To celebrate National Lobster day on June 15 — the perfect kickoff to summer — we’ve highlighted our top picks for hot lobster rolls that we’ve tried and tested over the years. The simple yet perfect dish of buttery lobster meat stuffed in a bun is best eaten in its classic presentation — with a side of melted butter, cole slaw and possibly even French fries.
The 2017 edition features all of our past favorites plus new additions from southeastern Connecticut where views of the Long Island Sound enjoyed with your meal add to the summertime ambiance.
Ford’s Lobsters, Noank
This very small, but lovely outdoor restaurant serves creative seafood dishes based upon fresh, locally sourced ingredients. In addition to their amazing blueberry and lobster salad and lobster mac and cheese, Ford’s offers a very tasty hot lobster roll. The lobster rolls at Ford’s are served in a toasted top split roll with a side of melted butter. The lobster takes center stage in this dish, with mounds of meat being served for each roll and it is nice to be able to add more perfectly melted butter if desired. This is my personal favorite of lobster rolls (and seafood restaurants) in southeastern Connecticut. The atmosphere at Ford’s is really lovely, allowing you to dine in the natural light, watching fishing vessels head out for the day or return home in the evening.
15 Riverview Avenue, Noank
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, Noank
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough is a casual venue with outdoor and indoor picnic bench seating. The long lines here certainly illustrate its local popularity and their fresh seafood has been loved locally since their opening in 1947. At Abbott’s, the lobster rolls are served on a seeded hamburger bun that is piled high with buttered meat. The lobster roll is served with a lemon wedge, and a bag of local potato chips. The lobster roll here is good, but I missed the side of melted butter to add more deliciousness to the roll, although I think this was simply forgotten on my order.
117 Pearl Street, Noank
Red 36, Mystic
This trendy indoor-outdoor eatery has a seafood heavy menu and comes highly recommended. When I tried it out, I had the friendliest waiter ever who was happy to suggest his favorites. I tried the pulled pork sliders as an appetizer, which were delicious, but not outstanding. The hot lobster roll is, however, a menu stand-out, served with either lemon aioli or melted buttery goodness. Grab a side of grilled corn with lime chili mayo and you’ve got the perfect summertime meal of lobster and corn at Red 36.
2 Washington Street, Mystic
Captain Scott’s, New London
Located on the docks beside one of New London’s marinas, diners order and pick up meals at the windows to be enjoyed on picnic benches. The most popular item at the ultra-casual Captain Scott’s is by far their hot lobster roll. With warm, tender lobster meat drizzled with melted butter and served in a grilled hot dog bun, I can see why. The warm lobster roll here is served in two sizes to fulfill any appetite. Also on the menu are lobster dinners, clam fritters, lobster bisque, and their really tasty New England clam chowder.
80 Hamilton St., New London
Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale, Westbrook
Whenever my out-of-state family visits, Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale is our first stop for dinner. And we all love this popular spot for its buttered lobster rolls. Buttered lobster is served in a grilled split top hotdog bun and served with one side of your choosing — I prefer their onion rings. Lenny and Joes also has locations in Madison and New Haven that serve similar menus.
86 Boston Post Road, Westbrook
Max’s Oyster Bar, West Hartford
We head inland to the classy Max Oyster Bar for our next lobster roll. Here, the hot buttered lobster rolls come with the necessary toasted bun, and sides of cole slaw and French fries. The handmade roll, and lobster meat to bread ratio is what makes Max’s Oyster Bar a stand-out in Connecticut.
964 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford
Crab Shell, Stamford
Located right on the waterfront in Stamford, Crab Shell offers both indoor and outdoor dining serving freshly caught seafood. Their number one menu item is the warm lobster roll served in a butter toasted split top roll. The lobster meat is cooked directly in butter, really bringing out the flavors and the roll consists of tail, knuckle, and claw meat.
Crab Shell sets itself apart from the other delicious lobster roll serving restaurants in the state by offering live music and mooring if coming by boat.
46 Southfield Avenue, Stamford
The Lobster Hut, Milford
Ordered with a side of fries, onion rings, cole slaw, melted butter, and lemon wedge, the hot lobster rolls at The Lobster Hut have been recommended time and time again. The pricing here is lower than most, perhaps due to the ultra-casual food truck serving the meal. The lobster rolls are very large, served in a split top hotdog roll and doused in butter.
Bidgeport Avenue and South Washington Street, Milford
Stowe’s Seafood, West Haven
Stowe’s Seafood shack carries a pirate theme throughout the restaurant, down to the paper boats the warm lobster rolls are served in. At Stowe’s, the lobster rolls consist of four ounces of chopped lobster served on a buttery roll. This hopping restaurant has limited parking and if you want to avoid long summertime lines, Stowe’s has the option to order online for pickup.
347 Beach Street, West Haven
Liv’s Shack, Old Saybrook
Liv’s Shack, located directly on the waterfront at the mouth of the Connecticut River, celebrates Summer in New England with hot buttered lobster rolls, fish tacos, hand-ground hamburgers and more. Executive Chef/Owner John Brescio (also of Liv’s Oyster Bar) opened Liv’s Shack in 2014, and utilizes local products from Calise & Sons Bakery, Deep River Snacks, Foxon Park Soda and The Farmer’s Cow Beverages. Open seasonally (weather pending) from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the restaurant offers take-out and dine-in options with BYOB. For more information, visit https://www.livsshack.com/. The restaurant can also be found on Facebook (Livs Shack at Harbor One Marina) and Instagram (Livs_Shack).
Harbor One Marina at 26 Bridge Street, Old Saybrook
Fjord Fish Market, New Canaan
For less than $20, Fjord Fish Market offers freshly cooked hot lobster rolls on their takeout menu. This fish market doesn’t offer any indoor or outdoor dining space; however, their lobster rolls are worth it to be enjoyed at home, on a curb, or in your car. Here, previously prepared lobster meat is reheated by sautéing the meat in butter, which allows the meat to retain its sweetness. The warm lobster roll is delicious at Fjord Fish Market.
Fjord Fish Market also has takeout options available at the Cos Cob and Darien branches.
22 East Ave, New Canaan
Rowayton Seafood Restaurant, Rowayton
Served on buttered brioche, the warm lobster roll at Rowayton Seafood Restaurant doesn’t disappoint. The sweet lobster meat is poached in butter, but the roll is a bit on the delicate side. Otherwise, the lobster roll is a simple, flavorful New England classic. This upscale restaurant also offers great water views from inside the restaurant or on the dining patio.
89 Rowayton Ave, Rowayton, CT
Elm Street Oyster House, Greenwich
Elm Street Oyster House is a praised restaurant with high prices. The experience here is to see and be seen, and unfortunately, our experience with the lobster roll left much to be desired. As the meat wasn’t removed from the shell properly, we found a dangerously sharp piece that turned us off from the rest of our meal.
11 West Elm Street, Greenwich
Where do you get your favorite warm lobster rolls in Connecticut?