Menu Navigator: Best (and Worst) Choices at Seafood Restaurants

We'll show you the healthiest choices (and splurge-only dishes) to help you order wisely at seafood restaurants.

Seafood Restaurant Illustration

Illustration: Serge Bloch

  • Woman at table

    Menu Navigator

    Trying to eat healthy when dining out? We'll show you what to order at a typical restaurant.


When you want to eat out healthfully, you just head to your local seafood joint, right? After all, fish is low in calories and saturated fat, and can be one of the best sources of brain-boosting, heart-healthy omega-3s.

Not so fast. Fish may start out as a wonder protein, but it can undergo a drastic transformation when it hits a commercial kitchen. Seafood restaurants have a long history of serving heaping baskets of heavily battered, deep-fried fish paired with even more deep-fried accompaniments. If there's a green vegetable to be found, it's the cabbage slaw swaddled in mayo.

But that's changing. Many chains now devote entire menu sections to blackened and broiled options. Red Lobster, the biggest national seafood chain, even offers half-portions (a satisfying 5 ounces) of grilled fish. This makes us happy as clams. Speaking of which, when steamed or boiled, clams and other shellfish are great choices—as long as you skip tartar sauce or melted butter.

We analyzed dishes at a number of restaurants. Dishes marked as "Splurge Only" aren't untouchable but can be a really big splurge. Nutrition numbers are estimates: Results vary widely among restaurants.




Red Alerts

Beware the Land-Lubber's Choices
Chicken dishes at seafood restaurants are notoriously high in calories. Often, it's because the chicken is fried, but even when it's not, it may be drowning in a mayonnaise- or cream-based sauce.

Code for "Fried"

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