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 rak? (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 ?erbet (think of it as Ottoman Gatorade); or a sesame-studded feta-and-tomato sandwich, each for less than a dollar in central ?zmir. Simit, the classic Turkish bagel-like street snack, is called gevrek in the ?zmir 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

    $$$

    At this waterfront restaurant, you should begin your meal with a selection of meze, like stuffed zucchini flowers, roasted eggplant with tulum cheese, and octopus...Read More

  • 2. Arşipel Restaurant

    $$

    Summer and winter, the dining room at the Kırkınca Houses Boutique Hotel is the best in town, overlooking the lovely landscape and serving delicious and...Read More

  • 3. Dalyan Restaurant (Cevat'ın Yeri)

    $$$

    This outdoor terrace overlooking the waterfront is an ideal spot in Dalyanköy for a splurgy seafood dinner. After meze of kabak çiçeği dolması (stuffed zucchini...Read More

  • 4. Garo's

    $$$

    The peripatetic Turkish-Armenian maestro Garo heads the kitchen at this enduringly popular stone cottage–turned–waterfront restaurant in Türkbükü with a comfy Greek-taverna feel, friendly staff, and...Read More

  • 5. Gümüşcafé Fish Restaurant

    $$$

    This lovely restaurant on the waterfront specializes not only in fresh fish, seafood, and meze but also serves an excellent summer brunch. Tables are only...Read More

  • 6. Atılay Balık

    $$$

    With fishnets on the ceiling and simple tables under strands of small lights outside, this laid-back fish restaurant on the waterfront in Türkbükü has a...Read More

  • 7. Ayasoluk Restaurant

    $$

    The Ayasoluk Hotel’s restaurant offers meals in a pleasant dining room and romantic courtyard, both with a bucolic sunset view, and features local and organic...Read More

  • 8. Balıkçı Hasan

    $$$

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

  • 9. Deniz Restoran

    $$$

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

  • 10. Ferah

    $$$

    This unpretentiously upscale waterfront seafood restaurant is a favorite with locals, who spill out from the stone walls and onto the terrace with its lovely...Read More

  • 11. Gemibaşı

    $$$

    For almost half a century, this popular, no-frills restaurant near the marina has been serving the freshest seafood in town. House specialties include fish soup...Read More

  • 12. Hoca'nın Yeri

    $

    The specialty of the house at this simple eatery on the boardwalk in Türkbükü is large, rather greasy portions of çiğ böreği, a Crimean dish...Read More

  • 13. Körfez

    $$$

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

  • 14. Limon Cafe

    $$$

    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 and...Read More

  • 15. Mavi Park Restaurant

    $$$

    This waterfront spot in pleasant Şevket Sabancı Park, just outside Turgutreis city center, has grand views of the sea along with a nice selection of...Read More

  • 16. Miam

    $$$$

    Wonderfully prepared seafood is served with polish at this pleasant spot, as are the meat and pasta dishes. After midnight, there are often DJs at...Read More

  • 17. Tuval Restaurant

    $$$

    This seafood and grill restaurant at Çeşme Marina has a menu of international and Turkish dishes, spanning everything from meze to pasta, fajitas, grilled lamb...Read More

  • 18. Kydonia

    $$ | Eclectic

    In this spacious and casual waterfront dining room, the emphasis is on splendid hot and cold meze (appetizers)—more than 70 types are on offer...Read More

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