Linseed (LO) and soyabean (SO) oils were evaluated as fish-oil (FO) substitutes in the diets of marketable-sized gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata). Practical diets were designed factorially with the lipid added as follows (%): FO 100, LO 60+FO 40, LO 80+FO 20, SO 60+FO 40, SO 80+FO 20. The effects of experimental diets on growth, fatty acids patterns in liver and muscle, flesh quality variables and activities of selected enzymes involved in lipid synthesis and catabolism were determined at the end of a 7-month trial. Fatty acid composition of liver and muscle generally reflected the fatty acid composition of the diets. The n-3 PUFA levels were significantly reduced by the inclusion of vegetable oils. This tendency was more pronounced for EPA than for docosahexaenoic acid. The n-3: n-6 fatty acid ratio reached the lowest values in fish fed the SO diets; this was associated with a higher liver lipid deposition. No differences were found in fillet texture and pH. However, under conditions of forced peroxidation, muscles from fish fed the SO diets had lower peroxidation levels. Vegetable oil substitution decreased lipogenesis in liver and this effect was greatest at the highest substitution level. In contrast, muscle β-oxidation enzymes had increased activities with vegetable oil substitution. Thus, the lower hepatic lipogenesis was correlated with an increased lipid utilisation in muscle. It is concluded that growth and lipid metabolism were affected by experimental diets.