12 Dishes You Should Never Order At Red Lobster

We all love going out to eat and enjoying time with family and friends around a table loaded with delicious food. But with restaurant prices seemingly at an all-time high, you'll probably want to make sure you get your money's worth at the restaurants you visit. That means you should have a good idea of the kinds of dishes you should order, but it's perhaps even more important to know which dishes you shouldn't order. If you're visiting a local restaurant, you may be able to read reviews to get a good idea of what you're in for, but when it comes to chain restaurants, dishes can be variable from location to location.

That being said, by checking out this list of the Red Lobster dishes you shouldn't be ordering, you may get a better sense of what on the menu is actually worth splurging on. That way, you can ensure you're going to have a good time without breaking your budget for no reason in the process. Let's take a closer look at these 12 dishes you should never order at the iconic seafood chain Red Lobster.

Crispy Dragon Shrimp

Shrimp is one of the most popular types of seafood, and the only thing that can make it better is a thick layer of breading and some spice, right? Actually, maybe not, at least not if you're ordering the crispy dragon shrimp from Red Lobster. Red Lobster's website says this shrimp is tossed in a "sweet, mildly spicy chili sauce." If you're like us, you perk up whenever you hear "chili sauce." You may think this is one of the best dishes you could order on the menu. But believe us when we say that you're likely to be disappointed.

The sauce on the crispy dragon shrimp is certainly sweet, but if you ask us, it's really not spicy at all. Rather, you're left with fried shrimp swimming around in a sea of what seems to be barely flavored sugar. The dish takes what's supposed to be a light, simple ingredient and turns it into something that seems more at home at a cheap drive-thru than it does at a sit-down seafood restaurant. If you're craving shrimp that tastes like dessert, go ahead and snag the crispy dragon shrimp from Red Lobster. Otherwise, check out some of the other shrimp dishes on the menu.

Brownie Overboard

If the only dish you'd ever tried at Red Lobster was the crispy dragon shrimp, you probably wouldn't be shocked to find out that the Brownie Overboard is also way, way too sweet. This one is less offensive than the shrimp, of course, because a brownie is actually meant to be sweet, and that's probably what you want if you're ordering dessert anyway. But it's definitely possible to go too hard on the sugar, and that's exactly what's happening in this dessert dish.

When we tried this dish, we found that they basically just pile some brownies with every sweet ingredient they have stocked in the kitchen. It starts with a few big scoops of vanilla ice cream that add nothing of interest to the dish and then comes the caramel, fudge, and whipped cream. Why a chocolate brownie needs fudge on top is beyond us, but the result is not good. Plus, the size of this dish is absolutely massive, so it's really something you'd ideally want to share with a few people. We love personal-sized desserts that offer just a little sweet treat after the main course, and this brownie is absolutely not it. You might want to stop for an ice cream on the way home if you're craving a dessert that's a bit more restrained.

Admiral's Feast

One mark of a good meal is a plate that's filled with a variety of colors, ranging from the bright green of fresh veggies to the pop of orange or yellow from spices. Of course, there will usually be some bland colors in the mix, but when it all comes together, you want your plate to be colorful, which is a huge part of what makes it appetizing. But that's definitely not what you're going to get when you order the Admiral's Feast from Red Lobster. We found that this dish is just a big plate of beige, and it has a flavor to match.

The massive plate of food comes with a smattering of different types of fried seafood. Shrimp, flounder, clam strips, and bay scallops should all offer a range of textures and flavors, but since they're all breaded and fried to a crisp, you're basically just getting a plate of barely seasoned bread crumbs. Sure, it's nice to have an element of crispiness on the plate, but when that's the only thing you're eating, it gets boring really fast. If all you want is some fried food, head to a fast food restaurant and save yourself some money. Otherwise, check out the fresher seafood options on the Red Lobster menu.

