What You Should Absolutely Never Order At Red Lobster

When you think of middle-class, suburban dining, what restaurant first comes to mind? If you're like a lot of people, you'll think of Red Lobster. It became a staple for many families during the 1990s when people wanted a meal that was nicer than anything you could snag at a fast food joint, yet still inexpensive enough that the whole family could tag along without breaking the bank. Since then, it has become an important part of American culture — so important, in fact, that Beyonce even has a line about the restaurant in her song "Formation."

While it may not be considered the nicest of restaurants, there are definitely some delicious menu items that we'd take any day of the week. But among those delicious options are some choices that we won't be ordering anytime soon. And if you want to get the most out of your experience at Red Lobster, then you should heed our warning. After all, you need to know what you should avoid the next time you find yourself at the restaurant.

That's why we've come up with a list of menu items from Red Lobster that you should never order. Take a closer look and be sure to avoid these options the next time you visit.

Crab Linguine Alfredo

If you are looking for the ultimate bland, lifeless dish, then we have just what you're looking for: Red Lobster's crab linguine Alfredo. This stuff is about as sad as you can get when it comes to seafood pasta. First, we'll start off with the fact that crab, at least as it's served in all too many restaurants, is one of the least flavorful types of seafood you can choose. When you dip it in butter, you're getting the taste of the butter and not the crab itself. So we don't think it's a great addition to pretty much any dish.

But when it's added to linguine Alfredo? That's a definite pass. Alfredo sauce is a creamy mix that's incredibly bland and boring on its own. Sure, you can add some hot sauce to it, but even that won't make it all that appealing. And the Alfredo sauce at Red Lobster specifically is especially tasteless. It's mostly just intensely creamy, which drowns out all the other textures and flavors in the dish.

Sure, pairing anything with pasta is a way to make it taste better, but even a bed of carbs isn't going to save this meal. If you want to actually taste the food you're eating instead of just digging into a big pile of beige mush on your plate, then we think you should order something else.

Kung Pao Noodles with Chicken

Look, we love Asian food, and we're glad that Red Lobster is trying to branch out to provide its customers with new flavor profiles. However, we operate on the assumption that most Asian-inspired dishes at non-Asian restaurants (and especially chain non-Asian restaurants) are just not going to taste that good. That's certainly the case with the Kung Pao Noodles with Chicken. It doesn't really taste Korean, Japanese, Thai, or Vietnamese. It just has a general soy sauce-forward flavor to it. Of course, it also features edamame and red cabbage, as you would expect from most chain restaurants' takes on "Asian" menu items.

While the noodles and the sauce itself aren't that bad, the chicken here really adds nothing to the flavor of the dish as a whole. The chicken doesn't taste particularly seasoned besides the fact that it's doused in the same sauce you'll find on the noodles. Overall, it's just kind of a lackluster dish.

If you still like the idea of Kung Pao noodles and don't want to opt for the chicken as a topper, you at least have other options. You can always get the same meal with shrimp or go with our personal favorite, the crispy lobster. The crispy lobster adds a lot more texture and flavor, which makes this agonizingly simple dish much more interesting.

Mozzarella Cheesesticks

We get it: Mozzarella sticks are good. Who doesn't love cheese that's been breaded and fried? It's a dish that you pretty much just can't go wrong with. But you have to ask yourself, where's the best place to order mozzarella sticks? If you're honest with yourself, a mid-priced seafood restaurant probably isn't it. That's why we'd vote against ordering the mozzarella cheesesticks for the table at Red Lobster. Do they taste good? Sure. All mozzarella sticks taste good. But if you're going to get an appetizer, there are much better options available at this restaurant.

If you don't want to try something new and would prefer to stick to a classic, no worries! Go for the shrimp cocktail instead. That way, you're truly taking advantage of your time at a seafood restaurant with a more thematically appropriate dish. Then, the next time you go to a bar or a burger place, you can order all the mozzarella sticks you want. Sound fair? You can thank us after you've gotten your fill of fish at Red Lobster!

