Whether it's a teenage romantic dinner or a quick family meal before the big soccer game, Red Lobster is a family favorite and has been, in fact, for several decades which is why they can be seen at every strip mall across the 50 American states. While some foodies are heading there for a quick lunch bite, there are others who are there to quench their hangry attitudes and indulge in some high calorie, fried foods and ending the evening in a rich chocolate cake. And since we all do it, we're not here to judge.
However, what makes a restaurant so great is the content of its menu. A seafood restaurant, especially, must be very careful when limiting options to those who do not eat seafood but must go along for the family ride. Of course, there are great meals that come as a non-seafood option, but there are some that just fail miserably. Here we have uncovered what makes Red Lobster so fabulous and what makes it not-so fabulous, by listing meals according to real life reviews.
20 Best - You Can Never Go Wrong With A Slice of Key Lime Pie
While dessert is traditionally eaten at the end of a meal, dessert may just be the most important meal of the day. Yes, science and doctors say that breakfast is the most important meal, but breakfast can't cure the tired mental anguish after a long and tedious day. And, although we tend to stray to rich chocolate desserts or cold ice cream to end the day on the right foot, Key Lime pie will also do the trick.
Red Lobster offers guests a large slice of Key Lime Pie, which is the perfect dessert to split between friends or bring the leftovers home, in order to watch the latest 13 Reasons Why season 2 in style.
Between the six options to order from on the dessert menu, the Key Lime Pie is said to be the dessert with the least amount of calories. This velvety rich slice of tropical pie dessert only contains 430 calories, according to Food Network's Eat This Or That.
"My husband had steak and shrimp main and I had the most delicious Maine Lobster tails with corn on cob and baby potatoes. Pudding consisted of key lime pie and NY cheesecake. Well worth every penny (or should I say cent?). Thank you Red Lobster!!! Just fabulous ❤️" - Louise10891, from the UK who traveled to Red Lobster, Time Square, NY.
19 Best - Ariel Wasn't Wrong When She Made Flounder Her Best Friend
Flounder is a white fish that is often found on a variety of lists in regards to dieting and goot health. But, most people may associate flounder with the little yellow and blue friendly fish from The Little Mermaid. However, it is no surprise that flounder is so popular amongst those looking to keep a healthy lifestyle, as it is high in protein and low in calories, as most white fish are.
According to the Red Lobster fish menu, the choices that guests have are limited, yet highly numbered. While there are many deep fried options and all-you-can-eat options, the choice for a healthy steamed or broiled fish is very low. In reality, according to the Red Lobster menu, the 'fish' section houses 2 deep fried fish and 1 broiled, which is the Flounder.
Although guests have the final say in what they order for lunch or dinner, Food Network suggests ordering the flounder dinner with a side of vegetables instead of ordering fries, that are high in calories, or even a baked potato since that's also high in starch. Contrast to these traditional sides, guests should consider ordering the steamed broccoli (hold the butter), or sweet potato.
18 Best - The Classic Shrimp Cocktail To Start Off A Meal
Entrees are the highlight to a meal. They are what holds our appetites together, without escaping into the hangry stage, as we wait forty-five minutes for a piece of lobster tail. Luckily, there are options on the entrée menu that are light enough that they won't spoil your dinner. For example, this shrimp cocktail is said to be a big hit at Red Lobster. This appetizer is served with six shrimps, a slice of lemon and a small cup of marinara sauce. However, Food Network's Eat This And Not That suggests eating these protein filled wonders without the marinara sauce, so that it doesn't overfill your allotted amount of sodium.
The shrimps in the shrimp cocktail are fat free and only contain 130 calories. Unfortunately for this dish, the sodium levels are extremely high. Again, we recommend cutting out the marinara sauce. But, fortunately for these little beauties, this appetizer dish contains 17 g of protein, which is a fantastic amount for anyone counting protein levels.
17 Best - Bringing A Little Heat To This Traditional Chicken Alfredo
While this may look like a hot mess, it's apparently super tasty. So much so, that Pinterest is filled with copycat variations to make at home. In any regards, this linguini is cooked to a perfect al dente cook. It is served with a creamy Alfredo sauce with marinated Cajun chicken. Of course, an Alfredo wouldn't be an Alfredo without some grated parmesan cheese on top to further the cheesy flavors.
