Today marks the start of the eight-month South Florida spiny lobster season, which runs today through March 31. This time of year -- late summer through early fall -- local fishermen have their pick during the crustaceans' annual "walk" in which hundreds of lobsters move steadily in formation along the Florida sea floor in search of new breeding grounds.
Luckily, we landlubbers can get in on the action too, as local restaurants begin putting the creepy sea crawlers on their menus once again. To celebrate the start of Florida lobster season, here are a few spots to snag a lobster roll, a list that includes both traditional Maine-style rolls and Florida lobster rolls, which are used more frequently during season.
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6. Linda Bean's Perfect Maine Lobster in Delray Beach
In case you couldn't tell by the name, this place knows how to make the "perfect" lobster roll. Linda Bean is known for using a quarter-pound of fresh Maine lobster meat drizzled with only high-quality butter -- hers comes all the way from Maine.
5. Spoto's Oyster Bar in Palm Beach Gardens
For just under $20, you can snag a lobster roll off the lunch menu at this venerable seafood spot in Palm Beach Gardens. Its version is made with celery, pepper, and tomato and served alongside a bed of balsamic greens.
This South Florida food truck is gearing up to serve its seasonal special: the Florida Lobster Roll. Drenched in butter and scented with scallion, it's served on a doughy potato roll.
2. Cod & Capers in Palm Beach Gardens
The lobster rolls served from the kitchen at this Palm Beach Gardens seafood market are made with Florida lobster when available, large chunks of meat tossed in a lemon-mayo dressing. Order it with a side of the "Blue Bird" potato salad, a Bahamian version that adds banana peppers for a bit of heat. It's a favorite of Cod & Capers owner Steve Gyland, who borrowed the dish from the Blue Bird restaurant on Cat Island.
1. Kelly's Landing in Fort Lauderdale
Kelly's, which was given a spot on our 2010 100 Favorite Dishes for its lobster rolls, is still the best place for an honest Florida take on this New England classic. The 20-plus-year-old restaurant serves its rolls two ways: the traditional way, with melted butter; or with chilled lobster mixed with chopped celery and parsley and topped with Old Bay seasoning.
With lobster rolls this good available all winter long in South Florida, we'll certainly give the New Englanders another reason to be a little bit jealous of us.