Ruth's Chris Vs Fleming's: Which Is Better?

Not all steakhouses offer the same beef quality and experience. Depending on the target clientele, they can vary in ambiance, the sourcing and preparation of the steaks, as well as the caliber of the rest of the food. Both Ruth's Chris and Fleming's are high-end steakhouses that deliver a premium dining experience. The establishments offer a wide variety of dishes, with a focus on broiled USDA Prime beef.

Despite their many similarities, Ruth's Chris and Fleming's are far from identical. The two chains vary in accessibility and atmosphere, with each restaurant offering its own unique stylistic touches. The restaurants are also renowned for different signature dishes and promotions, including set menus.

While evaluating the chains side by side has been a little tricky due to their numerous similarities, we didn't shy away from the challenge. Our research took us to the farthest reaches of the internet as we examined the restaurants' menus and preparation techniques. For more detailed information about our research process, take a look at the methodology slide at the end of this article.

The chains have different atmospheres

Ruth's Chris and Fleming's leave different first impressions. As the more traditional of the two, Ruth's Chris features refined decor with dark wood paneling, occasional pops of color, plush seating, and white tablecloths. The customized lighting is often dimmed to create an intimate and elegant feel and can range from simple spotlights to elaborate chandeliers. This said, Ruth's Chris is far from being cookie-cutter, with each location offering a slightly different ambiance and dining experience.

Just like Ruth's Chris, no Fleming's location is the same. Instead, each restaurant has a slightly different take on the chain's image. While also stylish, Fleming's decor is more contemporary and vibrant than Ruth's Chris'. Many of the more-recently opened or redecorated locations offer bright and airy dining rooms, oversized windows, and open kitchens for maximum diner engagement. "It's a little more contemporary. It's the design to take us into our new growth mode," Skip Fox, former president of the Bloomin' Brands Inc. steakhouse division that operates Fleming's, explained in a 2016 interview with Nation's Restaurant News.

Both chains serve USDA Prime beef and broil their steaks

Being upscale steakhouses, both Ruth's Chris and Fleming's specialize in USDA Prime beef. Rating above USDA Choice and USDA Select, Prime beef is sourced from young cattle and features plenty of marbling. Only the top 2% of beef receives this superior grade from the USDA. Furthermore, both chains source their beef from Midwestern farms and season them with fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt. The two restaurants also serve their steaks with butter and parsley.

Fleming's takes a lot of pride in its steak preparation. The chain dry or wet ages its beef for at least 21 days. Once seasoned, the steaks are charbroiled at 1,600 F, ensuring they develop a delicious external crust while remaining juicy and tender on the inside. The steaks are served on 350-degree plates to ensure they stay at the right temperature throughout the meal. Ruth's Chris has a very similar process, first wet-aging the beef before broiling the cuts at 1,800 F and serving them on sizzling 500-degree plates to guarantee they remain hot and tasty until you're done.

Ruth's Chris wet-ages its steaks while Fleming's both dry and wet-ages its meat

Aging beef imbues it with flavor and enhances tenderness by breaking down the connective tissue in the meat. Nevertheless, dry aging and wet aging have somewhat different end results. The former involves reducing moisture content to concentrate the rich flavor of the meat. On the other hand, wet aging seals the beef in its own juices, resulting in a milder flavor that pairs well with various seasonings and sauces.

While most of Fleming's beef is wet aged for at least 21 days, the chain dry ages its USDA Prime ribeye for up to 30 days. The chain's website states that it isn't easy to find this cut dry aged on restaurant menus, making it an extra special treat. The result is a dish with a robust taste that's rich in umami flavor.

While this wasn't always the case, today Ruth's Chris wet-ages all of its steaks. According to Randy Fertel, son of the chain's founder, his mother shifted from serving dry to wet aged beef to ensure uniformity in quality since dry-aged beef is more prone to spoilage. In his memoir, "The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak: A New Orleans Family Memoir," Randy wrote that his mother made the switch after receiving several complaints from customers.