On the downfall, this plate of gooey pasta may taste delicious, however according to Fit Day.com, this bowl of pasta contains 1500 calories, which is equivalent to a Double Big Mac, large fry and a large soda at the Golden arches. Though this dish may be good on a special night out, it may be best to stray away from it on your weekly family night out.
But, if you're like Oprah, and you love your pasta and you don't count your calories (or care, for that matter), then dig in and enjoy!
16 Best - You Can Never Go Wrong With Cheddar Bay Biscuits
The Cheddar Bay biscuits are one of Red Lobster's signature entrée. They are the equivalent to Olive Garden's bread sticks, however they come warm and gooey and with fresh sharp cheddar cheese. What makes these little puffs of heaven even better is the melted garlic butter that is poured on top, once the biscuits come out of the oven.
I can, personally, vouch for how delicious Red Lobster's cheddar bay biscuits are. Although I've never stepped foot inside a Red Lobster chain, luckily Red Lobster does sell their packaged cheddar bay biscuits at most grocery stores, and it even comes with the perfect garlic and herb seasoning for that melted butter we discussed. Best of all, they only take 3 minutes to prep and 9 minutes to cook, to get a perfect serving of 12 high-risen cheddar biscuits. And yes, it comes in a box, but some of the best homemade desserts come in a box as well, like brownies, and you don't see the world raging about that. For those Red Lobster fans, who can't make it to one of their chained restaurants, they also sell their signature crab cakes in the same box form.
Let's all take a moment to express our gratitude to the cheese Gods.
15 Best - Satisfying Yet Underrated Shrimp Skewers
While there are going to be many items that are on the menu that will be something that you will completely and utterly want, they are most likely filled with heavy, greasy French fries or buttery baked potatoes. Sounds delicious, right? Yes, however, if this is a hot summer day and you're sitting on a nice terrace or it's date night with the wife, these plates will leave you feeling tired and icky. Thankfully, Red Lobster does provide a dish that is low in calories and will leave you feeling like you just ate a Spring salad, instead of an entire meal: their classic wood grilled shrimp skewers.
Each of these light skewers has about 80 calories per skewer. That's amazing. Technically, you could eat this all day long and you still probably wouldn't reach your supposed daily calorie intake. Add in their flavorful brown rice and vegetables, and some steamed broccoli (hold the butter, please!) and you've got the perfect meal at an inexpensive price.
According to the Red Lobster menu, their specially trained chefs suggests to pair this plate with a Mango Passion Margarita.
14 Best - Southwest Style Lobster Tacos Are Totally Trendy
Okay, so sometimes presentation is a miss but the flavors are off the charts. I'm not entirely sure why the restaurant chain doesn't put a larger emphasis on their plating presentation, especially for tacos, considering how trendy they are now for all Instagramers and Pinners alike, but luckily it's what they taste like (with your eyes closed) that counts.
This dish, however, is not served with a choice of two sides. Instead, they offer guests a tasty chicken brown long grain rice. Each of these three tacos come with roasted corn and an avocado salsa. And, my spicy loving friends, the tacos are also topped with a spicy- yet cool- jalapeno ranch dressing. Though diners have the option of choosing between shrimp, chicken, and tilapia, our foodie insiders suggests ordering the lobster tacos. However (there's always a but when it comes to delicious foods),
although this dish may be extremely gratifying to eat, they are on the typical fast food calorie scale, weighing in at 770 calories.
But, there's a price for everything, that's why Nutrition Nix suggests jogging for an hour, or walking for 3 hours (it's very doable if you eat these at lunch), in order to make up for the guilty pleasures you just indulged in.
13 Best - 12 oz New York steak Is Definitely A Large Piece Of Beef
Not everyone that you invite to dinner will want to indulge in the Ultimate Seafood event that the rest of you may be attending. But, the smart cookies over at Red Lobster have found a way to make sure that everyone who enters their fishy doors is greeted with options that they, too, can enjoy. Welcome to the list of best, dear steak, you've been thoroughly missed.
