Naming “the” 5 best lobster rolls in Portland, Maine might land you a few friends you never knew you had and cost you a few more you’ve never even met. That’s because in Maine, when it comes to categorizing lobster rolls (or any seafood for that matter), placing a definitive “the” at the beginning of a sentence, followed by “best of,” is serious business.
Portland’s lobster roll scene has evolved these past few years, and if you are a lobster roll aficionado, or just simply craving a lobster roll, then the choices there may seem endless. Whether you’re searching for a traditional lobster roll or ready for one with a twist, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the old port city.
To get things “rolling,” here are the top five must-make stops in your quest to find the best lobster rolls in Portland, Maine:
The Highroller Lobster Company
104 Exchange Street
Jumping from food cart to restaurant in a few years should tell you why The Highroller Lobster Company is serving up one of the best lobster rolls in the city. Their lobster is locally sourced, responsibly harvested and guaranteed fresh. The rolls are brioche, baked daily over at Southside Bakery, with a choice of sauce that varies from traditional butter to nontraditional jalapeño mayo, or a twist of lime or lobster ghee. Another twist on the traditional roll is Highroller’s lobster grilled cheese or their cheese crisp lobster taco and, for the person on the go, a Lobby Pop lobster tail on a stick
Eventide Oyster Company
86 Middle Street
Eventide has already received national recognition and a James Beard Award, so one would expect nothing less than mouthwatering perfection from their lobster roll. How good are they? To find out you’ll likely have to stand in a line that usually stretches out onto Middle Street. The brown butter lobster roll, Eventide’s take on a classic sandwich, is made with fresh, locally sourced lobster slathered with nutty brown butter served up on a homemade, top-sliced steamed bun.
390 Commercial Street
You’ll find Becky’s Diner in the heart of Portland’s working waterfront, away from the touristy bustle of the Old Port. The diner is a well-known breakfast destination for locals and out-of-staters, alike. But Becky’s also serves up a delicious, genuine, old-fashioned Maine lobster roll. A quarter pound of fresh-picked lobster meat, with your choice of a light mayo dressing or melted butter, is packed into a bed of lettuce. With a side of fries, it’s one of the best lunches in town.
1135 Forest Avenue
A true Portlander knows you’re apt to find as good a lobster roll on the other side of the Back Cove as you are on the Foreside. Susan’s is a case in point. The diner, carved out and remodeled from an old garage, is on an unassuming small plaza far from the waterfront. With no pretensions, Susan’s has found a niche as a fried seafood institution. The lobster roll served there is a no-nonsense, traditional Maine style roll—a toasted top-sliced bun with a modest layer of mayo is packed with lobster meat on a thin bed of lettuce. It comes with a side of French fries and a smile.
DiMillo’s On The Water
25 Long Wharf
If you are looking to dine out with a harbor view, the name says it all. Housed in an old decommissioned ferry, DiMillo’s is docked on Long Wharf and is the only floating restaurant in the state. DiMillo’s award-winning chef serves up the best of Maine’s seafood and the lobster roll is no exception. The locally sourced, responsibly harvested Maine lobster is served chilled on a brioche roll laid on a bed of Boston lettuce and topped with a brown butter aioli that melts in your mouth
Fresh Maine Lobster, Delivered Directly to You
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