John Dory Flavor Profile

John Dory Flavor Scale

John Dory is a delicious fish which has firm textured white flesh with moist, fine flakes and a mild, sweet flavor with a low fat content. This fish is related to Mirror Dory which is sometimes available in the U.S. and is very available in Austrailia.

Alternate Names

St Pierre, St Peter Fish

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Purchasing Guidelines

When purchasing fresh John Dory look for bright skin, clear bulging eyes and red gills. The scent of the fish should be of sweet seawater.

Description (Zeus faber)

John Dory jpgCreative Commons license info

John Dory is a deep-sea fish with a flat, round body shape, olive-yellow color with a silvery white belly and one large dark spot on each side. Its scales are microscopic and sharp. John Dory has an unusual looking head that is large and spiny with its eyes near the top of its head. It has 10 long spines on the dorsal fin. The John Dory grows to a maximum size of 2 ft (65 cm) and 7 lb (3 kg).

There are various speculations as to the origin of the name of John Dory fish. Some say it is a variation of the French word dorée, which means gilded. Others say it’s an allusion to the John Dory who is the hero of an old ballad. And one legend holds that the dark spot on the fish’s side is St. Peter’s thumbprint, put there when Peter took the coin from its mouth.


John Dory Fresh Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh. John Dory is more available in Europe than in the United States. The chart shows European availability as the fish can be air-shipped.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec


John Dory Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery

Item To Skin/On Fillets To Skin/Off Fillets Notes
Whole Round (Head/On Ungutted) 38% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Range & Habitat

John Dory rangeAquaMaps Data sources: GBIF

John Dory is a coastal fish native to Europe. It can be found in the coastal waters of Europe, Africa, South East Asia, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. It is rarely found in U.S. markets but can be imported from Europe. They live near the seabed inhabiting depths of 15 ft (5 m) to 1200 ft (360 m) deep.

Typical Wholesale Products

Fillets and whole fish.

How to Fillet John Dory

John Dory can be a little difficult to buthcher if you are not familiar with the method. Even though it is a vertical swimmer, it has a bone structure similar to halibut (horizontal swimmer) with a potential of four separate fillets. The video shows how to remove the fillets as two sides which could them be cut into four fillets.


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.

* Calories/Calories from fat 154
* Protein grams 35
* Fat grams 1.2
* Saturated fat grams 0
* Sodium milligrams na
* Cholesterol milligrams 94
* Omega-3 grams


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David Buchanan is a professional chef and author of, a site geared towards providing chefs and culinarians useful info to help in their kitchens.
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Comments from before Site Migration

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CAIT RUA []    [ Aug 23, 2013 ]


You had a bad fish! I had John Dory at a cafe in Manhattan last week and it was fantastic. Mild, white and flaky is how it should be.

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Jun 19, 2013 ]

Anne, John Dory should have firm textured white flesh with moist, fine flakes and a mild, sweet flavor. It should never taste “fishy”. And definitely should not taste like catfish.

ANNE []    [ Jun 19, 2013 ]

I had Dory about 3 days ago for the first time.  The flavor was not sweet at all, in fact, it was very fishy and tasted like catfish. Now I think it may have been bad as I was sick yesterday.  What is the correct flavor for Dory when fresh?


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