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11 Chain Restaurants That Serve The Best Lobster, According To Customers

Red lobster
Red lobster - UNIQCLICK/Shutterstock

Lobsters haven't always been a luxury food item. In the 18th century, the crustaceans were so plentiful along the coasts of North America that they would wash ashore in piles. Dubbed the "cockroaches of the sea," lobsters were considered a cheap source of protein for the working class, servants, and prisoners. This perception started to shift significantly with the advancement of rail transport, which allowed for the shipment of live lobsters to far-flung locations. As the demand increased and lobsters gradually became more scarce, they began to be associated with gourmet cuisine and sophisticated dining.

Today, lobsters are a menu staple at many upscale restaurants, where they are praised for their rich and sweet meat. Beyond their delectable taste, the appeal of lobsters lies in their remarkable versatility. From timeless classics like the velvety smooth lobster bisque to more modern culinary innovations such as lobster mac and cheese, there's a lobster dish out there to suit every palate and occasion.

To bring you a roundup of restaurant chains known for their exceptional lobster dishes, we took into account several factors. These included the diversity of lobster dishes at each restaurant and customer opinion. For a detailed examination of the criteria that guided our selection process, take a look at the methodology section at the end of this article.

Read more: Steakhouse Chains Where The Sides Outshine The Steaks

11. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen lobsters
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen lobsters - Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen / Facebook

While many restaurants advertise fresh seafood, few offer the experience of choosing your meal directly from a tank. This is the unique offering at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, where patrons have the opportunity to pick a live Maine lobster. The shellfish is then steamed and served with melted butter and linguine pasta. In addition to Maine Lobster, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen is one of the only chain restaurants in the U.S. to serve Caribbean lobster tails. Unlike Maine lobster, which is prized for its large claws, the culinary appeal of the Caribbean lobsters lies in the meat found in their tails since the crustaceans are clawless.

Patrons can be confident in the freshness of Pappadeaux's shellfish, thanks to the restaurant's dedicated delivery fleet that brings seafood from the docks directly to their kitchens every day. The lobster, in particular, has received high praise from patrons who have described it as outstanding, meaty, and perfectly cooked.

Blaine's Restaurant Report even shares a tip for those looking to select a live lobster, saying, "They say always pick the most lively looking lobster. Supposedly that'll be the best tasting one." We did some digging and found that indeed lobsters that appear lethargic are unlikely to be the best choice. Instead, the freshest lobsters are those that are active and lively. Additionally, clean shells and undamaged antennas are also a sign that a lobster has been placed in the tank relatively recently.

10. Legal Sea Foods

Legal Sea Foods stuffed lobster
Legal Sea Foods stuffed lobster - Legal Sea Foods / Facebook

Legal Sea Foods offers a variety of lobster dishes. Guests can enjoy a simple steamed lobster from the Gulf of Maine or have it filled with shrimp and scallop stuffing. The menu also features a selection of other lobster-based meals, including Lobster Mac & Cheese, Lobster Roll, Lobster Bisque, and Lobster Salad. Additionally, lobster is a key ingredient in Legal Sea Foods' Shellfish Tower, alongside other aquatic morsels such as calamari, shrimp, clams, and oysters. To ensure the highest level of freshness and quality, all seafood served by the chain undergoes rigorous testing at its dedicated "food safety laboratory."

In addition to its brick-and-mortar restaurants, Legal Sea Foods offers an online store that lets you have your favorite dishes delivered right to your door. This includes flash frozen lobster claw and knuckle meat, lobster bisque made with heavy cream and sherry, and velvety lobster mac & cheese. Seafood enthusiasts can also order the chain's lobster roll kit, complete with lobster meat, lemon-flavored mayo, and high-quality buns. Moreover, customers who prefer their seafood extra fresh can opt for live lobsters, available for overnight delivery.

Despite expanding its repertoire to online sales, Legal Sea Foods has managed to maintain the quality of its restaurant dishes. Its lobster-based specialties remain outstanding, earning praise from customers for being sweet, tender, and delicious. Additionally, patrons have lauded the restaurant's lobster as fabulous and one of the best meals they have ever enjoyed.

