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. 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. 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

  • 7. Kalamare


    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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Babushka Alaçatı


    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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Cafe La Cigale


    Hidden away on a side street off busy Cumhuriyet Bulvarı, this peaceful garden oasis attached to the French Cultural Center offers a range of well-prepared...Read More

  • 14. Eski Ev


    The Ottoman motifs seem a bit touristy, but the place is done up nicely, in the peaceful, open-air courtyard of an old house, shaded by...Read More

  • 15. 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

  • 16. Gunbatimi


    By early evening, the white tables spread across the green lawn in front of Gunbatimi are full of customers coming to witness the inspiration for...Read More

  • 17. Karina


    Tables spill out of the small courtyard into the cobblestone alley at this fish and meze restaurant in central Alaçatı. Innovative house specialties include a...Read More

  • 18. 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

  • 19. Villa Levante


    Fine Turkish and international cuisine served in an attractive secluded gazebo and courtyard make this hotel restaurant in the Bornova suburb worth the 8-km (5-mile)...Read More

  • 20. Zeytinlina Restaurant


    A broad, mostly reasonably priced menu of well-executed dishes—both Turkish and international—is offered in a setting that encourages leisurely lingering over a meal. Tables are...Read More

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