Sandy beach blankets, skin crisping as a warm salty breeze passes over. You know you’ve met your Vitamin D quota for the day, and it’s time to part ways with the holiday crowd and brave the hot sand in search of some nautical nourishment.
Is there any better pairing for a beach day than some fresh seafood? Heaping plates of fried clams, fresh oyster, scallops and shrimp are the perfect way to round out the day. But today, we are going to focus on a New England favorite, the lobster roll.
Everyone has their favorite style of lobster roll and many factors come into play in reaching this critical crustacean conclusion. Set and setting, childhood nostalgia, dietary preferences, and proper preparation can all influence one’s ultimate decision on who has the best preparation of this appetizing arthropod.
But we’ve set out on monumental task of determining, through the application of scientific method and painstaking analysis, which is the best lobster roll on Cape Ann. We do not take this task lightly, as we are aware of the high culinary stakes.
Cape Ann consists of the towns of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester By The Sea, and Essex. Fishing and lobstering have historically been significant industry in the area, with lobster boats dotting the local harbors. Cape Ann takes seafood seriously, and there are many fantastic lobster rolls available, but only one can rise to the top.
In this examination we will consider portion size, preparation, value, location, and overall experience. So, without further ado, here is our ranking of the best lobster rolls on Cape Ann, Massachusetts.
Heading down Eastern Ave., toward Rockport, you’ll come across Jeff’s Variety. A classic New England convenience store, with a fantastic deli. You can get a tasty Italian sub or a delicious chicken salad, but their lobster rolls are a steal!
They come on a classic hot dog bun, not toasted, no sides and no frills. Just a classic lobster roll, with real lobster meat, including some nice chunks. The lobster is served with mayo, so if you’re looking for lobster meat that is heated with butter, you must journey elsewhere.
The lobster rolls are delicious, with a sound lobster to bread ratio and no additional celery or lettuce fillers, but best part about the lobster roll at Jeff’s is the price.
On Thursday and Friday it’s just $9.95 and other days it’s $13.95. That’s half the price of some area establishments, for a substantially similar product.
If you’re looking for a quick bite on the way to Good Harbor or Long Beach, pop into Jeff’s. You won’t regret it!
71 Eastern Ave
Gloucester, MA 01930
Everyone knows that Woodman’s is a North Shore institution, and for good reason. Woodman’s is a classic, no-frills New England seafood shack where you order at the counter. They are located in the coastal village of Essex, right on the marshes, and have been family-owned and operated for 5 generations.
And, heck, they even claim to have invented the fried clam!
But what many don’t talk about is how Woodman’s is simply well-run. They crank out ungodly volume, with grace.
During Covid-19, while other restaurants second-guessed their contingency plans, Woodman’s developed a seamless takeout system, complete with text messages to customers when their order started cooking and when it was ready for pickup.
But how are the lobster rolls? Glad you asked. Back to the task at hand.
Although Woodman’s claim to fame is fried clams, their lobster rolls are absolutely fantastic! They come with a deliciously dense brioche bun that is expertly toasted and serves as the perfect vessel for lobstery goodness.
Speaking of lobster, Woodman’s does not skimp. They give you a heaping portion, with a nice light mayo coating that provides moisture and complimentary flavor while allowing the lobster meat to remain the star of the show. The lobster roll is served with a side of fries.
If you are visiting the Gloucester or Rockport area, it’s worth the 10-minute drive down to Essex for some tasty seafood at Woodman’s.
Woodman’s – Essex, MA
119 Main Street
Essex, MA 01929
While Motif#1 is lauded as one of the most photographed and painted buildings, Roy Moore Lobster is without a doubt one of the most frequented establishments in town.
A Rockport staple for decades, Roy Moore’s is a quintessential New England fish shack replete with weathered shingles, salty old lobster tanks, and even saltier New Englanders.
At Roy Moore’s you’ll get some of the some of the freshest lobster you will ever eat. It comes right off the boat, and is walked in the back door.
