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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Chef & Wine Bistro

    $$$$ | French

    This tiny, serene hideaway set around a stone house just steps from the water in Bitez is a romantic destination for a gourmet meal. Chef-owner...Read More

  • 11. Dalgıç

    $ | Turkish

    If you're tired of fish, try these homemade, traditional Turkish dishes as a refreshing alternative. They are served in pleasant, friendly...Read More

  • 12. Denizhan Et Lokantası

    $$$ | Turkish

    Famed for its kebabs and other meat dishes, Denizhan also serves up very good appetizers, including lahmacun (Turkish-style whisper-thin flatbread...Read More

  • 13. Dükkan

    $$ | Turkish

    This tiny, colorful eatery serving up Greek and Turkish fare is an increasingly rare find in ever more chichi Bodrum—a homey place that’s both...Read More

  • 14. Gemibaşı

    $$$$ | Turkish

    For almost half a century, this popular presence near the marina has been serving the freshest seafood in town, in no-frills indoor and outdoor...Read More

  • 15. Gümüşcafé Fish Restaurant

    $$$ | Turkish

    Don't let the name fool you—this lovely restaurant on the waterfront in sleepy Gümüşlük specializes not only in fresh fish and an eclectic selection...Read More

  • 16. Hoca'nın Yeri

    $ | Turkish

    The specialty of the house at this simple eatery on the boardwalk in Türkbükü is large, rather greasy portions of çiğ böreği, a Crimean dish...Read More

  • 17. Kavaklı Köfteci

    $ | Turkish

    Köfte (Turkish-style meatballs) is the mainstay of this popular, no-frills eatery, and you can enjoy these delectable morsels with a side of...Read More

  • 18. Köfteci Bilal'ın Yeri

    $ | Turkish

    Turkish grilled meatballs and "home-style" cuisine, served at just a few tables in a no-frills setting, have been a hit for more than half a...Read More

  • 19. Körfez

    $$$ | Turkish

    This long-standing, family-run fish house overlooks the harbor and is especially noted for a wide selection of Cretan dishes and seafood appetizers...Read More

  • 20. Lemon Tree

    $$$ | International

    With a big menu of both Turkish and international fare, including pizza, pasta, salads, and grilled meats, this popular spot sits right on the...Read More

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