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. Arşipel Restaurant

    $$ | Turkish

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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 100% Cafe & Restaurant

    $$ | International

    Enthusiastically professing 100% commitment to the quality of the food and service, this popular spot (the name is "yüzdeyüz" in Turkish) is...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Dalgıç

    $ | Turkish

    If you're tired of fish, try these homemade, traditional Turkish dishes as a refreshing alternative. They are served in pleasant, friendly...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. Gemibaşı

    $$$$ | Turkish

    For almost half a century, this popular presence near the marina has been serving the freshest seafood in town, in no-frills indoor and outdoor...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Hoca'nın Yeri

    $ | Turkish

    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

  • 18. 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

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Köşebaşı

    $$ | Turkish

    The Kordon waterfront outpost of this popular, upscale, and now international Istanbul-based restaurant offers sizzling specialties from the...Read More

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