Lobster Landing in Clinton, Connecticut, is a favorite for those that enjoy a “hot and buttered” lobster roll experience, but is it the best lobster roll in CT?
By Kelsey Liebenson-Morse
Jun 06 2022
Lobster Landing in Clinton, CTPhoto Credit : Kelsey Liebenson-Morse
Some say that summer doesn’t truly start until Memorial Day. To commemorate the arrival of New England’s busiest season, a pilgrimage to Lobster Landing, home of Connecticut’s most famous lobster roll, is in order. But is it the best lobster roll in CT? Let’s find out.
Hailed as a “best of” by Mike Urban, on Yankee‘s list of The 10 Best Lobster Rolls in New England, the unassuming shack located at the Clinton marina prepares consistently good rolls, hot and buttered in what is affectionately known as “Connecticut style.” Part of the Lobster Landing experience is a refreshing lack of pretension, and a marked dedication to remaining authentic; the shack doesn’t have a website. If you’re looking for timeless New England charm, Lobster Landing fulfills the dreamy aesthetic with peeling paint, buoys, and casually tended flower boxes filled with yellow flowers. Crushed clamshells crunch beneath your feet. Lobster traps rest against the 100-year old fish shack, and inside, at the somewhat dingy (but charmingly so), dilapidated retail counter, you can purchase whole lobsters and raw shellfish.
To my delight (as a true Yankee obsessed with history and preservation), everything about Lobster Landing remains the same year after year, except, maybe, the price of the actual roll. At $17.50 each, lunch can get expensive. (Recommendation: go with your parents.)
The dining area is outfitted with plastic tables and a small awning-covered area, heated in winter to extend the season. Picnic tables face the water so you can watch boats glide past in the tranquil Long Island Sound. The menu is written on a small whiteboard leaning against the wooden counter, amid a selection of chips.
To dine-in, order inside the structure near the parking lot. The staff is young, friendly, and accustomed to large groups of people, so your roll is sure to appear quickly.
Although we visited on a cloudy, chilly, somewhat damp day in late May, Lobster Landing was filled with eager patrons dressed in jackets and pants. It’s not usual to see tables with bottles of wine; the shack is BYOB.
The rolls are delivered to your seat, wrapped tidily in tinfoil. Large chunks of tail and claw are dressed with butter and lemon, preserving the “salty” quality of the meat. If you have a complicated relationship with mayonnaise, this is your roll.
Longtime owners and fishmongers Enea and Cathie Bacci stay true to their Italian roots by serving the lobster on a hefty sub roll. Each roll is lightly toasted on a propane barbecue grill and stuffed with lobster taken from the Sound that very day. My one complaint is that the roll can get soggy if you don’t eat fast enough. But the sheer size (1/4 pound) and simplicity of Lobster Landing’s roll makes it a must-try.
If you’re not in the mood for lobster (I can’t imagine), you can order hot dogs or sweet Italian Sausage , also served on a sub roll. If you have room for dessert, there is gelato (chocolate, vanilla, la guiliana, dairy-free blood orange, and raspberry). There is also an assortment of soft drinks and bottled water .
In one of Lobster Landing’s few acknowledgments of the changing world, gluten-free rolls are available for an extra $1.00.
Patrons are asked to pay only after they’ve eaten, an honor system that serves as a longstanding testament to the honesty of New England.
Have you ever visited Lobster Landing? Is it worthy of the oft-awarded (most recently by Thrillist) title “Best Lobster Roll in CT”? Let us know!
Lobster Landing. 152 Commerce Street, Clinton, CT. 860-669-2005
This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.