Every Lobster Roll You Need to Eat This Summer in Philly

There’s nothing quite like a lobster roll on a hot summer day. Here’s where to find the best in and around Philly.

Blue Pig Tavern / Photograph by Jessica Orlowicz

Between the tender chunks of lobster meat, zing of lemon juice, creamy mayo, and crunch of celery on a lightly toasted roll, lobster rolls are a beautiful combination of flavor and texture, and without fail, they always taste like being by the sea.

But you don’t necessarily have to be anywhere near New England to enjoy a good one. In and around Philly — whether you’re in the city, suburbs or down the Shore — there’s a lobster roll somewhere with your name on it.

Restaurants in the region are serving up the seafood classic in various ways. Of course, there’s the ever-reliable Maine-style, made with chilled lobster meat tossed with mayonnaise and celery or chives, and the Connecticut-style, which calls for warm lobster meat dipped in butter. And then there are some that do a little more, made with mango salsa or spicy chipotle aioli, or that come served in a bun decadently toasted with lobster butter.

Whatever kind of lobster roll you like, here’s where to go.

The Olde Bar, Old City

If you’re looking for a slightly elevated (yet unpretentious) take on the lobster roll, try the one at Jose Garces’s The Olde Bar. It comes with half a butter-poached lobster and is served on a brioche, split-top roll that’s been toasted in a fancy lobster butter with celery seed aioli. It comes with seasoned garlic fries on the side. 126 Walnut Street.

Seafood Unlimited, Rittenhouse

Craving a classic Maine-style lobster roll? You’ll find it at Seafood Unlimited. The restaurant’s take on the seafood sandwich is made with a generous amount of lobster meat (from one whole lobster) and served with a smidge of mayo and a squeeze of lemon in a top-split, toasted, and buttered roll. It’s available seasonally, through late fall. 270 South 20th Street.

Oyster House’s guest chef lobster roll made in collaboration with Randy Rucker of River Twice. / Photograph by Mike Prince

Oyster House, Rittenhouse

Lobster rolls have long been a staple at Oyster House. And this year, the Rittenhouse restaurant has been celebrating its signature menu item by inviting other Philly chefs to collaborate on their own versions of the lobster roll with Oyster House’s Joe Campoli and James Waters. Keep an eye out this summer, when the series will continue with chef Shola Olunyolo of StudioKitchen and Heavy Metal Sausage’s Pat Alfiero. In the meantime, you can always order the lobster roll as it comes off the restaurant’s menu: chilled and made with mayo, lemon juice, and celery, and served in a split-top bun with fries. 1516 Sansom Street.

Pearl & Mary Oyster Bar, Center City

At Pearl & Mary, you can get its lobster roll for brunch or dinner — proof it’s never too early or late to eat one. It’s made with warm lobster meat drizzled in lemon and butter and served on a toasted bun, with fries and tabasco aioli for dipping on the side. 114 South 13th Street.

Anastasi Seafood, South Philly

If you’re picky about the mayo-to-lobster-meat ratio on your lobster roll, you’ll appreciate the one offered at Anastasi Seafood. The Italian Market seafood joint serves lemon mayo on the side of its no-frills lobster roll, made with half a steamed lobster and stuffed in a toasted, buttered, split roll. At $20, it’s a good deal. Just note, if you’re someone who likes chips with their lobster roll like I do, Anastasi’s only comes with coleslaw on the side. My advice? Order your lobster roll for takeout, then swing by Di Bruno Bros. across the street for some Piper’s cider vinegar and sea salt chips — a winning combination. 1039 South 9th Street.

