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. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 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. Eski Ev

    $$ | Turkish

    The Ottoman motifs seem a bit touristy, but the place is done up nicely, in the peaceful, open-air courtyard of an old house, shaded by a towering...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Kamacı 2

    $$$ | Seafood

    One of the best (and pricier) restaurants in Altınkum is right on the water at the end of the pier, with a beautiful view of the sea and fresh...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Limon Cafe

    $$$ | Turkish

    Settle into a lovely, fig-scented garden about 2 km (1 mile) outside town, overlooking citrus trees, the sea, and the ancient city of Myndos...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Beatrice

    $$ | Italian

    A limited menu of delicious choices, prepared by Italian owner and chef Beatrice, is served in a soothing atmosphere, accented with attentive...Read More

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