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9 Restaurant Chains That Serve the Best Mussels

No matter how they're cooked, these tasty bivalves are worth seeking out.

The humble mussel, served steaming in a pot with a seafood broth, is one of life's simple pleasures—and an often underrated seafood order at restaurants.

Mussels are a type of shellfish belonging to the mollusk family. The bivalves are widely distributed across various marine and freshwater habitats around the globe. Known for their distinctive oblong-shaped shells, they're valued as a delicacy in many coastal cuisines.

You'll find mussels on menus that have been steamed, boiled, or grilled and served with a variety of sauces and seasonings. Mussels are prized for their tender, slightly sweet flesh, which can range in color from creamy white to orange or pink.

Here are nine restaurant chains where you can dine on these exquisite delicacies.

Red Lobster

red lobster mussels in a bowl with toasted bread.
Photo: Red Lobster / Facebook
Nutrition: (Per Serving):
Calories: 880
Fat: 53 g (Saturated Fat: 13 g)
Sodium: 2,890 mg
Carbs: 67 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 31 g

With more than 600 locations, Red Lobster is arguably the most popular place for Americans to get seafood. This delicate mussel dish sits alongside all the fried feasts for which the restaurant is famous. The chain's classic preparation of the dish sees the mussels cooked in white wine and garlic, along with chunks of tomato and green onions. The appetizer is served with artisan bread for dredging through the savory broth.

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Bonefish Grill

A bowl of steamed mussels with bread from Bonefish Grill
Photo: Bonefish Grill/Facebook
Nutrition: (Per Serving):
Calories: 1,200
Fat: 54 g (Saturated Fat: 18 g)
Sodium: 2,890 mg
Carbs: 106 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 11 g)
Protein: 54 g

With around 175 locations in the U.S., Bonefish Grill is accessible, as is its fabulous bowl of bivalves. This appetizer and the famous Bang Bang Shrimp are excellent ways to kick off a seafood feast. The mussels are cooked with tomatoes, red onions, garlic, basil, and a delicate lemon wine sauce.

Legal Sea Foods

legal sea foods mussels in a pot
Photo: Courtesy of Legal Sea Foods
Sautéed Mussels (Per Order)
Calories: 1,130

Starting as a family-owned fish market in Cambridge, Mass., Legal Sea Foods has always focused on the freshest, most sustainable seafood when selecting products to serve at its 25-plus locations. That includes mussels that the chain sources from the Prince Edward Islands. The mussels are served in a classic garlic butter and white wine broth. This dish comes with grilled crusty bread for sopping up that garlicky broth.

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Joe's Crab Shack

joes crab shack mussels with corn on a plate.
Photo: Courtesy of Joe's Crab Shack
The Steamer (Per Order)
Calories: 901

Opened in Texas back in 1991, Joe's Crab Shack is known for its seasonal seafood, fried shrimp platters, and Gulf-influenced dishes. The shack's popular steam pots offer a range of different seafood selections, all steamed together with various spice blends. The Steamer, which features mussels along with clams and shrimp, is probably the purest take on steamed mussels, but the New Orleans, Cajun, and Shack Daddy pots all feature the tiny mollusk, as well, and all are tasty.

Barcelona Wine Bar

barcelona mussels in a bowl.
Photo: Barcelona Wine Bar / Facebook
Nutrition information unavailable

With locations in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., this tapas-focused wine bar is that one seafood lovers will adore. The growing chain's menu is heavy on small plates and shareables, including an ever-changing mussels dish. The small plate is served tapas style. It currently features the bivalves cooked with chorizo, and it changes seasonally.

 12 Restaurant Chains That Serve the Best Seafood Towers


carmines muscles in a white bowl.
Photo: Courtesy of Carmine's
Nutrition information unavailable

This family-style Italian restaurant has roots in NYC—the enormous plates at its Times Square location are the stuff of legends. There are also locations in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Washington, D.C., and Nassau in the Bahamas. Its Italian side shows in its plates of homestyle pasta. One starter not to skip is the restaurant's zuppa di mussels, a large shareable dish of mussels cooked in red or white broth with garlic, white wine, and herbs.

Il Fornaio

il fornaio muscles on a dish with wine.
Photo: Il Fornaio / Facebook
Nutrition information unavailable

With 18 locations in the Golden State and Las Vegas, this upscale California-based chain serves its mussels with clams, prawns, and scallops over linguine in a roasted cherry tomato sauce with crushed red pepper, garlic, and wine. This classic Italian entrée is one of the heartier expressions of mussels on this list, and you get all the frutti de mare.

 7 Steakhouses That Serve the Best Seafood

McCormick & Schmick's

mccormick & schmick's thai curry muscels on a dish.
Photo: Courtesy of McCormick & Schmick's
Nutrition information unavailable

One of the top fine-dining seafood chains in the country, McCormick & Schmick's 20-plus locations feature a slightly different—but equally delicious—take on mussels. The restaurant's Thai coconut curry mussels are steamed in rich, sweet curry, tomato, chilies, and fresh herbs to round out the dish.


A closeup of the mussels at Seamore's seafood restaurant
Photo: Seamore's/Facebook
Nutrition information unavailable

With locations in Connecticut, New York, and Virginia, Seamore's is a relative newcomer to the growing seafood chain business. Its commitment to local, sustainably farmed fish means you won't have to worry about how fresh the seafood you're eating is. The chain serves cold water mussels from the Prince Edward Islands up in Canada, and they're served in a spicy red curry sauce with a side of fries (again, you mop up the broth with them).

Tanya Edwards
Tanya Edwards is a seasoned food and health journalist, who has held roles at Yahoo Health as Managing Editor and at Food Network as Programming Director. Read more about Tanya