Portland, Maine, is a city that has long been synonymous with seafood, particularly lobster. The city’s coastal location provides access to some of the freshest seafood in the country, and its culinary scene has taken full advantage of this bounty. Among the many seafood delicacies that Portland has to offer, the lobster roll stands out as a must-try for any food lover. This simple yet delicious dish, consisting of fresh lobster meat served on a grilled hot dog-style bun, has become a symbol of Portland’s culinary prowess. In this guide, we will take you on a gastronomic journey through Portland’s famous lobster roll scene, providing you with all the information you need to indulge in this iconic dish.

Understanding the Lobster Roll

The lobster roll is a simple dish, but its simplicity is what makes it so special. The star of the show is, of course, the lobster. Freshly caught Maine lobster is cooked and lightly dressed with mayonnaise or butter, then served on a grilled, split-top hot dog bun. Some variations might include a sprinkle of chives or a squeeze of lemon, but the focus is always on the sweet, succulent lobster meat.

Where to Find the Best Lobster Rolls in Portland

Portland is home to numerous restaurants and food trucks that serve up their own versions of the lobster roll. Here are some of the best places to indulge in this delicacy:

  • Eventide Oyster Co.: Known for their brown butter lobster roll, Eventide Oyster Co. serves their lobster in a steamed bun, providing a unique twist on the traditional roll.
  • Bite into Maine: This food truck offers six different types of lobster rolls, including Maine style (with mayo), Connecticut style (with butter), and even a wasabi or curry version.
  • Highroller Lobster Co.: Highroller offers a customizable lobster roll experience, with options for cheese, sauces, and extras.

What to Look for in a Great Lobster Roll

When indulging in a lobster roll, there are a few key things to look for to ensure you’re getting the best experience:

  • Freshness: The lobster should be fresh, ideally caught the same day. It should taste sweet and not fishy.
  • Generosity: A good lobster roll should be generously filled with large chunks of lobster meat.
  • Simplicity: The best lobster rolls let the lobster shine, with minimal dressing and simple accompaniments.

Pairing Your Lobster Roll

A lobster roll is a meal in itself, but it can be paired with a variety of sides and drinks to enhance the experience. Classic pairings include potato chips and a cold beer, but you could also try a crisp white wine or a refreshing iced tea. For sides, consider coleslaw, pickles, or a simple green salad.


Indulging in a lobster roll is a must-do experience when visiting Portland. The combination of fresh, sweet lobster meat, a lightly toasted bun, and simple, flavorful dressing creates a dish that is both humble and luxurious. Whether you’re a seafood lover or just a food enthusiast, the lobster roll is a dish that is sure to impress.

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