merican casual dining restaurant, Red Lobster, has opened their first store in Shanghai as they clamor to feed China’s ravenous appetite for premium seafood.
The Florida-based chain, which bills themselves as the world’s largest seafood restaurant company, debuted in IFC Mall during late December 2018 as part of a planned expansion into Greater China.
Premium Maine lobster is the draw here – the company sources them from New England and Canada – and fans of the chain will recognize the restaurant’s signature item, Live Maine Lobster, which they keep in a tank at the front of the restaurant and cooked in one of four ways. There’s also the Ultimate Feast, a platter containing lobster tail, snow crab legs, garlic shrimp scampi, and crispy fried shrimp.
For Shanghai, they introduced some new dishes like the Chilled Seafood Tower, which stacks lobster tail, snow crab, oysters, and shrimp on top of ice, the New England Bake featuring a pot of roasted lobster, shrimp, mussels, corn, and potatoes in garlic white wine broth, and Oven Roasted Icelandic Halibut.
The restaurant’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits, which are so popular in the US that they have their own Facebook page, come complimentary. According to Red Lobster, they’re made according to the same recipe, only with less salt.
Lunch sets are also a local feature, with salads, rice bowls, and pastas available from ¥78 with Cheddar Bay Biscuits, a soup, and drink.
According to David Martin, COO and co-founder of FWM Restaurants Group, which partnered with Red Lobster to bring the brand here, they wanted to take the restaurant in an upscale direction to meet China’s rapidly growing demand for quality seafood. The Shanghai branch uses 100 percent butter, unlike a combination of butter and margarine in the US, and the interior was outfitted with bright, contemporary fixtures.
This prototype could be a blueprint for future Red Lobster restaurants in Greater China. The company expects to open more branches on the mainland, as well as in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In Shanghai, an outlet is planned in Puxi.
Red Lobster currently has 750 restaurants globally, with stores in the US, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Japan. Last November, they launched their first branch in the Philippines.
Red Lobster Shanghai
Sunday to Thursday, 11:30am to 10pm
Friday and Saturday, 11:30am to 11pm
LG1-20-1, Shanghai IFC Mall, 8 Century Avenue
Nearest metro station: Lujiazui