9. The Capital Grille

Capital Grille lobster mac cheese
Capital Grille lobster mac cheese - The Capital Grille / Facebook

The Capital Grille offers several dishes where Maine or North Atlantic lobster is the star ingredient. These include a rich lobster bisque, creamy lobster mac and cheese, and a refreshing lobster salad with a citrus vinaigrette, avocado, and arugula. The restaurant also serves lobster and crab cakes with lemon basil aioli. For a diverse seafood experience, patrons can opt for the chain's Grand Plateau or Cold Shellfish Platter. Both platters feature lobster alongside a shrimp cocktail and oysters on the half shell, with the Grand Plateau also boasting jumbo lump crab. Additionally, the Capital Grille serves butter-poached lobster tails accompanied by seared tenderloin, catering to those seeking two different types of protein in one dish.

The staff at The Capital Grille describes its Lobster Mac 'N' Cheese in very simple terms: "As magnificent as it sounds." This sentiment is echoed by customers, one of whom says on Facebook, "The BEST lobster Mac anywhere. And I have tried to find better. From New York steakhouses to Chicago to California. No one has you beat." The praise doesn't end there. The Capital Grille's other lobster dishes have met with an equally favorable reception. For instance, one OpenTable diner praises the restaurant's lobster salad saying, "As always, the lobster salad stuns and amazes. Delicious, moist lobster and a lot of it on a delicious bed of greens and avocado." The lobster bisque has also been commended, with one patron commenting that they were impressed with its large pieces of lobster.

8. Bonefish Grill

Bonefish Grill lobster tail
Bonefish Grill lobster tail - Bonefish Grill / Facebook

While Bonefish Grill is renowned for its iconic Bang Bang Shrimp, the chain offers far more than just that signature dish. Beyond the beloved appetizer of crispy shrimp topped with a creamy and spicy sauce, the restaurant boasts a vast array of delicious seafood dishes. Among the highlights is the Cold Water Lobster Tails special, which features firm lobster meat — a result of the crustacean's cold water habitat. This dish comes with a pair of five to six-ounce steamed lobster tails, expertly seasoned and served with drawn butter and a selection of two side dishes. Additionally, the lobster tail is available as a part of a delectable duo that also includes a center-cut filet.

At Bonefish Grill, the lobster is accompanied by drawn butter, yet opinions vary on the necessity of this addition. While the restaurant's team insists that "a whole lotta lobster deserves a whole lotta butter," one patron is adamant that lobster stands out on its merit, being delicious without the need for butter. Others also praise Bonefish Grill's lobster, with one patron on Facebook commenting, "This has been my favorite food since I was a child!" Additional favorable reviews call the lobster excellent, one of the best items on the menu, and generously portioned.

7. Eddie V's Prime Seafood

Eddie V's Prime Seafood lobster
Eddie V's Prime Seafood lobster - Eddie V's / Facebook

Eddie V's Prime Seafood is one of the few chain restaurants where you can find both Maine and South African lobsters on the menu. Unlike Maine lobsters, South African lobsters are clawless, which means that their meat is concentrated in the tail. Broiled with lemon, the South African lobster tails at Eddie V's are served with drawn butter. Meanwhile, Maine lobster comes as a part of a larger range of the chain's dishes, including Maine Lobster Tacos with grilled sweet corn pico de gallo and Maine Lobster Bisque with cream and cognac. Maine lobster is also included in the chain's Shellfish Tower and The Big Eddie, which come with Wild Gulf shrimp, oysters, and crab.

Diners seem impressed with both Eddie V's Maine and South African lobster dishes, with one Tripadvisor reviewer enthusing, "The South African Lobster Tail is truly the best in the universe. [...] Order the lobster and it will be the best you have ever tasted!" Another customer agrees, highlighting the tail's generous size, as well as its sweet and delicious flavor. The Maine Lobster Bisque has also received its fair share of accolades. One customer describes the dish as rich and creamy, noting that not a drop was left in their bowl — a testament to the dish's irresistible taste. The Lobster Tacos have also met with favorable reviews, with one diner saying that they are always a hit and another describing them as amazing.

