Looking for the best lobster, lobster roll, or seafood places in Boston? Well, you are in the right place.
This post will provide suggestions for the best locations in Beantown that serve Lobster and Lobster rolls. Let's take a bite!
As a local tour guide, I'm asked this question on almost every tour, and the following places are those I share with my tour guides.
And I have eaten at all of these places and these are my recommendations.
But first? Who has the best lobster in Boston?
Well, that depends on what type of lobster you want.
If you want steamed or boiled lobster, go with a place that has the most inexpensive ones.
There are many pubs you will spot in Boston with specials like a twin lobster with a pint of beer for $12.99 or so. Go there.
A steamed or boiled lobster is not exactly the fine art of cooking. Even my seven-year-old niece can cook you up a great steamed lobster.
All you are doing is dropping the poor guy in a pot of water for about ten minutes, and that is it.
It doesn't really matter where you get it if you just want it steamed or boiled.
Lobster Rolls in Boston
If you are looking for a Lobster roll, that’s a whole other story.
There are many places that sell lobster rolls, but only a few of them are great.
Most places will give you a hot dog roll with more lettuce than lobster, so here is where you want to pay attention.
Here are a few of the great places near or along the Freedom Trail that you may want to try after taking our Freedom Trail Tour:
This restaurant is located at 65 Salem St. in our Northend/Little Italy neighborhood.
Their "Lobsta Roll" is 7 ounces of lobster meat with lemon and mayo on a hotdog bun.
There's also the "Lobsta Sub" at 14 ounces and the "USS Lobstitution" at 28 ounces.
It also serves clam chowder, "Lobsta Grilled Cheese", fish and chips, and more.
Pauli's gets a 4.5 rating on Trip Advisor.
This take-out restaurant, which is owned by the fittingly named Hook family, is located at 15 Northern Avenue, right on Boston Harbor's seaport.
Their tagline is "live lobster and fresh seafood delivered since 1925" which gives you a sense of how much locals have enjoyed their offerings.
Their lobster rolls are piled high with lobster meat and are served on the classic hot dog bun.
You can order regular and large lobster rolls with either mayo or butter.
Note that you can also get whole-cooked lobsters, lobster mac and cheese, crab rolls and cakes, and more.
Note that you can also order from their on-site food truck, which means not having to stand in line to order in the seafood shop.
James Hook & Co. gets a 4.5 rating out of 5 on Trip Advisor
This restaurant is located at 63 Salem Street, right next to Pauli's in the North End.
They offer a Maine Lobster Roll, hot or cold, with mayo, with or without a toasted brioche roll.
It's a great place, but because of that, there is usually a wait for a table.
Neptune Oyster also gets a 4.5 rating out of 5 on Trip Advisor.
This restaurant is located in Back Bay at 279 Dartmouth Street.
Their New England Lobster roll is served either warm or cold and comes with salt and Vinegar potato chips.
You can also find seafood towers, scallops, fried lobster and waffles with spicy maple syrup and sweet corn butter, and various other fish and pasta dishes on their extensive menu.
Note that they do not allow for changes or modifications to their menu.
Saltie Girl joins the others with a 4.5 rating out of 5 on Trip Advisor.
This is one of restauranteur Barbara Lynch's group of restaurants. It's located at 550 Tremont Street in the South End.
They have a modern take on the classic oyster bar, serving up fried oysters, Ipswich clams, New England clam chowder, lobster rolls, and more.
Their lobster roll, which is generously piled high with lobster, is served cold with lemon mayonnaise, celery, chives, coleslaw, and pickles.
As expected, this restaurant has a 4.5 rating out of 5 on Trip Advisor.
This restaurant is at 88 Sleeper St. on the waterfront, just across the water from James Hook & Co.
It offers a Traditional Lobster Roll and a Naked Lobster Roll.
The former comes with chilled lobster, mayo, celery, and lemon on a toasted bun. The latter is warm, with butter-poached lobster on a toasted bun.
This restaurant has a 4.0 rating out of 5 on Trip Advisor.
This restaurant in Boston's Fort Point neighborhood is mostly known for its oysters. It can be found at 383 Congress Street.
It's also considered to have one of Boston's best lobster rolls.
The Ethel's Creamy Lobster Roll has a cold mayo and pickle mix.
The Warm Buttered Lobster Roll is, as the name describes, warm and loaded with butter.
The lobster is locally caught and sits in a butter-grilled brioche bun with sea salt sprinkled on top.
Both come with coleslaw and kettle chips.
It also has a vast menu that includes such items as a New England seafood boil, grilled swordfish, lager steamed mussels, and much more.
And we're back to a 4.5 rating out of 5 on Trip Advisor.
They are located at 300 Northern Avenue near the waterfront, just a short walk from the Freedom Trail.
Yankee Lobster has a number of lobster options, including a traditional lobster roll, a hot buttered lobster roll sauteed in butter, and a fried lobster roll with old bay seasoning and butter on the side
You can also get a lobster melt sandwich with cheese and chipotle mayo on sourdough.
The dining area is small, as they also have a market for both retail and wholesale.
They have been featured on the Food Network.
Rounding out this list of the best lobster rolls in Boston, they get a 4.5 rating out of 5 on Trip Advisor.
Why is Boston one of the best cities for lobster?
This is one of the most common questions we get from guests visiting our great city.
The reason why lobster tastes better in the Northeast in areas such as Boston or Maine (rather than in Los Angeles or Nebraska) is because of their shells.
The lobster normally sheds its shell in the Spring and Fall, and the most flavorful-tasting ones are the new-shell lobsters.
Due to their softer shell, they are not suited for shipping because they die quickly while being shipped.
As a result, the ones that are shipped around the country are the hard-shell lobsters.
Hardshell lobsters have older shells and are therefore easily shipped (and more expensive because of this), though the meat is not as sweet.
How do I find the best lobster in Boston?
There are many good places to get lobster and lobster rolls in Boston, but few are great.
Having said that, most places in the city get their lobster from the same few vendors.
Certainly, the price can be a giveaway when it comes to Lobster rolls.
If they're too cheap (under $20), you're likely to be eating something that is not real lobster.
Also, lobster rolls are not all created equal.
Some have more meat in them, and others have a lot of quality ingredients that take the roll to another level.
We've listed some of the best-reviewed restaurants serving lobster rolls above.
What prices can I expect?
This is a hard one, as the price often fluctuates.
Inflation as of late has had an impact, as have the limitations under which lobstermen are allowed to put their traps in the water (just 8 months a year).
Lobster meat from the US is also purchased by other countries, leading to a more limited local supply and therefore higher prices.
And finally, all of the costs surrounding the catching and delivering of lobsters are high.
Gas is more expensive. Drivers are more expensive. Storage is more expensive.
As of Jan 2024, you can expect to spend at least $20 for some lower-end lobster rolls and nearly $45 for rolls from some of the better places.
Have lobsters always been an expensive/high-end food?
No. In fact, prior to the mid-19th century, eating lobster was considered a sign of poverty.
The lobster was served to servants and prisoners and was used as fertilizer.
It wasn't until the mid-20th century that it was thought of as anything but cheap canned food, but that’s another story…
In what season is lobster the cheapest in Boston?
Prices tend to peak in early spring.
Once the lobstermen are allowed back out with their traps, the prices drop.
The best month of the year to buy live lobsters is usually May.
However, in 2024, due to a lobster shortage, many folks will be eating frozen processed meat from Canada in May. Some experts predict that it will be July before you can get fresh lobster for your lobster rolls.