11 Restaurant Chains That Serve The Highest-Quality Tuna

Tuna first became popular in the United States during the early years of the 20th century when it was marketed as an alternative to chicken, and it's still viewed as a somewhat bland and versatile protein today. The upside of this is that the fish can adequately perform any number of culinary roles, making tuna prominently featured on the menus of many different restaurant chains, from sushi spots to steakhouses. 

Procuring and serving high-quality tuna is no mean feat. As seafood supplier Nobu Yamanashi explained to Eater, "Tuna is very difficult. Every fish is different, from coloring to texture to fat content." This variability means restaurants must be extremely diligent when working with suppliers, ensuring they only receive the best fish. Restaurants must also perform their own checks to ensure that no subpar tuna ends up on the customer's plate. These are time consuming and expensive processes which many chains are unwilling to perform. However, some are.

We selected the following restaurant chains based on two criteria: How diligently they source their tuna and how often this fish impresses customers. Only those chain restaurants that have robust sourcing protocols and consistently dazzle customers are featured in this list. Full details on our methodology can be found at the end of the article. Until then, enjoy a quick glimpse at 11 restaurant chains that serve the highest-quality tuna.

1. Seamore's

Seamore's is a small chain of six restaurants that's structured around the sustainable procurement and consumption of fish; it only serves fish rated as green or yellow by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch. More importantly, yellowfin tuna that's supplied to Seamore's is fully traceable ensuring that customers eating at Seamore's can be sure the fish they're enjoying is actually tuna and not any other species that's been mislabelled at some point in the supply chain.

At Seamore's, yellowfin tuna is usually served as part of a poke bowl, based on a classic Hawaiian dish, alongside ponzu, peanuts, and avocado. A seared, honey-kimchi glazed piece of tuna is also available on the menu. The former dish was highlighted by Tom Sietsema, The Washington Post's resident food critic, in a review of Seamore's, who described it as a respectable appetizer. Amateur critics have been more effusive, claiming the poke boasts great texture and flavor. Other customers have been repeatedly impressed with the freshness and flavor of Seamore's seared tuna, giving further evidence that the tuna Seamore's uses is of exceptional quality.

2. Sugarfish

As a restaurant chain that specializes in sushi, sourcing high-quality fish is incredibly important to Sugarfish. When it comes to tuna, it serves various kinds caught using several different fishing methods. These include wild caught big-eye tuna, sustainably farmed Pacific bluefin tuna, and wild caught yellowfin tuna. These fish are used to make several dishes including tuna sashimi, yellowtail nigiri, and toro handrolls. The chain also serves albacore.

The general consensus on Sugarfish is that it sells solid sushi at very competitive prices as epitomized by the brand's tuna dishes. Professional critics claim that the tuna sashimi is a great way to start a meal. What's more, amateur reviewers often mention that the tuna dishes they received were the highlight of their visit to Sugarfish. As one customer wrote on TripAdvisor, "The albacore tuna continues to amaze me — it's really like nothing I've ever had and I don't understand how he does it. Highly, highly recommended."

3. McCormick & Schmick's

McCormick & Schmick's is a steak and seafood chain that puts care into sourcing each of its ingredients. When it comes to tuna, the restaurant chain only serves ahi, the Hawaiian term for both yellowfin tuna and bigeye tuna. The tuna served by McCormick & Schmick's is caught using longline fishing methods, often in the waters surrounding Hawaii, before being delivered overnight to its restaurants.

This quality tuna is used to make three dishes at McCormick & Schmick's: Hawaiian Bigeye Ahi Tuna, seared and served with a sesame cucumber salad; Seared Sichuan Ahi Tuna, served with a pineapple ponzu, and; Yellowfin Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl. After eating these dishes, customers have noted the fresh, delicious flavor of the tuna, a clear indication of the excellent standard of fish used. Other reviews note that the kitchen prepares and cooks the ahi tuna only slightly. This allows the tuna's natural qualities to shine, resulting in a highly enjoyable eating experience.

4. Truluck's

In a statement on the Truluck's website, Samir Canaan, director of culinary operations, said, "We make choices that honor the plate, the palate and the planet by maintaining an unwavering commitment to serving the highest-quality sustainable seafood. We will never serve endangered, overfished species, and we always source from a responsible and sustainable lens."

Canaan didn't mention that Truluck's sources its tuna from suppliers that boast certifications from bodies such as the Marine Stewardship Council and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. Certifications such as these ensure that the tuna delivered to Truluck's is both not only outstanding but also responsibly caught or farmed. 

At Truluck's, tuna is used to make three very different dishes: Ahi Tuna Tartare, Sesame Seared Tuna, and Sushi-Grade Tuna that's either pan-seared or broiled. Customers who've eaten these dishes, particularly the seared tuna options, have noted how flavorful, fresh, and generally high-quality the fish is. Descriptors such as "stunning," "exceptional," and "incredible," frequently crop up in amateur reviews.

5. Smith & Wollensky

While better known for its steaks, high-end restaurant chain Smith & Wollensky has also gained a reputation for serving fantastic tuna. This should not come as a surprise — Smith & Wollensky has been serving fresh, high grade tuna for years. In the past, this fish has been used to make a variety of dishes, including tuna crudo. Currently, the chain serves two tuna dishes: Tuna Tartare with cucumber salad and avocado mousse and Seared Yellowfin Tuna with cucumber kimchi and coconut fried rice.

Both of these dishes demonstrate the high-quality nature of Smith & Wollensky's tuna by boasting impressive freshness, bright flavor, and a succulent appearance. What's more, Smith & Wollensky knows how to source, prepare, and serve this high-quality fish. Aside from a plethora of positive reviews, this claim was backed up by the 2021 announcement that Legal Sea Foods, another popular chain restaurant with a reputation for serving great seafood, was using Smith & Wollensky locations as virtual kitchens. If the Smith & Wollensky's kitchen teams' skills are good enough for Legal Sea Foods, they are more than capable of preparing and serving some of the best tuna around.

