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I went to Red Lobster for the first time. Here are 7 things that surprised me.

red lobster times square
I dined at Red Lobster for the first time and was surprised by the large portion sizes and high menu prices.Erin McDowell/Business Insider
  • I recently dined at Red Lobster in Times Square for the first time.

  • I was surprised by the high prices and massive portion sizes.

  • The decor and atmosphere were also fancier than I expected from a chain restaurant.

I recently dined at Red Lobster in Times Square for the first time with a friend and was surprised by a few aspects of the experience.

The portion sizes were much bigger than I expected, but the prices of some menu items were also higher than I ever dreamed of when booking a table at a chain restaurant.

However, from Red Lobster's signature unlimited biscuits to the glitter-filled cocktails, the meal felt more special than those at other chain restaurants I've been to.

Here are seven things that surprised me about dining at Red Lobster.

I was most surprised by the high menu prices, especially for a chain restaurant.

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Red Lobster menu.Erin McDowell/Business Insider

While I expected the prices on Red Lobster's menu to be a little higher than other chain restaurants I've been to, given the emphasis on seafood and steak, I was surprised by just how high they were.

Most of the entrées ran for between $25 and $50, which I would expect to pay at a high-end restaurant in New York City.

The signature feasts appeared to include a lot of food, yet were still almost astronomically expensive, at least according to what I feel comfortable paying at a restaurant.

For example, the Lobster Lover's Dream, which includes two types of lobster tails, lobster-and-shrimp linguini, and a choice of two sides, cost $63.99. This was definitely out of my price range.

I opted for one of the least expensive entrées: the shrimp linguini Alfredo, which cost $21 for two portions.

Our meal came to $125, excluding the tip, for two appetizers, two large entreés with sides, and two large cocktails.

The decor and tables inside were surprisingly fancy. It looked like a classy restaurant.

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Red Lobster dining room.Erin McDowell/Business Insider

The booths and tables were a rich mahogany wood, and the paneling on the walls of the Board Room, where I was sitting, made it feel like we were inside a ship.

The restaurant was clean and well-maintained, and had a more upscale vibe compared to other chain restaurants like Chili's and Applebee's, I thought.

I had no idea before visiting that the chain's signature cheddar bay biscuits are unlimited.

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Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuits.Erin McDowell/Business Insider

I've never tried the chain's signature biscuits before and thought they were pleasantly cheesy, with a slight kick. We received a basket of four biscuits for free, which I assumed was the end of the free bread.

However, when we finished them, our sever offered to get us another basket, free of charge. Perhaps naively, I had no idea the biscuits at Red Lobster are unlimited when you dine inside the restaurant.

I was surprised by the size of the Deep Sea Lobsterita. The drink, which had flecks of gold glitter in it, seemed larger than my head.

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Red Lobster Deep Sea Lobsterita.Erin McDowell/Business Insider

I went to Red Lobster with a friend and we both ordered the new Deep Sea Lobsterita, which comes with Cazadores tequila blanco, Malibu coconut rum, and Finest Call blue curaçao.

When we received our drinks, we were both shocked at how large they were. We also were pleasantly surprised to find flecks of edible glitter in the drinks, making them feel even more special than a classic margarita.

Red Lobster's famous lobster dip also had large pieces of lobster in it, which pleasantly surprised me.

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Red Lobster lobster dip.Erin McDowell/Business Insider

The lobster dip at Red Lobster is made with Maine and Langostino lobster, spinach, and artichoke in a three-cheese blend sauce, and it comes served with tortilla chips and pico de gallo.

We were pleasantly surprised by the large pieces of lobster meat in the dish, which amped up its flavor and richness.

There was also a surprisingly large variety of sides to choose from when picking our entrées.

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Red Lobster shrimp and scallop skewer meal.Erin McDowell/Business Insider

Most entrées come with the choice of two sides, and we were surprised by the number of options.

The standard side options included broccoli, orzo rice, mashed potatoes, fries, coleslaw, or baked potato.

There were also a few premium sides to choose from, such as bacon mac and cheese, lobster-topped mashed potatoes, and crispy Brussels sprouts.

We both ordered the mashed potatoes, which we thought were creamy and tasted strongly of butter and herbs.

The portion sizes were also bigger than I expected.

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Red Lobster shrimp linguini Alfredo.Erin McDowell/Business Insider

Since it was my first time at Red Lobster, I had no idea what to expect regarding portion size. I was pleasantly surprised — especially given the high prices — that the portion sizes of practically every menu item we ordered were bigger than we anticipated.

We left the restaurant feeling extremely stuffed — and like we got a fair amount of food for the price.

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