Wild-Caught Snow Crab Legs

Remember how we said we didn't love the crab linguine Alfredo at Red Lobster? Well, then, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the wild-caught snow crab legs are not at the top of our must-order list either. We say this with a caveat: If you're the kind of person who absolutely loves crab legs, then, yes, order them. We're not going to stop you from enjoying what you like, if you must. However, for those who are on the fence about what to pick and don't have much experience with crab legs, we can almost guarantee you that you'll like something else on the menu more to your tastes.

Why? Because, as we already mentioned, crab isn't a very flavorful type of seafood. Sure, it's great to dip it into a bunch of sauces, but you're mostly just enjoying the flavor of the sauce if we're being honest. And while the texture of crab is good, but you can get something similar with more flavorful lobster if that's what you're going for.

We certainly don't mean to hate on all the crab lovers out there, but there are much tastier options on Red Lobster's menu, and we don't want you to miss out on something you'd like more.

Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders

Here's a not-so-hot take: Chicken tenders are for kids, and they shouldn't even appear on menus that are primarily meant for adults. Okay, we said it, and you can feel free to vehemently disagree with us all you want. After all, breaded and fried chicken of any variety is always going to be a hit. However, we do honestly believe that you should think twice before ordering the hand-breaded chicken tenders at Red Lobster. If you're going to a seafood restaurant, shouldn't you be ordering seafood instead?

We understand ordering these if you were dragged to Red Lobster against your will and you don't actually like seafood at all. That's forgivable. But if you actually wanted to go to this restaurant with the seafood concept right there in its name, then you shouldn't even consider the chicken tenders. The tenders at Red Lobster are okay, but they certainly can't compete with the seafood dishes in the slightest. In fact, it seems like these things just ended up on the menu as a complete afterthought for picky eaters.

We would never judge you just for ordering chicken tenders at a restaurant, but we also want you to actually enjoy your meal when you pay to go out to eat — and that's exactly why we would recommend going with seafood instead of chicken tenders.

Any steak

We all love going to a nice steakhouse every now and then. But when you're craving a steak, Red Lobster probably doesn't occur to you as the first place to go. While the restaurant does feature its fair share of surf and turf dishes, we just don't think the steaks are up to snuff at this place. First of all, you only have a few basic steak options. If they happen to have your favorite cut on the menu, that's one thing, but you're not going to have a lot of variety to choose from. Second of all, the cooks who work at Red Lobster are mostly trained in how to prepare seafood, not a good steak. And since cooking a steak well takes some skill and can be a process rife with mistakes, your filet may not come out perfectly cooked when you order it from Red Lobster.

If you feel like getting a steak on the side of your seafood, that's your prerogative. However, we wouldn't recommend only trying the steak when you go to this restaurant. Again, it's all about thinking about the restaurant's specialty — again, seafood, for those of you in the back — and going with the flow. If you really want a steak, then just visit a different restaurant.

Baked potato

Now, please don't get us wrong. We love a good baked potato on occasion. It's an amazing side, in large part because it's nice and starchy and is great for topping with a wide variety of ingredients. However, we wouldn't recommend ordering a baked potato at Red Lobster — or pretty much at any other restaurant, while we're at it.

When you go out to eat, you're paying a premium for your food because other people are cooking it for you. Therefore, you're probably going to want to order something that's not easy to make at home. In many cases, seafood fits the bill, which is a testament to why Red Lobster is still a popular restaurant. One dish that doesn't fit into this category, though, is a baked potato. This is a side dish that you can make in the comfort of your own kitchen for very little money and with little effort, too. Moreover, the at-home version won't taste any different than the kind you'll find at Red Lobster. 

So why would you pay more for it when you know you can make the exact same thing at home for a fraction of the price? If you're absolutely dying for a baked potato on the side of your main entree at Red Lobster, then feel free to order it (though don't think your wallet will thank you). Otherwise, we'd urge you to wait until you get home so you can have the same thing for much cheaper.

Brownie Overboard

At the end of a big meal, there's nothing better than digging into a serving of something sweet. And luckily, there are a few different dessert options at Red Lobster for you to choose from. However, we think that one of the desserts just goes way over the top. It's the Brownie Overboard, and you might just want to throw yourself overboard if you try to finish the whole thing.

