Greek Whole Roasted Branzino

This recipe for Greek roasted branzino is perfect for a simple and healthy weeknight meal that requires almost zero clean up! Full of bright lemon and earthy oregano, this dish will transport you to a seaside taverna in Greece.
Course Seafood
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 516 kcal
Author Mila Furman


For the fish

  • 2 branzino about 3 pounds total, lavraki or sea bass
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil * fruity kind
  • 4 garlic cloves minced finely on a microplane
  • 4 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 1 lemon you want the slices to be half moons so they fit into the fish easily, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the spinach

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bag of spinach an 8 oz package
  • 3 garlic cloves minced on the microplane
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons feta cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


For the fish

  1. Place the oven on highest broil setting
  2. Place parchment paper onto a sheet pan large enough to fit the two fish.
  3. Slice 3-4 slits into the fish, parallel to the fish's head, going with the direction of the scales.
  4. Pour the olive oil all over the fish, ensuring both sides and the insides are covered.
  5. Slather the garlic mixture into the cavity of the fish evenly.
  6. Place the oregano stems into the cavities of the fish.
  7. Place the lemon wedges into the cavity of the fish.*
  8. Place the sheet pan into the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the fish flesh is flaky and white. Serve with extra lemons

For the spinach

  1. Right when the fish has come out of the oven, place a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add olive oil and garlic to the pan. Allow to sweat about 2 minutes, without getting any color on the garlic.
  3. Add the spinach, water and lemon juice to the pan and toss with tongs until the spinach is wilted. This will take about 2 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with feta and serve alongside the fish.

Recipe Notes

When purchasing and preparing branzino or any whole fish there are a few important things to remember:
When choosing fresh fish, it should smell like the seawater, anything "fishier" smelling and you do not want it. Trust me.
The eyes should be clear, never foggy or falling our of the socket, yuck.
The flesh should be firm not slimy or super spongy.
Ask the fish monger to leave the head and tail on, clean the scales, trim the fins and completely clean the inside.
Before roasting the fish, slice into the skin a bit, careful not to go too deep into the flesh. This will help the skin crisp up and it will allow for some seasoning to permeate the inside.
Keep it simple! The best fish tastes pretty great on its own and just needs to be enhanced with simple and classic flavors. Sometimes salt, pepper and lemon is all you will ever need.
Do NOT over cook the fish. I typically broil these fish (about 1.5 pounds each) for 18 minutes and the bones pull away super easily from it and the flesh flakes just so perfectly. When fish is cooked perfectly the bones peel away from it and there are minimal bones left behind in the flesh.
I like using a very fruity and fragrant olive oil for this recipe. It just gives it an incredible flavor profile. Typically, Greek olive oils tend to be a bit more fruitier. But as long as you get an extra virgin olive oil that is first press, you should be golden.
As the garlic cooks inside the fish, a chemical reaction may occur and it may turn bluish green. This is totally normal and just a reaction of the sulphur compounds. Regardless of the color, it's delicious none the less.
Do not put the garlic or the lemons into the slits you have made on the fish. This may prevent the skin of the fish from crisping up.
If you want a truly crispy skin on both sides, feel free to roast this on a roasting rack. However I am perfectly fine with one side crispy without adding on a second pan for me to clean :)

Nutrition Facts
Greek Whole Roasted Branzino
Amount Per Serving
Calories 516 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 25%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 371mg 124%
Sodium 454mg 19%
Potassium 1210mg 35%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Sugars 1g
Protein 82g 164%
Vitamin A 9.2%
Vitamin C 19.3%
Calcium 14.7%
Iron 22.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.