studded bay, which provides a picturesque backdrop to lunch. The owners also run a live lobster retail and wholesale business, ensuring that each roll is filled with the day's freshest catch.

Libby's Market

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Tucked off the beaten path of downtown Brunswick, this humble market is a terrific off-the-radar pick. Rolls come in 3 different sizes, allowing for a sort of “choose your own gluttonous adventure”. Buns can be grilled upon request, and come stuffed with lobster lightly dressed with mayo.

Five Islands Lobster

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Another great shack with a view, this one sits overlooking — no surprises here — five idyllic islands. The housemade sauces here, like tartar and cilantro mayo, are a nice touch.

Red's Eats

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Drink the Kool-Aid, and get in line — a queue that frequently stretches onto the bridge over the Sheepscot River. The overstuffed, fresh roll here is well worth the wait. A Maine classic.

Boothbay Lobster Wharf

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In a town full of tourist traps, it's important to have a treasure map. Boothbay Lobster Wharf will provide the genuine article: fresh seafood and an expansive deck on which to enjoy it.

Muscongus Bay Lobster

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Ditching the common Country Kitchen bun, this waterfront restaurant serves its heaping roll on a bakery-fresh buttered and grilled split top. The menu extends beyond lobster rolls and this place's wide array of seafood is as fresh as its proximity to the ocean suggests.

Miller's Lobster Co

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Despite the relatively rustic setting that its working wharf might imply, these fresh rolls come with the option of beer, wine, and housemade desserts. Take a trip off the beaten path to seek out this quiet spot.

McLoons Lobster Shack

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McLoons is worth the trek to enjoy a roll overlooking the scenic harbor. Finish off a meal with one of the restaurant's housemade desserts.

Thurston's Lobster Pound

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Maine Travel Maven Hilary Nangle asserts that this restaurant, with its posh, two-story screened-in deck overlooking the harbor, is the "best lobster spot on Mount Desert Island." While the superfluous lettuce leaf might turn some off, the heaping amount of fresh lobster will ease any concerns.

Side Street Cafe

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This neighborhood favorite in downtown Bar Harbor mixes up the presentation of its roll with a finishing sprinkle of Old Bay. Traditionalists may gasp, but should stop and appreciate the gentle heat the spice mix brings to the sweet lobster.

Tracey's

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Don't speed past Tracey's on the way to the quiet side of Acadia National Park. Stop into this shack on Route 1 and enjoy an astoundingly inexpensive roll, yet one that doesn't skimp on the freshness or quantity of ingredients.

Bob's Clam Hut

Once featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, this longtime Route 1 staple serves its rolls straight up, available in two sizes. The buttered, toasted roll is stuffed with local lobster meat (of course) and comes with a side of fries.

Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

The Clam Shack

While this shack eschews tradition with its locally-sourced round bun, it's still buttered, grilled, and stuffed like the best of 'em. Check out a behind-the-scenes look at how the Clam Shack rolls.

Eventide Oyster Co.

It's no surprise that this hip Portland oyster bar elevates the humble lobster roll with a Chinese steamed bun and a brown butter vinaigrette. Eventide's selection of local oysters and craft beers forms the perfect accompaniment.

Corey Templeton/Eater

Bite Into Maine

Get the best of both worlds with lunch from this Fort Williams Park food cart: spectacular views of the ocean and Portland Head Light plus delicious rolls overflowing with fresh lobster meat. There are even flavored rolls — curry, wasabi, and chipotle — for adventurous eaters. Find BIM's food truck at Allagash Brewing in Portland and the commissary on Route One in Scarborough.

Kyle J. Norris/Eater

Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company

Head out of the busy Freeport village to this waterfront lobster shack to enjoy a quiet lunch or dinner. Cash only.

Erica's Seafood & Lobster Shop

This humble stand at the end of the Harpswell peninsula overlooks the pot-studded bay, which provides a picturesque backdrop to lunch. The owners also run a live lobster retail and wholesale business, ensuring that each roll is filled with the day's freshest catch.

Libby's Market

Tucked off the beaten path of downtown Brunswick, this humble market is a terrific off-the-radar pick. Rolls come in 3 different sizes, allowing for a sort of “choose your own gluttonous adventure”. Buns can be grilled upon request, and come stuffed with lobster lightly dressed with mayo.

Five Islands Lobster

Another great shack with a view, this one sits overlooking — no surprises here — five idyllic islands. The housemade sauces here, like tartar and cilantro mayo, are a nice touch.

Red's Eats

Drink the Kool-Aid, and get in line — a queue that frequently stretches onto the bridge over the Sheepscot River. The overstuffed, fresh roll here is well worth the wait. A Maine classic.

Boothbay Lobster Wharf

In a town full of tourist traps, it's important to have a treasure map. Boothbay Lobster Wharf will provide the genuine article: fresh seafood and an expansive deck on which to enjoy it.

Muscongus Bay Lobster

Ditching the common Country Kitchen bun, this waterfront restaurant serves its heaping roll on a bakery-fresh buttered and grilled split top. The menu extends beyond lobster rolls and this place's wide array of seafood is as fresh as its proximity to the ocean suggests.

Miller's Lobster Co

Despite the relatively rustic setting that its working wharf might imply, these fresh rolls come with the option of beer, wine, and housemade desserts. Take a trip off the beaten path to seek out this quiet spot.

McLoons Lobster Shack

McLoons is worth the trek to enjoy a roll overlooking the scenic harbor. Finish off a meal with one of the restaurant's housemade desserts.

Thurston's Lobster Pound

Maine Travel Maven Hilary Nangle asserts that this restaurant, with its posh, two-story screened-in deck overlooking the harbor, is the "best lobster spot on Mount Desert Island." While the superfluous lettuce leaf might turn some off, the heaping amount of fresh lobster will ease any concerns.

Side Street Cafe

This neighborhood favorite in downtown Bar Harbor mixes up the presentation of its roll with a finishing sprinkle of Old Bay. Traditionalists may gasp, but should stop and appreciate the gentle heat the spice mix brings to the sweet lobster.

Tracey's

Don't speed past Tracey's on the way to the quiet side of Acadia National Park. Stop into this shack on Route 1 and enjoy an astoundingly inexpensive roll, yet one that doesn't skimp on the freshness or quantity of ingredients.