25 Best Side Dishes to Serve with Surf and Turf

Surf and turf is a classic dish that’s perfect for special occasions or when you simply want to impress your guests. The combination of succulent seafood and mouth-watering steak makes it a killer dish. 

But if you’re serving surf and turf, you need to make sure that the side dishes you serve complement the main dish perfectly and take it to the next level. So, what to serve with surf and turf?

The best side dishes should complement the rich flavor and texture of the steak and seafood and bring balance to the overall flavors and ingredients.

In this blog post, we’ve put together a list of the best side dishes that always work well with surf and turf. From creamy potato gratin to refreshing cucumber salad, we have got you covered.

Table of Contents

What is surf and turf? What does surf and turf taste like?

Surf and turf is a classic dish consisting of seafood, typically lobster and steak. The combination of the two provides an amazing flavor that’s both rich and balanced. 

It tastes like a combination of flavorful steak with juicy lobster – which comes together to bring out the best in each other. 

surf and turf

You have a smoky umami savoriness from the meat, combined with the slightly sweet shellfish flavor from the seafood – it’s delicious! 

Surf and turf is truly one of those dishes that can’t be beaten for its unique flavor profile.

Best Sides to serve with surf and turf

1. Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach is an ideal side dish that is a classic, and it’s delicious when paired with surf and turf. 

Creamed Spinach

The creamy, buttery spinach balances the saltiness of the meat and seafood, and it’s very easy to make.

2. Roasted Vegetables

A mix of roasted peppers, onions, and mushrooms is always a great complement to surf and turf. Roasting vegetables brings out their innate sweetness and adds an earthy flavor.

3. Truffle Fries

These fries are not only delicious but also very elegant, making them a perfect match for surf and turf. 

Truffle Fries

The truffle oil elevates the taste of the fries, and they pair perfectly with the flavors of the meat and seafood. (Recipe)

4. Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are always a crowd-pleaser, and when they’re made with roasted garlic, they’re even better. 

The garlic in these potatoes adds an extra layer of flavor that complements the surf and turf well.

5. Grilled Asparagus

Grilled asparagus is always a great choice for a side dish, and it’s even better when paired with surf and turf. 

The smolder flavor from the grill adds depth to the asparagus, and it brightens up the richness of the main dish.

6. Cucumber Salad

If you want something refreshing to balance the flavors of the meat and seafood, try a cucumber salad. 

Cucumber Salad

The crisp, refreshing texture of the cucumber gives your palate a break from the richness of the surf and turf.

7. Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower

Roasting cauliflower with Parmesan cheese gives this side dish a nutty, cheesy flavor that goes great with surf and turf. It’s an easy and delicious way to sneak more veggies into your meal.

8. Steakhouse Mushrooms

Few things are as delicious as juiced mushrooms with your steak or seafood, so why not make it a side dish? 

These mushrooms are sautéed in butter, garlic and herbs, making them an irresistible side to any plate.

9. Creamy Potato Gratin

The perfect side for special occasions or when you want to impress your guests, potato gratin, is always a crowd-pleaser. The creamy, cheesy potato bake pairs well with the richness of the meat and seafood.

Discover More: What to Serve with Potato Gratin

10. Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad is a classic, and it’s an excellent complement to surf and turf. The juicy, ripe tomatoes paired with the mozzarella cheese and fresh basil are a perfect balance.

11. Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato fries are a mouth-watering and healthier alternative to traditional fries. They’re crispy, sweet, and savory, and they pair well with the flavors of the surf and turf.

12. Wilted Greens

Lightly wilted greens like baby spinach or kale can bring an unexpected freshness to your eating experience. Make a simple side with a light vinaigrette or even some pan-fried garlic.

13. Glazed Carrots

Glazed carrots are a staple side dish that complements practically any main course, and they’re especially perfect for surf and turf. 

The sweet, buttery flavor of the carrots contrasts perfectly with the saltiness of the meat and seafood.

14. Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa Pilaf

If you’re aiming for a lighter, healthier side dish, quinoa pilaf may be the answer. Make it with some almonds, garlic and stock to give it a nutty flavor and match it perfectly with surf and turf.

15. Roasted Garlic Bread

The sweetness of the roasted garlic meets the depth of crusty bread to create a match made in heaven with surf and turf dishes.

16. Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts roasted with a balsamic glaze make for a delicious and healthy side dish.

17. Truffle Mac and Cheese

sophisticated and luxurious twist on the classic mac and cheese, truffle oil and truffle cheese add depth and richness to the dish.

18. Grilled Corn on the Cob

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Nothing quite says summer like a crispy, grilled ear of corn on the cob. This is the perfect side dish to pair with surf and turf dishes for a summery feel. 

