You’ve just been seated and given a menu. While you want to get food from the sea, you’re not sure how to make your selection. In life, no one tells you how to order seafood at a restaurant. You’re just supposed to figure it out.
To help you feel more comfortable getting the perfect dish for your palate and cravings, we’ve put together tips for ordering fish at a restaurant. Use them as a guide to ensure all your meals are what you need and expect.
Ask the Server About Any Unknown-to-You Seafood
Have you ever encountered a fish name that makes you scratch your head? Sometimes, restaurants offer specialty seafood items that might have foreign-sounding names. Always feel free to ask your server to describe the fish, such as its taste and texture. For instance, a pompano has a clean flavor. A branzino’s flavor is very delicate. This allows you to order the perfect entrée for your preferences.
Find Out Where the Fish Came From
The fresher the fish, the better. An exceptional restaurant should always be able to tell you where your seafood came from. If your server doesn’t know, see if you can talk to someone else before making a final decision. Generally, the catch of the day will be one of the freshest items, but not always. Educate yourself, and you’ll have a better eating experience.
Beware of Any Potential Allergies
If you have allergies, such as to shellfish or nut-based oils, it’s important to understand how dishes have been prepared. Always be upfront about your allergies or concerns with the waitstaff. They should be well-versed in ways to help you navigate away from certain foods on the menu, such as a pasta dish that includes shellfish.
Know Which Fish Are in Season in the Area
Before you head to your favorite fish restaurant, do a little investigating on seasonal fish, such as lobsters, crabs and other delicacies. By ordering the seasonal fish, you’ll be able to get a taste of wild-caught seafood at its peak. If you realize you don’t know the seasonal seafood, or you forgot to check it out, ask someone at the restaurant.
Choose Seafood Dishes Laden in Flavor
We’re all trying to eat healthier, which is one of the reasons restaurant patrons are ordering seafood more than ever before. Seafood is generally very filling and nutritious, but beware of the preparation method. Battered and fried fish can be delicious, but they will add calories and fat. However, it’s possible to have lighter batter and frying to eliminate a heavy taste. Eateries that focus on seafood should know how to bring out the natural flavors of the fish without drowning it in sauces or overcooking it.
Understand Various Cooking Terms
Do you know the difference between a filet that has been sautéed or poached? Pan-fried or deep-fried? Battered or buttered? These are all terms that are commonly used on seafood restaurant menus, but may seem confusing at first blush. When you come across a term you don’t know, you have a couple of options. You could always pull out your smartphone and check on the spot, but that’s usually considered discourteous to your fellow patrons. A better solution is to have the waitstaff give you a quick primer on what the term means.
At this point, you’re reading to put these tips for ordering seafood in a restaurant into action. Make a reservation at the nearest eatery and enjoy a wonderful lunch or dinner featuring phenomenal fish.