Chebeague Island Inn, Casco Bay
Situated along the shores of Casco Bay, the Chebeague Island Inn can only be reached by ferry. The inn puts an earthy twist on a traditional lobster roll by using seaweed-infused butter. Guests looking for a more immersive lobster experience can opt for the “Lucky Lobstering” package. The two-hour excursion around the bay allows visitors to catch their own lobster and then enjoy the fresh catch back at the hotel with all the fixings and wine pairings.
Union Restaurant, Portland
Portland – the state's biggest city and culinary hub – offers a dizzying array of dining options for lobster lovers. Those looking to get the most out of the city, which has often been named the American small city with the best dining scene, can stay at the the Autograph Collection’s Press Hotel, which is housed in the city's old newspaper building. The in-house Union Restaurant offers a stylish spot in which to enjoy local lobster. Executive chef Josh Berry serves an upscale lobster roll featuring house-made lemon mayo and “snipped” chives.
Café Miranda, Rockland
In the scenic town of Rockland, Cafe Miranda lures foodies looking for an unparalleled lobster experience. Chef/owner Kerry Altiero is a big fan of Maine Lobster, incorporating it in unique dishes throughout the year. Altiero's standout “Vacation in your Mouth” dish puts a spicy spin on mild, sweet lobster meat by adding chilli peppers, scallions, lime, Thai fish sauce, cilantro, kimchi flakes, black sesame seeds and more.
One of the state’s most decorated restaurants, Hugo’s has been a mainstay of the Portland dining scene since 1988. Guests enjoy inventive lobster preparations such as a lobster sashimi, which comes to life thanks to sea beans, ginger, scallions and fried garlic.
MC Perkins Cove, Ogunquit
Two of the state's most famous chefs, Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, have won plaudits for their creative lobster dishes at MC Perkins Cove in the popular tourist town of Ogunquit. The chefs surprise diners with inventive creations such as lobster shortcake with rum vanilla sauce, and lobster in a "paper bag" with fresh green curry, lime, and coconut.
© StacieStauffSmith Photos/Shutterstock
Eventide Oyster Co., Portland
In Portland, the trendy Eventide Oyster Co. wins raves for its lobster roll, prepared with a choice of hollandaise, homemade mayo, or the crowd favourite, brown butter vinaigrette. The fresh Maine lobster meat is served on a Chinese-style steamed bun.
Bite into Maine, Cape Elizabeth
In Cape Elizabeth's popular Fort Williams Park, Bite into Maine is a “Maine-centric mobile eatery.” Parked in the shadow of one of the state's most famous lighthouses, the Portland Head Light, the food truck offers three styles of lobster rolls: “Maine” with light mayonnaise and fresh chives, “Connecticut” with hot butter, and “picnic” with coleslaw, hot butter, celery salt, wasabi, curry and chipotle.
Bob’s Clam Hut, Kittery
Located in the shopping haven of Kittery, Bob’s Clam Hut has been offering a classic seafood shack experience since 1956. The friendly restaurant serves up award-winning lobster rolls packed with fresh local lobster. Those looking for a more refined experience can cross the street, where Robert’s Maine Grill offers a welcoming environment for enjoying locally-caught lobster meat and views of picturesque Spruce Creek.
The White Barn Inn, Kennebunk
In the coastal town of Kennebunk, the White Barn Inn provides out-of-towners with an upscale home-away-from-home. The classy, timber-frame barn wows guests with its eponymous, in-house restaurant, where smoked lobster is served with paprika butter sauce on corn puree. The key to this dish is the presentation; the plate is covered and filled with applewood smoke, which is then released at the table in front of the guest to enliven the senses.
Lobster fans not content with a dining experience can seek out one of the many lobster-centric community gatherings and festivals held throughout the year. The biggest of them all, the Maine Lobster Festival, is held in Rockland every year in late July/early August. This year's festival, the 68th annual gathering, will see some 20,000 pounds of lobster consumed, plus lots of fun events such as a lobster crate race, lobster cooking contest, and the coronation of the Maine Sea Goddess.
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Top image: Maine lobster roll © Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock