Finding the best lobster roll has been an ongoing quest for my tastebuds for almost 8 years of living in Los Angeles. Something so simple that can be done so right, can be done so wrong. In the last few years, LA has seen several new lobster spots open up, to my joy. I grew up in Connecticut ordering “hot” or “cold.” Los Angeles has somehow deemed the hot lobster roll the “Connecticut Lobster roll.”
I have gone to restaurants where I have cried over the disappointment of the lobster, typically paying for something so tiny (even bite size) or not fresh or too fancy with weird seasonings, like the ones I experienced at Son of a Gun, Blue Plate Santa Monica, and The Hungry Cat in Hollywood. Perhaps, they have changed their rolls since my last attempt at those restaurants many years ago.
You know a fresh lobster roll when you come from the east coast and grew up on the water, pulling lobsters from lobster pots and tossing them back if they were not the right size. You know ‘fresh’ when you catch it, boil it, and throw the shells back in the water off the dock, and then throw yourself in to get clean from all the lobster juice spray.
Memories of 6 – 8 pound lobsters from Skipper’s Dock in Stonington, Connecticut or some other local shack along the Connecticut shoreline often flood my mind when I see these fancy restaurants try to do a New England staple.
Here are my favorite Los Angeles restaurants that deliver something close to a New England lobster roll. Most are priced at around $20.
The Albright – Santa Monica Pier
Who knew such fine lobster could be found in a tourist mecca? Yes, it is true. Their lobster roll is one of the best around overflowing with fresh lobster from Maine in massive chunks including the tail, and that nice toasted bun. For DineLA week, they are offering a lunch special of $15 for a lobsta roll, drink, and S’more dessert.
Playa Provisions – Playa del Rey
Not overflowing, but still fresh with a perfect bun and some fancy pickled relish on top. Go for the beach views or take your roll to the beach.
Knuckle + Claw – Silver Lake
These young girls who just opened this hotspot in hipsta Silver Lake can’t keep up with the demand. Chloe Dahl, a Vinyard girl, knows a thing about lobster rolls. Fresh meat is flown in daily from Maine. You can order lobster, crab, and shrimp mini rolls, like sampler buns.
Always like I want it. The hot one is dripping with butter and the buns are done right. Run to the lobster truck or check their schedule to find out where they roll around town.
Cousins Lobster – truck and West Hollywood
From truck to storefront to SharkTank, these two cousins from Maine realized the lack of lobster in our City of Angels. Rumor has it their trucks make a million bucks a year. I overheard there was a 2 hour plus line at Coachella to sample their fresh succulent lobster, served both cold or hot. You can also order lobster tator tots, lobster ice cream, and lobster tacos. Wicked good!
Connie and Ted’s – West Hollywood
Delicious, but can be eaten in a few bites. For DineLA, they are offering a weekday lunch special – $18 for a half lobster roll, cup of chowder, and coleslaw or fries. A whole lobster roll is normally $26. Somewhat steep.
Santa Monica Seafood Cafe – Santa Monica
Worth every penny! My former boyfriend use to buy the lobsters here to make the rolls since the lobsters are fresh. Now they offer lobster rolls to-go or sit and dine in the cafe. As you can see, the roll is more hearty.
Water Grill – Santa Monica
When your date has the chef come to the table and make you lobster rolls, since they aren’t on the menu. Anything is possible. Perhaps by now, they have put lobster rolls on the menu.
Petrossian – West Hollywood
Or just get ridiculously fancy lobster! Indulge with Petrossian’s decadent lobster roll topped with caviar and uni. #OMG
littlefork – Hollywood
Boston by way of Montreal in LA. You know Chefs Jason Travi and Josh Rabbie know what is legit. The lobster roll is done exactly like my Connecticut home and they are not thrifty with the fresh meat. For $26, I can easily say this lobster roll on a parker house bun is worth it. Also, their clam chowda is insanely good.
Last resort. Find someone you know in Malibu who can swim for lobsters. My friend’s boyfriend use to strap on a headlamp at night and dive for lobsters for us. They tasted just as good as New England, although missing their claws.