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. Agrilia Restaurant

    $$$

    This Mediterranean restaurant was around (in a different location) long before the rest of Alaçatı's trendy dining options came on the scene, and remains one...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Ejder Restaurant

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    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 traditional vegetarian...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. İsabey Bağevi

    $$$

    The owners of Sevilen, one of Turkey’s best-known wine brands, have renovated and opened their family home to visitors as a fine-dining restaurant in a...Read More

  • 9. Kalamare

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    Down a quiet, pretty alley just a two-minute stroll from the waterfront, the white, candlelit tables at this seafood restaurant quickly fill with hungry locals....Read More

  • 10. Agora Restaurant

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    This large Turkish restaurant near the Ephesus Museum has an equally large menu, focusing on grilled meats, but also including pide, meze, salads, breakfast, and...Read More

  • 11. Asian Kitchen & Cafe

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

  • 12. Asma Yaprağı

    $$

    This small and romantic garden restaurant is a highlight of Alaçatı’s dining scene, with chef Ayşe Nur Mıhçı famed for her fresh renditions of Aegean...Read More

  • 13. Asmaaltı Cafe

    $

    This charming outdoor café and restaurant is just a five-minute walk from the Priene ruins and features a shaded, leafy atmosphere with gazebos and picnic...Read More

  • 14. 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

  • 15. Avrasya Lokantası

    $$

    Hearty traditional Turkish soups, stews, and meat and vegetable dishes are arrayed buffet-style at this cheery lokanta, which is always bustling at lunchtime. At the...Read More

  • 16. Ayasoluk Restaurant

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    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

  • 17. Babushka Alaçatı

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    Chef Olga Irez's intimate restaurant takes a farm-to-table approach to the food traditions of her and her husband’s Russian and Turkish grandmothers. There are many...Read More

  • 18. Bağarası

    $$$

    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 Mediterranean cuisine...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Bitez Köftecisi

    $$

    A pleasantly old-fashioned place popular with locals, this cozy, casual restaurant a short walk back from the beachfront offers a range of Turkish-style grilled meats,...Read More

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