Red Lobster Is Finally in Manila: What Should You Order?
The lobsters, of course!
G/F S Maison at the Conrad, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) You might be familiar with Red Lobster via visits to the United States, where the seafood restaurant has become a giant chain. You could have first heard of the name as a throwaway reference in Beyonce’s Formation. Or you’ve probably never heard of them before and frequent announcements of their opening in Manila has got your curiosity piqued. Whichever it is that got you interested, you don’t have to wait further to whet your curiosity—and taste buds—because Red Lobster is opening their first Manila branch at S Maison on November 16, Friday.
From a family restaurant in Florida founded in 1968, Red Lobster has since grown to become an international chain, with over 70 locations worldwide—more than 20 of which are in Asia. The local menu is similar to what you can have in their U.S. branches, but with a few tweaks here and there that include the use of local ingredients, aside from offering seasonal items that will feature local seafood.
Each meal at Red Lobster starts with a complimentary basket of Cheddar Bay Biscuits, which you should have warm to best appreciate its buttery, flaky crust and pillow-soft center. It’s more than enough to tide you over while also hyping you up for the seafood feast that you’re about to enjoy. Get an order of the Scallops and Artichoke Dip (P395), too, especially if you love an amazing cheese pull. Generous chunks of scallops cut through the richness of the dip, and a side of pico de gallo adds a welcome burst of freshness.
Red Lobster gets their lobsters from Maine and snow crabs from Alaska, but sources the rest of the seafood locally. The lobsters arrive from abroad live—and they’re perhaps the best thing at the restaurant. You can have the lobsters simply steamed in an order of the Live Lobster (P1,500/pound), which lets you appreciate its mild and fresh sweetness best. But if you’re hungry, have the Seafood Feast (P1,450), which will get you the fresh lobsters and snow crab legs—so fresh they still have the bright brine of the sea—with vibrantly tangy shrimp scampi, wild rice, snow peas, and generous servings of melted butter.
You’ll come for the lobster, but Red Lobster interprets shellfish in all kinds of iterations, which makes the restaurant a treat for seafood lovers. The Spaghetti Vongole (P450) has fresh mussels and tender clams, but what’ll stand out the most is the delightful garlicky flavor of its white-wine based sauce.
The Shrimp and Kani Pizza (P550) doesn’t exactly jump out at you from the menu, but it’s a surprisingly excellent pizza. The thick crust is chewy without feeling too doughy and is just the right base for the rich blend of mozzarella and parmesan with shrimp, kani, fried garlic bits, and an anchovy dressing adds sharply savory flavors.
For a country surrounded by water, we admittedly don't have a lot of restaurants that focus solely on seafood. Red Lobster is ready to change that, and their varied menu and renditions of shellfish will keep even the most stubborn meat-lover coming back.
Photos by Hans Fausto