Sure, Maine is better known for lobster, but Connecticut restaurants are unmatched for creativity when it comes to New England’s signature catch. For starters, Connecticut goes its own way with lobster rolls, embracing butter and eschewing mayo. And you won’t find lobster delights like the lobster bomb or lobster hot dogs anywhere else in the region. You can also elevate your claw-cracking experience by feasting aboard a schooner or with your rump on a stump (really!). So, skip the drive to Maine, and tie on a lobster bib at one of these Connecticut spots for lobster.
Sitting on the waterside marina deck (or indoors during cold-weather months except February), you are guaranteed to ask yourself one question at this Noank, Connecticut, BYOB restaurant: Where has the lobster bomb been all my life? Forget lobster rolls: The lobster bomb is an entire grilled sourdough bread bowl overflowing with hot buttered lobster (or cold, if you prefer). And while it’s a meal that could easily feed two, you’ll want to try other lobster specialties here like the lobster risotto, lobster scampi, lobster Reuben or lobster tacos.
When the seats are tree stumps, you know a place is no-frills. But who needs white tablecloths and silverware when the lobsters are served smoky-delicious right off the wood-fired grill? The Place—a seasonal, outdoor, BYOB restaurant in Guilford, Connecticut—has been luring diners since it opened roadside in 1971. Warm up with their signature appetizer, the roast clam special.
Since 1947—long before the GPS was invented—lobster lovers have been finding their way to this little slice of Maine in out-of-the-way Noank, Connecticut. Whether you dine waterside at a picnic table or indoors under cover, the views can’t be beat. Abbott’s is the best place in Connecticut for a full lobster dinner served with coleslaw and potato chips (and you really must add fresh steamer clams). This seasonal, BYOB restaurant is also known far and wide for its piled-high hot lobster rolls including the OMG—twice as big as the “classic”—and the LOL (lots of lobster) with a full pound of lobster meat.
The most hidden of all of Connecticut’s lobster shacks is also the state’s top lobster roll destination for those in the know. Located at the end of a narrow, hard-to-spot entry road in Clinton, Connecticut, Lobster Landing typically only sells three items, and the only one people care about is the toasted sub roll stuffed with a quarter-pound of hot, butter-drenched lobster. A heated tent allows for an extended season, typically mid-April through the end of December.
Ready to try the most decadent hot dogs of your life? At these side-by-side spots—one family-friendly, the other a dimly lit bar for adults—the stars of the extensive hot dog menu are made with lobster. In other words, they're soy-paper-wrapped tubes of buttery, shredded lobster meat made right here in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The Angry Red Dragon is the standout among five choices: It’s topped with red chili mayo and housemade onion-jalapeño relish. Lobster burgers and sliders are available, too.
Lobster always tastes better near the water, but what about on the water? Pack a cooler filled with your favorite beer or wine, board the half-century-old Mystic Whaler schooner, and with the wind in your hair and the sun dipping low, you’ll discover why this is a great way to enjoy your lobster dinner. Reservations are required for this ultimate feast, with sailings from New London, Connecticut, on Friday and Saturday nights through mid-September.
Want to eat lobster on the cheap? Better yet, surf and turf? This unassuming deli in Wallingford, Connecticut, makes a tasty lobster roll on a hot dog bun for just $9.99, or supersize it and order the $28.99 lobster sub loaded with a half-pound of yumminess. Vinny’s specialty is actually roast beef, which is slow-cooked on-site, so bring a friend, and order a lobster roll and a roast beef sandwich to share.
When it is gourmet lobster you crave, particularly on a winter’s day, make reservations for a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday meal in this acclaimed Pomfret, Connecticut, winery’s 18th-century barn loft. For more than a quarter-century, executive chef Catherine Vollweiler has turned beautiful dishes out of the wood-burning Aztec. None is more enticing than her butter-poached Maine lobster.