Lobster Lust: Top 5 Lobster Rolls on the Connecticut Shoreline 2010

by Foodie Fatale on September 3, 2010

in Connecticut,Restaurants,Seafood

(photo by Mary T. Cesar)

2014 Update: VOTE HERE in my Foodie Fatale Poll to determine:
Who Makes the BEST Lobster Roll in Connecticut?

If eating a whole steamed lobster is the equivalent of slow and passionate lovemaking, then eating a lobster roll is a quickie- hot and very satisfying in its own right. And although I love the sensual pleasures of eating a lobster the old fashioned way, once summer arrives and the afternoon sun is shining, I just can’t do without regular lobster rolls.

With all due respect to Chef Rebecca Charles, there is only one kind of lobster roll for me, and it does not involved mayonnaise. This is how they make lobster rolls in Connecticut: freshly picked lobster meat, dunked generously in butter and served on a “hot dog” roll. A simple recipe- but the taste varies depending on where you dine. Now that I have made the Connecticut shore my home once again, I have made it a priority to taste and compare as many lobster rolls as I can.

As the summer dwindles to a close, these are the best 5 I have tasted:

5. Bill’s Seafood
548 Boston Post Rd.
Westbrook, CT  06498-1877

I have a soft spot in my heart for Bill’s. It is nestled right next to what is fondly known locally as the “singing” bridge, leading from the Patchougue River to the Long Island Sound. When I was a little girl, driving over this bridge felt like a real event. And eating at Bill’s was even more special. I still find that Bill’s is a delightful spot for outdoor dining in the summer. As you sit on casual picnic, boats pass, and seagulls and ducks wait (somewhat) politely for the children to throw them bread scraps.  The location is the prize here. They have a fine lobster roll as well- buttered and served on a toasted long roll. Nothing gourmet, but the setting makes up for it.

Price: $16.95
Lobster Meat: 3.5 ounces
Includes: French fries, cole slaw

Lobster Roll; Bill’s Seafood, Westbrook, CT

4. Lobster Landing
152 Commerce Street
Clinton, CT 06413-2042

Lobster Landing; Clinton, CT

If I was to write a movie about eating a lobster roll, this would be the perfect locale. Charming and quaint, Lobster Landing occupies a small space right on the dock of a marina. A white-bearded lobsterman darts between the dining area and a small shack on the dock. He is a perfect character from a Eugene O’Neill play. Picnic tables and plastic tables sit on ground paved with broken clam shells.  Friendly staff cook the lobster roll meat in small mesh bags in a little station right by the dining tables. It tastes extremely fresh. Not as salty and buttery as I prefer, but still fresh and satisfying. The staff in the shack will gladly pick out live lobsters for you to buy- with free shells for the kids. The marina view is lovely.

Price: $14.00
Lobster Meat:
3.25 ounces


Lobster Roll at Lobster Landing; Clinton, CT

3. Lenny and Joe’s Fishtale
1301 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443-3432

Lenny and Joe’s is an institution with a devout following around here. With cute, cheap hats and t-shirts for sale and a wide array of fried seafood, you can always count on a lively scene. During the summer, the outdoor carousel is open for rides. Although their lobster roll contains less meat than some of the others I have listed here, it is perfectly buttery and salted. Their roll is nicely grilled. A lobster roll from Lenny and Joe’s is reliably good and fresh. And they are open year-round.

Price: $13.99
Lobster Meat: 2.5 ounces
Includes: Coleslaw


Lobster Roll; Lenny and Joe’s, Madison, CT

2. The Lobster Shack
7 Indian Neck Ave
Branford, CT 06405-3583

Each time I come to The Lobster Shack I get a little lost. But it only adds to the excitement of the visit. This seasonal “shack” sits adjacent to boats and marshes. The setting is casual- the picnic tables are just feet away from the parked cars.  But don’t let that dissuade you from coming. The lobster roll is just delicious. The bread itself is particularly tasty- not your average hot dog roll. The lobster meat is cut into generous chucks- and in addition to salty butter, is delicately sprinkled with fresh lemon juice. The lemon gives the roll a lovely lingering taste. Sublime. And while you are there try the fresh steamed clams. They hit the spot.

Price: $14.00
Lobster Meat: 3.5 ounces


The Lemon-Infused Lobster Roll at The Lobster Shack; Branford, CT

1. Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock
80 Hamilton Street
New London, CT 06320-5543

Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock; New London, CT

I visited Captain Scott’s on an overcast rainy day. Downtown New London felt ghost-like, empty and abandoned. I took a winding bumpy road past industrial buildings along the railroad tracks to get to the dock. The setting is simple and casual. New London is further east than the other places I have listed here- and you can really smell the salty ocean water as you sit at picnic tables watching the swans and docked boats.

