Where to Eat Lobster Rolls in Greater Boston

Get your claws into these standouts, served warm and buttered or chilled with mayo.

Saltie Girl’s cold lobster roll is gorgeously overflowing with Gloucester lobster. / Photo by Mike Cotrone

It doesn’t have to be summertime for that lobster roll craving to hit—and you don’t even need to commute to a seaside seafood shanty on the Cape to find an excellent version of the classic dish. Boston has a national reputation to uphold around lobster rolls, so we have plenty of our own spots specializing in hot buttered and chilled-with-mayo variations. Ready to start plowing your way through a bucket-list of claw-filled must-tries? Here’s your lobster roll to-eat list, whatever the season.

This guide was last updated in February 2024; stay tuned for periodic updates.

Alive & Kicking Lobsters

Best of Boston winner 2014

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.

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

B&G Oysters

This seafood restaurant in the heart of the South End boasts a twinkling, below-street level patio that is a particularly charming choice for outdoor dining when the season permits. 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.

550 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 617-423-0550, bandgoysters.com.

The Banks Fish House

Turns out the team behind acclaimed steakhouse Grill 23 & Bar—a longtime Back Bay staple—can whip up a seafood dish just as excellent as a steak at nearby sibling spot the Banks Fish House. (We even gave the chowder—spiked with pork belly and chive oil—a 2023 Best of Boston award.) The lobster roll, served hot or cold, features a brown butter bun and a simple embellishment of sea salt and chives. Old Bay potato chips round out the dish. It’s available on the brunch menu, too—unless you’ve already got your eye on, say, the fried clams and waffles with candied bacon and maple chowder gravy.

406 Stuart St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-399-0015, thebanksboston.com.

The Barking Crab

That bright red- and yellow-striped big top tent on the waterfront is a Seaport fixture, a city oasis for slaking thirsts for cold beer on draft. It’s also the place to satisfy hungers for classic crab-shack eats like fried clams, fish and chips, and your choice of cold or butter-poached hot lobster rolls.

88 Sleeper St., Seaport District, Boston, 617-426-2722, barkingcrab.com.

Belle Isle Seafood

Best of Boston winner 2010

Just over the Eastie line in Winthrop, this classic New England seafood shack serves up overstuffed lobster rolls with views of Belle Isle Inlet and the Boston skyline. The buttery, griddle-crisped hot dog bun humbly holds its own against the tender tail, knuckle, and claw meat stuffed inside. Take note, though: It’s a cash-only joint.

One Main St., Winthrop, 617-567-1619, belleisleseafood.com.

Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood

Best of Boston winner 2020

Cusser’s has closed its takeout location under big sibling Mooncusser (making way for Moon Bar), but you can still enjoy its shack-style pleasures at two local food halls—Time Out Market Boston in the Fenway and Hub Hall in the West End. There’s the titular roast beef, of course, while the seafood part of the business currently includes a warm lobster roll with butter and chives. There has been a cold version on the menu in the past, too, so keep an eye out in case it makes a return.

401 Park Dr. (Time Out Market), Fenway, Boston; 80 Causeway St. (Hub Hall), West End, Boston; cussersboston.com.

Eventide Oyster Co. brown butter lobster roll

Eventide’s brown butter lobster roll. / Photo by Knack Factory

Eventide Fenway

Best of Boston winner 2022

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. The signature sandwich plays a starring role at the Boston offshoot, too, as well as a cold lobster roll on a griddled bun with house mayo and dill. Hot take, according to some Boston staffers: The cold version might be Eventide’s best. Some of us prefer to go all in on brown butter, though, complementing the brown butter roll with a brown butter Old Fashioned and brown butter soft serve.

1321 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, 617-545-1060, eventidefenway.com.

Two petite lobster rolls sit on white paper with a fish logo, with fries and coleslaw. One lobster roll is topped with a mound of butter, while the other has herbs and a light dressing of mayo.

Hook & Line’s Maine lobster roll duo—one with butter, one with mayo, served with fries and coleslaw. (This is the restaurant version of the dish; get a single roll—butter or mayo—at the market next door.) / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Hook & Line

When it comes to lobster rolls, why choose between butter and mayo when you can have both? At Alcove sibling Hook & Line, an impressive new indie in a neighborhood with an oversized number of out-of-town chains, executive chef Mark Cina—who grew up on the Cape—offers a lobster roll duo with mini versions of each style. Our strategy: Pick one, share the other, and leave room to try more of the menu, particularly anything cooked on the wood-fired grill.

10 Fan Pier Blvd., Seaport District, Boston, 617-860-6003, hookandlinebos.com.

James Hook & Co.

Best of Boston winner 2013, 2015

A landmark dining spot and retail seafood shop on the downtown Boston waterfront, James Hook is particularly famous for lobster rolls. Choose between regular or large, cold with mayo or hot with butter—no matter how you take it, though, 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.

440 Atlantic Ave., Downtown Boston, 617-423-5501, jameshooklobster.com.

A buttery hot dog bun full of tobiko-topped fried lobster is accompanied by seasoned potato chips.

Lê Madeline’s tôm hùm rang me: fried lobster roll on warm buttered brioche with tamarind, tobiko, and potato chips. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Lê Madeline

In early 2024, decade-old Vietnamese noodle shop Pho Linh, a Quincy staple, transitioned to Lê Madeline, a modern Vietnamese stunner paying homage to tradition while adding new twists based on the upbringings of restaurateur Tam Le and executive chef Peter Nguyen (a Little Donkey alum), each a second-generation Vietnamese American. So where does the lobster roll come in? Nguyen’s menu draws inspiration from his years of restaurant experience in Greater Boston (and Houston), so you’ll see a little bit of a New England—with a spin. The tôm hùm rang me is a fried lobster roll dressed in a sweet and tart tamarind sauce and a generous garnish of tobiko, served on buttered brioche. It’s irresistible.