6. Luke's Lobster

Luke's Lobster lobster roll
Luke's Lobster lobster roll - Luke's Lobster / Facebook

Sustainability is a core value at Luke's Lobster, ensuring that your meal is both environmentally friendly and guilt-free. Co-founded by Luke Holden, who has family roots in the lobster industry, the chain is committed to sourcing only sustainable and transparently-obtained lobster from Maine and Canada. These efforts mean that all the lobstermen and women that the restaurant collaborates with comply with stringent sustainability standards designed to protect lobster populations and their habitats. These measures include enforcing size guidelines to ensure that only fully grown lobsters are caught, allowing younger ones to reproduce. In addition, the restaurant's suppliers all comply with the practice of v-notching female lobsters of egg-bearing age to remind other fishermen that they should be placed back in the ocean to safeguard the continuity of the lobster population.

Luke's Lobster offers an array of delicious lobster rolls that are easy on the wallet, all served in a New England-style bun. At its most basic, the chain's Lobster Roll comes with chilled lobster, lemon butter, a secret seasoning, and a splash of mayo. The restaurant's other menu options include the Warm Butter Lobster Roll, Spicy Honey Butter Lobster Roll, and Truffle Butter Lobster Roll. Luke's Lobster also serves Lobster Bisque and Lobster Mac and Cheese. In addition, those who wish to enjoy the restaurant's lobster in the comfort of their own home can order the shellfish — as well as the chain's secret seasoning — from its online shop.

5. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Fleming's lobster tails and steak
Fleming's lobster tails and steak - Fleming's / Facebook

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar has more lobster dishes than you could throw a stick at. From classics such as Steamed Lobster Tail and Lobster Bisque to more innovative creations like Truffle-Poached Lobster and Lobster Mashed Potatoes, each dish is crafted with the utmost attention to detail. Meanwhile, the Seafood Tower is the perfect choice for those who enjoy variety, showcasing North Atlantic lobster, Alaskan golden king crab legs, colossal shrimp, and oysters. And for guests torn between land and sea, the restaurant's Filet Mignon & North Atlantic Lobster Tail presents the best of both culinary worlds.

Patrons rave about Fleming's lobster dishes, consistently highlighting their outstanding quality and preparation. The lobster tail, in particular, has received high praise for its generous size and flawless preparation, with one diner regretting not ordering it after seeing it on her husband's plate. Other diners have also praised the lobster's buttery texture and delicious seasoning. Beyond the tails, Fleming's Lobster Bisque has earned acclaim, with one diner saying that it comes with giant pieces of lobster, and another patron on Yelp saying that the dish is "perfectly smooth and creamy and just delicious."

4. Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime lobster mac cheese
Ocean Prime lobster mac cheese - Ocean Prime - Kansas City / Facebook

Ocean Prime takes pride in offering a diverse selection of lobster-based creations, each prepared to highlight the natural flavors and quality of the shellfish. Among these are the Chilled Whole Maine Lobster and Lobster Bisque enriched with butter-poached lobster. The restaurant's menu also offers Twin Lobster Tails with drawn butter and asparagus, Lobster Linguine with Parmesan, roasted tomato butter, and a hint of chili, and Baked Lobster Mac & Cheese featuring Maine lobster and Tillamook cheddar. Not to be overlooked, the "Smoking" Shellfish Tower allows diners to customize their seafood experience. The visually striking menu item features dry ice, which creates a misty effect that cascades down the tiers of the dish.

Patrons compliment Ocean Prime's lobster for its quality, texture, and flavor, as well as the generous servings of shellfish in the meals. Reviews mention the restaurant's lobster mac and cheese as a must-try dish, with one Yelp diner saying, "Easily my favorite. Good chunks of actual lobster meat (not the rubbery stuff), flavorful and creamy." Several other diners also praise Ocean Prime's lobster bisque and lobster salad, saying that the dishes came loaded with lobster meat. Further glowing reviews describe the seafood delicacy as amazing, fresh, and delicious.

3. Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

Del Frisco's lobster mac cheese
Del Frisco's lobster mac cheese - Del Frisco's / Facebook

While Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse may be famed for its steak selection, its menu extends well beyond meat. The chain also serves high-quality seafood, offering an array of dishes from fresh, succulent oysters to shrimp cocktail and the seared Chilean sea bass. Del Frisco's lobster dishes are also impressive, featuring classic options such as the Broiled Cold Water Lobster Tail with drawn butter and lemon. The restaurant also serves Lobster Bisque with crème fraîche and chives and Lobster Macaroni & Cheese. Additionally, the sharable Shellfish Tower starter allows patrons to customize their experience with a variety of chilled shellfish.