Lobster baked potato

There are few dishes on the Red Lobster menu that feel as random as the lobster baked potato. Sure, a baked potato is a nice, albeit simple, side dish, and it feels like the kind of side that would be offered at a place like Red Lobster. But we really don't get the point in smothering it with cream sauce-infused Maine and langostino lobster. The flavors and textures don't really go well together, and overall, it just feels like more of an afterthought than a coherent side dish. Since you're likely to be ordering seafood as your main course, anyway, putting even more lobster on a baked potato is kind of gimmicky.

You can also probably safely assume that you're not getting the best-quality lobster in this baked potato dish, as they're likely to save that for main-course lobster dishes. In the end, we found that this is an overpriced baked potato with some sad lobster on top that you're better off skipping. Ask for the baked potato without the lobster, or order something else entirely.

Pasta dishes

You can find a lot of food-related rumors on the internet, and you have to take them with a grain of salt. However, you may want to pay attention to some of them just to play it on the safe side. A Reddit user asked servers what they shouldn't be ordering at different chain restaurants, and a purported Red Lobster server weighed in, saying that guests should avoid the pasta if they want the best possible dining experience. Why? According to this user, Red Lobster workers microwaved the pasta and the sauce in plastic bags that would then melt into the food. He even said that he had to pick plastic out of the dishes with his fingers before serving it to customers.

We can't verify that this is true, but we wouldn't be surprised if a chain restaurant was not being as careful as they should be with food safety, especially when it comes to microwaving food in plastic. On the bright side, though, none of the pasta dishes at Red Lobster are particularly good, and it's probably not what you're going to a seafood restaurant for anyway. We'll let you decide whether or not you want to believe this story or not, but as for us, we'll be skipping the pasta the next time we eat at Red Lobster.


It probably doesn't even have to be said, but if you want the freshest, highest-quality lobster you can get your hands on, you're going to want to get it at a lobster pound by the side of the road in a small town on coastal Maine or somewhere else where lobsters are fresh, abundant, and caught nearby. If you've had lobster from one of these places before, then you know just how good it can be: The meat is plump and slightly sweet, and every morsel feels like you've been blessed by the seafood gods.

It should not come as a surprise, but we found that you're almost definitely not going to have an experience like that if you're ordering lobster at Red Lobster. Sure, it's what the chain is known for, but at the end of the day, it is a chain, which generally means you're not getting the best quality. That might not matter much when it comes to a burger, but it makes a big difference on the lobster front. Most Red Lobsters are not located on a waterfront where the lobster is sourced, so it's not going to taste as fresh as the stuff you can get from a top-notch seafood joint. We're not saying that you have to skip the lobster completely, but just keep your expectations in check.

Fish and chips

We love fish and chips. It's a simple dish, but when it's done right, it's truly a delight: the perfectly cooked fish crisped to the ideal texture, the plump french fries straight out of the deep fryer, the malt vinegar that transforms the otherwise bland food into a symphony of fried and acidic goodness that keeps you coming back for another bite again and again. What's not to love? But just because fish and chips have the potential to be amazing doesn't mean that every plate of fish and chips you order is going to satisfy.

Depending on your Red Lobster location, there's a chance that you're not going to have a good experience with the dish at the chain. It really comes down to how they cook it. One Reddit user said that at their location, their order came with huge chunks of fish that weren't even cooked through properly. The result was a less-than-appetizing dish that sounds like it shouldn't even have been consumed in the first place. That doesn't necessarily mean the fish and chips at your Red Lobster location will be bad, but you may still want to order something else to be on the safe side.

Crab legs

If you want to get the most bang for your buck on the crab leg front, you might not want to go to Red Lobster. Some Reddit users are claiming that the crab legs used to be a great deal at the restaurant, so it was an easy way to splurge on a meal that might be on the nicer side for many of us who don't eat seafood on the regular. But now, they say that things have changed. Restaurant prices have gone up in general, so it's no surprise that many diners are seeing higher prices at Red Lobster as well. But they're also saying that the quality of the crab legs has decreased and that you don't get as much meat as you used to.

