The Best Lobster Rolls in Boston to Order Right Now
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No matter how different this summer in Boston might feel, there will be plenty of fresh lobster rolls. Is there a more iconic New England delicacy than succulent lobster? Lightly dressed in cold mayo or warm butter and tucked into a soft split-top roll, this sweet shellfish sandwich is on takeout and patio-dining menus across the city, from old-school clam shacks to chic urban oyster bars. We’ve gathered up 15 current favorites below, indicating whether they’re open for takeout, patio dining, or both. (Missing Legal Sea Foods, which remains closed for now? Boston Magazine Events recently shared its iconic recipe to recreate at home.) We’ll continue to refresh with new information, as available.
Due to the uncertain nature of the present moment, as well as what it takes for full-service restaurants to pivot to takeout operations, these options are subject to change. This post will be updated. Please call a restaurant directly if you have questions about ordering. Additionally, the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Restaurant Association are both tracking self-reported takeout options with their own online portals. Looking for other takeout and delivery options? Check out all of Boston magazine’s dining guides for the pandemic.
Alive & Kicking Lobsters
OK, this list begins with a lobster sandwich, decidedly not a roll—but it’s nonetheless a decades-long Cambridge classic and a must-try for all local lobster lovers. Lightly dressed lobster salad is the star, supported by a couple thin slices of buttered, crispy-toasted Scali bread. The no-frills takeout shop may look like a fish out of water in its residential neighborhood, but that’s also part of the cult appeal of this quirky favorite. Alongside picnic-ready lobster sandwiches, steamers, and chowder, you can also pick up market-fresh seafood to cook at home. Alive & Kicking is open daily from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (4 p.m. on Sundays). Call ahead or order from the window on-site.
269 Putnam Ave., Cambridge, 617-876-0451, aliveandkickinglobsters.com.
This seafood restaurant in the heart of the South End—captained by Boston dining doyenne, Barbara Lynch—just reopened for takeout and outdoor dining on its twinkling, below-street level patio. The classy but casual spot finesses New England classics like the Maine lobster roll, brimming with fresh chunks of sweet meat and dotted with just enough finely diced celery for a little texture. B&G is currently open Wednesday through Sunday for takeout, South End delivery, and patio dining. Call ahead (beginning at 9 a.m. the morning-of) for reservations.
550 Tremont St., Boston, 617-423-0550, bandgoysters.com.
Belle Isle Seafood
Looking for daytime drives and staycations to do this summer of social distancing? Travel no further than Winthrop, where this classic New England seafood shack serves up overstuffed lobster rolls with Belle Isle inlet and Boston skyline views. The buttery, griddle-crisped hot dog bun humbly holds its own against the tender tail, knuckle, and claw meat stuffed inside. Belle Isle is open daily from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.—and note, it’s still cash-only.
One Main St., Winthrop, 617-567-1619, belleisleseafood.com.
Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen
Brighton’s new brewpub just debuted an outdoor beer garden, where you can make a reservation to try chef Jonathan Gilman’s riff on a lobster roll: Snappy Lobster from Scituate dressed with Korean chili butter and lemon, tucked into a grilled brioche roll. Brato also offers takeout lobster rolls—along with make-at-home grilled cheese meal kits, 32-ounce crowlers of fresh beer, and more. Reservations are required for patio dining. It’s open weekdays from 4-10 p.m., and weekends from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
190 N. Beacon St., Brighton, 617-903-3766, bratobk.com.
Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood
From a street-level takeout window, chef Carolyn Johnson and her team at the elegant, award-winning Mooncusser Fish House dish out simple snack shack-style pleasures, including hot and cold lobster rolls, both packed with meat and served on a griddled potato bun. The cold version is slicked with tarragon-mayo; hot, it’s tossed with a red wine butter sauce. A fine choice, indeed. Cusser’s is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. with brunch options.
304 Stuart St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-917-5193, moonbarboston.com.
The James Beard Award-winning chefs behind Portland, Maine’s Eventide Oyster Co. made a name for themselves with a brown-butter lobster roll, which uses a soft, fluffy, bao-style steamed bun. At their fast-casual outpost on Boylston Street, the signature sandwich is available in two sizes—and during the warmer months, so is a New England-style seasonal special, with herbaceous, dill-and-lemon mayo and a griddled steamed bun. Hot take: the cold version might be Eventide’s best. The Fenway spot is open Thursday through Sunday for takeout and delivery, from 4-8 p.m. on Thursdays and noon-8 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
1321 Boylston St., Boston, 617-545-1060, eventidefenway.com.
Field & Vine
At this Best of Boston-worthy beauty, chef Andrew Brady’s menus frequently change to reflect whatever Mother Nature brings through the door. But during the takeout era, he’s also dishing up more reliable comforts, like Tuesday night tacos, the new Field & Vine burger, and a lobster roll with tangy aioli, celery, and herbs, nestled in a buttered bun with leafy lettuce. Field & Vine is open for curbside pickup Tuesday-Saturday from 5-8 p.m.
