The 9 Best Lobster Rolls in the Bay Area
Summer on the East Coast might mean a few things we don’t have here: months-long sundress weather, jacket-less nights and endless excuses to eat ice cream (to stay cool, of course). But that doesn’t mean that only New England can lay claim to the lobster roll. We’ve rounded up nine of the tastiest butter- or mayonnaise-tossed versions the West has to offer—all of which could easily compete with Maine’s best.
SAM’S CHOWDER HOUSE
Ever since the Today show named the lobster roll at Sam’s one of the five best in the country, there have been lines of tourists out the door. But the crowded experience is still worth the trip for the Connecticut-style sandwich made with knuckle and claw meat mixed with melted butter and celery—plus the views of the Pacific Ocean that come along with it. Can’t make it down the coast? There’s a roving Chowder mobile that makes its rounds throughout the Bay Area and at the Presidio’s Off the Grid.
4210 N. Cabrillo Hwy., Half Moon Bay; 650-712-0245 or samschowderhouse.com
WOODHOUSE FISH CO.
The mayo-phobic will do well with this minimalist lobster roll, which goes easy on the dressing to let the lobster meat shine. Splurge for the full-sized sandwich, which is large enough to share…but that doesn’t mean you have to.
2073 Market St. and 1914 Fillmore St.; 415-437-2722 or woodhousefish.com
LEO’S OYSTER BAR
Lobster + cultured uni butter + buttered brioche bun = mouthwatering roll. Accompanied by a side of fries (you know, the famous Marlowe ones), it’s a meal made in heaven.
568 Sacramento St.; 415-872-9982 or leossf.com
WILLI’S SEAFOOD & RAW BAR
The secret to this seafood-joint favorite? Poaching fresh chunks of lobster meat with fennel and garlic butter. Plus, it’s a steal at under $16.
403 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg; 707-433-9191 or starkrestaurants.com
ANCHOR & HOPE
Every year, we hope that this SoMa restaurant will add a lobster roll to its happy-hour menu. But for now, we’ll take the aioli-dressed (mmm to garlic, lemon and Old Bay) sandwich served on a pain de mie bun alongside oversized tater tots and coleslaw. It’s enough to transport us to Nantucket shores.
83 Minna St.; 415-501-9100 or anchorandhopesf.com
Psst, we’re letting you in on a little secret. Every Friday, Waterbar serves up 30 lobster rolls at lunchtime. Think pristine Maine lobster on house-made brioche buns topped with melted butter and salt and served with Old Bay potato chips. Get there early to score one for yourself.
399 Embarcadero; 415-284-9922 or waterbarsf.com
NEW ENGLAND LOBSTER MARKET
Lobster rolls three ways—that’s the name of the game at this nautical-themed eatery down by the airport, which has been serving up fresh seafood favorites for 30 years. Get yours dressed with mayonnaise, salt and pepper; “naked,” with melted butter and lemon; or topped with avocado and bacon. Wash it down with a blueberry lemonade to really feel the East Coast summer vibes.
824 Cowan Rd., Burlingame; 650-443-1559 or newenglandlobster.net
Bet you’d never guess you’d get a kick-ass lobster roll at a Mexican restaurant. Well, surprise. Chef Matt D’Ambrosi steams whole lobsters every morning and then poaches the meat in chile butter and serves the sandwich—which pairs shockingly well with smoky mezcal cocktails—with fried pickles.
2323 Polk St.; 415-441-2323 or mezcalitosf.com
We would never send you to Fisherman’s Wharf unless it was really worth the trip to tourist town. Although this no-frills restaurant’s Dungeness crab gets top billing, their lobster deserves equal credit. Here, you can get it almost any way you like it (salad, lobster mac ’n’ cheese), but we recommend the half-and-half (a crab/lobster-roll combo). Or if you’re feeling really bold, try the “surf and turf,” a lobster-topped hot dog…or don’t.
2800 Leavenworth St.; 415-590-3730 or crabsters.com