Chain Restaurant Shrimp Cocktail, Ranked From Worst To Best

Simple yet delicious, shrimp cocktails feature succulent shrimp served chilled and accompanied by a tangy cocktail sauce. The sauce is commonly made with a mix of ketchup, horseradish, and other zesty ingredients, providing a perfect balance to the crisp texture of the shrimp. Frequently served as a prelude to a bigger meal, shrimp cocktails are also renowned for their presentation. The shrimp are often arranged along the rim of a glass or plate, encircling a bowl of cocktail sauce. They are also often served on ice or even dry ice, adding a dramatic effect to the proceedings.

While the exact origins of the shrimp cocktail are uncertain, the dish is believed to have originated in the U.S. or Britain sometime in the early 20th century. Its popularity in America soared during the Prohibition era, a time when traditional alcoholic beverages were banned, and establishments started serving shrimp in cocktail glasses. The dish is also connected with the Golden Gate Hotel in Las Vegas, where it was served in a tulip sundae glass for 50 cents a pop in the late 1950s.

Craving a shrimp cocktail? Discover the top and bottom-rated chain restaurants to try this seafood dish, as rated by customer reviews.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

A favorite of shrimp lovers and film enthusiasts, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. has been entertaining diners since opening its doors in 1996 in California. Today, the "Forrest Gump" themed chain has expanded its reach across the U.S. and the globe, serving a variety of seafood and shellfish dishes. Some of these include shrimp-based menu items such as Shrimp Shack Mac & Cheese, Bang Bang Shrimp, and Mama Blue's Shrimp Gumbo. Additionally, the restaurant offers shrimp cocktails, complete with a tangy, homemade sauce.

Unfortunately, Bubba Gump's rendition of the shrimp cocktail has failed to meet diners' taste expectations. One customer hits the nail right on the head, saying, "Bubba Gump is known for their shrimp. The shrimp in my shrimp cocktail were rubbery." Another reviewer agrees, commenting, "The shrimp was rather soggy and completely tasteless. For a shrimp place, this was really disappointing." Yet another review speculated that the shrimp in their shrimp cocktail had been frozen and thawed. Enough said.

Lawry's The Prime Rib

True to its name, Lawry's The Prime Rib is famous for its beef prime rib, which is skillfully carved tableside from silver carts. Aside from its prime rib, Lawry's also offers a variety of steaks and seafood dishes. One of the chain's appetizers is the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with a classic cocktail sauce. Beyond the shrimp cocktail, the restaurant also serves other marine offerings, including Crab Cakes, Roasted Chilean Sea Bass, and Pan-Seared Scallops.

According to Lawry's staff, the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail is the chain's most popular starter. While some agree with this assessment, calling the dish outstanding and excellent, others have found it lacking. One underwhelmed diner remarks that the shrimp cocktail was the only disappointing aspect of their meal at the restaurant, explaining, "Although the sauce was great, the shrimp was kind of dried out and not great." Several other reviewers have also given Lawry's shrimp cocktail negative feedback, with one customer complaining that the shrimp didn't seem fresh and another noting that it wasn't properly deveined. Yet another diner says that the crustaceans tasted like defrosted shrimp from Trader Joe's.

Red Lobster

From Grilled Sea Scallops & Shrimp Skewers and Crunchy Popcorn Shrimp to Shrimp Linguini Alfredo, getting your shrimp fix at Red Lobster is pretty easy. In fact, the chain has recently introduced the $20 Ultimate Endless Shrimp Meal, which lets diners enjoy a variety of shrimp dishes without spending a fortune. Unfortunately, Red Lobster's shrimp cocktail doesn't seem to be a part of this deal. The Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail is served with Samu Sauce, a Thai-inspired dressing with chili, lime, and cilantro. This seems particularly fitting since Black Tiger Shrimp actually originate in Asia.

Since Red Lobster's Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail has only been introduced recently, we can't be sure of how it stacks up with diners. Unfortunately, one of the most recent reviews of the dish hasn't been favorable. "My daughter ordered the shrimp cocktail app as her main because she likes shrimp so much. Not sure how you screw up plain shrimp, but it was horrible. She insisted I try them, and they were definitely not fresh; they were very rubbery and tasted like they were frozen and then thawed quickly with warm water," the diner says.

