In February 2018 the South Shore of Nova Scotia celebrated the first ever South Shore Lobster Crawl which is now one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia in the winter time. From Peggy’s Cove to Barrington, Nova Scotia the south shore celebrates with lots of lobster related events from a lobster sculpture art show to a lobster 5km fun run, and more. Being the height of lobster season in the area there is also a lot of lobster to be eaten. From boiled lobster to lobster mac’n’cheese and even lobster beer.
The highlight however are the lobster rolls, with 13 of them being available from 13 different partner restaurants. As a local Halifax blogger I had the chance to try them all, it was a delicious and tough job, but someone had to do it.
Here is my review of all 13 lobster rolls from the first ever South Shore Lobster Crawl. Including my top five favourite selections. (Top 5 or not, all of these lobster rolls were delicious and it was very hard to choose.)
To be fair these first eight are in no particular order.
The Grand Banker’s lobster roll was probably one of the prettiest of the whole lobster crawl. Served on a tasty brioche lobster roll from Boulangerie Le Vendéenne and mixed with a house made lemon aioli, romaine lettuce and green onion. It went down nicely with the South Shorer Lobster Beer from Hell Bay Brewing Co.
La Vista at the Atlantica Oak Island Resort
La Vista was one of the fancier restaurants to be serving up a lobster roll in the lobster crawl. Their lobster roll appeared to be smaller than others but was quite filling. Served on a different kind of bun from Boulangerie Le Vendéenne the lobster was mixed with a tarragon oil reduction, mayo and sour cream with some greens. It was tasty and the fries were some of the best as well.
27th South at the Best Western Bridgewater
27th South served up a unique spin on the lobster roll putting it on a huge hoagie bun. But to go with the huge bun there was also a lot of lobster meat. You definitely need a good appetite to devour this lobster roll. The bun was toasted and combined with the celery and mayo mixed in with the lobster. It had a great crunch.
Anchors Away Family Restaurant
The waitress told me that their lobster rolls were the way that the local people in the area ate their lobster rolls. Called the “Old Fashioned Lobster Roll” the lobster was pan fried in butter then mixed with mayo and lettuce to a warm hot dog bun. The locals might like them this way, but I think I’d pass next time.
Quarterdeck Beachside Villas & Grill
The Quarterdeck was probably the most gorgeous of the restaurants. All white decor, with colourful lobster traps hanging from the ceiling and the ocean views were the best. They served up a large lobster roll on a brioche lobster roll from the Boulangerie. Mixed with a light amount of mayo, celery and lettuce, their meat was really fresh and quite tasty. The cut of the roll however was like the old Subway Sandwich cut. Because of this it didn’t hold the lobster in the best so it was a bit messy to eat.
Elliot’s Dining Room at the White Point Beach Resort
The White Point served up a lobster roll on a lightly buttered and toasted brioche bun and called it a lobster salad. Instead of just being lobster chunks on a bun it was finely shredded like a chicken salad and mixed with celery and mayo. On the side were tasty house made pickles, coleslaw and your choice of fries, salad or soup.
U-Cook Lobster in Peggy’s Cove
The lobster rolls from the U-Cook Lobster were being served for the first time in the summer of 2018 aside from during the lobster crawl. Served on a toasted roll from Julien’s Bakery that has a really nice crunch to it. The lobster is cooked fresh right before your eyes as part of the U-cook experience. It is then mixed with a secret ingredient house made aioli with a wedge of lemon on the side. That’s it, simple and delicious. Served with kettle chips this is the perfect treat to eat when visiting Peggy’s Cove.
Lane’s Privateer Inn
The Lane’s Privateer Inn lobster roll was served on a burger bun with lettuce and red onion. The meat is mixed with a horseradish mayo that gives it a nice kick. A bit too much mayo for me but the horseradish taste was definitely unique. Served with a good sized salad and serving of fries.