Explore More: Best Side Dishes to Serve with Corn on the Cob

19. Cucumber Tomato Salad

A refreshing combination of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion with a simple homemade vinaigrette. This salad is the perfect balance for a heavy steak and seafood dinner. 

20. Hasselback Potatoes

Sliced and roasted until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, these potatoes make a beautiful and flavorful side dish. (Recipe)

21. Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

A great vegetarian side dish option with an earthy and meaty flavor that goes well with any steak and seafood dish.

22. Classic Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad is a restaurant staple for a reason. The crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy garlic croutons, and creamy Caesar dressing are the perfect accompaniment to a rich surf and turf dinner. 

23. Red Wine Shallot Sauce

A perfect sauce to serve with any steak dish, this sauce is made of red wine, beef broth, and shallots, and it adds an elegant finish to the dish.

24. Grilled Peppers

A colorful and flavorful side dish. The peppers are lightly charred on the grill until their skins turn crispy and smoky.

25. Creamy Polenta

A soft and creamy Italian side dish made of cornmeal, butter, and cheese. This dish is perfect for those who enjoy a starchier option with steak and seafood.

what sauce to have with surf and turf

Surf and turf is a classic meal that combines seafood and steak, usually a lobster tail and filet mignon. 

To make this dish even more flavorful, it’s important to choose the right sauce to pair with it. Here are our five best sauce recommendations for surf and turf:

1. Beurre Blanc

Beurre Blanc is a French-style butter sauce that is perfectly suited for the delicate flavors of surf and turf. 

Beurre Blanc

It’s made from white wine, lemon juice, shallots, and parsley cooked in butter until thickened. Beurre Blanc adds a light creaminess and rich flavor to the meal.

2. Hollandaise Sauce

Another French favorite, hollandaise is perfect for eggs benedict but also pairs well with seafood like lobster or shrimp in surf and turf dishes. 

Made from egg yolks beaten with melted butter, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt, and cayenne pepper or paprika, hollandaise gives your meal a tangy yet creamy taste.

3. Herb Butter Sauce

If you’re looking for something that really packs a punch in terms of flavor, then herb butter sauce is the way to go! 

This simple yet tasty combination of butter flavored with herbs like parsley, chives, thyme, or rosemary creates an amazing aroma that will tantalize all your senses as you dig into your surf and turf dish.

4. Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Steak lovers out there who don’t want anything overpowering their steak flavor but still want some extra pizzazz on their plate can choose red wine reduction sauce as their accompaniment of choice for surf and turf dishes! 

Cooking down red wine with beef stock creates an intense richness that stands up nicely against both the steak and seafood components of this classic dish.

5. Béarnaise Sauce

As another popular French sauce similar to hollandaise but slightly more complex in flavor profile than its counterpart, béarnaise has earned its place among great sauces to pair with surf and turf meals! 

Béarnaise Sauce

Its unique blend of clarified butter combined with egg yolks, white wine vinegar, shallots & tarragon create an interesting mix of flavors that will compliment both the fish & meat components equally!

What salad goes with surf and turf?

Surf and turf is one of the classic dishes, combining seafood with beef or pork. To ensure a balanced and tantalizing meal, it’s essential to choose the right side dish. 

Here are five of the best salads that pair perfectly with surf and turf:

1. Arugula Salad with Apples and Walnuts

For a light and fresh twist on your surf and turf plate, top a bed of crispy arugula with thin slices of tart apple, sprinkle on some walnuts for crunch, and finish with a tangy vinaigrette dressing.

2. Kale Caesar Salad

If you’re looking for something more indulgent yet still healthy, try this take on the classic Caesar salad made with kale instead of lettuce. 

It’s easy to make at home; just blend up anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and parmesan cheese into a creamy dressing for your kale leaves.

3. Beet Arugula Salad

Beet Arugula Salad

This vibrant salad combines earthy beets with peppery arugula greens and creamy goat cheese, along with a zesty lemon-honey vinaigrette for an unbeatable flavor combination.

4. Spinach Strawberry Salad

Sweet strawberries balance out the salty umami flavors from your surf and turf entrée in this scrumptious salad made from baby spinach leaves tossed in poppyseed dressing.

5. Watermelon Feta Salad

For a unique yet refreshing option perfect for summer barbecues or special occasions, mix together sweet watermelon cubes with salty feta cheese crumbles, rocket leaves, mint leaves and basil leaves, then drizzle over a honey-lime vinaigrette dressing.

Find Out More: Best Sides to Serve with Shrimp Salad

appetizers to go with surf and turf dinner

Surf and turf is a classic combination for dinner that typically features steak and seafood, such as lobster. 

