As a vegetarian, the restaurant world is becoming increasingly accommodating of your preference for meat-free dishes, however an eatery specialising in seafood can be a challenging environment as a vegetarian to fill your belly. If you have been invited to dine at a seafood restaurant, never fear: this quick vegetarian's guide to eating at a seafood restaurant will keep you happy, full and fish-free.
Give them time to prepare
It can be difficult for both you and the restaurant if you arrive unannounced with unique dietary requirements, particularly if you don't eat the key ingredient featured on their menu. Calling your local seafood restaurant prior to the booking date is highly recommended as a vegetarian, as it will give them time to prepare for your visit. You may be pleasantly surprised that the chef has several vegetarian options available, or is happy to whip something up for you to order on the day. Don't be afraid of being specific about what you do and don't eat, as this will avoid confusion and disappointment. This is a great way of allaying your personal fears of eating food outside of your comfort zone, as well as remaining courteous to the establishment.
Substitute the protein
While the majority of dishes on the menu at a seafood restaurant feature fish and shellfish as the main attraction, many can be easily modified to accommodate a vegetarian diner. If you happily eat dairy and eggs, consider ordering a dish that will be enjoyable with cheese or eggs as a substitute protein. Try ordering a salad that usually has a salmon or tuna steak, and asking for poached eggs or grilled haloumi to be substituted for the fish. Sushi can also be easily made vegetarian, using avocado or extra vegetables in place of the meat. Alternatively, ask the restaurant if they have tofu, tempeh, pulses or seitan that can replace the seafood element of a dish.
Be cautious of sauces
Even if a dish does not contain fish or shellfish, there may be seafood in the sauces itself. Many seafood sauces rely on the addition of anchovies, fish sauce or oyster sauce to add flavour. Make sure you ask prior to ordering a dish if the sauce contains any fish-based sauces or stock, and ask if they can be omitted.
In order to work together in accommodating your vegetarian dietary needs, contact your local seafood restaurant (like Maisie's Seafood & Steakhouse).