Best Lobster Rolls in Halifax (Updated 2021)
I originally wrote this post back in 2015, after I had been tasked with writing an article for The Coast’s Hot Summer Guide (2014). I had sampled 20 lobster rolls around Halifax before submitting my article: How we Roll: Halifax’s Best Lobster Rolls.
I have tried to keep it up-to-date over the years, because it continues to be one of my most popular posts in the summer. I just gave it a major polishing (2021), but there are definitely a few new places I need to try and a couple old places I need to revisit before I can be 100% confident.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that Nova Scotians really don’t know how to make a good lobster roll. The lobster roll is a proud dish in Maine and Connecticut, but usually an afterthought for tourists in Nova Scotia. How many times have I encountered a sad cold bun, parading as something gourmet? How many times have I found a padding of lettuce, or an army of celery, hiding the skimpy allotment of lobster? Miracle Whip? Don’t even get me started…
With that said, there are some really good lobster rolls in the rough. A good lobster roll ideally has a toasted, buttered bun (a New England-style hot dog bun is the classic), a good amount of lobster, and not too much mayonnaise (though, as you will see, our best lobster rolls tend to be on the saucy side).
With no further ado, here is my 2021 list of the best lobster rolls in Halifax:
Tom’s Lobster Shack
Tom’s Lobster Shack (seasonal)
110 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove
$21 Tom Hejny moved to Canada from the Czech Republic 8 years ago, and continued in his culinary arts trade, running the kitchen at Rhubarb Restaurant for a number of years. (I hear Rhubarb also has a good lobster roll, but I haven’t tried it yet).
A few years ago, he opened his own food shack right in Peggy’s Cove where he makes the best lobster rolls in Halifax, and the best I’ve personally ever had!
Tom’s gourmet lobster rolls feature whole claw and tail meat in a toasted sesame seed bun, elevated with finely chopped herbs, celery, shallots, and “secret spices”. The Classic Roll (pictured) also has fresh lemon and mayonnaise supporting the lobster meat, while the Naked Roll omits the mayonnaise for garlic butter.
The Canteen (semi-seasonal menu item)
22 Portland St, Dartmouth, NS
The Crobster Roll has become a quintessential must-try Halifax food, since its inception. A 4oz portion of crab and lobster meat is dressed with truffle aioli, mustard seed and dill. It’s a big roll with some big flavours!
It was originally part of the menu at The Shack, a waterfront oyster bar started up by Chef Renee Lavallee. The Shack is no more, but Chef Lavallee has famously created The Canteen. It was originally a sandwich shop on Ochterloney St. but expanded several years ago to become a full upscale casual restaurant on Portland St. You will still find the Crobster Roll on their lunch and dinner menus (typically in the spring and summer), as well as from their Little C take-out window.
Evans Fresh Seafoods
Evan’s Fresh Seafoods
2 Ochterloney St, Dartmouth (Alderney Landing)
Lobster rolls on Nova Scotia’s Acadian Shore generally favour a warm creamy sauce rather than cold mayo. The d’Entremont family hail from Pubnico, so naturally they do things the down home way. This little gem is one of the best places to eat seafood in Halifax, whether it’s the fish ‘n’ chips or lobster poutine. So come by for a taste of the Acadian Shore!
The lobster roll is hot, rich and creamy. The view is fantastic.
The Esquire Restaurant
The Esquire Restaurant
772 Bedford Hwy, Halifax
The Esquire half-toasts a sideways bun so that it is toasty yet soft and steamy at the same time. A wonderful effect, and perfect for cradling a decent portion of lobster meat. The lobster comes in big chunks, lightly dressed with mayo. Romaine lettuce adds some crunch.
*I have not had this lobster roll in quite a few years, so I can’t exactly vouch for it but I will leave it here until I have a chance to re-evaluate it.
Dave’s Lobster (seasonal)
1549 Lower Water St, Halifax (Waterfront)
Dave’s Lobster is based in P.E.I. but has had a Halifax waterfront kiosk for a number of years now. The lobster rolls use a split-top bun with very flat sides which are buttered, grilled and tap-tap-toasty!
While a mayo-based lobster roll is available (“The Local”), my pick is the “Some Fancy” roll which omits the mayo in favour of warm butter, lemon & garlic. This is a hot lobster roll served Connecticut-style.
McKelvie’s Restaurant & Grill
McKelvie’s Restaurant & Grill
1680 Lower Water St, Halifax
McKelvie’s uses a delicious lemon zest mayo and fresh dill. It is one of the tastiest lobster salad-style rolls I’ve tried. It’s a bit pricey but it includes a mixed green salad or fries. For a few dollars more, you can upgrade to a delicious chowder or lobster poutine!
Best Lobster Roll That No Longer Exists (Bring it Back!)
Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House
“Avery’s Lobster Roll”
Avery’s Lobster Roll used to be my favourite lobster roll in the city. It had a nice hefty portion of chopped lobster in a tarragon sour cream sauce piled into a grilled sourdough roll.
Not only that, but it was sold at $15, including a full side. One of the chefs told me a couple summers ago that they can’t sell it for that price anymore because the price of lobster has gone up so much. So sell it to me for $25 then! I don’t care! Bring. It. Back.Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House
1919 Upper Water Street, Halifax
What other lobster rolls should I try?