The Central and Southern Aegean Coast Restaurants

Dining out along the Aegean coast is a pleasure, especially if you enjoy seafood and fresh produce. There are countless seafood restaurants at all price ranges. A typical meal includes an assortment of hot and cold meze (appetizers), a mixed salad, and the catch of the day, capped off with a Turkish dessert. To make it authentic, accompany your meal with rakı (a spirit similar in taste to oúzo). Some of the more common fish you'll find along the Aegean coast are levrek (sea bass), çipura (sea bream), barbunya (red mullet), and lahos (grouper), as well as tasty smaller fish like sardalya (sardines). Note that most fish restaurants charge per kilogram for whole fish, and the prices often aren't listed; ask before ordering to avoid receiving an unexpectedly large bill at the end of an otherwise pleasant meal. Of course, there are plenty of meat and kebab restaurants around, too, if that’s what you’re craving.

For dessert, try local dondurma (Turkish ice cream, often thickened with orchid root or mastic resin), as well as milk puddings and baklava. It’s often better to avoid hotel restaurants at lunch and dinner—you can frequently find better and less expensive food a short walk away—but luxury and boutique hotels might be an exception as they are often firm favorites on the local restaurant scene. And don’t forget street snacks! In season, you can grab fat local Smyrna figs; a cup of icy, dark berry şerbet (think of it as Ottoman Gatorade); or a sesame-studded feta-and-tomato sandwich, each for less than a dollar in central İzmir. Simit, the classic Turkish bagel-like street snack, is called gevrek in the İzmir region, and often purchased along with a piece of tulum peyniri (goat's milk cheese) and a hard-boiled egg, following an old Sephardic culinary custom.

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  • 1. Agrilia Restaurant

    $$$ | Italian

    This Italian-Argentinian restaurant in the garden courtyard of an old Greek house, now the TashMahal Hotel, was around long before the rest...Read More

  • 2. Aquarium

    $$$ | Seafood

    At branches on the water in Gümüşlük and Yalıkavak, begin a meal with stuffed zucchini flowers, roasted eggplant with tulum cheese, and octopus...Read More

  • 3. Arşipel Restaurant

    $$ | Turkish

    Summer and winter, the dining room at the Kırkınca Houses Boutique Hotel is the best in town, overlooking the lovely landscape and serving delicious...Read More

  • 4. Dalyan Restaurant "Cevat'ın Yeri"

    $$$ | Seafood

    This outdoor terrace overlooking the waterfront is an ideal spot in Dalyanköy for a splurgy seafood dinner. Everything here is prepared with...Read More

  • 5. Ejder Restaurant

    $$ | Turkish

    This popular spot overlooking the Selçuk aqueduct is run by a friendly family team—husband, wife, and son—and offers a menu that includes such...Read More

  • 6. Garo's

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    The peripatetic Turkish-Armenian maestro Garo heads the kitchen at this stone cottage–turned–waterfront restaurant with a comfy Greek-taverna...Read More

  • 7. Kalamare

    $$$ | Seafood

    Down a quiet, pretty alley just a two-minute stroll from the waterfront, this restaurant is an authentic new star on the Bodrum seafood scene...Read More

  • 8. Kocadon

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    The owners have transformed the palm- and mulberry tree–filled courtyard of their 200-year-old family home into a romantic haven, where candlelit...Read More

  • 9. 100% Cafe & Restaurant

    $$ | International

    Enthusiastically professing 100% commitment to the quality of the food and service, this popular spot (the name is "yüzdeyüz" in Turkish) is...Read More

  • 10. Arşipel Restaurant

    $$ | Turkish

    The waterfront location in Şevket Sabancı Park, just outside Turgutreis, offers views of the sea along with a nice selection of Turkish and...Read More

  • 11. Asian Kitchen Cafe

    $$$ | Asian

    Travelers craving a change from the usual Turkish fare will be happy to find this establishment right smack in the middle of Pammukale. Catering...Read More

  • 12. Atılay Balık

    $$$ | Seafood

    With fishnets on the ceiling and simple tables under strands of small lights outside, this no-frills fish restaurant on the waterfront has a...Read More

  • 13. Avrasya Ev Yemekleri

    $$ | Turkish

    Hearty traditional Turkish soups, stews, and meat and vegetable dishes are arrayed buffet-style at this cheery lokanta, which is always bustling...Read More

  • 14. Babushka Alaçatı

    $$ | Turkish

    A vine-covered garden is the romantic setting for one of Alaçatı’s newest culinary offerings, an intimate restaurant with a farm-to-table approach...Read More

  • 15. Bağarası

    $$ | Turkish

    Tables are tucked into a lovely hidden garden in summer and in cooler weather service is in a quaint, Bodrum-style, one-story house. The...Read More

  • 16. Balık Pişiricisi Veli Usta

    $$ | Seafood

    On the Kordon waterfront, this seafood restaurant has been open since 1970 and is especially popular with families. The specialty of the house...Read More

  • 17. Balıkçı Hasan

    $$ | Seafood

    There are many popular seafood restaurants along the Kordon waterfront in Alsancak but this one, with indoor and outdoor seating areas, is especially...Read More

  • 18. Begonvil Lezzet Mutfağı

    $ | Turkish

    Tucked away in the Turgutreis market, this tiny restaurant has a few cheery tables in the street and a small chalkboard menu of the day's offerings...Read More

  • 19. Can Döner

    $$ | Turkish

    Not far from the clock tower at the entrance of Kemeraltı, this small local favorite has served traditional Iskender döner from the city...Read More

  • 20. Çardaklı Restaurant

    $$$ | Turkish

    Bedecked with flowers, this waterfront restaurant has a classic Aegean air and wide selection of meze, including stuffed zucchini flowers, yogurt...Read More

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