Obviously, this seems very variable, and the reality could be quite different at your local Red Lobster. That being said, ordering something like crab legs is already a gamble; you never know what kind of quality you're going to get, particularly when you order them from someplace like Red Lobster, which is a huge company with locations all across the country. If you're willing to take a chance, go ahead and order the crab legs. Otherwise, there are safer menu options to choose from.

Sesame Soy Salmon Bowl

Sometimes, when you go out to eat, you want to order whatever on the menu sounds best, even if it's not the healthiest dish you could eat. Other times, though, you may want to try to stick to the healthier end of the spectrum, particularly if you eat out a lot. If you fall into the latter camp and are planning on eating at Red Lobster, you may think that the sesame soy salmon bowl is a good option. This dish may not be your best bet, though. With over 2,500 milligrams of salt and over 1,200 calories, the sesame soy salmon bowl is probably not ideal if you're looking for the healthiest option on the menu.

But don't worry — you're not really missing out on much. Overall, the dish is pretty flavorless, with not much going on besides the saltiness of the soy sauce. Depending on which Red Lobster location you go to, the salmon might be overcooked, yielding a tougher texture than you're probably looking for. There are definitely better menu items to choose from.

Endless Shrimp

By now, you've probably heard about Red Lobster's Endless Shrimp deal. It's exactly what it sounds like: Unlimited shrimp until you can't possibly eat any more. There are different types of shrimp to choose from, although we suggest those that are lacking in breading if you want to get the most bang for your buck. But do you even want to order the Endless Shrimp, anyway? If you're super hungry and are looking to meet your protein goal for the day, it may not be a bad idea. On the other hand, though, if you're the type of person who tends to overeat and feels terrible afterward as a result, this is a deal you might want to skip.

When you order most dishes at Red Lobster, there will come a natural stopping point where you decide you've had enough. When it comes to the Endless Shrimp, though, there's a good chance you'll just keep eating as much as you can until you feel too full. If you want to avoid that heavy feeling that leaves you with a crippling stomach ache, look for something else to try from the menu. Red Lobster isn't exactly known for its small portion sizes, so it's likely to fill you up just fine.

Anything not labeled today's catch

You probably already know that if you want the freshest fish possible, you should head to a local seafood restaurant on the coast — not a Red Lobster located in St. Louis, Missouri. But still, there are some dishes that are fresher than others at the chain, and you'll want to be able to spot them if you're the kind of person who prefers their seafood fresh, not frozen. If you truly want fresh fish, look for items on the menu labeled "today's catch." These are likely to be the freshest items on the menu, and there's a good chance their flavor will reflect that.

So, what should you not order? If you're really in search of the fresh stuff, you'll want to avoid anything that doesn't say "fresh catch." It doesn't mean that those dishes aren't good, per se, but it does mean that the fish was probably frozen before it got to you. If that doesn't bother you, you're good to go either way.

Mozzarella cheesesticks

Listen, we get it. Sometimes, you just need an appetizer to hold you over until you're ready to dig into the main course. And in a moment of weakness, we have ordered the mozzarella cheese sticks at Red Lobster. But believe us when we say that it was a huge, huge mistake. Were the cheese sticks particularly bad? No. Messing up a mozzarella stick seems hard to do, and these tasted just fine, like frozen mozzarella sticks you might buy at the grocery store. They come with plenty of marinara sauce, which hides all cheese sins. But was it worth the money or the room it took up in our stomachs? No.

When you go to Red Lobster, you're in it for a seafood meal. Out of all the items you could order off of the appetizer menu, why on earth would you choose something as commonplace, as pedestrian as mozzarella sticks? There are countless restaurants you could go to for a great mozzarella stick (and you could even make your own), but Red Lobster just doesn't seem like one of them.