Five Islands Lobster Co.
Located on a pier at the end of Route 127, Five Islands Lobster serves up some of the best cold-water, hard-shell lobster you’ll find anywhere. Throw in its award-winning fried clams and the shack’s magnificent view of Sheepscot Bay, and you’ll find it hard to leave. Georgetown, ME. 207-371-2990; fiveislandslobster.com
Cappy’s Chowder House, Camden
What to expect: Have a cup of Cappy’s creamy, thick, peppery, clam-filled, soul-warming chowder now. The seasonal nightly lobster specials are always a good deal.
Check it out: 1 Main Street, ME; 207-236-2254; cappyschowder.com
Thurston’s Lobster Pound
Housed on a two-story, screened-in deck overlooking scenic Bass Harbor, Thurston’s is tops for off-the-boat-fresh lobster on Mount Desert Island. There’s a commercial boat dock next door where lobsters are brought in throughout the day, then boiled in a massive outdoor cooker right outside Thurston’s front door. Bernard, ME. 207-244-7600; thurstonslobster.com
Round Pond Lobstermen’s Co-op
Round Pond is a rustic lobster spot overlooking a picture-postcard harbor. Buddy Poland serves lobster, steamers, corn-on-the-cob, and chips. Period. Round Pond, ME 04564 (207) 529-5725; Round Pond Lobstermen’s Co-op
The Clam Shack
Don’t let the name fool you: There’s plenty of good lobster to be had at The Clam Shack. Owner Steve Kingston makes what may be the best lobster roll anywhere in his tiny riverside shack in downtown Kennebunkport. The lobster meat is picked fresh daily and kept ice-chilled until served on a toasted, lightly buttered burger bun. Kennebunkport, ME. 207-967-3321; theclamshack.net
Bayview Lobster Restaurant, Camden
What to expect: The excellent clam chowder at this friendly place on Camden Harbor’s busy boardwalk makes a fine prelude to a deliciously unadorned lobster roll.
Check it out: (16 Bayview Landing) Camden Harbor, ME 207-236-2005; Bayview Lobster
Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier
This delightful waterside eatery, worlds away from the outlet-mall crowds of nearby Kittery, sits on a 200-foot-wide planked pier astride a broad tidal creek. With its colorfully painted picnic tables and a bird’s-eye view of continuously passing watercraft, Chauncey Creek is a great place to BYOB and tuck into meaty, fresh lobsters imported daily from Canada’s cold waters. Kittery Point, ME. 207-439-1030; chaunceycreek.com
A Few Other New England Lobster Notables
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough
Abbott’s cooks its lobsters via the low-steaming method, in massive cast-iron vaults, to seal in all the crustaceans’ natural flavor. Dine next to the scenic harbor on a dock where striped bass feed on chowder crackers below. Abbott’s is also famous for its hot, buttery lobster roll–the version that’s a Connecticut original. Noank, CT. 860-536-7719; abbotts-lobster.com
Brown’s Lobster Pound
Perched over the tidal Blackwater River near Seabrook’s inviting beach, Brown’s has been serving up fresh boiled lobster for more than 50 years. The timber-frame dining hall is a great place to feast on lobsters, fried clams, lobster rolls, and creamy, spicy lobster bisque. The summer sunsets off the back deck are not to be missed. Seabrook, NH. 603-474-3331; brownslobsterpound.com
Roy Moore Lobster Company
This may be the friendliest lobster shack anywhere. Housed in a diminutive shingled building on Rockport’s Bearskin Neck waterfront, Roy Moore Lobster cooks its crustaceans continuously throughout the day, so there’s rarely a wait for a fresh-cooked meal. Start with owner Ken Porter’s thick, creamy clam chowder, and dine atop wooden lobster crates on the crowded yet friendly back deck. Rockport, MA. 978-546-6696; Roy Moore Lobster Company