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. 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. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Ünal Restaurant

    $$ | Turkish

    There are no views here, but this helps to give this friendly restaurant a less touristy vibe than is usual in Pamukkale. The good menu features...Read More

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