6. Brown Bag Seafood

Brown Bag Seafood is a small chain predominantly based in Chicago that offers seared tuna as one of 10 different protein options. The tuna can be served in a number of ways, including as part of tacos, amongst a blend of grains, or in a salad. No matter how it's served, the fish's quality shines through.

This tuna, as with all other seafood served at Brown Bag Seafood, is sourced from a variety of suppliers. The restaurant chain also claims that all of its seafood is sustainably sourced and flown into the restaurants on a daily basis. This ensures that standards at the chain never slip.

Brown Bag Seafood's reviews reflect the impressive nature of the tuna it serves. Professional reviewers have labeled the fish as exceptionally fresh and customers often celebrate the tuna's flavor as well as how expertly it is prepared. With reviews like this, its no wonder that tuna is a staple of Brown Bag Seafood's menu.

7. Bamboo Sushi

Bamboo Sushi is a restaurant chain that specializes in sustainable sushi. The chain is in partnership with or certified by a host of environmental organizations including the Marine Stewardship Council, The Freshwater Trust, and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Bamboo Sushi serves a huge variety of tuna-based dishes including both nigiri and sashimi. The majority of these dishes are made with albacore tuna, sourced from MSC-certified fisheries indicating that the fish — and how they're caught or farmed — have met a certain quality.

This is evidenced in the eating. As one customer wrote on Yelp, "As an avid Tuna eater, I can say their tuna was one of the best I have ever eaten. Oily, fatty and delicious. [I'll] Be back very soon!" Others have even likened the fish's texture to butter. This silky, rich, and smooth texture is an indicator that Bamboo Sushi only serves high grade tuna, an absolute delight for those who dine there. 

8. The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille is another steakhouse restaurant chain that serves tuna dishes. Two, to be exact: Sushi-Grade Sesame Seared Tuna and Tuna Tartare with Avocado, Mango, and Siracha. By their nature, both of these dishes leave the tuna with little place to hide. Thankfully, The Capital Grille is known to source its seafood from a range of renowned suppliers and the tuna itself is excellent, meaning both of these dishes sing.

So good is The Capital Grille's tuna that professional critics even named the tuna tartare as one of the best dishes on the restaurant chain's entire menu ranking it as good as, if not better than, the chain's renowned steaks. They reported the dish as having a succulent texture and almost sashimi-like quality. Reviews by regular customers back up this sentiment with several people claiming that the tuna served at The Capital Grille is extremely high-quality and that the dishes themselves are ridiculously good.

9. Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime is a high-end restaurant chain that is renowned for dishes made with high-quality ingredients. In terms of seafood, the chain often sources from Michael's Finer Meats and Seafood, a well-known and consistent supplier that specializes in centerpiece proteins. Regardless of where each location sources its tuna from, all ensure that it is of impressive quality.

While menus vary slightly from location to location, Ocean Prime habitually serves at least one tuna dish, usually Ahi Tuna Tartare. Professional critics have been surprised by just how good Ocean Prime's version of this classic dish is, and the excellent tuna the chain uses undoubtedly contributes to this. Many regular customers also make a point of stating how fantastically fresh the tuna is, lauding its great texture and clean, delicious flavor. It's just a shame that Ocean Prime's menu doesn't have space for more dishes designed to spotlight this exemplary fish.

10. Eddie V's Prime Seafood

As the name suggests, Eddie V's Prime Seafood is a restaurant chain that focuses on serving exquisite fish. As one of the best seafood chains in the United States, Eddie V's serves two different kinds of delicious tuna, yellowtail and ahi, in a number of dishes. 

Both of these species are of a consistently excellent quality when served at Eddie V's thanks to the chain's impressive sourcing procedures. As Matthew Youssef, managing partner at Eddie V's explained to The Castle Pines Connection, "At Eddie V's, we believe in serving seafood when it is in season to ensure the highest-quality available [...] Our selections are sourced directly from the boats and flown in daily from around the world, so our guests are enjoying these catches at their most pristine."

Reviews reflect Youssef's statement. Professional critics have raved about the chain's ahi tuna, describing its beautiful appearance and delightful texture. Regular customers also confirm that the tuna served at Eddie V's is some of the best they've ever eaten. 

11. Nobu

The name Nobu is synonymous with excellent fish the world over. This is thanks to legendary Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa who made a name for himself by blending Japanese and Peruvian cuisines. Matsuhisa's global, eponymous restaurant chain continues to champion the chef's legacy by serving a variety of high-quality fish in inventive ways.

As a popular menu staple, tuna plays an important role at Nobu. Unsurprisingly, the quality of this fish is more than up to scratch. Critics note that the tuna served at Nobu has a perfectly balanced flavor and boasts an incredibly delicate and decadent texture. Even more impressive is the fact that the quality of this tuna remains high regardless of which branch of Nobu you eat at — proof that the chain has done the near impossible by expanding on a massive scale without any noticeable drop in quality. For this, thousands of well-fed customers are eternally grateful.

12. Methodology

We selected these featured restaurant chains based on two criteria: The manner in which the tuna is sourced and how customers and critics react to eating it. Sourcing was considered because, to be defined as high-quality, the tuna must first be guaranteed to actually be tuna. We checked the sourcing information via the featured chains' websites. Only chains that had an abundance of positive reviews focused on their tuna dishes were included in this article. Both amateur and professional reviews were considered and we predominantly focused on reviews that highlighted the tuna's appearance, texture, and taste.