10 Lobster Rolls You Must Try Near Acadia National Park

When your thoughts turn to a visit to Acadia National Park, lobster rolls may be a bit of an afterthought; a nice lunch, if you can find the time. Not so, for From Away contributor Sally Lerman. Here, the Lobster Gal herself details the best places near Acadia to get your lobster roll fix after an (exhausting!) day of hiking. -Malcolm

There is only one national park in New England: Acadia National Park, my favorite place on earth. It’s my favorite not just because of the stunning natural beauty at every turn, but also because it is a hotbed of quality lobster rolls.

I’ve found that the farther North I go in Maine, the more likely it is that I can stop at any random place and be served a fantastic, fresh-picked lobster roll. Likely, the establishment is also owned by a lobsterman. Don’t try this in the Southern Maine beaches, and certainly not any farther South, where such blind choices can go very, very wrong.

The “Best of Acadia” list (mainly Mount Dessert Island, or MDI, where the majority of Acadia is located) was one of the more challenging lists to make. It ended up being longer than I planned, but I just couldn’t cut any more. Though you should hardly consider it an exhaustive list of lobster rolls worth trying in the area, these are my favorites:

The Best Lobster Rolls in Acadia

Sawyer’s Lobster Pound
465 Seawall Road, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679; (207) 244-8021; sawyerslobsterpound.com

This is not only easily THE best lobster roll of Acadia, it is now among my top 5 of all time. I’m terrible at deciding on the actual order of my favorites, but suffice it to say, these are the life-changing lobster rolls I am always seeking. This little 50’s-style drive-in style spot on the far side of the island serves up freshly picked lobster (I mean freshly picked, as in, while I was actually waiting) on a fresh baked, buttery grilled, top split, hot dog style brioche bun with barely any mayo. They also happen to have a “lob-steer” (a baby cow with a lobster hat on) hanging out, grazing in the field, so there’s that.

The Best Lobster Rolls in Acadia

Side Street Café
49 Rodick Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609; (207) 801-2591; sidestreetbarharbor.com

This is not a lobster pound, it’s a restaurant. Good thing I’m no purist, because they happen to serve a lobster roll that rivals many dockside lobster pounds. They go to great lengths on the menu to explain the freshness of the lobster in their roll. This is not the usual frozen crap you will find at many places (yes, even in Bar Harbor). The lobster meat is tender and melt-in-your-mouth, served on a perfectly grilled bun. There is also a sprinkle of Old Bay involved: Very controversial I know, but I rather liked it.

The Best Lobster Rolls in Acadia

Carrier’s Mainely Lobster
10 Maine 46, Bucksport, ME 04416; (207) 469-1011; Facebook

This spot is not technically on MDI, but it is on the way, and they serve an amazing lobster roll, so I’m including it. Carrier’s prides themselves on the freshness of their lobster roll, and even lists and thanks all the lobstermen who are out working hard to catch the delicious lobster. I respect that. I ordered the large size lobster roll full of tasty chunks of fresh meat…and I didn’t share.

The Best Lobster Rolls in Acadia

Frenchboro Offshore Store
W Shore Road, Frenchboro, ME 04635; (207) 334-2943; offshorestoreandmore.com

We once took a lovely sightseeing/lunch cruise out to Frenchboro Island, eight miles off the coast. You have an hour to wander about on the pretty, quaint little island and get a lobster roll. This quirky little shop serves a very generous lobster roll full of uncut tail and claw, the only way to go! The cruise recommends you have the lobster roll at the “other” lobster roll spot on the island, but it’s much skimpier and just not as good. Frenchboro Offshore is well worth the walk.

The Best Lobster Rolls in Acadia

Tracey’s Seafood
2719 U.S. 1, Sullivan, ME 04664; (207) 422-9072; Facebook

If there is a better deal on lobster rolls, I have yet to find it. Delish, fresh-picked lobster roll for only $10, and with fries no less! Someone recently told me Tracey’s was running a two lobster rolls for $10 special, but that must be just crazy talk. I include Tracey’s in our “Best of Acadia” because it is on the way from the MDI portion of Acadia to the lesser known, but also picturesque Schoodic Point.

The Best Lobster Rolls in Acadia

Maine-ly Delights
48 Granville Road, Bass Harbor, ME 04653; (207) 244-3656; mainelydelights.com

Seeing local lobstermen eating at a seafood restaurant certainly gives it pretty strong street cred. This shop picks fresh meat for their rolls several times throughout the day, and serves it with house-made potato chips. If all that wasn’t enough, you can enjoy your lobster roll on their deck with a gorgeous view overlooking Bass Harbor.

The Best Lobster Rolls in Acadia

C.H. Rich’s Take Out
49 Shore Road, Bass Harbor, ME 04653; (207) 244-3485

Rich’s takeout business has only been in operation for two months, so this felt like a very lucky find. The wharf owners decided that since they were already selling lobsters and picking fresh lobster meat, why not start selling lobster rolls and set up some Adirondack chairs overlooking the harbor for added dining pleasure? I couldn’t agree more.