My top 5 favourite lobster rolls of the South Shore Lobster Crawl
This was hard to decide, but there are some key factors for why these five made the top of my list. Quite often it was because they were served on a delicious brioche lobster roll from Boulangerie Le Vendéenne. Other reasons they were high on my list was because of a good ratio of mayo to lobster, the freshness of the lobster, the quality of the other toppings and sometimes even the sides.
#5 Fo’c’sle Tavern in Chester
The Fo’c’sle serves up a lobster croissant and the croissant really makes this lobster roll. Fresh, flaky, and the buttery-ness of the croissant just go so well with the lobster. (These are the croissants from Costco so you know they are delicious!) Sometimes they might go slightly overboard with the mayo, but garnished with some simple greens and either a side salad or fries, this lobster roll is quite the meal.
#4 Captain Kat’s lobster shack
Captain Kat’s was definitely my favourite restaurant of them all for the décor. There are fishing and lobster related things every where, there were even lobster lights and a lobster tank, home to some massive lobsters. The restaurant is also located in the heart of the Nova Scotia lobster fishing industry and lobster fishing capital of Canada. One of my favourite things about their lobster roll was the toasted bun, it was toasted just right and had a nice bit of garlic taste to it. It was jam packed full of lobster meat. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the spinach instead of lettuce, but aside from that it was delicious.
#3 Mateus Bistro
This was one of the more unique lobster rolls of the whole bunch. The lobster was mixed with a house made aioli, red onion, red pepper, salt, pepper and garlic. It was then topped with fresh micro greens and served on a brioche lobster roll from the Boulangerie. The bun was toasted nicely and was very fresh. It was a bit messy to eat, but definitely worth it. I might have eaten it twice…
#2 Kiwi Café
The Kiwi Café lobster roll is meant to be served with a dill mayo, however I could hardly taste the dill at all. For the non-dill lovers out there don’t let this throw you off. It was served on an adorable fish shaped plate and served warm which made it even better. Also served on the same brioche lobster roll from the Boulangerie this one blew my mind at how fresh and delicious it was. I definitely wouldn’t have expected it some this small cafe. Just thinking about it I want to go back for more right now. Luckily they serve their lobster roll year round.
#1 Port Grocer
The Port Grocer is an unassuming grocery store / café / post office / restaurant in Port Medway, Nova Scotia. I had never even heard of Port Medway before my lobster crawl expedition, however I am happy that it lead me here. This was hands down, without a doubt, the best lobster roll I have EVER had.
The Port Grocer lobster roll was basically like eating lobster on top of garlic bread and I am a HUGE garlic fan. This was honestly the most amazing thing ever. Non-garlic lovers be warned. Also served on a brioche roll from the Boulangerie, but instead of the lobster roll / hot dog bun it was a burger bun. Aside from the shape, it was the exact same deliciousness.
The Port Grocer’s lobster roll was one of the most simple lobster rolls of the whole crawl. The lobster meat was incredibly fresh, lightly mixed with some mayo, along with lettuce on the toasted bun with what I am assuming the world’s best garlic butter. The only side that it came with was the smallest little bowl of fruit. Simple yet insanely delicious.
In February 2019 the second annual South Shore Lobster Crawl again took place. This year Mateus Bistro did not participate however in return there were six new restaurants and locations added to the list serving up delicious lobster rolls. The Rhubarb Restaurant, the Gold Bean Cafe, Big Red’s Family Restaurant, Blarney Stone Restaurant, Salt Shaker Deli and even the Sobeys Grocery Store in Tantallon. Here is my review of the new additions to the South Shore Lobster Crawl for 2019.
Big Red’s Family restaurant in Lunenburg
Big Red’s is a family restaurant in Lunenburg known for their pizza and pub food year round. Their lobster roll is always on their menu and I was told was frozen fresh. Typically I worry when I hear lobster is frozen as it can get watery but this lobster didn’t taste pre-frozen at all. I wish there had been a bit more lobster on the roll however. It seemed to me like it might have been only 2 or so ounces of meat. The bun was nice and fresh but a bit thick and not toasted. I wish it was a bit cheaper for what I got.