To make the meal even more special, adding an appetizer can elevate the dining experience and make it truly unforgettable. 

Some great options to accompany a surf and turf dinner include chilled shrimp cocktail, creamy crab dip with crackers or toast points, freshly shucked oysters with mignonette sauce, spicy garlic mussels, lobster deviled eggs, or a cheese board with cured meats and pickled vegetables. 

To add some additional flavor to the meal, consider pairing these appetizers with complementary sides like salsa verde or garlic aioli. 

What are the best flavors to go with surf and turf?

Surf and turf is a classic combination that can please any palate. The best flavors to go with surf and turf depend on the types of seafood and meat that are being combined.

For those looking for a classic flavor combination, pairing grilled steak or lobster with lightly seasoned shrimp brings together salty and savory flavors. 

Steak often pairs well with a bearnaise sauce, which adds an herbal note to the dish. 

Another favorite is pairing grilled steak with fried calamari, adding a bit of smokey flavor to the mix. 

For a heartier combination, try steak and crab legs for a delicious blend of succulent texture and flavor.

surf and turf

For lighter flavors, combine grilled salmon or tuna steak with steamed mussels or scallops. This pairing creates subtle yet flavorful notes of fish without being overpowering. 

Adding a light lemon butter sauce will add brightness to the dish while still allowing for the delicate taste of seafood to shine through.

Notwithstanding the type of seafood, you choose, it’s important to make sure that your meat selection can complement the flavors of your seafood choice. Grilled steak stands up well against bolder fish like salmon or tuna, while leaner cuts such as pork tenderloin can be used in dishes where delicate flavors are desired.

How do you jazz up surf and turf?

To jazz up surf and turf, try marinating the steak in a flavorful sauce such as Worcestershire or teriyaki before grilling it. 

Add some freshly chopped herbs to the seafood before cooking it, and serve with roasted potatoes or rice that have been cooked with garlic, onions, and mushrooms. 

You can also top your dish off with a creamy garlic-lemon butter sauce for an extra burst of flavor. 

For a truly gourmet experience, don’t forget the side dishes. Consider pairing your surf and turf with roasted asparagus or Brussels sprouts or a simple green salad tossed in an herb vinaigrette. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, try steaming some mussels in white wine for a flavorful addition to the meal. 

For something extra special, add some freshly baked bread and butter on the side for mopping up all the delicious juices from your steak and seafood. 

How do you display surf and turf on a platter?

Surf and turf can be displayed on a platter in an aesthetically pleasing way. Start by laying down slices of steak, making sure to leave adequate space between each piece so that they can be easily picked up. 

Next, add some seafood, such as jumbo shrimp, lobster tails, or scallops. Arrange the seafood around the edges of the platter. 

Finally, garnish with herbs, lemon wedges, and chopped parsley for a finishing touch. This platter is sure to impress guests and make for a delicious surf and turf experience!

10 recipes with surf and turf dinner party menu

Surf and turf is an iconic combination of two classic dishes, seafood and steak. It’s an elegant meal that makes a great centerpiece for any dinner party. 

To make it even more special, here are 10 delicious recipes to make for the best surf and turf dinner party menu:

1. Grilled Lobster Tails with Filet Mignon

A show-stopping entrée featuring succulent lobster tails grilled until perfectly tender and juicy, paired with melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon. 

Serve it with a side of garlic mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables for the perfect surf and turf plate!

2. Baked Crab Stuffed Shrimp

Juicy jumbo shrimp get transformed into something extra special when stuffed with a hearty, flavorful crabmeat stuffing, then baked until golden brown. 

Serve this over a bed of rice with your favorite vegetables for a restaurant-quality meal at home.

3. Surf & Turf Skewers

A fun twist on traditional surf and turf! Marinate cubes of beef tenderloin in teriyaki sauce, skewer them alongside calamari rings, then grill to perfection. 

Surf & Turf Skewers

Serve these over a bed of greens or couscous tossed in olive oil and lemon juice as part of an impressive appetizer spread.

4. Bacon Wrapped Halibut with Herb Butter

This easy yet decadent recipe features buttery halibut fillets wrapped in smokey bacon slices, then smothered in herbed butter sauce before baking to flaky perfection. 

Serve this dish alongside some roasted asparagus spears for a complete surf & turf meal!

5. Scallop Risotto

An indulgent yet simple risotto made from plump pan-seared scallops cooked in white wine served over creamy parmesan risotto studded with sweet peas, mushrooms, shallots and fresh herbs for an unforgettable main course!

6. Garlic Lemon Salmon

Fresh salmon fillets lightly seasoned with sea salt and pepper get seared until golden brown, then topped off with a lemon garlic butter sauce that will tantalize your taste buds! 

