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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Didim Şehir Lokantası

    $$ | Turkish

    The quality and price of the offerings make the trip out to this residential neighborhood (sometimes still known by its old name "Yenihisar...Read More

  • 10. Dost Pide & Pizza

    $$ | Turkish

    Stopping here for pide (Turkish-style pizza or calzones, piled with a variety of ingredients that can include cheese, spinach, meat, or...Read More

  • 11. Furun Café & Patisserie

    $ | Bakery

    A group of siblings has turned this 100-year-old bakery into a charming patisserie, with selections like jasmine-flavored cheesecake and blueberry...Read More

  • 12. Hanimeli Restaurant

    $ | Turkish

    This home-style restaurant just off the main street in downtown Çeşme may look a little uninviting from the front. Butthere's a lush garden...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. Kumrucu Şevki

    $ | Turkish

    Ilıca is known for kumru— Turkish-style panini prepared with special sesame-seed rolls and stuffed with salami, sucuk (beef spicy sausage...Read More

  • 16. Liman Köftecisi

    $$ | Turkish

    Köfte (Turkish-style meatballs), in all their sizzling variety, are the specialty at this casual and charming blue-and-white eatery in the...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 18. Öz Urfa

    $$ | Turkish

    The name means "pure Urfa" (Urfa is a city famed for its sizzling grilled meats), and the focus at this causal, 50-year-old spot is on kebabs...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Selçuk Pidecisi

    $ | Turkish

    Blissfully lacking the touts trying to lure tourists into the restaurants around Cengiz Topel Caddessi, this tiny, friendly pide shop is...Read More

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