Lobster is delicious in many ways, but forget about white table linens, fancy crab-stuffed lobster tails or rich lobster Newburg – here’s where to go for a good old-fashioned lobster you crack into yourself (the butter dripping down to your elbows is optional, but encouraged) or an overflowing lobster roll on a toasted bun.
*This list covers the New Hampshire coast, but there are plenty of options inland as well. Click here for a few of our favorites.
Brown’s Lobster Pound
407 NH-286, Seabrook
This family-owned business has been a staple since 1950, and still continues to serve up everything from fried clams, four kinds of chowder, baked dishes and yes, boiled lobster and steamers with butter. If you feel like doing all the work, head into the pound to pick up live lobsters you can cook at home.
Markey’s Lobster Pool
420 New Hampshire 286, Seabrook
You can’t talk about Brown’s without mentioning Markey’s and the rivalry between the neighbors. Situated across the street from one another, the two restaurants each have a loyal following who likely wouldn’t dare set foot in the opposition. Is it the Red Sox/Yankees of the lobster world? Probably not, but maybe you should try dinner at both and see for yourself. Open since 1971, this is another fantastic family-owned business with firm New Hampshire roots. In addition to all the usual menu items — fried seafood, fresh lobsters, clams, mussels, shrimp, chowder, etc. — they also have a raw bar featuring oysters, cherrystones and shrimp cocktail. Beer and wine are offered as well. Cash only.
Petey’s Summertime Seafood and Bar
1323 Ocean Blvd., Rye
You know you’re getting the real, fresh deal at Petey’s as they catch their own lobster. Though it’s open all year long, Petey’s is a favorite with beach goers in the summer months, so if you’re visiting when it’s warm out, then be prepared for a crowd and plan accordingly. The menu is long, with everything from scallop or lobster rolls to a full, traditional clam bake dinner with a one-pound lobster, steamers, corn, chowder and cole slaw. Enjoy their ocean-view deck or enjoy creekside views. You can also get take-out of the cooked variety or live lobster to prepare at home.
BG’s Boat House Restaurant & Marina
191 Wentworth Rd., Portsmouth
BG’s, which is just a couple years shy of four decades, is seasonal, usually opening up in late March depending on the weather. Coming by sea? There is dock space for guests to tie up boats or kayaks. Don’t worry, landlubbers, there’s plenty of parking for cars too. The menu has all your favorites, including a full boiled lobster dinner, a lobster roll, fried clams, steamers, grilled fresh fish and more.
The Beach Plum
Rte. 1A, North Hampton, (603) 964-7451
Rte. 1, Portsmouth, (603) 433-3339
Rte. 125, Epping (603) 679-3200
The Beach Plum is the place to go for that lobster roll you’ve been craving. Try the premium hard shell (otherwise known as a toasted hot dog bun, as it should be!) lobster rolls with 6, 8 or 10 ounces of lobster, or really challenge your crustacean love with the foot-long rolls that come with 12, 16 or 20 ounces.
Sander’s Lobster Co.
54 Pray St., Portsmouth
Since 1952 Sander’s has been dealing in lobster. These days you can order online and they’ll deliver them right to your door (boiled or living) or you can stop in and pick out your very own to take home. For a small fee they’ll boil you one to eat right away — but beware, there are no frills. Just a fresh lobster ready to eat. This is the spot for true lobster purists.
51 Lafayette Rd., North Hampton
Al’s has a fantastic market where you’ll find fresh fish and seafood (locally caught whenever possible) that ranges from shellfish to tuna.
Geno’s Chowder and Sandwich Shop
177 Mechanic St., Portsmouth
This place is something of a hidden gem on the waterfront in Portsmouth. Geno’s, which is celebrating 56 years in business, is a seasonal chowder joint that opens in early spring.
The Ice House
112 Wentworth Rd., Rye
Come for the ice cream and take home a lobster roll and chowder for later. The Ice House is seasonal and typically opens in late April. The seafood portion of the menu also includes scallop rolls, fried haddock, shrimp, clam strips and more. The Ice House is open Wednesday through Sunday and has a picnic table area for outdoor dining.