Del Frisco's team refers to its lobster as decadent, and the patrons tend to agree, with reviews highlighting the exceptional quality and taste of the chain's lobster dishes. One customer raves about the lobster being delicious and perfectly prepared, while another says it was the best they've ever had. The Lobster Macaroni & Cheese, in particular, has received special mention, with guests declaring it to die for and a must-order menu item, underscoring the dish's rich, comforting flavors. The Lobster Bisque has also earned high praise from diners, who have described it as excellent, creamy, and filled with lots of lobster chunks.

2. Truluck's

Truluck's lobster tail
Truluck's lobster tail - Truluck's / Facebook

Truluck's serves Maine lobster and South African lobster, each with a distinctive flavor and texture. Harvested from the cold waters of the North Atlantic, Maine lobsters feature sweet meat and delicate texture. South African lobsters are also cold-water crustaceans and are characterized by a firm, beefy tail and sweet meat. Truluck's serves the South Coast rock lobster variety of South African lobster, the sourcing of which is regulated by the South Africa Fishing Ethically organization. Only three operators are licensed to harvest the shellfish to ensure sustainability and ethical practices.

The lobster dishes at Truluck's offer a range of flavors and preparation methods. For those seeking an interactive dining experience, the chain's Cold-Water Lobster Tail is butter-finished and carved tableside. Meanwhile, the Maine Lobster Thermidor features sautéed mushrooms, fresh herbs, and a rich lobster-parmesan mornay sauce. Truluck's also offers lobster tails filled with either blue crab or scampi stuffing. For those looking to elevate their meal further, the chain's additional offerings include Lobster Bisque and Petit South African Lobster Tail.

Diners at Truluck's seem to enjoy its lobster-based dishes, a fact that is amply supported by glowing reviews. The Lobster Bisque, for example, has been described as sublime and amazing, highlighting the chain's ability to elevate classic recipes to gourmet standards. Moreover, one OpenTable reviewer called the restaurant's cold-water lobster and ribeye steak duo on point adding, "[The] lobster had [an] amazing taste and texture. Paired with my sides it was so juicy who needed butter."

1. The Oceanaire Seafood Room

The Oceanaire Seafood Room lobster
The Oceanaire Seafood Room lobster - The Oceanaire Seafood Room / Facebook

The Oceanaire Seafood Room stands out for its focus on serving only the freshest seafood, delivered daily from different corners of the globe. Some of these aquatic morsels include Grilled Spanish Octopus, Siberian Black Osetra Caviar, and Costa Rica Yellowfin Tuna. When it comes to lobster, the Oceanaire serves both Maine lobster and West Australian lobster, which is prized for its rich flavor and tender texture. Aside from this exotic delicacy, The Oceanaire also offers Lobster Mac & Cheese and Chilled Lobster Cocktail. In addition, the restaurant also incorporates lobster into its Spicy Lobster Maki Roll, which also comes with avocado and spicy masago mayo.

Patrons are raving about the lobster dishes at the Oceanaire Seafood Room, praising them for their freshness, generous portions, and perfect preparation. One Yelp reviewer says that their lobster meal "went beyond a perfect 10," adding, "I had the pleasure of savoring the best lobster I've ever tasted [...] The freshness of the food [...] left me in awe. The lobster mac-n-cheese was an ideal blend of creaminess and cheesiness, with generous chunks of lobster." Another patron concurs, saying that the Lobster Mac & Cheese was creamy and filled with lobster pieces. They also praise the restaurant's lobster tail, saying that it was grilled to perfection.

Methodology

Woman eating grilled lobster
Woman eating grilled lobster - Hxyume/Getty Images

Our quest to bring you a list of chain restaurants that serve the best lobster involved evaluating several key factors. Whenever possible, our assessment took into account each chain's commitment to sustainable seafood sourcing. We also considered their variety of lobster-based dishes. Above all, we scoured online platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, and Tripadvisor for customer feedback about the taste, texture, and freshness of each establishment's lobster.

Read the original article on Mashed.