Chain Restaurant Crab Legs Ranked From Worst To Best, According To Reviews

crab legs with butter
crab legs with butter - Mphillips007/Getty Images

Sweet and succulent, crab legs are a delicacy that many seafood lovers can't get enough of. Whether they're steamed, grilled, or boiled with spices, crab legs are not only tasty but fun to eat. While it's pretty easy to make flavorful crab legs at home, it's one of those dishes that many people prefer to eat at a restaurant, because it saves the time and effort of cooking and cleaning up a big mess. Thankfully, plenty of chain restaurants cater to crab lovers, either focusing nearly the entire menu on the crustaceans or offering crab legs as a decadent addition to other dishes.

The main downside to crab legs is that they can be pricey depending on the season, type of crab, and where you're located. Therefore, you'll want to make sure the spot you choose for your crab leg feast does a superb job of choosing the best product and cooking the legs to perfection. To help you determine which chain restaurants serve the best crab legs in the U.S., we put together a comprehensive list ranked from worst to best based on customer reviews from various sources.

Read more: The Most Overrated Chain Restaurants In The US, According To The Mashed Staff

13. Red Lobster

crab legs at Red Lobster
crab legs at Red Lobster - redlobster/Instagram

If you're looking for a relatively affordable seafood dinner, Red Lobster is a good bet. The casual seafood chain offers everything from lobster to crab and shrimp, all accompanied by the brand's delicious Cheddar Bay Biscuits. The Crab Your Way meal includes one to two pounds of steamed snow crab legs served either plain, with honey sriracha sauce, or with roasted garlic butter. The crab legs are served over crispy potatoes and your choice of side. You can also add crab legs to any meal for an additional cost.

Unfortunately, many diners believe crab legs are one of the items you should absolutely never order at Red Lobster. Complaints range from lack of flavor and freshness to little meat, and cold food. Many diners comment on how difficult it is to snap the legs, calling them "rubbery" and "bendable." One Yelp reviewer said, "​​The crab shells are limp and the meat disintegrates with the gentlest touch of a fork. The first taste reveals all — tasteless slush, steamed to death. Every little bit of crab taste is gone."

12. Joe's Crab Shack

Joe's Crab Shack crab legs
Joe's Crab Shack crab legs - officialjoescrabshack/Instagram

With beachy vibes and enticing offerings like seafood buckets and steampots, Joe's Crab Shack seems like it would be a decent spot to dig into some crab legs. However, the chain has gone through some troubles over the past few years. Many Joe's Crab Shack locations have been disappearing across the country, which may be due in part to the quality of the food. As one Reddit user put it, "You mean no one wants to pay expensive prices for mediocre, overcooked seafood?"

Joe's Crab Shack offers four different types of crab: Dungeness, snow, queen, and king. You can order it plain or with spices and sauces like Old Bay, BBQ, or Cajun. Just be warned that the crab legs get more than a few negative reviews. One Google reviewer wrote, "The crab legs had almost no meat, and what was there was obviously old as it didn't come out of the shell well or have any flavor." Another Google review stated, "The crab legs were so freezer burned that the meat on the inside of the shell had dried up. Instead of cracking the shells, they were greasy and bendable."

11. Ocean Prime

crab legs at Ocean Prime
crab legs at Ocean Prime - oceanprime/Instagram

Ocean Prime is a swanky seafood and steakhouse chain that gets accolades for its elegant setting, polished service, and decadent dishes. In fact, it made our list of the best seafood you'll find at steakhouse chains for its stellar sushi. While the Asian-inspired seafood dishes and steaks generally get good reviews from diners, sadly the Dutch Harbor King Crab Legs with asparagus and drawn butter get a lukewarm reception.

The main issue most people have with the crab legs at Ocean Prime is that they're overpriced and not up to par with what you would expect at a high-end steak and seafood spot. For example, one dissatisfied diner on Yelp said the crab legs were, "Pretty overdone and basically flavorless. I've had meals for half the price that were outstandingly better." Another customer wrote on OpenTable, "The king crab looked freezer burned, discolored, and had a funny odor. The staff was amazing and swapped out the legs, but when paying over $500 for a meal you'd like it to be impeccable."

10. Rockfish Seafood & Grill

snow crab and shrimp, Rockfish Grill
snow crab and shrimp, Rockfish Grill - rockfishseafoodandgrill/Instagram

Texas-based chain Rockfish Seafood & Grill claims to make all its food from scratch using fresh ingredients, which is a step up from some of the other casual seafood chains. If you're craving crab, the Snow Crab & Shrimp dish is a seafood boil that features clusters of snow crab legs and shrimp tossed with potatoes and corn. You can also build your own seafood bowl with snow crab legs. In addition, the chain often has specials that celebrate shellfish like crab legs and crawfish.

While some diners enjoy the flavor of the seafood boils, several complain about the size of the crab legs, throwing around terms like "scrawny" and "baby crab legs." Some patrons also comment on the crab being dry or overdone. One Google reviewer summed it up saying, "You will have a job removing meat from the crab clusters. They were boiled too long and too soft to crack. But the crab meat was delicious. I ordered an extra cluster expecting what I would get, small clusters."

