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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Deniz

    $$$ | Seafood

    Deniz means "sea" in Turkish, an appropriate name for this popular, pricey seafood eatery on the Kordon waterfront, whose tables spill out of...Read More

  • 6. Köşebaşı

    $$ | Turkish

    The Kordon waterfront outpost of this popular, upscale, and now international Istanbul-based restaurant offers sizzling specialties from the...Read More

  • 7. La Cigale

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    Hidden away on a side street off busy Cumhuriyet Bulvarı, this peaceful garden oasis attached to the French Cultural Center offers a range of...Read More

  • 8. Lokanta

    $ | Turkish

    Brighter and cheerier than your average lokanta , this casual eatery also aims to put a new—or, perhaps more accurately, old—spin on Turkish...Read More

  • 9. Mandolin

    $$ | International

    Popular with families, young people, and "ladies who lunch," this café in the Konak Pier shopping mall offers free Wi-Fi, a casual outdoor seating...Read More

  • 10. Reyhan Patisserie

    $ | Café

    With baked goods like strawberry cheesecake, intricate confections, and excellent house-made ice cream and chocolates, along with Turkish classics...Read More

  • 11. Sakız Alsancak

    $$ | Turkish

    By day a popular spot for a fast, fresh lunch, this homey restaurant in Alsancak's business district turns into a lively meyhane (drinking...Read More

  • 12. Villa Levante

    $$ | Mediterranean

    Fine Turkish and international cuisine served in an attractive secluded gazebo and courtyard make this hotel restaurant in the Bornova suburb...Read More

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