For being so far from the ocean, Atlantans love their seafood. When the season permits, we flock toward the New England staple, the lobster roll.
And why not? Sweet, fleshy lobster piled onto a toasted top-split bun. Sounds like heaven. As for what makes up the rest of that sandwich you’re about to inhale is a bit of a debate. Mayo vs. butter; how much spice and what part of the lobster you use all come into play when building a lobster roll.
So, what makes for a perfect lobster roll? It all comes down to the quality of ingredients. The six lobster rolls below have the best of the best.
W.H. Stiles Fish Camp
When Anne Quatrano brought Dub’s, as it’s fondly known, to Ponce City Market, there was no doubt the seafood would be phenomenal. Her lobster roll more than meets expectations. A fresh-baked, Parker House roll holds what seems like an entire lobster’s worth of meat. It’s tossed lightly in mayonnaise and celery. The tarragon that it finishes with gives a slight bite and peppery taste. Finish your meal with some Utz crab chips and a glass of rose.
Location: East Atlanta - 675 Ponce De Leon Ave NE; Website: starprovisions.com; Contact: 678-235-3929
Drift Fish House and Oyster Bar
East Cobb, you don’t have to drive far for great seafood. Drift, helmed by the same folks from Seed and Stem Wine Bar, has a truly delightful menu. One of the stars is found at the bottom next to the burger. The lobster roll is prepared two ways. They serve it tossed cold, in a tangy, lemon mayonnaise. Also available is one done in the Connecticut style. It is served warm, with drawn butter. It lends a more decadent feel. Both versions are served with fries.
Location: The Avenue East Cobb, 4475 Roswell Rd #1410, Marietta, GA 30062; Website: driftoysterbar.com; Contact: 770-635-7641.
Bon Appétit proclaimed The Optimist’s lobster roll as so good that it “makes even a New Englander proud.” They are certainly doing New England proud at this Ford Fry outpost. Served the traditional way with mayo, celery, salt and plenty of lemon juice.
Start your meal off with some garlicky baked oysters and a lightly boozy punch. This will be your new go-to lunch spot in West Midtown.
Location: West Midtown - 914 Howell Mill Rd; Website: theoptimistrestaurant.com; Contact: 404-477-6260.
This Alpharetta hot spot is known for its burgers and killer cocktails, but saunter in on a Saturday and you’ll find 20 lobster rolls waiting for a home. Served on Holeman & Finch buns and served with a homemade mayo consisting of tarragon and lemon zest, and served with their famous fries, these babies will sell out quickly. We recommend getting there right at 5 for a taste.
Location: 2820 Old Milton Pkwy, Alpharetta, GA 30009; Website: bocadoburger.com; Contact: 404-815-1399.
For all the late-night revelers in East Atlanta, Octopus Bar is perfect for a late-night bite. It’s a favorite among chefs; it even inspired a visit by Anthony Bourdain. One of the best bites is their lobster roll. The lobster roll is stuffed full of sweet flesh and tomalley mayo on a butter-soaked roll. Perfect for soaking up the evening, or to keep it going.
Location: East Atlanta - 560 Gresham Ave SE; Website: octopusbaratl.com; Contact: 404-627-9911
Atlanta Fish Market
There’s no mistaking the giant fish sculpture outside this legendary Buckhead eatery, whose building is based on a 1920s Savannah railroad station. For decades Atlanta Fish Market has been supplying hungry patrons with ridiculously good lobster rolls, back before lobster rolls were cool. A toasted bun made by Buckhead Bread Co. is stuffed with a pound of lobster, homemade mayo, cayenne pepper, lemon and a bite of onion.
Location: Buckhead - 265 Pharr Rd NE; Website: buckheadrestaurants.com; Contact: 404-262-3165.
This story was originally published by Krista Miller in 2018 and has since been updated.