9. Hook And Reel

crab legs at Hook and Reel
crab legs at Hook and Reel - hookandreel.usa/Instagram

Hook & Reel specializes in Southern-style seafood boils that are meant to be tucked into with your bare hands. You can mix and match different seafood options like snow crab legs, Dungeness crab, king crab, mussels, and shrimp. Sauces include the original Cajun, garlic butter, and lemon pepper. Hearty add-ons like sausage, corn, noodles, and rice round it out. If you're having trouble deciding on a combo, the chain has a few creations to choose from.

Diners have contrasting views about Hook & Reel's crab legs. While some say the seasoning in the seafood boils is tasty with a good kick of spice, others find it slightly underwhelming. In addition, some diners find the portions small. One Yelp reviewer said, "Wanted to love it, but ... I ordered a single crab cluster boil, the spiciest available. It was savory but not really spicy and the crab leg was light as a feather. Very little crab meat ... It was just okay." Another reviewer on Yelp said, "Only complaint I have is the crab legs they serve are on the small side compared to spots I've been to in town that do boils for the same price or cheaper."

8. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

crab legs at Fleming's Steakhouse
crab legs at Fleming's Steakhouse - flemingssteakhouse/Instagram

Steakhouses often specialize in seafood as well as steaks, and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is no exception. The chain offers several dishes that feature crab legs, including the Chilled Shellfish Tower with lobster, shrimp, oysters, and Alaskan golden king crab legs. You can also get the king crab legs as a surf and turf order with steak or enjoy them on their own with a side of drawn butter.

The king crab isn't cheap at $83 as an entree or $35 to add as a complement to a steak, as of April 2024. That's pretty standard for king crab legs though. One of the main differences between king crab and snow crab is the larger size of the former. They're also more difficult to catch in the wild than many other types of crab. That said, many diners don't believe they're worth the hefty price tag at Fleming's. One diner commented on OpenTable, "Steaks were good but the complimentary sauces were overpowering and the small portion of crab legs were very dry and not worth the extra expense." Other reviewers said the crab legs were just okay and not a good value.

7. Crab Du Jour

crab legs at Crab Du Jour
crab legs at Crab Du Jour - crabdujourny/Instagram

If you're a fan of Cajun-style seafood, Crab Du Jour is another spot that specializes in seafood boils with your choice of shellfish, sauce, and extras. Crab lovers can opt for snow crab legs, king crab legs, blue crab, or Dungeness crab. Pair your crustaceans with sausage, corn, or potatoes, and slather it all in garlic butter or Cajun sauce. Everything is served in a bag that you can shake to mix before digging in. Bibs are optional, but highly recommended.

The reviews for Crab Du Jour are all over the map, with some diners calling the crab legs "fire" and others saying they tasted odd like they weren't fresh. The sauce also gets mixed reviews. One diner left a Google review saying, "The crab legs were ok, the cajun seasoning made up for how semi-mushy they were." A different Google review said, "Snow crab legs Cajun style, well the crab was ok but the sauce was poor." It could just be a matter of taste, but due to the mixed reviews, we're placing Crab Du jour in the middle of our ranking.

6. The Boiling Crab

crab legs at The Boiling Crab
crab legs at The Boiling Crab - boilingcrab/Instagram

Born in the town of Seadrift, Texas, in 2004, The Boiling Crab now has several locations across the United States and abroad. The focus is on Southern-style seafood boils where you can concoct your own saucy mix of shellfish dialed to your preferred spice level. If it's crab legs you're craving, you can opt for snow crab or king crab legs. Other seafood options include lobster, shrimp, crawfish, oysters, clams, and mussels.

The Boiling Crab gets generally good reviews with many people liking the rustic, no-frills serving style and the variety of seafood on offer. Some diners comment that it's not cheap, but that comes down to the fact that the seafood is sold at market price. The quality of the seafood seems to be consistent across the various locations. However, we place it midway in our list because the sauce can be a bit full-on for some diners. One Reddit reviewer said "there's hella garlic," while another diner wrote on Yelp, "XXX is really good, but sometimes it gets uncomfortably spicy, to the point where you can't really enjoy it."

5. The Crab Hut

crab legs at The Crab Hut
crab legs at The Crab Hut - crabhut/Instagram

The Crab Hut is a small chain with just three restaurants in San Diego, but it deserves a spot on our list because of the abundance of crab leg dishes on the menu and the decent reviews it gets from diners. According to the restaurant website, the owners were inspired by the Southern seafood boils they experienced in Houston, Texas. They wanted to bring quality seafood and Cajun flavors to diners in California in the form of convivial, hands-on seafood buckets and boils.

Snow crab clusters and king crab legs feature in several dishes on The Crab Hut menu, including as an option in the seafood boils and in several combo buckets. They can be paired with other ingredients like head-on shrimp, crawfish, corn on the cob, potatoes, and Andouille sausages. The crab legs get mostly good reviews, and many people comment on their decent size and the delicate taste of the meat. The only complaint that a few customers had was that the crab was overcooked, which is one of the most common mistakes many people make when cooking crab.

