I tried 2 of the best lobster rolls in Portland, Maine, and they couldn’t have been more different

  • Maine is famous for its extra meaty and succulent lobster.
  • On a recent RV trip to Portland, Maine, I looked up the most popular lobster rolls in the city and tried them side-by-side.
  • One was a unique version at a hip, diner-like restaurant, while the other one was a simple, no-frills roll at a classic waterfront spot.
  • Portland Lobster Co. ($18 for a roll) and Highroller Lobster Co. ($23 for a roll) could not have been more different but were both super meaty and delicious.
  • While the no-frills roll at Portland Lobster Co. featured enormous, tender chunks of lobster and a side of delicious butter to drench it in, I liked the unusual sauces Highroller Lobster Co. offered.
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When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Maine, eat as much lobster as you can.

That's exactly what I did on a recent RV trip from New York City to Acadia National Park in Maine.

Stopping in Portland, Maine, which has been making a name for itself as a culinary destination to be reckoned with in recent years, I decided to put two of the city's best lobster rolls to the test.

Scouring online reviews and rankings, I narrowed it down to two highly-rated favorites: Portland Lobster Co. and Highroller Lobster Co.

Little did I know that these two places couldn't be more different in style and vibe, telling me a tale of two lobster rolls.

While the no-frills roll at Portland Lobster Co. featured enormous, tender chunks of lobster and a side of delicious butter to drench it in, I liked the unusual sauces Highroller Lobster Co. offered.

Keep scrolling for a side-by-side comparison of the two. 

When I found myself in Portland, Maine, recently, I decided to put two of the city's most highly-rated lobster rolls to the test, trying them side-by-side.

I inadvertently ended up comparing a super classic, no-frills version of the lobster roll with a more unique take on it.

Highroller Lobster Co. was bright and branded: Hip, cool, with tattooed waiters in matching shirts you could also buy and colorful wall art. It featured frosé on the menu and felt like it was made for Instagram.

Portland Lobster Co. was a classic spot on the water that kept it simple. Its website features the slogan "where the locals go for the best lobster."

Highroller's lobster roll cost $23, and, according to the website, featured 4 oz of Maine claw and knuckle meat on a toasted and buttered brioche bun with chopped romaine.

It can be ordered hot or cold, with butter or mayo. In fact, the menu had 12 sauces to choose from and allows patrons to pick two. Assuming they would come on the side, I ordered jalapeño and charred pineapple mayo.

I was surprised to find the lobster roll drenched in a mixture of both. I was also surprised to find that it came with zero sides: No fries, no coleslaw.

However, it was delicious. The bun was super buttery, the romaine crisp, and the copious amount of tangy, spicy mayo really complemented the roll, taking it to new heights, in my opinion.

While Highroller's roll featured huge chunks of lobster, those paled in comparison to the massive pieces found in Portland Lobster Co.'s.

Its lobster roll, which cost $18 at the time but was market price, is described on the menu as "fresh-picked meat from a one-pound lobster, brushed with sweet butter." It came with fries, coleslaw, a lemon slice, and melted butter.

I liked how Portland Lobster Co.'s soft, toasted bun complemented the giant lobster chunks' chewy texture, and I drenched it in the delicious butter.

Both lobster rolls were very different, but each was delicious in its own way.

Portland Lobster Co. is straight-up lobster and butter: A roll that's as simple and classic as it gets.

Highroller's roll can be anything you want it to be thanks to all the sauces and add-ons. I personally loved the funky mayos and thought they elevated the roll into something a little more nuanced and modern.

However, $18 for a water view, fries, coleslaw, and a delicious lobster roll cannot be beaten. I thought Highroller's $23 was a little steep for its lack of sides, though I did ever-so-slightly prefer the depth of flavor provided by its mayos.

Really, it comes down to the vibe you want: Are you looking for a classic, old-school experience or a modern, diner-type spot?

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