Portland’s perks collide on a dock just off Commercial Street.

In the watery backyard of Portland Lobster Co., behind the small, unassuming white structure with its aqua accents and neon sign, splendid things are coalescing.

Namely: Seafood, the city and a grand Portland feature known as a working waterfront.

The restaurant recently reopened for the season, bringing with it the optimism of warm summer nights, lobster rolls and cold local beer.

Of course, the recent rain and 40-degree temperatures are quick to remind us not to get ahead of ourselves. It’s early still. But that also means it’s a good time to slide into a picnic table and dig into a lobster dinner before the lobster-loving crowds arrive. They’ll be here soon, and for good reason.

Portland Lobster Co. is awesome.


Inside the small space, there’s a wall-mounted menu behind the counter, including market prices for the day on things like lobster and clams. Orders are placed at the register, and diners are handed a lobster-shaped wireless pager. The device vibrates and lights up as a way of saying “Your food is ready!” in a way that we can all understand.

Starters include New England clam chowder ($5.99), fried Maine shrimp ($6.99) and crispy calamari ($6.99). French fries ($2.79), onion rings ($4.49) and corn on the cob ($2.49) round out the sides menu.

Fried dinners — including fish and chips, fried haddock and fried clams — run $10 to $14, and lobster dinners are priced to market. They’re also well out of the budget for an Eat & Run. But for folks who aren’t financially restricted by dining review guidelines, the lobster here won’t disappoint.

The plates are also filled in with the crustacean’s favorite dining companions: coleslaw, corn on the cob and baked potato (or French fries).

For lunchtime fare, the sandwich menu includes options for the seafaring and sea-fearing eaters: a clam roll ($13.99), fried fish sandwich ($8.49), hamburger ($8.59), veggie burger ($7.49), hot dog ($4.29) and sea burger (homemade clam cakes with tartar sauce, $7.49).

Wraps include the Maine shrimp wrap ($7.99), avocado and cheddar wrap ($5.99) and lemon herb chicken wrap ($7.49). Salads range from $5.99 to $11.99, and the children’s menu includes chicken tenders ($4.99), grilled cheese ($3.99) and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ($2.99).


There’s seating and countertop space to enjoy a meal inside, but unless you have an aversion to sunshine or an allergy to water views, eating outside is essential.

Lobster simply tastes better on Portland Lobster Co.’s deck. So do coleslaw, jumbo shrimp and fried clams. So do Geary’s Pale Ale, Seadog Wild Blueberry Ale and Peak Organic IPA from the outdoor bar.

Brightly painted picnic tables fill the open-air patio, which is walled in only by the urban skyline of Commercial Street on one side and boats on the other.

The tented eating area is usually a welcome respite from summer sun, although it served as a shelter from cold wind and rain earlier this week. A handful of floor-standing patio heaters helped toast the air as my dining companion and I salivated over our trays of food. And when I squinted and peered out through the clear plastic tent walls to the open patio and passing pedestrians, it almost felt like summer.


The lobster roll and fried shrimp helped.


My friend voiced her appreciation for the lobster roll’s buttery treatment: spread onto the toast and brushed onto the meat just before it was served.

Portland Lobster Co.’s lobster roll has been described before in a hundred creative ways. But in laymen’s terms (as in, the regular folk who eat what they like but don’t tend to search for four-syllable adjectives to apply to the meal), she said the lobster roll was “really good.”

Things here usually are.

Take-out is also an option at Portland Lobster Co., and there’s nightly music outside on the deck as well as during the day on weekends.

It’s also the sort of place you can take out-of-towners so they get the “Maine experience” — and maybe so they seethe with jealousy, just a little. After all, you get to eat here anytime you want.


The features staff of The Portland Press Herald anonymously samples meals for about $7.


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