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

    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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Sedir Mantı & Börek Evi

    $$ | Turkish

    Simple but delicious home-cooked dishes like mantı (Turkish "ravioli" with garlicky yogurt), kiremitte köfte (meatballs baked in tomato...Read More

  • 4. Üzüm Cafe

    $$ | Turkish

    This attractive garden café is a relaxing place to take an afternoon break over a cappuccino or fruit smoothie, or to dine on home-cooked Turkish...Read More

  • 5. L'Apero

    $ | Turkish

    This hilltop café is a perfect place to enjoy an aperitif while watching the sun set over Dalyan harbor. You might find yourself back at this...Read More

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