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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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bob's Clam Hut

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315 US Route 1
Kittery, ME 03904
(207) 439-4233
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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

2. The Clam Shack

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2 Western Ave
Kennebunk, ME 04043
(207) 967-3321
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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.

3. Eventide Oyster Co.

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86 Middle St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-8538
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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

4. Bite Into Maine

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Fort Williams Park
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
(207) 420-0294
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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

5. Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company

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36 Main St.
South Freeport, ME 04078
(207) 865-4888
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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.

6. Erica's Seafood & Lobster Shop

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(207) 833-7354
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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.

7. Libby's Market

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42 Jordan Ave
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 729-7277
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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.

8. Five Islands Lobster

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1447 Five Islands Rd
Georgetown, ME 04548
(207) 371-2990
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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.

9. Red's Eats

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16 Water St.
Wiscasset, ME 04578
(207) 882-6128
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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.

10. Boothbay Lobster Wharf

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97 Atlantic Ave
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
(207) 633-4900
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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.

11. Muscongus Bay Lobster

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28 Landing Rd
Round Pond, ME 04564
(207) 529-5528
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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.

12. Miller's Lobster Co

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83 Eagle Quarry Rd
Spruce Head, ME 04859
(207) 594-7406
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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.

13. McLoons Lobster Shack

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315 Island Rd
South Thomaston, ME 04858
(207) 593-1382
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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.

14. Thurston's Lobster Pound

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9 Thurston Rd
Bernard, ME 04612
(207) 244-7600
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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.

15. Side Street Cafe

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49 Rodick St
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
(207) 801-2591
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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.

16. Tracey's

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2717 Us Hwy 1
Sullivan, ME 04664
(207) 422-9072
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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.

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1. Bob's Clam Hut

315 US Route 1, Kittery, ME 03904
Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

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.

315 US Route 1
Kittery, ME 03904

2. The Clam Shack

2 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043

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.

2 Western Ave
Kennebunk, ME 04043

3. Eventide Oyster Co.

86 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101
Corey Templeton/Eater

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.

86 Middle St
Portland, ME 04101

4. Bite Into Maine

Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Kyle J. Norris/Eater

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.

Fort Williams Park
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

5. Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company

36 Main St., South Freeport, ME 04078

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

36 Main St.
South Freeport, ME 04078

6. Erica's Seafood & Lobster Shop

Harpswell, ME 04079

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.

7. Libby's Market

42 Jordan Ave, Brunswick, ME 04011

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.

42 Jordan Ave
Brunswick, ME 04011

8. Five Islands Lobster

1447 Five Islands Rd, Georgetown, ME 04548

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.

1447 Five Islands Rd
Georgetown, ME 04548

9. Red's Eats

16 Water St., Wiscasset, ME 04578

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.

16 Water St.
Wiscasset, ME 04578

10. Boothbay Lobster Wharf

97 Atlantic Ave, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538

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.

97 Atlantic Ave
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538

11. Muscongus Bay Lobster

28 Landing Rd, Round Pond, ME 04564

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.

28 Landing Rd
Round Pond, ME 04564

12. Miller's Lobster Co

83 Eagle Quarry Rd, Spruce Head, ME 04859

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.

83 Eagle Quarry Rd
Spruce Head, ME 04859

13. McLoons Lobster Shack

315 Island Rd, South Thomaston, ME 04858

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.

315 Island Rd
South Thomaston, ME 04858

14. Thurston's Lobster Pound

9 Thurston Rd, Bernard, ME 04612

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.

9 Thurston Rd
Bernard, ME 04612

15. Side Street Cafe

49 Rodick St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

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.

49 Rodick St
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

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16. Tracey's

2717 Us Hwy 1, Sullivan, ME 04664

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.

2717 Us Hwy 1
Sullivan, ME 04664