yellowtail fish

What are the Best-Tasting Saltwater Fish?

best-tasting saltwater fish

Love the taste of fish and want to know what are the best-tasting saltwater fish? You’ve come to the right place! Here we go over the yummiest favorite fish caught in saltwater bodies, which can make all the difference in your seafood meal!

As an amateur saltwater fisherman (or even just someone looking to buy fresh saltwater fish), it can be challenging to know which type of fish to go for, especially if you’re looking to cook up a seafood storm and impress your guests.

Not all saltwater fish are created equal — and some are definitely tastier than others!

However, with a little guidance, you can make the right choices and choose the best-tasting saltwater fish.

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What are the Best-Tasting Saltwater Fish?

As you might expect, saltwater fish have higher concentrations of salt in their bodies than freshwater fish — this gives them a distinctive flavor that a lot of people prefer over their freshwater fish cousins.

But when it comes to finding the very best and most delicious fish, several factors come into play. Let’s go over how we picked the fish to recommend to you.

Ranking the Best Tasting Saltwater Fish

There are a few criteria that we used to determine which saltwater fish are the best-tasting.

To help you find the best-tasting saltwater fish, we have ranked some of the most popular species based on their taste, texture, and overall appeal.

fresh salmon fillet

Fish Taste Ranking Chart

Finding delicious saltwater fish doesn’t have to be complicated! To make it easier for you to see the rankings at a glance, we’ve included a visual representation of the ranking. This helpful chart quickly shows each fish ranked by its overall taste, texture, and appeal.

Explanation of the Chart

The ranking chart is based on a scoring system of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. Each fish is rated on three categories: taste, texture, and overall appeal. The scores for each category are then averaged to give an overall rating. The higher the score, the better the taste.

There are so many saltwater fish to choose from. But finding the best-tasting can sometimes be a challenge!

So — without further ado, let’s dive into the fish-testing rankings! 🐟

Fish Name Taste Texture Overall Rating
Wahoo Rich, buttery flavor with a hint of sweetness Firm and dense, yet tender and moist 9.5/10
Yellowtail Mild and slightly sweet, with a delicate flavor Buttery, tender and flaky 9/10
Chilean Sea Bass Delicate, sweet flavor with a hint of buttery richness Firm, buttery and tender 8.5/10
Hogfish Delicate, sweet flavor with a hint of nuttiness Flaky, yet firm and moist 8/10
Swordfish Firm, meaty and mild with a hint of sweetness Dense and steak-like, yet tender and moist 7.5/10
Yellowfin Tuna Mild, meaty and slightly sweet Firm and meaty, yet tender and flaky 7.5/10
Halibut Mild and slightly sweet with a delicate flavor Firm, yet tender and flaky 7/10
Mahi Mahi Mild, slightly sweet and faintly citrusy Firm, yet tender and flaky 7/10
Cod Mild and slightly sweet, with a delicate flavor Flaky and tender 6.5/10
Salmon Rich, buttery and slightly sweet Flaky, yet tender and moist 6.5/10

Here we go over each fish one-by-one with more details about the flavor pros and cons. We start with the fish at the bottom of the chart and work our way up to the top-tasting ones.


Salmon is a rich, oily fish with high fat content. It has a delicate, pink flesh. It can range from a mild, slightly sweet flavor to a little on the stronger side. But It’s still considered to be one of the best-tasting fish on our list. It’s also high in heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

salmon fillet on ice

Some might be surprised to see it last on our list. This isn’t because salmon isn’t a great-tasting fish–it can be–but it tends to be one of a little on the stronger-tasting side that some people find to be a bit overwhelming. But if you have the right salmon recipe, this is truly one of the tastiest saltwater fish!


Cod is another very popular saltwater fish with a delicate and mild flavor; it’s easy to prepare with a white, flaky meat that’s low in fat and a good source of protein. It pairs really well with extra virgin olive oil.

Cod is pretty versatile and can be baked, fried, grilled, or poached. It’s also used a lot in fish and chips, chowders — and even stews! Overall, cod has a pleasant, subtle taste that pairs well with a variety of seasonings and sauces.

Mahi Mahi

Next up is Mahi Mahi, also known as dolphin fish. Some people say this is one of the most delicious saltwater fish. Its flesh has a firm texture and lean with a mild, sweet flavor and delicate texture. Like cod, the meat of Mahi Mahi is white and can be prepared in so many different ways — including grilling, broiling, baking, and pan-frying. There is on one best way to make it. You name it, Mahi Mahi can make it!


Halibut is another white fish with a delicate, flaky flesh. It’s a versatile fish and has one of the mildest, slightly sweet flavors. It’s probably one of the best fish if you’re looking to avoid that strong fishy flavor found with some other species. Halibut is perfect for fish tacos!

Yellowfin Tuna

If you’ve every caught a yellowfin tuna, you know what a massive and powerful fish it can be! It’s highly sought after for its firm, meaty texture and rich, savory flavor.

yellowfin tuna delicious saltwater fish

Large yellowfin tuna are often found in deep water, and aren’t as common as bluefin tuna. It has a deep red color and a mild, slightly sweet taste — much better than the canned tuna found in grocery stores. It is often served raw as sashimi with soy sauce or in sushi rolls, but can also be grilled, seared, or baked.

When cooked properly, yellowfin tuna has a tender and moist texture that among the most truly satisfying!


Swordfish has a firm and meaty texture with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor. It’s great either grilled, baked, broiled, or even smoked.

fresh swordfish

Swordfish is often compared to tuna and is a popular choice for steaks due to its thick and hearty flesh. While it’s not the most delicate or subtle fish, swordfish has a distinct taste that is appreciated by many seafood lovers.

However, due to its high mercury content, you’ll probably want to limit consumption and choose sustainably sourced swordfish.


