Imaging has become an indispensable tool in the research and clinical management of cardiovascular disease (CVD). An array of imaging technologies is considered for CVD diagnostics and therapeutic assessment, ranging from ultrasonography, X-ray computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging to nuclear and optical imaging methods. Each method has different operational characteristics and assesses different aspects of CVD pathophysiology; nevertheless, more information is desirable for achieving a comprehensive view of the disease. Optoacoustic (photoacoustic) imaging is an emerging modality promising to offer novel information on CVD parameters by allowing high-resolution imaging of optical contrast several centimeters deep inside tissue. Implemented with illumination at several wavelengths, multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) in particular, is sensitive to oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin, water and lipids allowing imaging of the vasculature, tissue oxygen saturation and metabolic or inflammatory parameters. Progress with fast-tuning lasers, parallel detection and advanced image reconstruction and data-processing algorithms have recently transformed optoacoustics from a laboratory tool to a promising modality for small animal and clinical imaging. We review progress with optoacoustic CVD imaging, highlight the research and diagnostic potential and current applications and discuss the advantages, limitations and possibilities for integration into clinical routine.