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. Begonvil Lezzet Mutfağı

    $ | Turkish

    Tucked away in the Turgutreis market, this tiny restaurant has a few cheery tables in the street and a small chalkboard menu of the day's offerings...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Furun Café & Patisserie

    $ | Bakery

    A group of siblings has turned this 100-year-old bakery into a charming patisserie, with selections like jasmine-flavored cheesecake and blueberry...Read More

  • 4. Hanimeli Restaurant

    $ | Turkish

    This home-style restaurant just off the main street in downtown Çeşme may look a little uninviting from the front. Butthere's a lush garden...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Kavaklı Köfteci

    $ | Turkish

    Köfte (Turkish-style meatballs) is the mainstay of this popular, no-frills eatery, and you can enjoy these delectable morsels with a side of...Read More

  • 7. Köfteci Bilal'ın Yeri

    $ | Turkish

    Turkish grilled meatballs and "home-style" cuisine, served at just a few tables in a no-frills setting, have been a hit for more than half a...Read More

  • 8. Kumrucu Şevki

    $ | Turkish

    Ilıca is known for kumru— Turkish-style panini prepared with special sesame-seed rolls and stuffed with salami, sucuk (beef spicy sausage...Read More

  • 9. Lokanta

    $ | Turkish

    Brighter and cheerier than your average lokanta , this casual eatery also aims to put a new—or, perhaps more accurately, old—spin on Turkish...Read More

  • 10. Reyhan Patisserie

    $ | Café

    With baked goods like strawberry cheesecake, intricate confections, and excellent house-made ice cream and chocolates, along with Turkish classics...Read More

  • 11. Sacide

    $ | Turkish

    In a town full of overpriced meals, this one is a great place to find an inexpensive and delicious home-cooked meal, prepared by a mother-and...Read More

  • 12. Selçuk Pidecisi

    $ | Turkish

    Blissfully lacking the touts trying to lure tourists into the restaurants around Cengiz Topel Caddessi, this tiny, friendly pide shop is...Read More

  • 13. Yuvam

    $ | Turkish

    Just around the corner from Öz Urfa in Kuşadası's main bazaar area, "My Nest/Home" truly lives up to its name, offering the kind of food you...Read More

  • 14. Daphne

    $ | Turkish

    A garden and a fireplace make this spot ideal in either summer or winter. The fusion menu combines international favorites and seafood. One...Read More

  • 15. Günhan Restaurant

    $ | Turkish

    One of the few places to eat in by the Ephesus ruins and serves a variety of dishes - from sandwiches to traditional Turkish dishes and kebabs...Read More

  • 16. L'Apero

    $ | Turkish

    This hilltop café is a perfect place to enjoy an aperitif while watching the sun set over Dalyan harbor. You might find yourself back at this...Read More

  • 17. Sahil

    $ | Turkish

    This waterfront restauarnt across from the Ertan Hotel serves fresh, tasty appetizers and typical Turkish dishes like lamb kebabs and grilled...Read More

  • 18. Sevim Café

    $ | Turkish

    The location on a busy corner is less than appealing, but such dishes as the mantı (meat-filled ravioli topped with garlicky yogurt) are delicious...Read More

  • 19. Yıldız Restaurant

    $ | Turkish

    Yıldız is a good option for a good and reasonably priced lunch in Alaçatı, where prices are skyrocketing. The family-owned spot serves homemade...Read More

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