801 Chophouse

While 801 Chophouse abounds in appetizers, according to the chain's team, "nothing kicks off a meal at 801 like a shrimp cocktail." Of course, you can always opt for another starter such as the Oysters Rockefeller, Spanish Octopus, or Steak Tartare — particularly since the restaurant's Colossal Shrimp Cocktail consists of just three shrimp. For those with an eye for detail, that's $7 per shrimp since the dish costs $21.

While diners generally praise 801 Chophouse's Colossal Shrimp Cocktail for its taste and the size of the shrimp, some have complained about the number of crustaceans on offer. Perhaps one reviewer sums this up best, saying, "The shrimp cocktail was quite good, although there were only three shrimp." Another customer also praises the dish, commenting, "We started with shrimp cocktail and absolutely love the burn of the fresh horseradish cocktail sauce." On the flip side, one customer says that the menu item isn't great value for money, considering that it only comes with three poorly prepared shrimp.


While Truluck's is best known for its fresh and sustainable Florida Stone Crab, the chain also offers other marine delicacies, including a range of chilled seafood. Listed on the menu alongside other offerings such as Yellowfin Tuna Crudo, Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell, and Shrimp Campechana, the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail comes accompanied by a zesty horseradish dipping sauce.

The Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail at Truluck's has received both praise and criticism from diners. One happy reviewer says: "I had the shrimp cocktail, and the shrimps were big and tasty." Several other customers share this view, describing the dish as divine, delicious, and fantastic. On the downside, not everybody has been as taken by the menu item, with one reviewer saying, "The shrimp in the shrimp cocktail was not good. Chewy and overcooked." Another customer complained that their shrimp cocktail couldn't have been fresh since it was served five minutes after they placed their order. Who knows?

Eddie V's Prime Seafood

Eddie V's Prime Seafood is one of the few seafood chains that clearly specifies the source of its shrimp on the menu. Specifically, the Wild Gulf Shrimp in the chain's shrimp cocktail comes from the Gulf of Mexico, renowned for its juicy, tender, and flavorful prawns. Eddie V's shrimp cocktail is complemented with spicy mustard and a sauce called atomic horseradish. The Wild Gulf Shrimp can also be enjoyed as a part of Eddie V's seafood platters alongside other aquatic delights such as Maine lobster, Colossal crab, and oysters.

While the team at Eddie V's refers to its shrimp cocktail as a "fresh starter that sets the tone for an unforgettable night," the dish has received mixed opinions from diners. One happy reviewer calls the menu item the best shrimp cocktail they have ever had, while others refer to it as a standout, yummy, and delicious. On the flip side, not everybody seems as impressed with the dish, with one reviewer complaining: "Shrimp cocktail was my app and contained jumbo shrimp, sure, but you only got four of them. Left me wanting again." Additionally, several other customers have complained that their shrimp was overcooked.

Mastro's Restaurant

Mastro's is an upscale chain known for its range of high-quality steaks and seafood. The restaurant offers American Wagyu, Japanese A5 Wagyu, and the zenith of beef excellence — A5 Kobe beef priced at $120 per two ounces. The restaurant also serves the likes of Bigeye Tuna, Texas Red Fish, and Chilean Sea Bass. When it comes to its appetizers, Mastro's range is just as extensive and impressive. Diners can indulge in starters such as Oysters on the Half Shell, Nueske's Maple Glazed Bacon Steak, and, of course, the classic Shrimp Cocktail. 

Served in a bowl of dry ice, Mastro's Shrimp Cocktail not only nails the presentation but, according to most diners, also excels in taste. One reviewer, who says that they have been to Mastro's over 50 times, stated: "The shrimp cocktail is the best you will find, and the food is extremely good. A bit pricey but well worth it." Another customer, however, says that while the shrimp are huge, they lack flavor. The horseradish sauce is also frequently mentioned, with diners highlighting its potency. For instance, one reviewer says: "This is the STRONGEST horseradish I have ever had. The stuff will send you through the roof if your waiter doesn't pre-warn you."

