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. Dalyan Restaurant "Cevat'ın Yeri"

    $$$ | Seafood

    This outdoor terrace overlooking the waterfront is an ideal spot in Dalyanköy for a splurgy seafood dinner. Everything here is prepared with...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. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Balıkçı Hasan

    $$ | Seafood

    There are many popular seafood restaurants along the Kordon waterfront in Alsancak but this one, with indoor and outdoor seating areas, is especially...Read More

  • 7. Deniz

    $$$ | Seafood

    Deniz means "sea" in Turkish, an appropriate name for this popular, pricey seafood eatery on the Kordon waterfront, whose tables spill out of...Read More

  • 8. Ferah

    $$$ | Seafood

    Since it opened in 2009, this laid-back, upscale waterfront seafood restaurant has become a favorite with locals, who spill out from the stone...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Karina

    $$$ | Seafood

    Tables spill out of the small courtyard into the cobblestone alley at this fish and meze restaurant in central Alaçatı. The service is on the...Read More

  • 11. Miam

    $$$$ | Seafood

    Wonderfully prepared seafood is served with polish, as are the meat and pasta dishes; sea bass medallions and rack of lamb are among the specialties...Read More

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