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. Agrilia Restaurant

    $$$ | Italian

    This Italian-Argentinian restaurant in the garden courtyard of an old Greek house, now the TashMahal Hotel, was around long before the rest...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 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. Asian Kitchen Cafe

    $$$ | Asian

    Travelers craving a change from the usual Turkish fare will be happy to find this establishment right smack in the middle of Pammukale. Catering...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Çardaklı Restaurant

    $$$ | Turkish

    Bedecked with flowers, this waterfront restaurant has a classic Aegean air and wide selection of meze, including stuffed zucchini flowers, yogurt...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Denizhan Et Lokantası

    $$$ | Turkish

    Famed for its kebabs and other meat dishes, Denizhan also serves up very good appetizers, including lahmacun (Turkish-style whisper-thin flatbread...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. 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

  • 16. Körfez

    $$$ | Turkish

    This long-standing, family-run fish house overlooks the harbor and is especially noted for a wide selection of Cretan dishes and seafood appetizers...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 18. Lemon Tree

    $$$ | International

    With a big menu of both Turkish and international fare, including pizza, pasta, salads, and grilled meats, this popular spot sits right on the...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Mi Casa Trattoria

    $$$ | Italian

    Although not far removed from the hub of the nightlife in Alaçatı, this comfortable bar and romantic dining room is tucked away on a secluded...Read More

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