The 15 Lobster Dishes Every Bostonian Must Eat

From buttery rolls, to sweet and delicate sushi and the most pillowy ravioli.

Is there a more iconic New England delicacy than fresh lobster? Whether it’s served in the shell with plenty of drawn butter and a smattering of herbs, or shucked, dressed in cold mayo, and tucked into a soft split-top roll, this sweet shellfish is a treat. From longtime favorite restaurants like Neptune Oyster to relative newcomers like Loyal Nine, here are the 15, must-order dishes around Boston that best showcase this local luxury.

Alive & Kicking lobster sandwich and Cape Cod potato chips

The Alive & Kicking lobster sandwich pairs well with potato chips. / Photo by Katie Barszcz for “Lobster Heaven (Sans Tourists) at Alive & Kicking in Cambridge”

Lobster Sandwich at Alive & Kicking Lobsters

This quirky dining spot and seafood shop is destination-worthy, even though it’s way off the beaten path and the “dining room” is just a few shaded picnic tables. Go for the signature lobster sandwich (not a roll), which piles fresh, lightly dressed lobster salad between two crispy slices of toasted Scali bread.

269 Putnam Ave., Cambridge, 617-876-0451,

The Barking Crab

The Barking Crab is like a year-round vacation on the Fort Point Channel. / Photo Provided

Boiled Lobster at the Barking Crab

We’re not going to pretend this place isn’t a tourist trap. But we all like to play tourist in our beautiful town sometimes, and there are worse places to do it than under this carnivalesque tent on the Fort Point Channel, with a cold beer and a fresh feast of boiled lobster and drawn butter.

88 Sleeper St., South Boston, 617-426-2722,

Eventide Fenway’s signature brown-butter lobster roll

Eventide Fenway’s signature brown-butter lobster roll. / Photo by Emily Sotomayor for “Restaurant Review: Eventide Fenway

Brown-Butter Lobster Roll at Eventide Fenway

The “best lobster roll in Boston” discussion got some new heat with the arrival of this James Beard award-winning import from Maine. Despite its name, Eventide Oyster Co.’s signature dish is this unique take on a lobster roll, with small bites of rich meat inside a hybrid bao bun/New England split-top roll that almost everyone loves. Bonus: the Boston version is a bit larger than the Portland original.

1321 Boylston St., Boston, 617-545-1060,

Lobster roe noodles at Island Creek Oyster Bar

Lobster roe noodles at Island Creek Oyster Bar feature shellfish sourced from chef Jeremy Sewall’s family lobster traps in Maine. / Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell provided

Cousin Mark’s Lobster Roe Noodles at Island Creek Oyster Bar

Chef and partner Jeremy Sewall hails from a lobstering family in York, Maine, and his roots are deep on the menus of his five New England restaurants. This dish complements a generous helping of succulent, grilled lobster meat with just enough short rib, roe, and Pecorino for a richly flavored, satisfying meal.

500 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston, 617-532-5300,

Lobster bake at Legal Sea Foods

New England lobster bake is a menu staple at Legal Sea Foods. / Photo provided

Lobster Bake at Legal Sea Foods

The more things change in the Legal Sea Foods empire, the more they remain the same as far as menu staples go. This one is an unequivocal local tradition: A pile of steamers, mussels, Portuguese chouriço, and sweet summer corn land on the table beneath a foil tent, and alongside a cup of another New England must.

Copley Place, 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, and other locations,

With lobster meat and an eggy popover, Loyal Nine’s take on eggs Benedict is hyperlocal. / Photo by Jim Brueckner for “The Best Breakfasts in Boston

Lobster Popover at Loyal Nine

With smoked pork hollandaise and runny poached eggs, this brunch star is reminiscent of a Benedict. But chef Marc Sheehan upgrades the Sunday morning requisite with plump, local shellfish, and a very New England bread choice: The humble popover. The eggy shell is amped with more of the pork fat that flavors the sauce, so every element of this eggcellent dish comes together swimmingly.

660 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-945-2576,

The overflowing lobster roll at Neptune Oyster

The overflowing lobster roll at Neptune Oyster is worth the inevitable wait. / Photo from Best of Boston 2011

Lobster Roll at Neptune Oyster

Whether you, like most visitors to this popular North End spot, prefer your lobster roll hot with butter, or cold with mayo, either way it will be worth the inevitable wait. The grilled, brioche bun overflows with sizable chunks meat.

