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The North Shore is a veritable treasure trove when it comes to diverse and delicious lobster dishes that extend well beyond the lobster roll (though we’ll get to those later). The season is here to enjoy this coveted crustacean in creative dishes like those served up by these five area restaurants.

As for me, why choose when I can eat them all? This summer, in fact, that’s exactly what I plan to do.

CK Pearl, Essex

On a recent Sunday afternoon, my husband, two kids, and I braved the brunch waters at CK Pearl, in Essex, where, no, we did not have a reservation. (That was a mistake, by the way, if you plan to follow in my footsteps.) As luck would have it, there was one table available, right in front of the live band, and with an impressive marsh view. Maybe the heavens had opened especially for us.

Whatever the reason for our good fortune, it extended well into our meal, which featured lobster and, yes, even more lobster. Although CK Pearl has an estimable lobster roll, and a lobster carbonara, which is also something to write home about, there’s one more lobster dish that should make every North Shore list. At brunch on Sundays, the restaurant, which chef-owner Patrick O’Shea opened in 2014 along the Essex River, you can (and should) order the lobster eggs benedict with eggs and spinach.

Lobster eggs benedict at CK Pearl | Photograph by Elise Sinagra

It all begins, O’Shea says, with a toasted Thomas’ English muffin, which comes smothered in soft butter and then topped with a “nest of sautéed baby spinach” and three ounces of lobster. The dish then gets poached eggs, the restaurant’s house-made Hollandaise (it gets “a little extra lemon juice to help cut the richness of the dish,” O’Shea notes) and is served with a crispy confit of home fries, which are slow-boiled, strained, and cooked in pork lard.

112 Main St., Essex, 978-890-7378,

Nightshade Noodle Bar, Lynn

At Nightshade Noodle Bar, in Lynn, which James Beard Award–nominated chef-owner Rachel Miller opened in 2019, the lobster glacé is just one of the restaurant’s dishes that appears on the diverse French- and Vietnamese-inspired seafood-focused tasting menus (three tasting menus are available: nine courses, 14 courses, and 21 courses, and guests can make limited requests about which dishes appear on their menus).

Lobster glacé at Nightshade Noodle Bar | Photograph by Joel Laino

“The lobsters that we get are from the same family every week that fish off the Marblehead and Salem harbors,” Miller says. To balance the salt from the lobster and riff on the traditional butter-basted lobster, Miller cooks the claws and tails separately and then bastes them in a lobster broth that has been slightly sweetened and thickened with vanilla, lump sugar, and butter. The dish, served in small cups, is finished with spoonfuls of vanilla chili vinegar.

(This is an abbreviated description of Miller’s complex and detailed dish, which is just a small part of her stunning menu, though it’s reason alone to make it a point to visit Nightshade this summer—and throughout the rest of the year, too.)

73 Exchange St., Lynn, 781-780-9470,

1606 Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Gloucester

Those on the hunt for multiple lobster options can head to Gloucester, to 1606 Restaurant & Oyster Bar, where there are four lobster dishes on the menu: the Cape Ann lobster roll, the lobster bisque, the lobster linguine, and the New England lobster tail (featured on the raw bar). Lobster, says executive chef Jon McKechnie, is sourced locally from Mortillaro Lobster Co., right across the street from the restaurant. “The whole lobsters I bring in are one and a half pounds,” he says.

Lobster linguine at 1606 Restaurant | Photograph by Elise Sinagra

For the lobster linguine, McKechnie uses brown beech, white beech, cremini, shiitake, and king oyster mushrooms, as well as fresh truffles sourced from central Italy. A “rich, velvety” sauce complements five and a half ounces of lobster meat, along with handmade linguine. And this summer, the restaurant will add a Beauport Lobster Boil, including poached lobster, Prince Edward Island mussels, corn, crispy pork belly, new potatoes, bacon dashi, lobster butter, broccoli, and a side of grilled bread. “It will be a great addition to our New England classic cuisine,” McKechnie says.

55 Commercial St., Gloucester, 978-491-5090,

Bob Lobster, Newbury

Where does the best lobster roll on the North Shore live? It’s a matter of much debate, of course, but you’ll find a great one every summer at Bob Lobster, right near the causeway to Plum Island, on the Plum Island Turnpike, in Newbury. Although the restaurant, which abuts the marsh, sells numerous iterations of its famous rolls—in many different sizes—the Spicy Lobster Roll is one exciting and creative way to go. It’s fresh lobster on a toasted brioche bun with Sriracha aioli and fried banana peppers, a little added zip that goes a long, long way.

Spicy lobster roll at Bob Lobster | Photograph by Joel Laino

Traditionalists, of course, praise the restaurant’s classic roll. The Classic Lobster roll is available either lobster salad-style (made with mayonnaise) or served warm and poached in butter. It comes on a bed of lettuce. A much larger version—the Jumbo Lobster Roll, stuffed with a half-pound of meat—is also available, for about twice the price.

49 Plum Island Turnpike, Newbury, 978-465-7100,

Turner’s Seafood, Salem and Melrose

At Turner’s Seafood, in both Salem and Melrose, hungry diners can find the lobster pie on the menu as an addition—although it stays on the menu every day except for times when the market price of lobster has become unsustainable. “We make our own seasoned breadcrumbs and use those, and butter,” says Kathi Maino Turner, who owns Turner’s with her husband, Jim Turner. “Nothing marries better with lobster than butter,” Jim Turner adds.

The lobster pie includes an eight-ounce serving of lobster, which the Turners say is sourced anywhere from Cape Cod to Maine. The same portion, they say, is also used in their lobster cocktail dish: eight ounces of warm lobster, served picked and in drawn butter. The restaurant also serves lobster rolls, of course, in both Connecticut style, with warm butter, and Maine style, with mayonnaise and celery. Their lobster risotto cakes, Jim Turner says, are “extremely popular”: risotto with lobster meat mixed in, for anyone looking to gild this particularly lobster-heavy lily.

43 Church St., Salem, 978-745-7665; 506 Main St., Melrose, 781-662-0700;