Sumptuous lobster stuffed between bread, covered in mayo. It's a staple on the East Coast, but the lobster roll has only recently made inroads in LA, finally making it worthy enough to be in a list of the city's 14 essential ones. Speaking of which, here they are:
No surprise here that the chef from Providence would be cooking up one of the best lobster rolls in town: his version is mayolicious, Rhode Island-style, and depends on the meat for flavor... which it delivers, solidly.
The magic component of this relative newbie's all-star sandwich is the roll it's served on -- a Japanese charcoal bread that gives it a slightly smoky flavor, which (along with Thai basil and green curry aioli) makes it a truly unique take on the classic.
Hollywood and Santa Monica
This seafood-and-great-cocktails favorite across from ArcLight's not doing anything special with its lobster roll, but that's kind of what makes it so special: classic Maine-style with mayo, celery, and a butter-laden brioche bun.
Given the location of this seafoodery (right by the Cahuenga corridor), you wouldn't expect it to be as legit as it is, but Littlefork's parsley-salad-rocking roll is, and then some. AND THEN SOME MORE. Bonus: it's also got amazing oysters and smoked fishes.
Another Maine-style roll, this one's done on a hot dog-style bun, served with a lemon wedge, and cut with chives to give it a bit more (lemon/chive) flavor.
Some serious love on Shark Tank scored the guys behind Cousins enough capital to invest in multiple trucks and an entire lobster import business, which means you can not only get its incredibly fresh l-rolls by chasing them on Twitter, but it'll also deliver the key ingredients right to your door.
Downtown and Santa Monica
Unlike, well, almost every place on this list, Water Grill offers its lobster roll Connecticut-style and topped with butter instead of mayo, so you can savor each chunk of lobster rather than eating it more salad-style.
This lobster roll's not as crustacean-stuffed as some of the other essentials, but the meat that is there is succulent, and the bun is perfectly buttery and toasty... making each bite's ratio near-perfect. It's basically the In-N-Out hamburger of lobster rolls.
Another truck that came to the party a bit late, Roll'n Lobster's bread choice is a bit controversial in traditionalist lobster roll circles (which honestly sounds like it'd be delicious to be inside of): it uses a chewier, almost-Hawaiian-style roll to suck up both its Connecticut- and Maine-style juicy bits.
This roaming crustacean-mobile flies in "lobsta" fresh from Maine, then offers them up with your choice of butter or mayo. Added bonus: it's got crabs too. The good kind.
Joan's Maine-style roll is extra large, slathered in mayo, and served with super-thin, super-crisp fries.
The lobster roll from the Animal dudes' lauded seafood shack is creamy, flavorful, and buttery -- even if it is a bit small. Just order two!
Santa Monica and Mid-Wilshire
Both locations of this East Coast-themed restaurant (including the new one on W 3rd) make their roll way larger than most of the competition, and -- thanks to its claw-to-tail ratio and toasted brioche bun -- it's been called one of the best lobster rolls in the country by both Conde Nast Traveler and Bon Appétit. So who are we to argue?
1. Son Of A Gun8730 3rd St, Los Angeles
2. BP Oysterette1355 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica
3. Hinoki & The Bird10 W Century Dr, Los Angeles
4. Hungry Cat1555 Vine St, Los Angeles
5. Connie and Ted's8171 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood
6. LittleFork1600 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles
7. Santa Monica Seafood1000 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
8. Water Grill Downtown544 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles
9. Water Grill Santa Monica1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica
10. Salt Air1616 Abbott Kinney Blvd, Venice
11. The Lobster1602 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica
12. Joan's on Third8350 W 3rd St, Los Angeles
The menu at this nautical Melrose spot from chef superstars Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal and Jon & Vinny's) is seafood heaven with a fried chicken sandwich thrown in to remind you just how great turf can be, too. It's a hulking masterpiece with a spicy bread & butter pickle slaw and Sriracha aioli. If you're in the mood for surf, go for the trout or the octopus salad.
From the owner of Santa Monica's casual Blue Plate cafe, BP's a small oyster house outfitted with a restaurant-long banquette and a marble-topped bar, specializing in seafood prepared the way you'd find it in Nantucket, Cape Cod, and plenty of other places that do it right.
At Hinoki & The Bird, executive chef Brandon Kida spotlights travel-inspired cuisine at this modern, Californian restaurant. Cosmopolitan dishes -- such as Japanese curry arancini, Jerusalem artichoke soup, and Scottish salmon -- create a global menu with healthful sensibilities.
This slick, beachy seafoodery serves up raw bites like oysters, along with cooked fishes, burgers, and artfully mixed 'tails. Whether for lunch, brunch, or dinner, The Hungry Cat has been the go-to for inventive, LA-style seafood dishes for over a decade. Do it up by starting with a 1-, 2-, or 3-tier seafood platter, and pair your meal with one of the market-fresh cocktails that complement basically everything on the menu.
A seafood restaurant from Michael Cimarusti.
From the non-Kogi-Truck-guy behind A-Frame, Littlefork's the kind of modern bistro you'd take a girl you want to impress (but not like "marry me!" impress, more like "let me see your boobs!" impress), thanks in part to a kitchen run by a Spago vet.
A grocery/seafood distributor for top restos like Water Grill since 1939, SMS just added a full-service cafe and oyster bar, both pulling from its gargantuan, creatures-of-the-sea-heavy stock of fresh everything, from sushi-grade albacore to sandwich-grade artisanal bread.
Since 1989, Water Grill has been serving upscale seafood from its flagship Downtown location in LA. Expect traditional shellfish platters served on ice, bivalves by the dozen, charcoal-grilled whole fish, and various steak cuts. Elegant decor and a wine list to match have made Water Grill -- both in LA and at outposts across Southern California -- a reliable spot for high-end surf and turf.
The Santa Monica outpost of this classic seafoodery is slinging the same quality fishes and epic raw-bar bites.
This beachside hang offers up beautiful seafood dishes -- fish skin chips served with smoked onion dip and harissa, anyone? -- and tasty cocktails.
The Lobster remains in its original structure that was built in 1923 and serves killer lobster rolls made with Japanese mayo and pickled cucumber.
This bakery & specialty food purveyor serves up deliciously cozy and comforting meals, like hearty mac and cheese -- that are guaranteed to fill you up. If you're more in the nibbling mood, though, sample their market side dishes, like baby field greens with dried cranberries and Chinese chicken salad.