Finding the best lobster roll in Maine

A five hour journey through Maine’s backroads

To be fair, the actual route from Portland, ME to Acadia is only about two and half hours, but that’s via major highways, which bypass the best parts of the state–the gorgeous scenery and the delicious lobster rolls. We stopped at three lobster roll stands along the route, passing many antique stores (wink, wink for all my likeminded vintage shoppers out there) and some beautiful roads that traverse through the edges of the coastal state. Did I mention the antique stores? Seriously, there was one every mile. Okay, I’ll keep the intro short and get to the point: lobster rolls. I will caveat that the lobster joints we tried were the best rated per the internet that also happened to be relatively on the way to Acadia. I’m sure there are many others out there that could have been better, but they weren’t on the route OR honestly, couldn’t find it on the internet.

Harraseeket & Lobster Company

36 Main St., S. Freeport

Harraseeket & Lobster Company Lobster Roll Maine
  • Incredibly fresh, impossibly fresh, fresher then The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire (controversial, I know)

  • Comes on a buttery toasted white bread folded in half, lettuce, and a pickle on the side. No mayo, butter, or sauce of any sort on the lobster.

  • You can sit on the deck located on top of the joint, which provides lovely (albeit windy) views

Located right on the docks–you can actually see the catch come in, which can be attributed to its freshness and impossibly low price. A live lobster will set you back $6.99/lb which prompted Mom to ask in her suspicious voice, “is it even fresh? Lobster should never be that cheap” in which I reply, “yes, it is because their transportation cost is literally zero.”

L.L. Bean Boot Maine

Harraseeket happens to be in the town of Freeport, a.k.a. L.L. Bean headquarters. Drive eight minutes and you’ll enter the L.L. Bean campus which is also surrounded by the outlets of its competitors (think, Patagonia, North Face, etc.), so if you’re going to Acadia unprepared, definitely stop in town for some affordable outdoor supply.

Honestly, even if you’re not going to Acadia, Harrseeket is only 20 minutes from Portland and worth the drive if you have a car.

Sprague’s Lobster

22 Main Rd., Wiscasset

Sprague's Lobster Roll in Maine
  • You get a whole lobster and then some on each roll, couldn’t even see the bun, definitely need a fork

  • Comes on a lightly buttered bun and some pickles

  • Lobster has no seasoning, but was fresh

  • There’s a parking lot, and a few other vendors in the space that makes for fun browsing as you’re waiting for your food. You can sit on the “pier” which really just looks out into a small river.

Sprague’s Lobster, I have a feeling, came out of the fact that Red Eats is across the way and happens to have the title of “Best Lobster Roll in the World,” so the lines are long and people can be impatient. Sprague’s doesn’t have half the line and the lobster quality is honestly similar. It’s a good business move.

Red Eats

41 Water St

Red Eats Lobster Maine Best Lobster Roll in World
  • More lobster then meets the eye, it just keeps going, or at least it feels like it, fork required

  • Comes on a small buttered bun that’s barely noticeable because there’s SO MUCH lobster (T’s theory is they go with the small bun to make it look like more lobster), and a pickle

  • The lobster itself isn’t dressed up BUT you get a side of both butter which they pour from a tea kettle, and mayo. You also get buttered mint because lobster breath is real

  • Service is excellent, the woman taking orders genuinely seems to love her job and takes pride in the work they produce, they come out and check on you to make sure you have everything you need

  • You can sit in the deck behind the shack

You can’t journey through Maine and claim to have opinions on lobster roll until you have what is dubbed the “Best Lobster Roll in the World,” and you find that at Red Eats. They even have a whole book! And look at their accolades (conveniently printed on a banner hung to the side of the shack)! The lines are typically long and patience is required, but we went over Memorial Day Weekend which was a month before their busy season, so we didn’t have much trouble.

Red Eats Lobster Shack Best in Maine

So, which was the best? It depends. Without the butter and mayo, Red Eats was honestly very similar to Sprague’s Lobster. The seasoning is what made it better, we enjoyed dipping the lobster in the hot butter with our forks, and when we could finally see the bun, we would dip that into the mayo and it was excellent. Dare I say, even the best? BUT, and this is a big but, if we’re talking about straight up lobster in its purest form, I have to say that Harraseeket takes the gold medal. The funny thing is that it got the lowest review on Yelp, of the places we tried, so maybe it’s because we went shortly after it opened, but the freshness of the lobster can’t be denied. Could it have done with some butter or mayo, sure, but if you’re a purest like Mamma Li who likes nothing but the sweet flavor to shine on its own, then Harrseeket is the place to go.

Honorable Mentions

On the route from Portland to Acadia, we only stopped at three joints, but we definitely ate more rolls throughout our entire trip. And these lobster shacks definitely deserve a shout out:

Bite Into Maine (1000 Shore Rd)

Located right at Cape Elizabeth, across from the famed lighthouse, this food truck is a must try. Enjoy the delicious rolls overlooking the beautiful water in the former military base turned public park.

C-Ray Lobster (882 ME-3)

Conveniently off of ME-3, stop by C-Ray when you’re in and around Acadia. The steamed clams are fresh and cleaned for you and the lobster roll is on a buttered brioche bun. Also notable, it comes with Cape Cod chips to crush up and add crunch to your sammie as well as a pickle, and butter for dipping on the side.

Lobster Cage for Lobster Rolls in Maine and Boston