Best Places to Eat Fresh Lobster in Maine

Where are the best places to eat fresh lobster in Maine? This quintessential question is posed by most guests arriving at our little slice of heaven on Tripp Lake. Lobster rules supreme when it comes to this state’s claims to fame. Known as “the lobster capital of the US,” Maine is home to the largest lobster fishery, with an annual harvest of over 130 million pounds of this tasty crustacean.

If you’re also wondering, “Where can I vacation for lobster in Maine,” then the answer is Wolf Cove Inn in the country town of Poland. Lobster boat cruises, fab restaurants, and the best lobster shacks in Maine are all within an easy drive of our cozy lakefront B&B.

Boats by docks on the waterfront of Portland, Maine

Lobster Boat Cruise

Lobstering is not for the faint of heart. Join a lobster boat cruise with Lucky Catch Cruises out of nearby Portland to get an up close and personal introduction into the arduous task of hauling lobster traps. Much like the pony express, “neither rain, or snow, or death of night” keeps lobstermen (or women) from hauling their pots due to the high demand of local restaurants and lobster fans. That’s why lobsters are harvested year-round in Maine; however, most are caught between late June and late December, when the lobsters are the most active.

Ways to Eat Lobster

Steamed, baked-stuffed, in stew or en casserole, lobster appears in many forms on restaurant menus. True purists, of course, prefer to eat lobster in the rough, or au natural, meaning as seemingly untouched as possible. Often this entails a seaside lobster pound, picnic tables, and the requisite bib. Arriving at your table steamed to bright red perfection, lobster (or “bug” as we New Englanders often refer to them) served whole in its shell, leaves newbie diners perplexed as to how to gain entry to the succulent meat contained within. A few essential tools are required–a lobster or nut cracker, a small metal pick, and in some instances, a rolling pin and hammer.

Lobster dinner with lemon

How to Eat a Whole-Steamed Lobster

Now if you are not a purist plenty of establishments will do the preliminary work for you by serving the lobster with pre-cracked claws and slicing open the tail. Some will go so far as to remove the meat from the shell and serve it in a casserole with butter and breadcrumbs in a style we refer to as the “lazy man’s lobster”. But the true experience is a hands-on proposition. So, here for the edification of the uninitiated, is the best, and most efficient way to handle a whole steamed lobster:

  1. Start with the tail. Grasp the body of the lobster with one hand and the tail with the other. Gently twist the tail until it separates from the body. Next, snap off the tail flippers (use your lobster pick to remove the sweet meat contained in each flipper). Then using a fork or your fingers, bend the tail slightly and firmly push the lobster tail meat out of its shell. A dark vein runs down the center of the tail. This should be removed before eating.
  2. Tackle the claws next. Again, grasping the body with one hand, twist the claws away from the body so that they separate at the knuckle. Spread the pinchers of each claw open until they snap apart. Use a nutcracker to crack the shell and remove the meat with a lobster pick.
  3. Break the legs off the lobster body. Use a rolling pin to push the meat out. Conversely, you can suck the meat out while gently squeezing the legs with your teeth.
  4. Finally, remove the shell from the body of the lobster and pick the meat from the knuckles. It’s time-consuming work, but well worth it.

Lobster Tips:

  • You’ll definitely appreciate having drawn butter handy for dunking the meat.
  • You may notice the roe (red) and the tomalley (drab green color) in the body cavity. Only the female lobsters have the roe (lobster eggs). Both are delicious, but some people choose not to eat them.

The Humble Lobster Roll

The most recognized lobster menu item, however, is the humble lobster roll. Chunks of lobster meat, dressed ever so lightly in mayonnaise, or more authentically in a bit of drawn butter,” and served in a lightly toasted New England-style hot dog bun, remains the traditional presentation. A bit of finely chopped celery may be added, but usually nothing else. However, in an effort to stray from the norm and present an elevated version of this classic, some chefs may add onion, garlic powder, lettuce, tomato, or any of a dozen other unnecessary ingredients. Alternatively, if you order a hot lobster roll, the meat comes drenched in butter, sans mayonnaise or anything else. Note: the drawn butter is not the sole domain of a hot roll. With the drawn butter, it’s usually served on the side, so you pour it on as you eat. The mayo version (perhaps with other stuff) is often called a lobster salad roll, whereas the drawn butter version is often called a clear meat lobster roll.

Sue sitting at a red picnic table at the Lobster Shack at two lights

Our Favorite Restaurants for Lobster

Where is the best lobster in Maine? Our personal favorites run from modest lobster shacks to waterfront eateries with amazing views. On your next visit to explore the area around the Wolf Cove Inn in Poland, Maine, make plans to try one of these best lobster restaurants in Maine for a foray into this region’s favorite delicacy.



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