When you order this dessert, you'll get several brownie wedges. These brownies are super-rich to being with, but they are made even more intense by the fact that they're dotted with chocolate chips. Then, to add an even more indulgent touch, the brownies are served with a massive scoop of vanilla ice cream. As if that weren't enough, you'll then find an obscene amount of caramel and fudge drizzled over the top of the ice cream, which is honestly just unnecessary when it comes to how sweet the rest of the dessert is.

But, as much as you may be begging for the sugar rush to stop, it doesn't end there. Whipped cream tops it all off, making this already incredibly sweet dessert the precursor to an emergency root canal. And while we love a delicious dessert that features all our favorite sweet treats, there's just no reason to order this much sugar in one dish. If you do order this monstrosity, though, please share it with the whole table — you don't want to eat this thing alone.

Classic Caesar Salad

Sometimes, you just want something nice and fresh to munch on while you go out to eat, which is why we love a restaurant that has a good selection of salads. While the salads at Red Lobster may not be the best on earth, you still have several options to choose from, which is perfect for those who want something that's on the healthier and fresher side. But we're here to tell you about one salad you shouldn't order: the classic Caesar salad.

It's not that this salad is bad, to be fair. It's just that you're not going to be getting that much food or variety when you order it. On the plate, you'll find some lettuce, croutons, and a bit of cheese in a bowl — and that's it. The Caesar dressing provides some flavor, but overall, this salad is really bland. You can, of course, add some protein to your salad, which definitely takes it up a notch and makes it a little more worthy of your time. However, unless you're really hungry, we'd urge you not to get the classic Caesar salad. It just isn't worth it.

Ultimate Feast

American chain restaurants like Red Lobster are famous for serving up absolutely massive portion sizes. That might be great when you're super hungry while ordering, but most of the time, it's a gamble that you're going to lose. When your massive meal comes out to the table, you'll realize that it's just too much for your puny human stomach. And while there are some dishes you can take home with you as leftovers, seafood generally doesn't taste too great when it's been reheated after sitting in the fridge overnight. That's exactly the dilemma you'll face when you decide to indulge in the Ultimate Feast at Red Lobster.

When you order this entree, you'll get snow crab legs, lobster tail, shrimp scampi, and even more shrimp on top of that. But it doesn't end there, as you also get to choose two sides. If you're planning on splitting this with someone else, it could be a solid option. However, if you're just ordering for yourself? You probably want to go with something that's a bit more reasonable when it comes to portion size.

Admiral's Feast

Here's another massive dish that comes with way too much food. But with the Admiral's Feast, things get even worse than the Ultimate Feast. Why? Because pretty much everything on your plate is going to be fried. First of all, as you can probably guess, all this fried food isn't exactly good for you. In fact, this meal contains a whopping 1,420 calories, with a sky-high fat content. While it's not a bad thing to enjoy some rich fast food every now and then, filling an entire plate with fried seafood probably isn't in the best interests of your health.

But health aside, do you really think that much fried food is even going to taste good after the first few minutes? Visually speaking, you're going to get a whole platter full of beige, unappealing food that happens to all taste the same. There's not much that distinguishes the shrimp, scallops, and whitefish from each other, apart from the sauce you choose to dip them in. You might love the taste of fried breading, but is that really all you want? 

Moreover, when you fry seafood, you lose a lot of the taste, so ultimately feels like a waste of money ordering this entree from Red Lobster. And since you're not doing your health any favors here either, we think you should skip this menu item and choose something else entirely — maybe with something green and fresh on the side, while we're at it.

Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp

This may be a controversial opinion, but coconut shrimp is just not good. That's certainly why you won't find us ordering the Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp anytime soon. We love a sweet fruit combined with some savory protein, but this coconut shrimp really just doesn't cut it. That may be because the "jumbo" shrimp really aren't all that jumbo. In fact, the bulk of these shrimp bites turns out to be the breading itself. And since the coconut flavor is barely perceptible apart from the sweetness it imparts, it really doesn't do much for the dish other than adding some deceptive bulk to the plate.

Then there is the fact that this shrimp is paired with piña colada dipping sauce. This sauce is also incredibly sweet, which is completely unneeded when it comes to an entree that's already overly sweet as it is.

While there are some great shrimp-based menu items at Red Lobster (have we mentioned the shrimp cocktail yet?), the coconut shrimp simply is not one of them. Skip this menu item and choose something with a more interesting flavor profile, and you'll thank us.