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Americans consumed a whopping 6.3 billion pounds of seafood in 2019, making the United States the second largest consumer of seafood in the world after China, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Whether enjoyed at home or eaten with family and friends while out, fish is a tasty, healthy protein that can be served in countless ways.
If you’re tired of preparing your fish dishes at home, and want to enjoy a meal at one of the many seafood chains that care about quality, keep reading. While there are some seafood chains out there that don’t emphasize quality and responsible sourcing, there are plenty of restaurants that do. These restaurants have implemented best-in-class practices, like only serving fish deemed sustainable by the federal government, harvesting oysters using restorative methods, and listing on its menus the origin of each fish served.
From high-end seafood restaurants found in cities all over the world to more casual franchises that have been around for decades, we rounded up 10 seafood chains that serve the highest quality fish. Be sure to consult the list before you go out to get your next fish fix.
Bonefish Grill isn’t just known for its tasty dishes but its commitment to high-quality ingredients and sustainability, too. “Freshness brings flavor and color, and the best quality you can get,” the chain states on its website. “That’s why we put so much work into sourcing the best, freshest ingredients.” The company goes on to explain that it sources fish from all over the world and hand-cuts each serving on-site daily. Fish is also cooked on wood-burning grills, loaded each morning with oak wood, giving Bonefish’s grilled dishes their signature flavor.
The restaurant chain started over 20 years ago and has 175 locations, with many restaurants concentrated in Florida, North Carolina, Nebraska, Virginia, and New Jersey. Its menu is filled with eye-catching seafood choices like Maryland-style crab cakes, Atlantic salmon, Chilean sea bass, and a new addition, crispy fried shrimp, but it has great steak and chicken options, too, like filet mignon and chicken marsala.
Seamore’s, the popular seafood chain that got its start in New York City, has been a proud James Beard Foundation Smart Catch Leader for years. According to the nonprofit’s website, Smart Catch is a program that focuses on increasing the number of sustainable seafood options offered on restaurant menus.
Currently located in places like New York City, Arlington, Va., and Darien, Conn., Seamore’s offers a Southern California-inspired menu, full of rotating dishes made using daily catches of seasonal fish. The fish is wild-caught from places like Cape Cod and the Carolinas just 24 to 48 hours before it reaches your plate.
Beyond this, the chain partners with local establishments to help support its sustainability efforts. For instance, in New York, Seamore’s sources ingredients from spots like Greenpoint Fish & Lobster, and in Virginia, it works closely with JJ McDonnell and ProFish. “Call it sustainable—but to us, it’s just common sense,” according to the restaurant’s website.
High quality is the name of the game when it comes to McCormick & Schmick’s. The upscale seafood restaurant chain, which now has over 25 locations, emphasizes sustainability and quality. According to its website, the restaurant only serves responsibly raised salmon and sustainably, ethically caught Ahi tuna. Meanwhile, its oysters come from proprietary oyster beds using restorative practices that help with bay preservation. The chain also prides itself on serving open blue cobia, a fish found in the Caribbean Sea near Panama that is considered the most sustainably raised fish in the world.
That’s not all, though. The chain features a lengthy menu full of exciting options, like miso black cod, pan-seared mahi-mahi, and North Atlantic lobster tails, and incorporates farm-fresh products and locally sourced ingredients into its recipes.
Brown Bag Seafood Co. is worth looking into, if you’re searching for a casual seafood chain that keeps sustainability and quality at the forefront. The restaurant, which currently has nearly 20 locations in states including Georgia, Illinois, and North Carolina, serves fresh, sustainably sourced seafood that, as its website states, is “flown in from around the world every day.” Even better? Brown Bag Seafood Co. only sources seafood approved by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch.
The chain’s dedication to sustainability and quality goes deeper than ingredients. For example, it depends on wind energy to power its restaurants, invests in energy-efficient kitchen equipment, develops menu items that produce near-zero food waste and uses fully biodegradable packaging products.