The Best Lobster Rolls in Acadia

Abel’s Lobster Pound
13 Abel’s Lane, Mount Desert, Maine 04660; (207) 276-5827; abelslobsterpound.com

I can’t decide if this is a full-service restaurant or a lobster pound “shack” style dining experience. They incorporate the best of both worlds, outdoor lobster cooking and a fresh-picked lobster roll at a picnic table overlooking the only fjord in North America, but with wait service and a full bar. Don’t miss the Maine blueberry martini.

The Best Lobster Rolls in Acadia

The Docksider
14 Sea Street, Northeast Harbor, ME 04662; (207) 276-3965; Facebook

The peaceful, little town of Northeast Harbor is home to one of the tastiest lobster rolls on the island. They have a cute, cozy, inside restaurant, but it lacks air conditioning. So, on a warm day, you may want to consider getting your lobster roll at the takeout window and walking down to the harbor to enjoy.

The Best Lobster Rolls in Acadia

Islesford Dock Restaurant
Islesford Dock, Islesford, ME 04646; (207) 244-7494; islesforddock.com

This one probably should have been on my list of most elusive lobster rolls. You can only get this lobster roll at lunch, from Wednesday through Sunday, and you have to take a ferry. It is worth the effort. I’m not sure what they put on this lobster roll: It’s not mayo, and it’s not butter, but it is delightful, and the perfect complement to the tender lobster meat they get from the pound next door.

It’s hard to say when my wild obsession with eating every lobster roll in New England began. I do know that I love lobster, I love butter, and when combined with the right bread, I think the lobster roll may be the perfect food. You can read more notes from my lobster roll tastings all up and down the East Coast on my blog, LobsterGal.

12 Comments

  1. We are planning our annual trip to MDI and Acadia NP at the end of September. Of course, it wouldn’t be a visit to ME without eating lobster at least once. Lobster rolls are our method of preference, but we know some of these establishments for the season around Labor Day. Does anyone know which of the places on the island will be open during that time?

    Thanks.
    The Taylors

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    1. Most of them should still have some hours during late September, except the ones on the islands, Frenchboro and Islesford. Also Abel’s closed for the season on Labor Day. I would suggest you call before you go on the trip to plan ahead for what their open hours are, but still call to confirm hours right before you drive over as lots of these places have very variable hours.

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  2. The Eagle’s Nest in Brewer (across the Penobscot from Bangor) has excellent, enormous lobster rolls. Lots of other great stuff too. For anyone approaching Downeast via Bangor (then to Ellsworth, etc.), this place is well worth a stop.

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  3. Thanks for the list. My husband & I visited Maine, and Acadia NP in mid October – unfortunately, since it was after Labor Day, a lot of places were closed for the season. We plan to return and brave the crowds so we can be there at the peak of the fall color and we will definitely check out as many of these places as we can.

    I want to add a place to stop for anyone who is driving up from the Boston or Portland area. We stayed our first first night in Brunswick and, after settling in to our hotel, we went to get a lobster roll. We found a little drive-in diner called Cameron’s, on Bath Road. We ordered a warm lobster roll. It was served with slaw and their homemade beans and everything was so yummy!

    The area around Brunswick is beautiful – there are many islands you can visit that are reachable by car. We spent part of the day on Bailey’s Island and loved it’s quiet, quaint atmosphere.

    As soon as we returned home to Oregon, I ordered a New England hot dog roll pan so I could duplicate those amazing rolls.

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  4. What? North of Bar Harbor but nothing from Washington County? What happened to Jonesport/Beals – where hundreds of lobster boats are nestled in the harbor? Or Lubec, another fishing community? Or Eastport, where you can watch the lobsters hauled off the boat, put into the pot, and then eat one of the state’s best rolls – all at the same place! Until you actually have come NORTH of Bar Harbor, your list is woefully lacking.

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  5. I appreciate this article as well! Having worked at a lobster restaurant when I was a teenager, I can tell when a place tries to sell off a frozen lobster meat roll as a fresh one (and many do!)…..I will definitely make an attempt at tackling your list. I was in Acadia a couple of weeks ago and we stopped at Dorr Lobster Seafood Market in Trenton. Suffice it to say that their lobster roll is very good as well! Although I did not take a picture of it, it had just the right amount of mayo and was on a grilled hotdog bun, so delicious! I took a picture of the sign so that I could remember the name of the place!

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  6. Coffee Hound has what I think is the best! Toasted buttery bun with dill and paprika! Tracey’s is a close second!! But it is great how each and every places here create each so uniquely. But real Mainers eat it naked on a roll. No spice, no sauce, not toasted. (That’s not for me.) But each one is worth a try at least once! Great article! Thank you I have some new places to try.

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