Serve it over jasmine rice or quinoa alongside some roasted Brussels sprouts for an amazing dinner dish!

7. Lobster Mac & Cheese

This elevated macaroni & cheese is the ultimate comfort food—Bring together chunks of succulent lobster meat tossed in cheesy cavatappi noodles topped off with herbed breadcrumbs for that extra crunch factor!

8. Clam Chowder

Create your very own take on this New England classic by simmering fresh clams in a creamy broth loaded up with tender potatoes, smoky bacon bits and plenty of herbs & spices! 

Enjoy it steaming hot all by itself, or pair it with warm buttered rolls for dipping!

9. Pomegranate Glazed Scallops

Plump scallops get pan-seared until golden brown, then glazed in pomegranate balsamic vinegar reduction that adds just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the salty ocean flavors from the scallops—Serve this dish on its own or top it off over wilted spinach alongside some mashed sweet potatoes!

10. Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

Freshly cooked fish marinated in lime juice gets wrapped up into soft tacos shells alongside some juicy tomatoes, zesty slaw mix, chopped cilantro and tart avocado crema— Enjoy these tacos al fresco by the poolside or indoors at your next dinner party!

Learn More: Creative Side Dishes to Serve with Grilled Fish Tacos

Wrap Up on what to serve with surf and turf.

When it comes to surf and turf, you want to make sure that your side dishes complement the meal perfectly. 

From roasted vegetables to creamy gratins, these side dishes are sure to wow your guests every time. Whether you prefer something classic, light, or fancy, there is a side dish for everyone.

So, next time you’re cooking surf and turf, be sure to try out these complementary side dishes for the perfect meal.


How much surf and turf per person?

When planning a surf and turf dinner party, it is important to consider how much food to serve per person. 

Generally, you should plan for 3/4 of a pound of meat per person, as well as 2 – 4 ounces of seafood. 

In the case of surf and turf, this could mean 3/4 of a pound of steak and 2-4 ounces of shrimp or lobster. 

Depending on the size and appetite of your guests, you may want to adjust these amounts accordingly. 

Additionally, it is recommended that you serve at least one or two additional sides, such as roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, or a salad, to complete the meal.

What kind of wine goes with surf and turf?

Surf and turf, the classic combination of seafood and steak, pairs well with a variety of wines. Depending on your preference, you can choose either a red or white to pair with this meal. 

A full-bodied red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec will pair nicely with the richness of the steak while still providing enough acidity to cut through the fattiness of the seafood.

Alternatively, a crisp white wine like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc will bring out the delicate flavors of the seafood without overwhelming them. 

If you are serving both lobster and shrimp for your surf and turf dish, opt for a rosé to add brightness and lightness to the taste experience.

What dessert goes with surf and turf?

Surf and turf is a classic dish that typically includes steak and seafood. To complete the meal, a delicious dessert can be served as well. 

A classic choice for this combination would be a warm apple crumble with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

The sweetness of the fruit complements the savory flavors in the rest of the meal, while the crunchy crumble topping provides a nice contrast to creamy ice cream. 

Another option could be an indulgent chocolate brownie topped with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries. This dessert brings together sweet and rich flavors, adding another layer to this already flavorful dish.

What vegetables go well with surf and turf?

Surf and turf is a classic dish, typically composed of steak and seafood. 
To make the meal even more delicious, consider adding some hearty vegetables to the plate. 

Succulent mushrooms, such as Portobello or oyster mushrooms, are a great way to add an earthy flavor to the meal. 

For a bit of sweetness, sautéed carrots or roasted sweet potatoes can provide an extra layer of flavor. 

Other great options are Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli florets, or even cauliflower. Try roasting these vegetables with olive oil and herbs for a flavorful accompaniment to your surf and turf dish. 

If you’re looking for something a bit lighter in texture, leafy greens like spinach or kale are excellent additions that will also provide additional nutrition. 

Finally, don’t forget about zucchini! Grilled zucchini slices pair nicely with both steak and fish and can be seasoned with garlic salt for extra flavor.

What potatoes go with surf and turf?

When it comes to creating the perfect “Surf and Turf” meal, potatoes are a great addition. 

A classic accompaniment for this meal is a potato dish like Lyonnaise potatoes: sliced potatoes sautéed in butter, onions, parsley and sprinkled with salt and pepper. 

Another option is to make oven-roasted potatoes seasoned with rosemary and garlic. 

Other variations include mashed potatoes or even potato pancakes. Incorporating different types of potatoes – like sweet potatoes, russet or Yukon Gold – can add color and flavor to the plate. 

Whichever type of potato is chosen, the combination of steak, lobster and potatoes makes for an unforgettable Surf and Turf experience!

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