As it states on its website, Long John Silver’s was sustainable way before sustainability was a buzzword. Founded in 1969 in Lexington, Ky., the famous fast-food fish chain responsibly sources its seafood, serving wild-caught Alaskan pollock, cod and salmon from the North Pacific and coastal Atlantic waters, and hand-shucked clams from the Atlantic coast. The company further pledges to only work with partners who “fish smarter” and have less impact on the environment.
If you have a Long John Silver’s near you, try out one of its current promotions, which includes a $6 fish basket that comes with two pieces of classic battered Atlantic pollock, one side, and two hush puppies, and the $10 shrimp shares which allows you to choose from three different types of fried shrimp baskets that you can split with family and friends.
High-end seafood eatery Truluck’s maintains an “unwavering commitment to serving the highest-quality seafood,” and mentions on its website that it never serves endangered, overfished species. If you’re curious about the origins of the fish you’re eating, you’ll be happy to hear that Truluck’s lists this information on its menus.
Additionally, for three generations, the chain has been teaming up with professional crabbers to capture Florida stone crab sustainably—”long before sustainability became fashionable,” the company claims on its website. Its crabbers catch, cook, and then ship the Florida stone crab claws to each restaurant. The chain claims to never serve frozen claws and says its produce is sourced from local growers whenever possible.
For over 30 years, Ocean Prime has been committed to the responsible sourcing of high-quality ingredients. Because of this, the chain shares on its website that this has “naturally aligned us with farmers, fishermen, processors, supplies, and bakers who share our commitment.” These partners include ProAct, which focuses on local and sustainably produced produce; Michael’s Finer Meats & Seafood, which works to source and sell innovative products via sustainable supply chains; and Chef’s Garden, which is dedicated to sustainable farming techniques.
Beyond serving the highest-quality ingredients sourced sustainably, Ocean Prime locations also use recycled content napkins, energy-efficient kitchen equipment, and low-flow plumbing techniques to help conserve water. The chain also partners with Darpro Solutions to convert its used cooking oil into biodiesel.
For over three decades, Boston-founded Legal Sea Foods has maintained an unwavering dedication to quality and sustainability. For starters, the popular seafood chain has a state-of-the-art safety lab where all fish is tested before it’s plated and served at one of its locations. The chain explains on its website that it looks for cold-water fish that is “top of the catch,” which means the fish was hauled onboard just before landing or caught by fishermen who go to sea for a single pass before returning to shore.
Self-proclaimed “fanatics for freshness,” Legal Sea Foods features over 40 varieties of fresh fish and shellfish throughout the year and only serves fish and shellfish that are within the federal guidelines, and therefore considered sustainable by the U.S. government.
A family-owned Maine seafood business started by a third-generation lobsterman, Luke’s Lobster is a Certified B Corp business that solely serves sustainable seafood. A decade ago, the company launched its own seafood purchasing and production business in Maine, allowing it to buy directly from fishermen.
As covered on its website, Luke’s adheres to three core values. All seafood is harvested from clean waters using sustainable techniques and is expertly processed at the company’s seafood facility in Maine. Each piece of fish is also traced from “dock to plate to ensure perfect flavor texture and safety,” the company says. The chain further pledges to only work with suppliers who “bring value back to the shore,” and to share information on how ingredients are sourced and where they come from with guests. The company says it also uses the “power of the brand” to help out the community and environment.
The chain currently has 30 locations and counting in cities, including San Francisco, New York City, Las Vegas, Tokyo, and Miami. If you stop by Luke’s, try out one of its famous lobster rolls, offered in different delicious variations. If you’re not close to a Luke’s, you can also shop its seafood offerings online via its website.
Each day, fresh fish from around the world arrives at Eddie V’s, ready to be transformed into flavorful dishes. Varieties include swordfish from New England’s Block Island, scallops from Massachusetts’ Georges Bank, and yellowfin tuna from the Caribbean. The fine-dining seafood chain has over 30 locations and is known for its meticulously crafted dishes using only the finest ingredients. Some of its menu standouts include the Ahi tuna seared rare with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce, and the East Coast oysters, harvested from places like Norwalk, Conn., and Thunder Cove in Prince Edward Island, and served on ice with a side of cocktail and mignonette sauces.