Visiting Bar Harbor? Check out the Travelin Lobster, a tiny, no-frills lobster pound with all outdoor seating and classic (delicious!) Maine seafood.
When I think of Maine, I think of lobster.
Of course, Maine is also famous for its blueberries, oysters, haddock, whale watching and incredible ocean views.
But we all know that Maine means lobster!
When we traveled to Maine this past fall, I was determined to eat as much lobster as possible.
One of our favorite lobster stops was The Travelin' Lobster, a roadside lobster pound just outside downtown Bar Harbor.
If you're visiting nearby Acadia National Park, check out the Bubble Mountains, the Beehive Trail, or Cadillac North Ridge Trail for a challenge, and The Wild Gardens of Acadia or Jordan Pond Path for a slower pace.
What is a Maine Lobster Pound?
If you're looking for lobster in Maine, head to a lobster pound.
A lobster pound, or lobster shack, is usually a small building where you walk up to a window, order lobster (maybe a whole lobster, maybe a lobster roll) and then sigh with happiness as you dig into your food.
There's usually a limited menu, because it's all about the lobster.
Basically it's a lot like a lobster food truck, but without the truck.
Why Visit the Travelin' Lobster?
The family behind this particular lobster pound has been serving up delicious seafood for decades in Bar Harbor.
Unlike some lobster pounds, the Travelin' Lobster isn't right on the water, but fresh lobsters are delivered every day! You'll always be eating today's catch.
For waterfront dining, we also loved Abel's Lobster, a few miles away!
The Travelin' Lobster gets lots visitors, and lots of rave reviews. In fact, it's so popular that its website even posted a video about how to navigate peak hours.
We arrived right after opening and there was already a small line!
A sign warns customers to arrive early, because they often run out of food before closing time. And the wait line closes an hour before actual closing time, just so they can make sure to get everyone taken care of by then!
There are lots of outdoor tables, so it's easy to space out if that's your style. And there aren't servers in the usual sense — just someone that drops off your food to your table and leaves.
In an era where indoor dining can feel a little iffy, we appreciated the outdoor setup!
The menu was small, but, even so, it was still hard to choose! They also had some local beer and cider options.
We figured it was only right to try what The Travelin' Lobster is most famous for, so we opted for a classic roll with garlic aioli and one whole lobster with mussels.
The lobster roll was incredible.
I'm pretty sure it was the biggest lobster roll we ate on our trip, and this was the small size roll, not the large!
The garlic aioli pushed it over the top — just so incredibly good.
In fact, I was so impressed by the garlic dipping sauce that I've since recreated the experience with homemade langostino lobster rolls. (Langostino is also delicious in risotto!) I also worked out some versions of lobster butter sauce for broiled lobster tails. Since, sadly, we can't always be in Maine.
The whole lobster that we ordered came with corn on the cob, melted butter and mussels.
And of course, a lobster bib, lobster crackers, seafood picks and a wet towelette. This can be a bit of a messy operation!
It even came with instructions for shelling the lobster!
So if you've never eaten one, you don't need to be intimidated. This place has you covered.
We finished our meal with a slice of classic Maine blueberry pie.
Trust me, don't skip the pie.
So, yes, my goal for Maine was to indulge in lobster as much as possible. And this place was the real deal.
If you're traveling around Bar Harbor or Acadia National Park, be sure to stop by! Your taste buds will thank you.