Estimating the energy potential of tidal stream site is a key feature for tidal energy system deployment. This paper aims to compare two methods of prediction of tidal current velocities. The first one is based on the use of a fully three-dimensional (3D) numerical approach. However, while being accurate, the numerical model is highly time-consuming. The second method is based on a linear approximation of the tidal current, which only requires preliminary knowledge of local current velocities time series during two typical tidal cycles. This second method allows a very quick evaluation of the tidal stream resource during a long time period. The proposed comparison is done in three different locations of a high potential tidal energy site in west of France. It is carried out in terms of current velocity and energy harnessing for several turbines technology options (with and without yaw). The achieved results show that the linear approximation gives satisfactory evaluation of the tidal stream potential and can be a very interesting tool for preliminary site evaluation and first technology options selection. However, the fully 3D numerical model can obviously be very useful in more advanced steps of a project.