9 Sanborn Ct., Somerville, 617-718-2333, fieldandvinesomerville.com.
James Hook + Co.
An institution on the downtown Boston waterfront, this dining spot and retail seafood shop is open daily for outdoor dining and takeout. For lobster rolls, choose between regular, or large; and cold, or hot—but no matter how you like it, the hot dog bun will come loaded with the same kind of fresh shellfish the Hook family has been harvesting since 1925. You can also pick up live lobsters to bring home, or order a sampling of seafood shipped right to your door. James Hook is currently open daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays).
15-17 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-423-5501, jameshooklobster.com.
Chef Marc Sheehan’s East Cambridge concept nods to New England culinary history—so you bet he’s serving up a lobster roll this summer. Towering over a toasted potato bun, the cold lobster salad is flecked with celery and topped with chives. Enjoy it on the expansive patio, which is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (beginning Tuesday, June 16; closes at 5 p.m. at the moment). For the summer of social distancing, Loyal Nine has replaced its nightly supper service with an open-air counter for ordering on-site, and also takes online orders for pickup.
660 Cambridge St., East Cambridge, 617-945-2576, loyalninecambridge.com.
Neptune Oyster Bar
A seat at this compact, North End bistro has been one of the toughest in town to get for 15 years—but a silver lining of this summer is that you can order ahead to enjoy Neptune’s famous hot buttery lobster roll for takeout, without a wait. The cold version—also served on fluffy, griddled brioche, loaded with seven ounces of lobster—is also available, as well as the Neptune johnnycake, Georges Bank scallops, and other iconic dishes. Neptune is currently open daily from 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
3 Salem St., Boston, 617-742-3474, neptuneoyster.com.
This North End sandwich shop has been open for takeout throughout the pandemic with a huge selection of salads and sandwiches, including lots of lobster: There’s a lobster grilled cheese sandwich, an avocado-lobster salad, and of course, a classic New England-style roll on a griddle hot dog bun. There’s no need to hoard, but should you choose to indulge, check out Pauli’s Lobstitution, which is 24 ounces of fresh lobster meat and mayo tucked into two long sub rolls. For the first time ever, Pauli’s is also shipping make-at-home lobster roll kits all across the county. Order takeout of app delivery weekdays from 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sundays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
65 Salem St., 857-284-7064, Boston, paulisnorthend.com.
Chef-partner Jeremy Sewall grew up in a multigenerational fishing family that includes his cousin Mark, a lobsterman in York, Maine who catches the crustaceans for the rolls at Sewalls restaurants, Row 34 and Island Creek Oyster Bar. Both of his warm, buttered and cold, creamy lobster rolls capture the essence of sweet, barely saline lobster—and they pair well with great beer. Currently, Row 34 offers takeout in Fort Point from a festive walk-up window, Thursday through Saturday noon-8 p.m.
383 Congress St., Fort Point, Boston, 617-553-5900, row34.com.
This narrow, nautical nook of an oyster bar is taking over sister spot MET Back Bay’s patio this summer (MET menu items, meanwhile, will be available at Stephanie’s on Newbury, another restaurant in the family). If you’d prefer, opt for takeout—the full menu of tinned seafood, toasts, crudo, entrees, and more is available. That includes both hot and cold lobster rolls, each gorgeously overflowing with Gloucester lobster. Saltie Girl is open for takeout and patio dining weekdays from 11 a.m.-9 (10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays), with a weekend brunch also available from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
281 Dartmouth St. (patio seating on Newbury Street), Back Bay, Boston, 617-267-0691, saltiegirl.com.
The Barking Crab
That bright red- and yellow-striped big top tent on the waterfront is a Seaport fixture. While the picnic tables are spaced out this summer, it’s still an oasis in the city, with cold beer on draft and classic crab-shack eats like fried clams, fish and chips, and your choice of cold or butter-poached hot lobster rolls. Barking Crab also has a patio on Sleeper Street. It’s open for takeout and outdoor dining from noon-5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and noon-8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
88 Sleeper St., Boston, 617-426-2722, barkingcrab.com.
When it comes to a lobster roll, sometimes a straightforward, no-frills version is just what you crave—bonus points for shanty charm. Yankee Lobster’s traditional counter-service take on New England’s favorite sandwich scores big with a simple toasted split-top roll, generous portions of claw and knuckle meat, and a light, unobtrusive herb mayo that lets the freshly caught lobster shine. The Seaport snack bar is open for takeout Thursday through Monday from noon–7 p.m. Call ahead to order and pay over the phone.
300 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-345-9799, yankeelobstercompany.com.