4. Chart House

crab legs at Chart House
crab legs at Chart House - charthouserestaurants/Facebook

Chart House strives to offer not only great food, but also incredible views. Every location is set in a scenic spot with vistas of the ocean, a city skyline, or mountains. The menus focus on seafood, steaks, and salads, and most offer the Wild Caught King Crab as an entree. The crab legs come with marinated grilled vegetables and are sold at market price, so the cost can vary depending on the location and current market conditions.

King crab legs are meant to be large and meaty, and Chart House doesn't disappoint in this regard. One Yelp reviewer commented, "Most crab I have ever received in an order." Another Yelp diner said, "The Alaskan King Crab legs were huge and more than I could eat. Actually, the best I've ever had." Many diners also like the freshness and the flavor, and some describe the crab as rich and sweet. The reason we didn't rank Chart House's crab legs higher is several reviews stated that the crab legs arrived at the table cold or at room temperature. Granted, this is down to service and not the quality or taste of the crab legs.

3. Shaking Crab

crab legs at Shaking Crab
crab legs at Shaking Crab - shakingcrab/Instagram

Boston is renowned for its excellent seafood, but prior to 2015, there were no spots to get a good Cajun seafood boil in the city. Shaking Crab stepped in to fill this void and the concept was such a hit that there are now locations all along the East Coast. The experience is meant to be messy and fun with plastic bibs on offer and bags of buttery, garlicky, spicy seafood with add-ons like corn on the cob and potatoes. Snow crab and king crab legs feature in many of the boil combos and they get some pretty great reviews from diners.

"It takes them a while to make the bags but it's worth the wait," said one Google reviewer. "Food was cooked extremely well and meaty snow crab legs and shrimp." Another diner left a Google review that said the crab meat was "sweet and tender" and commented on how huge the king crab legs were. One Yelp reviewer said their only complaint was that they couldn't order the crab legs by the pound, so they had to order two one-pound orders. Nevertheless, they said, "overall my husband and daughter devoured it all."

2. Eddie V's Prime Seafood

crab legs at Eddie V's
crab legs at Eddie V's - eddievs_/Instagram

Fine dining chain Eddie V's Prime Seafood aims to impress with elegant restaurants, curated wine lists, and decadent seafood dishes. You can start your meal with fresh oysters or share the Shellfish Tower, which includes Maine lobster, wild Gulf shrimp, oysters, and colossal crab. The Eddie is another smorgasbord of seafood with king crab, lobster, oysters, shrimp, and tuna poke. Moving on to mains, crab lovers can enhance their steaks with a half pound of steamed king crab legs served with drawn butter.

It's hard to find many bad reviews about the crab legs at Eddie V's Prime Seafood. Most diners have glowing things to say about them, including that they were "executed perfectly" and that the meat was tender and flavorful. One Yelp reviewer said, "The king crab legs were to die for, they tasted so fresh as if they were caught that hour." Many diners also love that the legs are pre-cut to make it easy to get the meat out. The overwhelmingly positive response from diners places Eddie V's crab legs solidly in second place for fan favorite.

1. Joe's Stone Crab

crab boil at Joe's Stone Crab
crab boil at Joe's Stone Crab - joesstonecrab/Instagram

Joe's Stone Crab is a Miami Beach institution. Joe Weiss opened the original restaurant in 1918 serving mainly fish dishes to beachgoers. In the early 1920s, a marine biologist noted the abundance of stone crabs in the bay and convinced Joe to try cooking them. They were an instant hit and have been sold there ever since. The restaurant became so popular that it eventually branched out with chains in Las Vegas, Chicago, and Washington D.C. The branches outside of Miami go by the name Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Snow Crab.

Obviously, stone crabs are the main draw to Joe's. The claws are served chilled and cracked with mustard sauce. However, if it's legs you're longing for, Joe's also offers Alaskan red king crab legs either chilled or grilled with roasted garlic oil. The king crab legs get resoundingly positive reviews with many people saying they're even better than the signature stone crab. One Google review stated, "The stone crabs were so so ... portions were tiny, but the Alaskan king crab legs were the best we ever had ... get em grilled!" Another reviewer on Yelp summed up the king crab legs saying they were, "juicy, flavorful, and unforgettable." Based on the ridiculous amount of rave reviews, Joe's takes our top spot as the best crab legs from a chain restaurant.


person eating crab legs
person eating crab legs - Arican/Getty Images

We took several factors into consideration when compiling our ranking of chain restaurant crab legs, the main one being customer reviews. We scoured platforms like Yelp, OpenTable, and Google Reviews to see what diners were saying about the crab legs at numerous popular chain restaurants. We looked at straight-up seafood chains, steakhouses, and places that specialize in Cajun seafood boils. Freshness, flavor, and portion size were all important. We also sussed out whether crab lovers thought the crab legs on offer were good value for the money. These are the spots that get the best and worst reviews for their crab legs from patrons.

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