The Best Steakhouse Shrimp Cocktails In The US, According To Customers

Shrimp cocktail may have lost some of its flair due to poorly executed versions that sprouted during its heyday beginning in the 1960s. These usually involved martini glasses filled with synthetic sauce and miniature gummy shrimp. The experience not only tasted poorly but permanently planted the image of a shrimp cocktail as something you want to avoid. But shrimp cocktail has managed to fight off this bad rep. Those kitschy glasses are a thing of the past, and the cocktail has returned to its origins, involving large shrimp hanging off the side of the glass with a lush cocktail sauce parked in the middle. The combination is usually amped with a healthy dose of horseradish, and the order usually includes a lemon slice and, ideally, a refreshing addition in the form of herbs, cucumbers, or celery.

Many restaurants have ditched the dish, but the best steakhouses still stand as the most reliable bastions where shrimp cocktail is heralded as the ultimate appetizer and come dressed in the best possible version. Steakhouses usually don't skimp on size, and the shrimp are juicy, glossy, and plump. When dry ice is added to the mix, you get a pretty spectacular treat.

However, there are always discrepancies in the execution, so we did a little research to find which American steakhouses whip up the best version of this old-school delicacy. These places will convince you that shrimp cocktail deserves all the credit it might have lost with those crude versions in the past.

Lawry's The Prime Rib

With locations in Beverly Hills, Dallas, and Las Vegas, Lawry's The Prime Rib is one of those timeless steakhouse establishments known for its sophisticated service and impeccable chops. The menu is kept classic, with prime rib being the undisputed star, but fillet mignon, ribeye, and the New York strip steak deserve a special mention. This legendary restaurant does not skimp on the seafood specials. You will find glorious seafood towers, roasted seabass, lobster tails, and scallops, but if you are going for a classic seafood appetizer, you should not miss the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail as one of the unquestionable highlights of the entire menu.

The shrimp come with a generous amount of classic cocktail sauce poured in the middle of the bowl, while the shrimp are perked around the rim. A fresh dill stem adds a hint of flavor, and the only other addition is a lemon slice served on the side. The customers compliment the cocktail, with several reviews praising the subtle horseradish-spiced sauce as perhaps the best part of the pairing. One happy patron claimed the sauce was so good that it was scooped up with bread once the shrimp were gone. Not all reviews are positive; some claim that the shrimp were of questionable size and freshness, but overall, it seems that Lawry's shrimp cocktail is definitely one of the best steakhouse iterations.

Dear John's

Dear John's story started in 1962 when Johnny Harlowe decided to ditch his acting career for the hospitality industry. The joint became a hub for everyone who was anyone in Hollywood at the time, including entertainer Frank Sinatra, one of Harlowe's close friends. Though this Culver City, California, landmark has undergone renovations, it still retains its classic old-school charm. The dimly lit dining room, massive bar, and plenty of dark wood still reign supreme, and the same old-school vibe reflects on the menu. You'll find tried and tested juicy chops and all-time favorites like chicken parm and lobster Thermidor. Sides, appetizers, and sauces also feature familiar names, and among the seafood apps, you will find Dear John's version of a classic shrimp cocktail.

The cocktail includes four big shrimp dipped into the sauce and surrounded by celery sticks and a lemon slice. The dish is topped with a heap of finely diced apples. Customers generally praise the shrimp cocktail, and you'll usually find it on the list of recommended dishes at Dear John's. The reviews talk about a delicious sauce and tasty shrimp and compliment the execution and the upgraded combination, representing a beautiful homage to the classic version.

Bern's Steak House

Bern's is one of the historic steakhouses in Tampa, Florida. The restaurant was founded by Bern and Gert Laxer, and the legacy is currently continued by their son, David. Bern's treasures the image of an upscale local steakhouse with lavish décor and skilled staff providing top-notch service. Along with superb bites, Bern's boasts an impressive wine list that completes the dining experience. The main menu is extensive and hides some truly luxurious items, including an expertly assembled caviar section. Steaks steal the spotlight, and the menu covers all classic cuts with some prime dry-aged cuts. As with any good steakhouse menu, the appetizer list carries some all-time favorites from the sea and land, including a fantastic shrimp cocktail.

Like the rest of the opulent menu, Bern's shrimp cocktail is a slightly upgraded version with a bit more flare than your standard restaurant option. Plump shrimp are served on ice and come with three different sauces: one amped up with ginger, one with Old Bay Seasoning, and one for the classic fans, which is the regular cocktail sauce. Despite several not overly hyped reviews, customers mostly praise the shrimp cocktail at Bern's. Positive reviews speak of the well-thought-out preparation, while the shrimp are mostly commended on their looks and superb texture.