This gorgeous piece of meat tips the scale at 12 ounces and each of these bad boys are marinated in a peppercorn rub. Then, it's delicately placed on a fire-wood grill in order to give this superb cut of beef the perfect grill marks on either side, in order to be chowed down by only the bravest of foodies. It is then served with creamy herbed mashed potatoes and a choice of one more side dish (some fans may opt for French fries while others go the veggie path).
"Not being a lobster fan myself I opted for steak with fries and veg and it was excellent. My partner had a combo with a few different seafood bits on and said it was also lovely." - Tinylass, United Kingdom
12 Best - Rock Lobster Tail Is A Must
Of course this list wouldn't be complete without some lobster. Not only would that have been hilarious, it would not have been a great representation for the name brand or their signature mascot - the lobster. However, the popular restaurant chain does not offer lobster claws, but only lobster tails. Which is slightly unfortunate for foodies seeing as though the claws are sweeter and more tender, according to Lobster Anywhere.
But, how delicious does this sound? "A roasted Maine Lobster tail topped with tender shrimp in a creamy garlic sauce, paired with a golden baked Main lobster tail with crab and seafood stuffing. Served with mashed potatoes, roasted tomatoes and green beans." says My Sweet Zepel. I could have translated what the Red Lobster lobster tail tastes like, but this description is just so on point.
"Everything we tried was super delicious (we tried different combo meals with lobster, snow crab, NY strip and rock lobster tail and some cocktails) and the prices were very reasonable. Extremely good and friendly service. In total, one of the best restaurant experiences ever!" - mi650.
11 Best - Salmon New Orleans Is The Simple Way To Go
This dish is worth all the feels, especially those hangry ones. The Red Lobster New Orleans salmon is a piece of fresh Atlantic salmon with grilled Cajun shrimp to top the blackened fish. Lastly, it is garnished with a fresh pico de gallo, and it is then served with any two of Red Lobster's signature side dishes like baked or mashed potato, French fries, or veggies, just to name a few.
Based on different reviews online (and trust me, there are many), it seems as though this is truly a fresh piece of fish served at countless different Red Lobster restaurants. So much so, that the online world is also filled with different copycats that foodies can get to try at home. Although the All-You-Can-Eat Crab fest may be happening, the New Orleans salmon may be your best bet, especially if you want to rebel against the crowd.
10 Worst- Say Heck No To Calamari And Vegetables
Okay, grab the water and the jogging gear because this appetizer will definitely make you need them. The deep fried calamari and deep fried vegetables is not only deep fried, giving this dish a whopping 1520 calories for an APPETIZER, it is also heavily salted, making the sodium level for this APPETIZER (I can't emphasis this enough) at well over 3000 milligrams, according to Fitbit.com.
Seriously, these waiters and waitresses better be walking around with water every 30 seconds.
After your coronary report comes in, the next time you hit up a Red Lobster chain, you may want to order the stuffed mushrooms instead. Although they are still high on the sodium charts, luckily not as high, these vegetarian options are a much lighter choice as they are not heavily coated in breading and deep fried in oil (am I the only one who's still shivering by this dish?).
"The calamari was quite poor, very little taste and the coating was limp and sad." - deville1984, TripAdvisor.
"They should just call it breaded vegetables with some calamari. Or deep fried breaded vegetables and three pieces of actual calamari." - Juan1, TripAdvisor.
9 Worst - Beer Battered Walleye Fish Does Not Look Like Fish
Although walleye fish may not be as popularly known as opposite to its opponents like salmon, tuna, cod, even white fish, just to name a few, it still has a rep for being known. Though this rep isn't a bad one, in fact, walleye is said to be a particularly delicious piece of fish. Personally, I truly enjoyed it, and the fact that Red Lobster has found a way to butcher the already underrated fish, is an insult to the seafood industry.
Walleye is known to be the perfect kind of fish for Walleye popcorn. In fact, at most Pow Wows, Walleye popcorn can be seen at many foodie vendors, as Walleye is commonly fished in many Canadian rivers. But, there you have it, Red Lobster decided to deep fry it into a large piece of... fish instead of slicing it to make it look a little more appealing. On the more grotty side of things, they go on to serve this fish as a "fish and chips" style, serving it alongside deep fried French fries, and of course, their signature free entrees - the cheddar bay biscuits. That is a lot to handle.
