Mike CohenMtlRestoRap

Ask me which restaurant brand I miss most in Montreal and I will always name Red Lobster, which mysteriously disappeared from Quebec back in 1997.

Red Lobster still operates in four Canadian provinces – Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. There are two locations in Ottawa. The one at 1499 St. Laurent Blvd., just as you enter the city, has always been our “go to” spot. Twenty years ago, I did a few reviews for my newspapers and connected with General Manager Ian Forrester. When I went there for a curbside pickup back in December, Ian was still on the job. It turns out he has been there for an incredible 36 years.

More recently, I did a more extensive order. The place was packed, and people were waiting for tables. Meanwhile, the lineup at the bar for pickup and delivery orders was long as well.

“We get a lot of Montrealers who drive up here on the weekend just to dine with us,” said Forrester. “They clearly miss Red Lobster. I frankly cannot believe how many of them come here.”

Now that family reasons bring me to the Nation’s Capital more often, we are thrilled to have this option while secretly hoping the brand will return to Quebec one day. Word has it that before the pandemic, Red Lobster officials were scouting Montreal for potential locations. Now that the restaurant industry is getting back to normal, perhaps this will indeed become a reality.,

Red Lobster is the world’s largest seafood restaurant company, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, with more than 55,000 employees in over 700 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.

A Great Menu

Red Lobster

An appetizing serving at Red Lobster in Ottawa

For our most recent visit the three of us started off with an appetizer of seafood stuffed mushrooms. That was followed by bowls of piping hot clam chowder and lobster bisque to share and, of course, the mouth-watering signature biscuits. You get two per serving and there is an option to order a half dozen more – good to wrap in a plastic baggie and take home to enjoy. These delicious and soft rolls are not something you will find anywhere else.

For the main course I chose the Lobster Lover’s Dream a roasted rock lobster tail, butter-poached Maritime lobster tail and lobster-and-shrimp linguini in a creamy lobster sauce, served with a side of rice. My wife ordered double lobster tails, with side of mashed potato and crispy Brussel sprouts. As for my daughter, she opted for the Seafarer’s Feast – broiled Maritime lobster tail, seared sea scallops, garlic shrimp and Walt’s Favourite Shrimp. It was served with melted butter, lemon, cocktail sauce and a choice of side – in this case mashed.

There are some nice desserts, as well, such as the chocolate wave cake with a side of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. You can find many other tempting items on the menu, such as Date Night Feast for Two – two butter-poached Maritime lobster tails, two seven-ounce sirloins, two jumbo grilled shrimp skewers and a shareable Bacon Mac & Cheese, plus a choice of one side for each guest. The Lobster-Topped Stuffed Tilapia features tilapia roasted with their signature seafood stuffing and topped with Maritime lobster in a creamy lobster beurre blanc and a choice of two sides.

Lunch Specials and Pivoting to Take-Out

Ian Forrester

Veteran General Manager
Ian Forrester

Red Lobster is also introducing a new 10 Under $12 lunch menu, available Monday through Friday until 3pm and featuring a variety of delicious selections. This includes garlic shrimp, crispy cod sandwich, popcorn shrimp, and more. The 10 Under $12 weekday lunch menu, along with the recently introduced three from the Sea combination option for just $19.99, appear on Red Lobster’s newly designed, easy to navigate menu, providing great value options for guests no matter when the craving hits.

During the pandemic, Red Lobster mastered the take-out and delivery concept. At the St. Laurent Blvd. location, you place your order online and upon arrival just go to one of the curbside pickup spots and call the restaurant. Someone will bring the order right to your vehicle. The restaurant itself is perfectly handicapped accessible, with a level entrance and no stairs. There are also handicapped parking spots.

“We had just started to put more effort into take-out and third-party delivery before the pandemic,” said Forrester. “During the pandemic we managed to double our take-out sales. I was also able to maintain 90 percent of my staff.”

To view the complete Red Lobster menu or find a restaurant location, visit RedLobster.ca.  You can call 613-744-7560 and ask for Ian or his trusty assistant Matt if you want to beat the other Montrealers for a reservation.

Mike Cohen can be reached at [email protected].  Follow his dining experiences at www.MtlRestoRap.com which now includes an Ottawa section.

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