Hogfish (named such for its piglike snout) is a warm-water white meat fish that is popular among seafood lovers. It is often described as having a sweet, delicate, and nutty flavor, making it an ideal fish for grilling or pan-searing.

Florida hogfish

Hogfish meat is firm, flaky, and lean, which adds to its mild taste. It is often served in upscale restaurants due to its premium quality, and i’s also popular among anglers for its size and fighting ability. Overall, hogfish is a delicious and healthy option for anyone looking for a new fish to try.

Chilean Sea Bass

Chilean sea bass, also known as Patagonian toothfish, has a rich, buttery taste that is highly prized. Its delicate and flaky white flesh is often compared to that of halibut, with a more refined and elegant taste.

It’s one of the most sought-after fish since it’s meat is succulent… mmmm… with a smooth texture that melts in the mouth. This particular fish is known for its high oil content — this only contributes to its distinct and rich flavor profile.

grilled Chilean sea bass

Chilean sea bass is so versatile and can be prepared in a variety of ways: including grilling, poaching, pan-searing and more!

Its rich flavor pairs well with bold seasonings, such as citrus and herbs.

However, this fish is known for being overfished, so consumers should be cautious when purchasing to make sure you are buying sustainably sourced Chilean sea bass.


Yellowtail — also known as amberjack — has a truly mild and delicate flavor with a slightly sweet taste. Its flesh is firm and oh-so-smooth with a buttery texture — this makes it one of the most popular choices for sushi and sashimi.

When cooked, yellowtail is moist and tender; some even notice a slightly nutty taste. It’s a versatile and tasty fish that can be prepared in many ways. Definitely worth trying and our #2 choice!


Wahoo is a prized saltwater game fish commonly found in south Florida and the Florida Keys. It’s highly regarded for its succulent and delicate taste. This fish has a firm yet lean flesh that’s whitish in color; its flavor can best be described as sweet and mild yet with a hint of savory nuttiness.

The meat is usually cooked by grilling or smoking (or searing) — this brings out the natural flavor of the fish. Wahoo has a distinct texture that is slightly coarse, yet it is still tender and flaky. If you’ve never yet tried Wahoo, you’ve got to try some!!! You’re in for a massively mouth-watering treat — and you’ll soon know why this is our #1 pick for best-tasting saltwater fish!

How to Find Fresh and Tasty Saltwater Fish

Freshness is one of the most important factors in determining the taste of saltwater fish. If you’re eating your own fresh catch, then you won’t have to worry about the quality.

But here are some tips to help you select the freshest and tastiest fish from a fresh fish market:

  • Look for clear eyes and bright red gills. Cloudy or dull eyes and faded gills are signs of old fish.
  • Check the texture of the fish. It should be firm and springy, not mushy or slimy.
  • Smell the fish. Fresh fish should have a mild, seawater scent. If it smells fishy or ammonia-like, it is not fresh.
  • Buy from a reputable seafood market or fishmonger. They are more likely to carry fresh, high-quality fish.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best-Tasting Saltwater Fish

  1. What is the best tasting saltwater fish in the world? Obviously this a big question and can be a matter of personal preferences…. but many people consider Chilean Sea Bass to be one of the best-tasting saltwater fish in the world. Other top contenders include Halibut, Swordfish, Wahoo, and Yellowfin Tuna.
  2. What is the best tasting saltwater fish in Florida? Florida is known for its fresh seafood, and there are many delicious saltwater fish to choose from. Some of the best-tasting fish in Florida include Grouper, Snapper, Cobia, and Hogfish.
  3. What is the best tasting fish caught in the Gulf of Mexico? The Gulf of Mexico is home to a wide variety of fish, and some of the best-tasting saltwater fish can be found in these waters. Some of the most popular fish caught in the Gulf of Mexico include red snapper, grouper, amberjack, and cobia. Red snapper is a firm white fish with a mild, slightly sweet flavor, while grouper has a slightly firmer texture and a richer flavor. Amberjack has a similar flavor to tuna, with a firm texture, and cobia has a sweet, buttery flavor and a flaky texture. Other great-tasting fish found in the Gulf of Mexico include Spanish mackerel, mahi-mahi, and wahoo. These fish are all delicious when cooked fresh and can be prepared in a variety of ways, from grilling and broiling to frying and baking.
  4. What fish is the least fishy tasting? If you are looking for a mild-tasting fish, try Mahi Mahi, Halibut, or Wahoo. These fish have a delicate flavor that is not too fishy.
  5. What fish tastes most like meat? Swordfish and Tuna are two saltwater fish that have a meaty texture and flavor. They are often compared to beef or venison.
  6. What fish tastes like lobster? If you love the taste of lobster, you might enjoy Monkfish. This saltwater fish has a sweet, lobster-like flavor and a firm, meaty texture.
  7. What is the worst tasting saltwater fish? Again, this is a matter of personal preference, but many people find Skate to be the worst tasting saltwater fish. Skate is a type of flatfish with a distinct flavor and texture that some find unpleasant. The taste of Skate has been described as gamey, ammonia-like, and similar to ammonia-infused chicken (sounds tasty, right???). Additionally, its texture can be tough and rubbery, which can be unappealing to say the least. However, taste is subjective, and some people may actually enjoy the flavor and texture of Skate.

Closing Thoughts on the Best-Tasting Saltwater Fish

Ultimately, the best-tasting fish is a matter of personal preference. It is worth trying different types of saltwater fish to find out which flavor of fish you enjoy the most.

Going for some types of fish like Wahoo, yellowtail, and Chilean Sea Bass will give you delicious meat from the salty ocean water. .

Whether your fish comes from the Gulf of Mexico or east Florida waters, you’ll find any of the above-mentioned fish to be a great option for your next seafood meal.

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