However, if you do want to try the Walleye, Red Lobster offers a healthy version of this fish in a broiled fish dish. Thankfully, the broiled version can be served with fresh steamed veggies and long grain rice, or the even more fulfilling - the baked potato (hold the sour cream, please!).
8 Worst - This Shrimp Should've Stayed In The Water
Another prime example of the necessary need for a culinary certificate. Whoever decided to put fried prawns with a garlic butter shrimp soup, a messy and sad looking baked potato that doesn't look like it should be eaten, and a plop of sour cream, needs to be fired. Where's the color, Red Lobster (you even have a color in your name)? Where's the greenery of bountiful veggies? This is the definition of Obesity in America, and our children are eating it.
Needless to say, I'm not a fan of the mockery to this precious type of seafood - one that every foodie and food blogger lives to cook with. Where do we begin? Anyways, if you're craving shrimp when you're on your way to dine at Red Lobster, the more appropriate dish to pick would be the Wood Grilled Shrimps we have listed above.
"I had margaritas (I love margaritas when I come to America) and the Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp, which I had very fond memories of. Unfortunately, whilst tasty, they were almost cold, possibly as a consequence of the poor service we had received all evening from our server who kept going AWOL." - lovefoodandculture, TripAdvisor.
7 Worst - Bar harbor lobster bake Or Lobster Wake?
This dish is the perfect example to the old expression: "look, but don't touch." It's appealing to look at, there seems to be plenty of seafood (probably in correlation to the price), and it doesn't seem to be drowning in sauce. It's perfect, so why's it on the Worst list? Seafood lovers, I say this - This heart attack on a plate has
the same amount of calories that should be consumed on a daily basis. The Red Lobster Bar Harbor Lobster Bake tips the calorie scale at 1380 calories. However, diners do rave on review boards about this dish.
I guess in consideration, if you're on vacation or a special evening out, this dish would be perfectly acceptable. But why even risk the health scare to eat a bowl full of melted butter and a hefty few pounds of protein-filled seafood? Actually, the sauce of this pasta seafood affair is technically a white wine sauce, but a base to any white wine sauce is a heavy amount of butter and wine, where the alcohol is burned off in the process, so where's the fun in that?
6 Worst - Creamy langostino lobster baked potato Is A Cry For Help
My worst fears have come true. You may not be able to tell what this "dish" is supposed to be, however we've been brought here today to break it down to you. This is Red Lobster's Creamy langostino lobster baked potato, and it is a compilation of lobster meat, butter and heavy creamed cream sauce, plopped on top of a soggy looking baked potato. Hopefully, foodies have complained enough about this dish to have it removed off the menu completely, because this dish can no longer be found online sporting the Red Lobster name and website connected to it.
There are certain aspects that go into making food, especially appetizers. Any great chef has to keep in mind the portion size and heavy weight that each dish will give guests, it is also the reason customers leave feeling happy and satisfied rather than gross and tired. Now, imagine this was served to your side dish of a 12-ounce beautiful piece of steak, or even gorgeous fresh lobster meat. We'll make sure 9-1-1 is on standby.
Fun Fact: This side dish looks even worse once you begin to eat it.
5 Worst - Chocolate Wave To End The Night In The Hospital
After eating all-you-can-eat cheddar bay biscuits, an appetizer, and a large meal, it is now time to order dessert. Of course, everything on the dessert menu looks and sounds delicious (because they spent the big bucks on the presentation of the dessert menu), and there are certain plates that will stand out. For example, how wonderful does a Chocolate Wave cake sound to you all? Let me explain a little further: this cake is a rich and moist chocolate cake, sporting a chocolate fudge frosting, the sides have been covered in chocolate chips, and the entire piece has been sprinkled in rich chocolate sauce. To add insult to injury, this large piece of chocolate heart-attack heaven has a pairing of vanilla ice cream, the signature dessert.
