A feeding trial was conducted to determine the dietary methionine requirement of juvenile golden pompano (initial body weight 12.40 ± 0.02 g). Six diets were formulated with six graded levels of methionine (8.6, 9.2, 10.4, 11.5, 13.2 and 14.5 g kg−1). Each diet was randomly assigned to triplicate groups of 20 juvenile fish in seawater floating net cages (1.0 m × 1.0 m × 1.5 m). Fish were fed twice daily (08:30 and 16:30) to apparent satiation for 56 days. Weight gain (WG), specific growth rate (SGR), feed conversion ratio (FCR), feed efficiency (FE), nitrogen retention efficiency (NRE), proximate body composition, morphometry and haematology were significantly (P < 0.05) affected by the dietary methionine levels. WG, SGR and FE increased with increasing levels of methionine up to 13.2 g kg−1 diet (P < 0.05) and remained nearly the same thereafter. NRE also increased with increasing levels of methionine up to 13.2 g kg−1 diet (P < 0.05) and remained nearly the same thereafter. Linear regression analysis on WG and NRE indicated that the recommended optimum dietary methionine levels for optimal growth of juvenile pompano were 10.6 and 12.7 g kg−1 diet, respectively, corresponding to 24.6 and 29.5 g kg−1 dietary protein, respectively, so the level of dietary methionine should be between 10.6 and 12.7 g kg−1 diet, corresponding to 24.6–29.5 g kg−1 dietary protein. Additionally, the estimated requirements for the other essential amino acids were calculated from A/E ratios of whole-body amino acid profile based on the methionine requirement determined from the present experiment.