New England

25 Best New England Seafood Shacks

Food editor Amy Traverso’s 25 favorite spots have all the essential ingredients: a salty breeze, a water view, and a heaping (paper) plate of just-caught seafood.

By Amy Traverso

May 02 2022


A maritime backdrop adds to the flavor at Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, a Connecticut institution since 1947.

Photo Credit : Alex Gagne
A maritime backdrop adds to the flavor at Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, a Connecticut institution since 1947.
Photo Credit : Alex Gagne

25 Best New England Seafood Shacks

Connecticut Seafood Shacks

Best Waterfront:
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, Noank

No shack in Connecticut has more dockside real estate than Abbott’s, which means you can enjoy that chowder and hot, buttered lobster roll right on the docks.

Best Something-for-Everyone:
Ford’s Lobster, Noank

Ford’s signature may be the Lobster Bomb (a lobster-filled bread bowl topped with bisque), but there’s also lobster mac ’n’ cheese and risotto, plus steaks and burgers for landlubbers.

Best Hot-and-Buttered Roll:
Lobster Landing, Clinton

Owner Enea Bacci knows the secret to a hot lobster roll is the gentlest heat, a drizzle of butter, and the lightest squeeze of lemon. Website

Maine Seafood Shacks

Best Lobster Roll Variations:
Beal’s Lobster Pier, Southwest Harbor

From classic to spicy buffalo to “garlic lovah’s” to gluten-free, Beal’s Lobster Pier has a roll for everyone.

Best Roll-And-A-Stroll:
The Clam Shack, Kennebunk

Set right in the village, the Clam Shack serves an excellent lobster roll and fried seafood within walking distance of some of the best shopping in the region.

Best Coastal View:
Five Islands Lobster Co., Georgetown

The namesake islands at the mouth of the Sheepscot River form a stunning backdrop for local lobsters and terrific fried seafood.

Best Shack Sweets:
Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company, Freeport

We love the seafood here, but we especially love the homemade desserts, from whoopie pies to strawberry shortcake.

Best Lighthouse View:
The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth

Here, you get crashing waves, thisclose water access, great lobster rolls, and a nearby lighthouse to ogle (plus a tasty lobster stew).

Best Maine-Style Lobster Roll:
McLoons Lobster Shack, South Thomaston

This little red hut surrounded by spruce trees serves the best rolls in Maine. Don’t miss the homemade pie.

Best Harbor View:
Thurston’s Lobster Pound, Bernard

At the southwestern tip of Mount Desert Island, Thurston’s offers excellent boiled lobster and gorgeous views of Bass Harbor, where the lobster catch comes in daily.

Best Hidden Gem:
Wharf Gallery & Grill, Corea

Run by a former lobsterman, this shack doubles as an art gallery, fitting for a town that has long attracted artists. Start with local oysters and end with the blueberry pie.

Massachusetts Seafood Shacks

Best Clam Chowder:
Chatham Pier Fish Market, Chatham

This chowder has incredible flavor and just the right thickness. Eat on the adjacent deck and watch the seals swim up to the fishing boats.

Best Sunsets:
The Lobster Pool, Rockport

It’s rare to find a New England seafood shack where you can watch the sun sink into the sea, but the unique geography here gives you the perfect view.

Best On-the-Beach:
Mac’s on the Pier, Wellfleet

On the beach in Wellfleet Harbor, Mac’s lets you eat fantastic seafood while feeling the sand between your toes.

Best Old-School:
Roy Moore Lobster Co., Rockport

Now in its 104th season, Roy Moore’s serves superbly fresh, no-frills lobsters and creamy chowder on a small deck perched above Rockport Harbor. Facebook

Best Beach Snacks:
Sesuit Harbor Café, Dennis

Just steps from Harborview and Cold Storage beaches, this spot serves breakfast (a seafood shack rarity), lunch, and dinner and makes notably tasty fried seafood.

New Hampshire Seafood Shacks

Best Choose-Your-Own Lobster:
Brown’s Lobster Pound, Seabrook

This New Hampshire institution lets you pick your own lobster from the large tanks in the front room before you sit down to dinner.

Best Steamers:
Markey’s Lobster Pool, Seabrook

The signature order at Markey’s, located across from Brown’s: a cold beer and a big pile of tasty steamers.

Best for Lobster Lovers:
Rye Harbor Lobster Pound, Rye

This tiny shack is worth seeking out for its lobster pizza, lobster mac n’ cheese, and hot roll bathed in sherry butter. Facebook

Rhode Island Seafood Shacks

Best Clam Fritters:
Aunt Carrie’s, Narragansett

All the food is great here, but the clam fritters, served hot and fresh in a paper bag, are well worth the drive.

Best Combo:
Blount Clam Shack on the Waterfront, Warren

Chowder and clam cakes are the order of choice at this permanent food truck spot on the water.

Best Fresh-Off-the-Dock Seafood:
Champlin’s Seafood Deck, Galilee

Watch the fishing boats come into the Galilee port, docking at Champlin’s own docks to unload the freshest catch.

Best Bargain:
Easton’s Beach Snack Bar, Newport

The twin lobster rolls are one of the most outstanding deals in Rhode Island. Bonus: The restaurant sits on the beach at the end of the famous Cliff Walk.

Best Dock-and-Dine:
Evelyn’s Drive-in, Tiverton

Overlooking Nanaquaket Pond, Evelyn’s is a popular dock-and-dine destination for boaters and a magnet for fans of clam cakes and clear broth chowder.

Best Family-Friendly:
Monahan’s Clam Shack, Narragansett

With a water-view patio, lawn games, great seafood, and ice cream, Monahan’s is a hit with the kiddos.