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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Yuvam

    $ | Turkish

    Just around the corner from Öz Urfa in Kuşadası's main bazaar area, "My Nest/Home" truly lives up to its name, offering the kind of food you...Read More

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