The Object of My Affection at Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock; New London, CT

This glorious lobster roll seduced me with the first bite. The flavor of the meat was perfect. The amount of lobster was unprecedented. The roll was grilled- not the slightest bit soggy. It was quite simply the most succulent,  flavorful lobster roll I have ever eaten. It tasted as though it had been pulled from the ocean just for me. If you love lobster, you must find your way to this dock. I know I will be back as often as I can…

Price: $13.95
Lobster Meat: 5 ounces (Yes, that’s right- FIVE ounces)


I will indulge in as many more lobster rolls as I can over the next month while the seasonal locales are still serving. But for me eating a roll is a summertime delight. One that I will anticipate all winter…

  • Tina

    Next month: Lobster Nachos?

  • Jeffrey

    Sounds yummy-surely better than the $5.99 special steamed lobster at Shoprite. Although, any lobster is good lobster…. To think that they used to use lobster as pig feed!

  • ANNE

    If only I liked lobster… crab, yes — lobster, no. But I love the banner photo.

  • Laurie

    But how do they all compare to my local faves, Red Hook Lobster Pound and Ditch Plains??

    • Foodie Fatale

      ooo Laurie- sounds intriguing- How do they make lobster rolls there?

  • Laurie

    Ummm… deliciously? :) Alas, with mayo, though. I can still eat them for days, though. Despite the mayo, they are still buttery and meaty and, well yeah, as I said… delicious!

  • Liz

    Heaven on a New England-style hot dog roll. Between the CT shoreline options and my childhood favorites from the Maine coast, I’m now officially homesick!

  • Tagan Engel

    Great post Joce! how cool that you have this site! can’t wait to talk!! I started ranting about CT lobster rolls about 6 years ago when all the chefs in NYC were making $20+ versions of what we would call lobster salad rolls. they were good, but I agree that nothing compares to the perfect fresh lobster with butter in a toasted roll. finally made it out to lobster landing last week. it was great! they warm their lobster in a bisque like broth. My dad lives not far from their, but I never went there as a kid. we used to go to The Place, but haven’t been since I was a kid. Hope to go eating with you soon!

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  • Russgm

    Can you do a follow up article on the best lobster rolls in Fairfield county. All the ones you mention are too far east!

    • http://foodiefatale.com/ Foodie Fatale

      I love this idea. Do you have any favorites I should check out? Thanks so much!

  • Carroll Matthew

    If you are inland check out Jessica’s Garden in Marlborough CT. 4 oz claw and knuckle lobster roll with chips or slaw for 11.99 water front seating at the large Bass pond

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  • Lroysol

    How did you miss Lenny’s of Branford?  They have THE best rolls anywhere in Ct.

  • Laurelr777

    What a great article for lobster lovers. Thanks. Here’s a place to try that wasn’t on your list… Glennwood Drive In …Hamden CT. I know it’s not on the ocean which is always a plus but they have delicous, with lots of lobster, butter and lemon on the side, Lobster Rolls. Give it a try and see how it compares. I never asked them how many oz’s of lobster it looks similar to your Captain Scott’s picture in New London..bring the scales. I’m heading to CT next week and plan to check as many lobster shacks out as possible while there…happy eathing!

    • Foodie Fatale

      I cant wait to try Glenwood- thank you!! please report back!

  • Jay

    Lenny & Joe’ s Fish Tale in Westbrook & New Haven stuff their lobster rolls with 4oz of super fresh lobster meat. Yum

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  • Lilypadliz

    But where can we find a CT in ME?

    • grandma V

      Try Mike’s Clam Shack in Wells, Maine on Rt 1

  • Karen Costopoulos

    I went with a friend to Bill’s yesterday…what a HUGE, HUGE disappointment!

    Not only do they NOT take cash, they won’t allow pets on the dock, unlike even Boston does. The place is so run-down it needs to be demolished.

    And then came the lobster roll with fries and cole slaw….

    It was on the small size, and the lobster was tough and over-cooked, and was definitely NOT Maine lobster. What a shame to ruin good lobster by making it tough.

    The cole slaw was a total disaster, and unedible. It was watery and made with tons of white sugar. No thank you!

    Thankfully, their fries were passable. But, after spending $17 & a 20% tip, we won’t be back…

    • Johnny Thorne

      The lobster has to be cooked live. Lobster meat is a poor substitute.

  • Robert

    Liv’s Oyster Bar @ the Coventry Farmers Market

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  • bill

    Been to all of them, plus a couple. Captain Scotts: ordered it hot, came out luke warm at best. Almost no butter. Fries and Cole slaw were great. Won’t go back. Lobster Shack: Cash only. Had the whaler and split it with my wife. 8oz of meat. Very good, but not the best. Butter was lacking in flavor – probably clarified. I look at lobster as a way to legitimately eat butter, so clarified is right out. Price was good, setting good. Right next to a brewery, so it’s got that going for it. Bills: yuk. Low rent. Long lines. No view. Cash only. Food was good. They have an ice cream stand, so they’ve got that going for them. Won’t go back. Lenny and Joes: Ok food, no view. Not sure what the hype is about. Duchess serves an equitable lobster roll. Lobster Landing: The best, every single time. Friendly. Great view. Takes credit cards. Hot lobster, grilled roll, real butter. What’s not to love?

  • Johnny Thorne

    Lobster rolls for two @$10. Buy a live lobster, cook it and assemble on a baguette with all the fixings.

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