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“The greatest, straightforward lobster roll….with lobster and more !”

Boat House Cafe at the Quinnipiac River Marina
Ranked #155 of 589 Restaurants in New Haven
Restaurant details
Reviewed 11 September 2015

A surprising and unexpected find on a road trip to Boston, just off highway 91 in New Haven, CT… surprising, as the name on the establishment and on online maps are not the same, and the name on their charge receipt also doesn’t show up at the same location. They’re actually at 307 Front Street in Fair Haven, CT, in what used to be the Boat House Café... which is what we saw on Google Maps as we were searching for that elusive, perfect, legendary, lobster roll.!!

The location is great, though the approach is somewhat shoddy. One has get off highway 91 and wind Eastwards through some seedy neighborhoods to the backwaters of the lower Quinnipiac River, and dive amongst marinas and boatyards to find this small, rustic waterfront shack. It’s a great spot overlooking the river, with a back deck that makes full use of that view across the water to a bunch of nicer properties and a forest preserve in East Haven. Tables with umbrellas along this deck offer a shady escape from the blue expanse and the unrelenting, summer sunshine.

Did I mention that we were looking for a lobster roll? We, we certainly found it… and how! This one was lobster… lobster and just lobster, filled in heaps between two slices of a split bread-roll. No cream, dressing, mayo, greens, paste, pasta, whatever ~ just lobster. And to die for. Just about the best lobster roll around. The fries and onion rings (options, options…) are served on the side and are prepared fresh and crisp. No boxed or pre-cooked and frozen rubbish here. If you want a real “lobster roll” and not a “roll, with lobster” …this is the one !!

The owner and staff are very welcoming and helpful. We were allowed to bring our dog out to the deck with us, and our waitress brought out some cold water for him to drink.. unfortunately, the iced water didn’t go down too well with him and he had an up-chuck episode on their deck (yikes!) which I cleaned up as fast as possible before any of the other patrons saw it and complained.

The $20/roll price seems steep at first, for the location. It’s high even by NYC standards. However, I think they give you a full, though small sized animal in each order. Grrrreat lunch.. just wish I’d ordered a chilled beer to go with it but we still had a long way to drive after such a large bite, so discretion got the better of avarice.
Go for it, ladies and guys… it’s worth the trip off the highway and down depression-memory lane.

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1  Thank Alok J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 18 reviews

Reviewed 30 May 2015 via mobile

Have been here a few times, take my advice and don't waste you're money here. Other reviews are correct, staff is not friendly and it takes forever to get your food. Also portions are very small for the price. So if you are not in a rush at all and like unfriendly service and like getting little for your money then dine here.

1  Thank Devoma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2015

Our family was traveling through the area & stopped for a nice Mother's Day lunch. We found this waterfront restaurant on our phone's internet. View was pretty but only a few tables have a view & they were filled. Small menu listed only a few basic lunch type items. After we ordered, we noticed everyone getting breakfast even though it was not on the small menu. Most customers appeared to be regulars & were in served promptly. We waited over 45 minutes for sandwiches & 3 out of 4 had a mistake. The waitress & manager kept grumbling about the fact that the order was wrong right behind us (so rude). Food was bad to average & wasn't worth a 2 hour lunch. Disappointed...skip this place!

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Thank Michele S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2014

I just returned from a memorable breakfast experience at the Boat House Cafe, but I certainly don't mean that in a good way. I'll start with the positives. The inside of the cafe is nautically themed and cozy with an outside deck overlooking the small marina. With this kind of a view, I was looking forward to breakfast with a view. Unfortunately, that was the only positive from this entire experience.

From the very start, the management was gruff and rude. The waitresses were ditzy and inattentive, and generally not welcoming. The only exception to this was the kind of service they gave to those who appeared to be "regulars" at the restaurant. If you aren't already a regular, don't even bother going here because you'll pretty much be ignored. During our stay, the chef continued to come out and talk with his friends and move around chairs, meanwhile the other customers are sitting waiting for food.

The menu is extremely limited and basic. I waited half an hour before anyone came to fill my coffee, and it was over 30 minutes for food to come out so make sure you have plenty of time to kill. When we visited, there were tables open, no line, and it wasn't like the place was incredibly packed. I had 3 eggs over easy with corned beef hash and one blueberry pancake. The homemade corned beef hash is definitely nothing to write home about and was very dry. The pancake was anything BUT fluffy. Instead, a better description would be rubbery, tasteless, and similar to chewing on a kitchen sponge with 8 blueberries in it. My girlfriend had french toast with bacon, and even though they attempted to make it seem fancy on a modern white rectangular plate, the taste was nothing special.

When we received our bill, I was blown away. The waitress attempted to charge me an extra $2.00 for blueberries added to 1 pancake. It wasn't even a huge pancake, but instead was normal sized! Not to mention, the menu said that it was only $0.95 for blueberries to be added. But seriously, $2.00 for about 8 blueberries??? She was good enough to take a dollar off the bill, but she was very rude about it and not willing to help. Additionally, they charged me an extra $1.50 for the refill of the coffee. These weren't large coffee cups either, instead they were on the small side. You don't get refills on COFFEE?? What kind of a breakfast place is this? So for 3 eggs, about a 1/2 cup of corned beef hash, one regular sized pancake, and coffee, the total was $16 without tip. Absolutely absurd!

Bottom line: if you aren't part of the close "family" of regulars at this place, don't expect good service. If you want palatable breakfast food, go somewhere else. Not worth the price, the wait, or the view. I had high hopes when I pulled in, thinking I had found a hidden gem. Now I know that it should STAY hidden.

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1  Thank Jordan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2014

Breakfast is my favorite meal and this is the place that serves it best. Traditional American breakfast menu including homemade corned beef hash. Get a table on the deck and relax with a view of the marina and the Quinnipiac River. Friendly staff and casual atmosphere. You can't go wrong here.

Thank Sven M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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