409 Hancock St., Quincy, lemadeline.com.

A man stands in a restaurant and holds two plates, with a different style of lobster roll on each.

Little Whale Oyster Bar chef and owner Michael Serpa shows off the restaurant’s lobster rolls. / Photo by Matthew Schrage for Little Whale Oyster Bar

Little Whale Oyster Bar

We were bummed when chef and restaurateur Michael Serpa closed his Parisian-inspired bistro, Grand Tour, in 2022—but his idea to replace it with a New England seafood restaurant, Little Whale Oyster Bar, has proven to be a winner. (And there are still steak frites on the menu to soothe our Grand Tour feelings!) Little Whale’s lobster roll is available cold with mayo or warm with butter; each is served on brioche from local bread expert Iggy’s, with a side of crispy fries.

314 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, 857-277-0800, littlewhaleboston.com.

Luke's Lobster photo provided

Luke’s Lobster. / Courtesy photo

Luke’s Lobster

Luke’s Lobster has done something that maybe nobody else managed to do before it: took the lobster roll, a food that depends on super-freshness, and successfully built a fast-casual international chain with over 30 locations. That it was co-founded by a third-generation Maine lobsterman, we think, probably has a lot to do with pulling this off. (So does the fact that Luke’s Lobster runs its own purchasing and production facility in Saco, Maine, where it buys direct from local boats.) The lobster rolls—available in two sizes and served chilled with mayo and lemon butter, although you can leave either off—are really good, and the crab roll is nothing to shake a claw at, either. (Watch for lobster rolls specials like hot honey or truffle butter versions.) Note: Gluten-free buns are available.

75 Exeter St., Back Bay, Boston, 857-350-4626; 290 Washington St., Downtown Crossing, Boston, 857-317-4843; lukeslobster.com.

Neptune Oyster Bar’s lobster roll. / Courtesy photo

Neptune Oyster Bar

Best of Boston winner 2009, 2011, 2017, 2023

A seat at this compact, no-reservations North End bistro has been one of the toughest in town to get for years, but it’s worth the wait for the famous hot buttery lobster roll (also available cold with mayo). Each version is served on fluffy, griddled brioche, loaded with seven ounces of lobster. If you can swing two visits, pull yourself away from the lobster roll on one of them in order to delve into the rest of the gem-packed menu: The fried-oyster-topped burger and smoked bluefish and caviar johnnycake are among the other favorites.

63 Salem St., North End, Boston, 617-742-3474, neptuneoyster.com.


When it comes to lobster, this North End sandwich shop really covers its bases: There’s a lobster grilled cheese sandwich, an avocado-lobster salad, and of course, a classic New England-style roll on a griddled hot dog bun. Should you choose to indulge, check out Pauli’s U.S.S. Lobstitution, which is 28 ounces of fresh lobster meat and mayo tucked into two long sub rolls. And if you have any homesick friends or family out there, note that Pauli’s ships lobster roll kits all across the country.

65 Salem St., North End, Boston, 857-284-7064, paulisnorthend.com.

Three finger sandwiches are garnished with chopped chives and a ramekin of melted butter.

Puritan Oyster Bar’s buttered lobster toast. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Puritan Oyster Bar

At Puritan & Co.’s sibling/neighbor oyster bar, you’ve got two lobster roll-ish choices. There’s the buttered lobster toast (see above), “basically a warm buttered lobster roll, but have it be finger food,” chef and owner Will Gilson told us when the restaurant opened in early 2023. (It’s actually a mix of scallop and lobster, whipped together and steamed inside of bread for a katsu sandwich-like result.) And then there’s the lobster sandwich—cold with mayo or hot with butter. Yep, another lobster sandwich on the lobster roll guide: We’d apologize for breaking the rules, but you’re going to love these just as much as a traditional roll.

1164 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge, puritancambridge.com/oysterbar.

Row 34

Best of Boston winner 2021

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 Row 34. No wonder, then, that both Sewall’s rolls—warm and buttered and cold and creamy—capture the sweet, barely saline essence of ultra-fresh lobster meat. (They also both pair well with great beer). Butterscotch pudding for dessert? Yes, please.

383 Congress St., Fort Point, Boston, 617-553-5900; 314 Main St., Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-819-1120; 300 District Ave., Burlington, 781-761-6500; row34.com.

Saltie Girl’s lobster roll. / Photo by Mike Cotrone

Saltie Girl

Now that Saltie Girl has relocated to the much larger space that previously housed its sibling restaurant, MET Back Bay, we have even more room to spread our elbows over splays of tinned seafood, toasts, crudo, and more. Naturally, the selection includes both hot and cold lobster rolls, each gorgeously overflowing with Gloucester lobster and served with the house sea salt and vinegar potato chips. And shhh…there’s a secret fried lobster roll, too, dressed with Korean chili flakes, sweet corn butter, and beurre blanc.

279 Dartmouth St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-267-0691, saltiegirl.com.

Yankee Lobster

Best of Boston winner 2016

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.

300 Northern Ave., Seaport District, Boston, 617-345-9799, yankeelobstercompany.com.