The lobster roll at Assembly Rooftop Lounge. / Photograph by Harry Paris Field

Assembly Rooftop Lounge, Logan Square

If you’re going to Assembly, it’s probably to meet friends over a cocktail and some gorgeous city views. But, should the mood strike you, there’s a lobster roll on the menu. Assembly’s is made with Maine lobster, celery, chives, lemon aioli, and Espelette pepper and comes served on a brioche bun with a side of chips. 1840 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Luke’s Lobster, Rittenhouse

Luke’s Lobster, which was founded by a lobsterman from Maine, is a solid bet if you’re a fan of the Maine-style lobster roll. The chain restaurant makes theirs with a little mayo and lemon butter, plus an in-house “secret seasoning.” You can get a four-ounce serving of lobster meat for $23, or $34 for six ounces. And if you want to branch out, you can order a trio of mini rolls filled with crab, shrimp, and, of course, lobster for a seafood smorgasbord. 130 South 17th Street.

Little Fish, Society Hill

While you won’t find it on the menu at Little Fish’s Queen Village restaurant, the seafood spot is offering a lobster roll for a limited time at its seasonal pop-up at Spruce Street Harbor Park on July 4th and July 5th. The lobster roll is made with fresh Maine lobster meat, a dab of Duke’s mayo, celery salt, and finely diced celery, tucked into a salted butter-drenched Martin’s potato bun. It’s available until sellout each day, and anyone who orders the lobster roll gets entered into a raffle to win one of five $200 gift cards to use at Little Fish’s flagship. 301 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard.

Southwark, Queen Village

For another limited-time-only deal, there’ll be a lobster roll and raw bar at Southwark on June 24th as part of the restaurant’s Winewark Monday wine night. As part of a one-off menu from chef Chris D’Ambro, there’ll be both Maine and Connecticut-style lobster rolls — so, should you wish, you could debate which is best — plus a raw bar selection and Champagne poured by sommelier Jamie Harrison Rubin. The event starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m., or sellout, while the bar remains open until 1 a.m. as usual. 701 South 4th Street.

Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall’s Maine-style lobster roll. / Photograph by Scott Cronick

Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, Atlantic City

The lobster roll at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall is made mostly Maine-style, with chilled lobster meat — which chef Charles Soreth likes to pull from the knuckle, tail, and claw, for some textural variety — doused with a housemade lemon-tarragon mayo. It comes served on a grilled and buttered split-top roll from Formica Freitag Bakery, an Atlantic City institution, and with your choice of chips, fries, or tater tots, plus two pickle chips on the side for good measure. 133 South Tennessee Avenue.

Betty’s Seafood Shack, Margate

Betty’s makes its lobster roll with chilled lobster meat with a light, seasoned mayo on a grilled and buttered top-cut bun. You can choose from two sizes — a regular that comes with 6.5 ounces of lobster for $25 or the “Sasquatch,” which comes with double the amount for $44. You can add french fries (a customer favorite) for an additional $4.50. 9315 Amherst Avenue.

The Blue Pig Tavern, Cape May

At The Blue Pig Tavern inside Congress Hall, the lobster roll is made with lobster meat from the knuckle, claw, and tail, dressed in an aioli combining lemon juice and zest, tarragon, and chives, on top of a bun from Formica Freitag Bakery. There are more chives — fresh, from the local Beach Plum Farm — on top of the dish and a lemon wedge for an extra pop of citrus. 200 Congress Place.

La La Lobster, Yardley, Doylestown, Cape May and Princeton

With a name like La La Lobster, it’s a given that you can find a lobster roll at this family-run restaurant. But this isn’t just any lobster roll. The signature La La Roll is made with four ounces of lobster dressed in warm lemon butter and tinged with a mystery herb (a secret that owner Nicole Rabena won’t share) and folded into a toasted, buttered roll. You can also order the item “salad style,” with celery, red onion, fresh dill, and mayo; “spicy” with a housemade chipotle aioli; or “Hawaiian” style, featuring lobster tossed with mango salsa. Regardless of how you order it, the dish comes served with a pickle, a lemon wedge, and chips. There’s also the option to add more lobster (an additional two ounces for an extra $7), and, for those who truly can’t get enough, there’s the La La Monstah Roll, a $75 behemoth made with an entire pound of lobster meat. It even comes with a T-shirt. Multiple locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.