While there is much debate regarding the origins of the first lobster roll, there’s no denying it’s popularity, or that it’s synonymous with Maine.
For those folks who want to try one of the highly-coveted crimson crustaceans, but doesn’t want all the work of cleaning and eating a whole lobster, this is a tasty alternative.
There are no lack of locales on the peninsula to find this delicacy, but we’ve picked a few of our favorite lobster rolls we recommend you try when you visit Portland. Modeled after both the Connecticut-styled lobster roll which is hot with butter, and the Maine lobster salad-style with mayonnaise which is cold. These are all easily accessible if you’re strolling through the Portland Old Port. Choose one, or try them all!
High Roller Lobster Co
The food cart duo of Andrew and Baxter often tag their social media posts with the dates times they’re estimated to be open and the adendum “or until sell out” (which they often do). The demand for their lobster rolls is high (pun intended), as you can see from the line that stretches along the front of the Custom House on Commercial St. their regular lunchtime haunt in the summer. You can also find them partnering with various local breweries to offer a taste of Maine that you can wash down with a delicious craft beer. We like to take ours to the Maine State Pier and watch the ferry boats come and go.
Porthole Restaurant & Pub
While you have the option of melted butter or mayonaise, we prefer the signature house-blended aioli. A mayonaise-based sauce, with lemon, garlic, rosemary, thyme and oregano. Served on a grilled brioche with lettuce the lobster is tossed lightly in the aioli and served with a side of chips. While you can visit the Porthole for this local delicacy all year long, at least six months of the year you can enjoy your lobster roll on their waterfront deck.
Eventide offers small plate dining and their brown-butter lobster roll is the most petite tasting experience on our list. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor. You could share…but we recommend taking your time and savoring this one yourself.
Andy’s Old Port Pub
Nestled between Gilbert’s Chowder House and Casco Variety, Andy’s offers the most traditional Conneticut style for those who want the classic hot-buttered lobster roll. It’s served on a grilled hot dog, with warm lobster, drizzled with melted butter and served with a side of chips. They also have a great list of local drafts that come in pints or as a flight. Grab a seat by their window facing Commercial St. and do some people watching while you eat.
Eve’s at the Garden
While most would not necessarily look to a hotel restaurant as a bucket list place to go for a meal, we highly recommend Eve’s at the Garden, part of the Portland Harbor Hotel. Their central garden/dining area is an oasis away from the cacophony of the Old Port and they make one heck of a delicious lobster roll. Here you can order a half-sized portion, or a whole lobster roll depending on your appetite, and relax in the calm of their garden setting.
These are just a few of our favorites – share yours in the comments and perhaps you’ll see it added to our list!