Mastro's Restaurants

Mastro's Restaurants is a chain of steakhouse and seafood places currently operating more than 20 outlets nationwide. Best known for the juicy, sizzling steaks that come doused in butter, this fine-dining establishment has a glitzy décor, high prices, and a dress code. The dinner menu is equally luxurious, featuring items such as roasted bone marrow, tuna tartar, caviar, and an excellent sushi selection. Steaks and chops are all classic, including porterhouse, ribeye, and New York strip, but you'll also find an exclusive selection of premium Japanese Wagyu and Kobe beef. Seafood is equally spectacular, with exquisite options such as Chilean sea bass and lobster tails, but the appetizer section also hides some gems, including a majestic shrimp cocktail.

Mastro's shrimp cocktail is a glorious affair with a $30 price tag, but the raving reviews seem to justify the price. The order includes four giant shrimp dipped in the sauce, and the whole concoction is served over dry ice, which creates heaps of smoke, setting a dramatic serving scene. Lemon and horseradish are served on the side. Pleased patrons recommending the appetizer call it the ultimate shrimp cocktail, while one patron compares the dish to fajitas, claiming, "You can feel the envious onlookers from neighboring tables whenever this is ordered." The cocktail is praised for its freshness, the size of the shrimp, and the presentation. Overall, this is a must-steakhouse shrimp cocktail.


Ray's restaurant was established in 1984, and the name has always been synonymous with premium steaks and refined seafood. This classic steakhouse has an elegant décor and a warm and friendly atmosphere, serving as a go-to location to commemorate special dates and celebrate important events. Ray's is also home to some of the best chops and seafood in the area. The menu is classic but tweaked with a modern flare, so expect to find classic steaks partnered with creative sides and some lux chef specials. Seafood is equally well represented on the menu, starting with majestic seafood towers and moving on to colorful seafood platters and combos. Ray's currently operates in three locations, and though the menus are not identical, all outlets serve Ray's legendary shrimp cocktail.

You'll find it listed as a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with added information revealing that the cocktail comes served with two sauces. This order will usually give you four large, perky shrimp lined on the rim while the two sauces come served on the side. Ray's also adds dry ice to the order, creating the dramatic smoky effect that always makes the serving special. Unsurprisingly, customers value the serving drama but applaud the shrimp for its size and flavor. Though there are some complaints about the price, the shrimp cocktail is rated as fantastic, and one patron calls it the best version they have come across.

Prime & Provisions Steakhouse

Prime & Provisions Steakhouse is an established name in the restaurant business. This is a steakhouse institution that you will usually see featured on the best in Chicago lists. The meat here is the unquestionable favorite. Prime & Provisions prides itself on a unique dry-aging room filled with Himalayan salt. Your order will come freshly prepared, still sizzling on the warm plates, and garnished with salt and a slab of butter. The menu combines classic steakhouse philosophy with an inflow of contemporary trends, so expect to find regular steakhouse favorites and some creative items that keep the menu fun, exciting, and adventurous. Along with meat, this steakhouse temple also serves fantastic seafood, and one of its best dishes is the house Shrimp Cocktail.

The menu states that the shrimp are served with "official cocktail sauce and mustard aioli." The order consists of two huge pieces, and you should be warned that cocktail sauce comes with a generous heap of horseradish, so expect a ton of pungency. The shrimp are gigantic and served on ice, and along with the sauces, the order includes the regular lemon slice. Most reviews rave about the shrimp, especially highlighting their size. The attributes patrons give are overwhelmingly positive, and you can expect to be delighted with the order.

St. Elmo

This is the ultimate shrimp cocktail you can get in the U.S. St. Elmo is an Indianapolis institution, loved and praised for its steak and ambiance, but the house-made signature shrimp cocktail is one of the main reasons why food enthusiasts make a regular pilgrimage to this steakhouse joint. The iconic St. Elmo shrimp cocktail is assembled with large Black Tiger Shrimp stacked on top of the acclaimed sauce. This is a classic cocktail sauce that packs a ton of horseradish, providing a sensational experience and a spicy kick that could potentially bring tears to your eyes.

Customers all agree that St. Elmo's shrimp cocktail deserves all the press it gets, and even a mediocre review mentioning cocktail shrimp is difficult to find. Pleased patrons laude it as an absolute must when in the city, and many of those who have returned claim that the cocktail has been consistently good throughout the years. One review sums it up nicely by claiming that "the shrimp cocktail blew my mind ... literally and figuratively!" But perhaps the best testimonial comes from a delighted patron who declares that you should "Always get the shrimp cocktail." This shrimp cocktail is a no-brainer in the U.S., but it also has the potential to be one of the finest versions you can find worldwide. For those who don't have the chance to visit in person, St. Elmo sells bottled versions of the fiery sauce online, so you can try some at home.