63 Salem St., Boston, 617-742-3474,

legs & eggs nigiri at O Ya

Maine lobster legs and caviar are used in the inventive “legs and eggs” nigiri at O Ya / Photo by Brian Samuels

Legs and Eggs at O Ya

Chef Tim Cushman highlights Maine lobster’s lanky legs in this two-bite morsel, along with the concentrated flavors of its tomalley (the green, paste-like part of whole lobster) and Black River osetra caviar atop seasoned rice. It’s a must for lobster lovers balling out at the top-tier sushi spot.

9 East St., Boston, 617-654-9900,

Lobster and waffles at Salti Girl

Saltie Girl’s fried lobster tail and fluffy waffles is the anytime combination you didn’t know you were craving. / Photo provided

Lobster and Waffles at Saltie Girl

The Southern-born combination of fried protein and warm waffles gets a Northeastern makeover at this meeting place for mer-people. Big pieces of lobster tail take a dip in the fryer but maintain a toothsome texture, and spicy maple syrup and sweet corn butter accent the fluffy waffle.

281 Dartmouth St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-267-0691,

Ginger scallion lobster at Peach Farm in Chinatown

Fresh lobster stir-fried with ginger and scallions is a must-order at Peach Farm in Chinatown. / Photo by Jakarta N. on Yelp

Ginger Scallion Lobster at Peach Farm

While you can choose your own lobster right out of the tank at this essential Chinatown restaurant, the kitchen staff will do (most of) the work for you to present it stir-fried with herbaceous green onions and piquant fresh ginger. Even stalwart waitress Debbie says it’s a must-order.

4 Tyler St., Chinatown, Boston, 617-482-1116,

lobster ravioli at Rino's Place in East Boston

Guy Fieri memorably devoured lobster ravioli at Rino’s Place in East Boston. / Lobster ravioli at Rino’s Italian by Rachel + Micah on Flickr / Creative Commons

Lobster Ravioli at Rino’s

This busy, quintessential East Boston restaurant doesn’t need any more hype. But that’s too bad, because comfort food king Guy Fieri is not alone in loving this signature dish of chef-owner Anthony DiCenso’s. How who can blame him? Giant, pillowy pasta pockets, stuffed with lobster, fresh Italian ricotta, and Parmigiano-Reggiano are swimming in a creamy brandy-tomato sauce.

258 Saratoga St., Boston, 617-567-7412,

Lobster pizza at Scampo

Lobster pizza has been a signature dish of chef Lydia Shire’s from Biba to Scampo. / Photo provided

Lobster Pizza at Scampo

Iconic Boston chef Lydia Shire first served this then-boundary-pushing pie at her late restaurant Biba, and installed a pizza oven at her Liberty Hotel locale when it opened a decade ago to continue serving the signature dish. The thin, dinner plate-sized crust manages to hold onto the cheesy cream sauce, caramelized shallots and garlic, and meat from a two-pound lobster, while fresh ricotta and scallions help keep it balanced (though anything but light).

The Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles St., Boston, 617-536-2100,

Lobster Roll at Sullivan’s Castle Island

While a jaunt out to the South Boston landmark where this snack bar is situated is an important part of the experience, this to-the-point cold sub can be sourced for workweek lunch in a pinch from Sully’s seasonal location at the also-extremely-Boston Hood Milk Bottle in Fort Point.

2080 William J Day Blvd., South Boston, 617-268-5685,

The pan-roasted lobster at Summer Shack

The pan-roasted lobster at Summer Shack has a rich bourbon-butter sauce. / Photo from Best of Boston 2010

Pan-Roasted Lobster at Summer Shack

A whole section of the menu here is dedicated to preparations of this tasty bug, but none rivals Jasper White’s aptly named “famous pan-roasted lobster,” an exemplary entrée the celebrity chef developed at his eponymous North End restaurant. Jasper’s shuttered in the ’90s, but White’s family-friendly current restaurants all serve this buttery, bourbon-flambéed, chive-and-chervil-seasoned specialty.

149 Alewife Brook Pkwy., Cambridge, 617-520-9500, 50 Dalton St., Boston, 617-867-9955,

Uni's lobster BLT maki roll

Uni’s lobster BLT maki roll is the best thing to happen to bacon, lettuce, and tomato since sliced bread. / Photo by Andrea Merrill provided

Lobster BLT Maki Roll at Uni

Grab a seat at the sushi bar to see just how popular this spin on the standard sandwich is—every other order seemingly adds this fun fusion roll. It’s one of the best examples of chef and partner Tony Messina’s creative takes on Japanese tradition. Crispy bacon, brown-butter mayonnaise, and pickled celery take it beyond just summer lunch nostalgia into seriously craveable territory.

370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-536-7200,