Perry's Steakhouse & Grille

With 21 locations across seven states, Perry's Steakhouse & Grille is renowned for its prime steaks. From Prime Ribeye to Porterhouse, the chain's steaks are made from USDA-aged prime beef and served on hot cast iron plates. Aside from its meaty menu offerings, Perry's also offers a wide variety of seafood dishes, including the Gulf Shrimp Cocktail with fresh horseradish and tangy homemade cocktail sauce. The restaurant also serves plenty of other aquatic options, including Crispy Skin Wild Red Snapper, Pan Seared Sea Bass, and Cherry Pepper Calamari.

The team at Perry's refers to its shrimp cocktail as "one of the purest, simplest ways to enjoy shrimp." The dish seems to have also won over diners, with one satisfied reviewer saying: "We had a beautiful shrimp cocktail with large shrimp and five shrimp total. Great to share! [The] cocktail sauce was perfect with a nice kick of horseradish!" Another customer calls the shrimp cocktail "a [must-have] appetizer during every visit." Other online feedback has also been positive, with diners calling the starter really delicious, excellent, and even divine.

Legal Sea Foods

The Colossal Naked Shrimp Cocktail is a part of Legal Sea Foods' raw bar and sushi offerings. As such, the dish is listed among menu items such as Oysters of the Day, New England Littleneck Clams, and Octopus Cocktail with scallions, bell peppers, cilantro, and soy-mirin vinaigrette. Legal Sea Foods' shrimp cocktail can also be enjoyed as a part of the chain's Chilled Seafood Platter, which also comes with four oysters, tuna poke, clams, and lobster tail. The shrimp cocktail comes with a cocktail sauce that has impressed Stonewall Kitchen, a specialty food producer, so much that they have replicated it by blending tomatoes, horseradish, and spices.

Customers speak highly of Legal Sea Foods' shrimp cocktail, with one diner calling it delicious. "The shrimp were jumbo-sized and served in a hollow glass orb with an opening where they were placed. This was set atop a bed of shaved ice (to keep it chilled but not water-logged). [The shrimp] had that nice texture showing that they were cooked just right." Several other reviewers have also praised the dish, calling it excellent, fantastic, and fresh.

Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime loves to serve its dishes on dry ice. In fact, several of its seafood appetizers are served over the cooling agent, adding an element of drama to what would normally be a more ordinary dining experience. If your appetite — or wallet — isn't up to the chain's custom-built "Smoking" Shellfish Tower, the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail is a great alternative. For those not into seafood, Ocean Prime also serves other — non-chilled — starters, such as Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli and Prime Steak Tartare.

Ocean Prime's Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail has garnered plenty of compliments from diners for its quality and visual appeal. One reviewer, who celebrated Valentine's Day at the Ocean Prime with her partner, calls the Shrimp Cocktail fantastic, adding, "It was my favorite dish of the night. The presentation on dry ice is exciting, and it was fun for [my partner] to blow the smoke towards me. The cocktail sauce is at the bottom of the cup the shrimp comes in. I could have eaten two servings myself. The price is a little steep for only four shrimp, but they are large." Several other diners have also expressed their satisfaction with the dish, describing it as really cool, fabulous, and worth every penny.

Chart House

The Chart House is a chain of upscale restaurants known for its fresh seafood and succulent steaks. Many of its locations offer stunning waterfront views, adding to the ambiance of the dining experience. Listed under "Beginnings to Share" on the menu, the Shrimp Cocktail at the Chart House is a staple among the chain's seafood options. Other starters from the chain include Baked Crab Dip, Seared Pepper Ahi Tuna, Coconut Crunchy Shrimp, and Kim Chee Calamari.

Chart House's Shrimp Cocktail has received approval and praise from customers. One reviewer was so impressed with the dish's presentation over dry ice that they ended up ordering another serving for the table. Echoing this sentiment, another diner says: "The shrimp cocktail was amazing. The temperature was perfect, and it tasted fresh. The cocktail sauce had a nice kick." Yet another customer notes that the shrimp in their dish were close to the size of lobster tails. The shrimp starter has also been described by other reviewers as yummy, tasty, and divine. We get the picture!


To bring you this ranking of the best and worst prawn cocktails found in chain restaurants, we sifted through countless customer reviews on Facebook, TripAdvisor, and DoorDash.