Now, imagine finishing this rather large piece of cake only to realize that this one-single piece of cake has enough calories to be equivalent to the meal you just had, or even the daily allotted calorie intake?
Yes, this cake has 1110 calories. No thanks!
4 Worst - All you can eat crab fiasco Will Take All Your Money
The Endless Crab is a commercial that Red Lobster fans have been hearing and falling in love with since the beginning of Red Lobster's day. However, this fan-favorite Red Lobster holiday may have just made the company, as a whole, seem like it was about to go bankrupt. So, as much as this waste of food festivities is loved around the hearts and bellies of the American people, it could have also cost hundreds of thousands of people to lose their employment with the fast food chain.
Here's the lowdown on that story: when the CEO of Red Lobster decided to name their crab festival the "endless crab," they were too naïve to underestimate just how literal some customers were going to take the slogan. In fact, the president of Red Lobster Dick Rivera, said, "It wasn't the second helping [of crab], it was the third that hurt, and the fourth." he told The Week during an interview about the possible bankruptcy.
While some customers have abused the name in its entirety, the others who have gone on to eat at the restaurant within a more normal reasoning of portions have said that the "festival" is only hyped up by marketing tactics. Lose- lose for Red Lobster.
3 Worst - Canned Shrimp Are The Perfect Addition To Nachos
Nachos are an American staple that all patriots love to tackle before a big meal. They are best served during sports games, at movie screenings, and definitely at restaurants where it may seem like your meal may take "just a few more minutes." And while it may be popular to dress your own nachos with variations like chicken, chili, extra cheese, jalapeños and olives, just to name a few, there are other options that should be opted out, like shrimps. This rule applies across the board,
regardless of what you're offering, especially when the shrimps aren't fresh from the fisheries, but instead are packed and processed into air-sealed tin cans, like this lucky reviewer swears by.
"My entrée was their offering of a plate of Shrimp Nachos, which sounded good to me. I must say, the shrimp were of the tiny canned variety (yuk!) and the cheese on the nachos was 'slithery tasting', so not too many of those disappeared!" - Judidunn, Florida, TripAdvisor.
It's no surprise that large fast food chains cannot afford the simple luxuries, especially when it comes to fresh fish, because then they wouldn't be able to call themselves "fast food," or be affordable. However, there are certain foods that need to be splurged on, and for this example we'll say shrimp. As a seafood chain, Red Lobster, you already have the fish contracts, utilize them and give the people what they deserve to eat!
2 Worst - R.L Should've Stuck With The Seafood
While Red Lobster may serve up one of the best 12-ounce steaks in the fast food industry, they seem to lack in the chicken division. The maple glazed chicken has been said to be "dried out", "suck" and even "tasteless", which is surprising given the amount of sugary sauce that mountains over the chicken. However, I do see the peek-a-boo chicken trying to come through, it looks like it's screaming Help me! Help me!
As most dishes on the Red Lobster menu, this dish also offers guests a choice between two of their traditional side dishes, it seems as though the popular restaurant decided to add a Texan twist to the dish, by providing you with half of the corn on the cob. Why half? That's just wrong, and probably hiked up a couple bucks because of it, which is unfortunate because their portions are so darn small. I guess after a dish like this, you're allowed to self-medicate with the Chocolate Wave cake we said was a huge no-no.
1 Worst - Just A Boatful Of Sauce With That Small Amount Of Crab
Oh, someone save the innocent linguini looking like it's been buried deep down in the sea of Alfredo. That poor unfortunate pasta never even stood a chance against the weight of all that cream and parmesan cheese. But this dish is called crab linguini. Where's the crab!?
However, the internet is filled with people trying to make this world a better place, by simply trying to make copycat renditions of this hopeful dish. With such rich beautiful ingredients like crab, and the potential to be a fantastic cheesy gooey Alfredo sauce, the Pinners and foodies are trying to crack the mystery of what the heck happened when Red Lobster tried to tackle this recipe on head first.
"crab linguine was horrible - the crab was salted so much you couldn't eat it." - Katie555k.
References: eater.com, foodnetwork.com, redlobster.com, tripadvisor.ca, fitbit.com, theweek.com