Blarney Stone Restaurant
The Blarney Stone had a special lobster roll on their menu just for the lobster crawl. I was full of lobster rolls from previous stops when I got there so I opted for the regular menu lobster roll that was cheaper as it didn’t come with sides. The above picture is what I ended up with though. There was a bit of a confusion with the waitress and I as to the difference between a lobster “roll” and “sandwich”. Because of that the hot lobster roll for $18.99 is what ended up on my plate. A bit of a bummer because I can’t accurately compare it to the more “New England” style lobster rolls from everywhere else.
This hot lobster roll is made with creamed lobster, a favorite of the more rural areas of the south shore of Nova Scotia. Made with butter, vinegar, heavy cream and lobster its definitely unique. I wouldn’t normally order this. The bun was nicely toasted though.
Sobeys Grocery Store in Tantallon
I loved the idea that a local grocery store was taking part in the lobster crawl this year. I was curious to try this lobster roll and loved the price of only $7.99. The cheapest lobster roll by far. They also served up lobster mac n’ cheese, and lobster flatbreads during the lobster crawl.
Unfortunately just by looking at this lobster roll however I could tell that it was too wet. I assume it was made from canned lobster meat and the water wasn’t squeezed from it? There was a bit too much mayo as well. Since this was made at the grocery store it didn’t seem like there was any “love” put into it. They had so much potential. The bun was really great and nice though, but again not toasted. A toasted bun is key to a delicious lobster roll for me. One bonus however is if there were any still left at dinner time they got discounted by another $3, so a really great deal.
Salt Shaker Deli
The Salt Shaker Deli in Lunenburg is a popular spot in town so I was excited to try their lobster roll. This is also a menu item available year round for them. The lobster was served up on a brioche roll from the Boulangerie Le Vendéenne, my favorite. It had a peppery taste with big chunks of celery mixed in with the meat and mayo. There could have been a bit more flavour added to it though, perhaps with some garlic or seasoning. This was served with wedges for an extra $5 and I don’t know what the sauce was that came with them but it was fantastic.
The Gold Bean Cafe
When I pulled up to the Gold Bean Cafe I was a bit worried about what I was about to eat as it is a cafe attached to a gas station. I wasn’t that excited to be trying gas station food. I was quickly surprised however as soon as I walked inside. The Gold Bean is a really cute and modern cafe, with a fancy coffee machine and all. You can order anything to go or enjoy table service as well.
I have been itching to go to the Rhubarb Restaurant which is a part of the Oceanstone Seaside Resort in Peggy’s Cove for a while. Finally I had my excuse and I am kicking myself for not going sooner. Without a doubt their lobster roll was the most DELICIOUS new addition to 2019’s South Shore Lobster Crawl. It was also probably the most awkward to eat. The lobster roll used was also like a hunk of a loaf of bread that hadn’t been sliced. The top was then cut off and it was hollowed out in the middle and stuffed with all of the lobster. The outside of the bread was nicely toasted with a garlic butter that would make you drool. It was a big serving, lots of meat and bread, kind of difficult to eat but sooooo good.
This year there was also an interesting beverage added to the unique lobster lineup. A lobster cider from the Petite Rivere line of Sid’s Cider called Lobster Pinch. Quite delicious, slightly salty, with the faintest taste of crustacean. Definitely goes well with any lobster or seafood dish you are enjoying.
The winner this year as part of the 2019 South Shore Lobster Roll-Off Challenge held at White Point Beach Resort was voted by the judges to be the Best Western’s 27th South restaurant. Apparently for 2019 it was a different recipe and roll altogether than 2018’s but I didn’t have a chance to try it. Congrats to them!
If this post has piqued your interest on the South Shore Lobster Crawl be sure to join us for the next one in February. To learn more visit LobsterCrawl.ca