Ruth's Chris has a prix fixe menu while Fleming's offers occasional set menus

Those wishing to sample a range of Ruth's Chris dishes without spending a fortune can opt for the Classics Prix Fixe Menu. As of publication, the menu starts at $56 depending on the selected entree, and also consists of a starter, side, and dessert. The choice of starters includes a Caesar salad, house salad, or Louisiana seafood gumbo. For entrees, diners can choose from a salmon filet, filet and shrimp, or filet and lobster tail. Finally, the sides include creamed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli.

While Fleming's doesn't offer a permanent set menu, it does have occasional prix fixe options. For example, the chain's Father's Day 3-Course menu allows diners to select from four entrees including prime surf and turf, petite filet mignon and crab-stuffed shrimp scampi, or lobster tail scampi for a set price. Those with bottomless stomachs can choose the "Go Bigger" option and get a 35-ounce tomahawk and a North Atlantic lobster tail. The set menu also comes with a choice of a salad and dessert.

Ruth's Chris has more locations

While both Ruth's Chris and Fleming's have cemented their presence across the U.S., Ruth's Chris is the winner when it comes to the number of outlets. The chain has more than 133 restaurants across the country as of 2023. The states with the most locations are Florida and California, and San Antonio, Texas, leads as the city with the greatest number of Ruth's Chris restaurants. The chain also boasts international locations in countries both close and far from its home base, including Mexico, China, and Canada.

While not as widespread as Ruth's Chris, Fleming's has also made its mark in the world of steakhouse franchising with over 60 locations. As of June 2024, Fleming's is present in 25 states, but it has no international locations. Just like Ruth's Chris, Fleming's boasts the greatest number of restaurants in California and Florida, and Austin, Houston, and Las Vegas are the leading cities with the most locations.

Fleming's serves a wider range of seafood

Just like many other modern steakhouses, both Ruth's Chris and Fleming's serve various marine delicacies. Nevertheless, the seafood repertoire at Fleming's is slightly larger. For example, Fleming's offers freshly-shucked oysters, which are flown in daily and served with a house-made mignonette. Several other standout seafood dishes that can't be found at Ruth's Chris include crab legs, seared scallops, and lobster mashed potatoes.

Both chains serve chilled seafood towers for sharing. At Fleming's the appetizer comes with North Atlantic lobster, Alaskan golden king crab legs, colossal shrimp, and fresh oysters. Meanwhile, Ruth's Chris version of the platter includes Maine lobster, colossal lump crabmeat, jumbo shrimp, as well as other chilled seafood. 

Both chains also serve crab cakes, with Fleming's version of the appetizer accented with roasted red peppers and butter sauce and Ruth's Chris' served with sizzling lemon butter. Other seafood dishes found at both restaurants include sweet chili calamari, shrimp cocktail, lobster mac & cheese, salmon filet, and spicy shrimp.

Both chains offer various promotions

Aside from their set menu options, both Ruth's Chris and Fleming's feature a line-up of rotating dinner deals. These include Ruth's Tastemaker Dinners, which let diners choose from six different tastemaker experiences that pair chef-selected dishes with quality wine and spirits. For instance, the four-course Woodford Reserve Tastemaker Dinner combines delicacies such as charbroiled oysters, pork belly, and prime strip with cocktails made with Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey. Another option is the Caymus Vineyard Tastemaker Dinner with shrimp roulade, lamb medallions, and filet with a chimichurri butter crust accompanied by the vineyard's finest wines.

Fleming's is famous for its Tomahawk Tuesdays. Meant for sharing, the promo offers the chain's 35-ounce prime tomahawk or a 28-ounce porterhouse with a choice of two starters, two sides, and two desserts. Fleming's also offers a three-course Surf & Turf Sunday menu with a filet mignon and choice of North Atlantic lobster tail or Alaskan golden king crab legs, along with a salad and dessert.

Fleming's serves more wines by the glass

Back in 2015, Fleming's impressed wine enthusiasts with its 100 wines by the glass program. The Director of Wine at Fleming's at the time, Maeve Pesquera, told Forbes about the chain's wine selection process, saying, "I look at overall trends — what's happening, what are the up-and-coming new varietals and regions — and then I look at what's actually selling in the restaurants. Which varietals and price points, where the interest lies, and the data." While the wine list at Fleming's has shrunk over the years, it's still substantial with around 50 offerings by the glass, ranging from $9 to $75.