The Arthur J

The Arthur J is nestled in Manhattan Beach and stands as a bastion for classic steakhouse fare. This polished establishment features a pleasing mid-century décor that perfectly fits the old-school menu. Arthur J opened in 2015 and has since become one of the must-visit destinations often applauded for its sophisticated vibe and professional service, but most of the praise goes to the perfectly executed dishes. Much attention is paid to beef — the selection includes USDA Prime, Wagyu, and Black Angus — and each steak is cooked over an open fire to attain that distinctive smoky touch. Following the classic steakhouse tradition, the menu at The Arthur J carries familiar seafood specials, and shrimp cocktail, as expected, found its place on the list.

Named the Chilled Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, the menu stipulates that the shrimp are served with a zesty cocktail sauce, boosted with horseradish, sprinkled with dill, and accompanied by fresh cucumber sticks on the side. The key here might be in these additions accompanying the cocktail, as one very pleased customer stated, "The shrimp cocktail may have been the best I have ever had because of the seasoning." Most customers rate it as delicious, and critics are difficult to find. Judging by the reviews, the appetizer is a big hit among the guests who have no complaints about it, while the fresh, herbal kick adds a nice touch to the whole combo.

Eddie V's

Eddie V's is an upscale steakhouse chain with outlets in several states. The restaurants masterfully blend finesse and professional service with perfectly executed dishes. This is a place fit for every occasion, as you can dine and listen to some live music that will act as the perfect soundtrack to dinner. Though Eddie V's is primarily a steakhouse where steaks are extensively aged, fresh seafood is one of its fortes. The restaurant takes pride in selecting the freshest seafood, ensuring that each plate in the dining room is immaculate. At Eddie V's, the classic shrimp cocktail is labeled Chilled Gulf Shrimp but comes dressed up to fit the cocktail theme.

The shrimp are stacked on ice, while the sauces are served on the side. Atomic horseradish is also included, so if you like that zesty kick, this is a great version to try. Customer reviews reveal that this is a must-try appetizer at Eddie V's. Every component of a dish is generally praised for freshness and size, but most reviews highlight that flavor and perfect preparation, even calling the combo otherworldly. The reviews reveal this is an absolute customer favorite, and even those not usually impressed by this steakhouse special compliment Eddie V's version.

The greatest thing about this shrimp cocktail is that it is carried by a steakhouse chain, which means that there is a realistic chance you might be able to try one of the best shrimp cocktails in the U.S.

801 Chophouse

The restaurant 801 Chophouse was established in 1993 as a classic American steakhouse. The business started in Iowa, but now you can find outlets across the Midwest. As you'd expect, this is the place for prime steaks and fresh seafood, but many will also appreciate the elegant setting and attentive service. Though the restaurants cherish the upscale philosophy, the vibe is relaxed and inviting. The restaurants also do a mean happy hour fueled with good drinks and smaller bites and grubs. At 801 Chophouse, you do not want to miss the prime cuts or exclusive Wagyu beef, but the seafood selection is equally outstanding, with most of the highlights reserved for the appetizer section and the daily fresh sheet of specials. Among the seafood delicacies, you will also find the Colossal Shrimp Cocktail.

801 Chophouse does an excellent traditional take on the shrimp cocktail. It is served with three plump shrimp hung on the edge of the bowl and dipped in the sauce. Customers speak highly of the dish and often applaud the size, flavor, and freshness. The cocktail sauce also gets some compliments, but be careful — as it's packed with horseradish. The sauce has a nice, pungent kick. The available reviews confirm this is a fantastic shrimp cocktail version, and several patrons call it the finest shrimp cocktail they have ever had the chance to try.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab grew out of a Miami-based seafood joint that was established in 1913 and was best known for stone crab claws. The humble family-run operation grew into an upscale restaurant that now operates in three different locations, and along with fresh seafood and signature stone crab, you can find an exquisite selection of prime steaks and chops. The menu perfectly blends timeless steakhouse classics complemented by house specials and signature dishes. This is a fine dining establishment, so expect classic steakhouse attentiveness, top-notch service, and an elegant setting. Among the numerous seafood delights gracing Joe's menu, you will also find a wonderful shrimp cocktail.

Labeled as a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, this treat is done in the traditional style, with four large shrimp stacked on ice. The classic cocktail sauce is served on the side, with a generous dollop of fresh horseradish piled in the center. Joe's take on the shrimp cocktail gets overwhelmingly favorable reviews. Customers praise the on-point preparation and applaud the sophisticated presentation. Most claim that Joe's cocktail is as perfect as it gets, and the raving reviews mostly applaud the shrimp's freshness and size.

How we chose our steakhouse shrimp cocktails

To find the best shrimp cocktail in the U.S., we browsed through the menus of the most notable steakhouse joints in the country, looking for all the available versions. We then looked into customer reviews, singling out the ones that received the most praise across various digital platforms.