The lobster roll at Roy Moore’s is served on a large hot dog bun that is filled with delicious, freshly shucked lobster. Trust us, they do not skimp. With the lobster roll you will get a bag of chips. Pair with a few fresh oysters and enjoy on the back deck at a picnic table with views of lobster boats in Rockport Harbor.
Roy Moore’s is just a great, authentic, New England seafood shack. You cannot buy this type of authenticity. That is why it earns the best lobster roll in Rockport honors!
39 Bearskin Neck
Rockport, MA 01966
Another classic seafood shack in Rockport, is the Lobster Pool. Further up the road, past Halibut Point, you will find this hidden gem.
Another no-frills establishment (noticing a theme?) the Lobster Pool is a fantastic spot to enjoy a delicious lobster roll and watch the sunset over Ipswich Bay.
It’s BYOB, which is great for cost savings. So, kick back, enjoy some delicious seafood paired with the beer or wine of your choice and let mother nature take care of the rest.
329 Granite Street
Rockport, MA 01966
Down off Route 133 in Essex, you will find another classic New England seafood shack, JT Farnham’s Famous Clams. A local favorite, Farnham’s has been providing guests with delicious seafood for about 80 years!
Without a doubt, Farnham’s claim to fame are their delicious small belly fried clams that are dug up locally and lightly golden fried in corn flour. But while Farnham’s may be famous for its fried clams, they also serve up a tasty lobster roll.
The lobster roll at JT Farnham’s comes on a classic top spit bun that is nicely toasted and filled to the brim with some hearty chunks of lobster served over lettuce. This is another roll that leaves the starring role to the lobster. Just a little bit of mayo and let the fresh lobster take care of the rest.
The lobster roll comes with a sour pickle and some french fries, and you can enjoy it at one of Farnham’s picnic tables that overlook the marshes and the Essex River. Pair with an ice cold beer, served on site, and let the good times roll!
88 Eastern Ave.
Essex, MA 01929
Right off Route 128, in Gloucester you’ll find another classic New England seafood establishment, complete with wood paneling and marsh view, Lobsta Land.
We love Lobsta Land because of it’s extensive, creative menu, and down home feel. Their food is always flavorful and always prepared well. It even made our list of the Best Rockport Area Restaurants!
We visited Lobsta Land during Covid times, and their takeout game was on point! Quick call, see you in 20 minutes, with tables set up outside. This online reviewer from Salem, hit the nail on the head!
We were excited to give the Lobster Land lobster roll a try because we knew it had taken home Best of Boston honors in the past! It did not disappoint.
The Lobster roll itself is very tasty. It comes on a perfectly toasted brioche bun, with light mayo and no rabbit food. A generous portion of lobster, nice lobster to roll ratio, and some hearty sides of fries and cole slaw.
84 Causeway Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
One of the most famous lodging establishments on the north shore, the Beauport, is also home to a fantastic restaurant, the 1606 Restaurant and Bar.
Like many other area establishments, the 1606 Restaurant and Bar offers dining with a beautiful ocean view. The deck is a great place to relax and unwind with a cocktail and some delicious seafood fair.
The lobster roll from the Beauport was, as expected, on point. Tasty grilled brioche bun, lined with bibb lettuce, and stuffed with fresh lobster chunks. It comes with your choice of fresh fruit, fries or salad.
Insider tip: if you like fries, give their truffle fries a go. They are basically sophisticated McDonald’s style fries, and they come with a delicious roasted garlic mayo.
55 Commercial Street
This was a tough decision, and a lot of painstaking work went into the project, but we have come to an ultimate conclusion.
We have decided on 3 category winners for Best Lobster Roll on Cape Ann:
Best Lobster Roll Value: Jeff’s Variety
Best Rockport Lobster Roll: Roy Moore’s
Best Lobster Roll Overall: Woodman’s
So there you have it, the best Lobster Rolls in the Gloucester and Rockport, MA area. You really can’t go wrong with any lobster rolls in the area. We hope you enjoyed the article and we hope to see you soon on Cape Ann!