While the wine selection by the glass at Ruth's Chris isn't as extensive, the chain still offers a decent line-up. Priced between $11 and $25 per glass, the chain's 30 or so sparkling, red, white, and rosé wines emphasize variety. And the offerings come not just from the U.S., but also from across the globe. Some of the restaurant's drops include Prosecco from Italy, rosé from Southern France, and sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand.

Ruth's Chris features a wider range of cocktails

Priced around $15 as of publication, the cocktails at Ruth's Chris are made with quality spirits and freshly squeezed juices. Served to stimulate the appetite, the chain's aperitifs include Aperol Spritz with Hendrick's Gin, Aperol, Chloe Prosecco, and lemon sour, and The Last Word with Botanist gin, Luxardo Maraschino, Green Chartreuse, and lime. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the chain's Blueberry Spiced Mojito with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. Meanwhile, cocktail enthusiasts looking for something stronger may want to try the chain's Dirty Wheatley Martini with Wheatley Vodka and Carpano Dry Vermouth. Ruth's Chris also serves a range of dessert cocktails like the Rusty Monkey with Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch, Drambuie, and Campari.

While substantially smaller, the range of cocktails at Fleming's is just as appealing, ranging from $17 to $20. Some of the options on offer include the Salted Caramel Espresso Martini with Stolichnaya Vanil, Kahlúa, Bailey's Irish Cream, and espresso, and the California Jam Jar with Ketel One Vodka, basil, ripe strawberries, and citrus.The restaurant's more classic libations include The Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and an Artisanal Margarita. Fleming's also offers two mocktails with non-alcoholic spirits, including Seedlip Grove 42 and Lyre's Dry London Spirit. 

Both restaurants offer decent children's menus

Ruth's Chris and Fleming's bill themselves as family-friendly restaurants. As such, both chains feature unique menus for children. Designed specifically with the under 12-year-olds in mind, the kids menu at Ruth's Chris offers favorites such as burgers, chicken fingers, and grilled cheese sandwiches. The restaurant also has more sophisticated offerings for the little ones like small portions of grilled salmon or filet medallions. All the dishes on the children's menu are accompanied by either steamed broccoli or French fries.

Fleming's offers a special Children's 3-Course menu that includes a starter, entree, and dessert. Unlike at Ruth's Chris, the menu doesn't specify at what age a child starts being considered an adult for menu purposes. For the starter, young diners can choose between a classic salad and cheese and crackers. The entree selection includes chicken tenders, grilled chicken breast, grilled salmon, filet mignon, mac & cheese, sliders, and a cheesesteak sandwich. For dessert, Fleming's offers a choice of an ice cream sundae or a fresh fruit bowl.

Ruth's Chris is better overall

As two chain steakhouses, Ruth's Chris and Fleming's share many similarities. Both chains specialize in expertly grilled Prime USDA steaks. In addition, they offer a range of shellfish and fish, as well as classic and more imaginative starters, side dishes, and desserts. Finally, the chains feature special children's menus and extensive wine lists, including dozens of options by the glass.

While both chains come close in terms of value and quality, after careful consideration, we have come to the conclusion that Ruth's Chris has a leg up on Fleming's. Not only does it feature more locations in the U.S. and internationally, but the beef preparation is optimal. The chain's cuts are broiled at an ultra-high 1,800 F as opposed to Fleming's 1,600 F. Moreover, Ruth's Chris serves its steaks on 500-degree sizzling plates. Cocktail lovers will also appreciate Ruth's Chris' selection of colorful libations, ranging from classics such as martinis to more out-of-the-box creations.


Pitting Ruth's Chris and Fleming's against each other hasn't been an easy task. The two chains have a lot in common, as two steakhouses that serve the same quality beef with very similar preparation methods. Since the restaurants also cater to a similar clientele, they feature overlaps in ambiance and the range of dishes.

To differentiate and compare the two chains, we looked at a number of factors, including the intricacies of each restaurant's decor, the scope of their menus, as well as their beverage offerings. We also took into consideration each chain's range of promotions and number of locations to see how accessible they are to customers.