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Where to eat in Izmir – a food and dining guide

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Fussy eaters won’t go hungry in Izmir. From traditional Turkish cuisine to exotic dishes and hearty British food, the city is awash with dining establishments that satisfy the most whimsical cravings. A locals’ favorite is the scrumptious Aegean cuisine served in seaside resorts: freshly caught fish and seafood served with a crunchy salad and washed down with a traditional glass of Raki. 

Mehmet Gozen

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Izmir (Aegean Coast)

Izmir’s cookery is a fusion of Turkish and Greek cuisines, visible in the use of yogurt, feta cheese and zucchini. While most visitors opt for delicious fresh seafood served at the city’s waterfront, there are also cheap kebabs and western burgers around the Bazaar area for those who like to eat on the go. The culinary experience doesn’t end here: wake up your taste buds with flavors from all over the world offered in several restaurants scattered around Izmir. Then sweeten up your life in one of the cosmopolitan coffee shops serving flaky pastries and cakes.

 

Something of a local dish is Mucver, which look like pancakes or fritters made with zucchini, eggs, and feta cheese. In winter, locals opt for the Tarhana soup, made from dried yoghurt, tomatoes, and tarhana dough.

 

Alsancak

 

This upmarket area is a long promenade bustling with restaurants, bars and cafes. Near the seaside, Alsancak is a great break from the chaos further inland and around the Bazaar. There are few types of cuisine you won’t find here, but the specialty is fish – so fantastic, it shouldn’t be missed. Watch the sunset from a fine restaurant overlooking the ocean while eating traditional Turkish food and a variety of seafood. One of the best dining experiences can be had in Yengec Restaurant. Try the chef’s special: sea bass with pesto and mushroom or sea bass and grouper covered in oyster sauce – delicious!

 

Yengec Restaurant, Ataturk Caddesi, n. 314/A1. Tel: + 90 232 4645757

 

Kordonboyu

 

This area features dozens of open-air restaurants, cafes and bars which are busy every day. Here you’ll find top-notch restaurants serving the local specialty of sea bream. Kordonboyu is the most idyllic place to watch the sunset in Izmir while enjoying mussels, beer and French fries on alfresco tables. Locals flock to Deniz Restaurant - an old favorite facing the Kordon - for the best fish in town. It might be a bit pricey but the mezes like octopus in oregano and baked sardines are worth the extravagance. Order tuzda balik, fish baked in a block of salt, which is to die-for.

 

Deniz Restaurant, Ataturk Caddesi, n. 188. Tel: + 90 232 464 4499

 

Kemeralti

 

The historical market district of Izmir, Kemeralti is home to some of the cheapest eateries in the city. Not only does bazaar feature tucked-away corners where they serve reviving Turkish coffee and apple tea, but there are also inexpensive Lahmacun Salons, where locals gather to eat Turkish food. Treat yourself to a Turkish pizza with a Lahmacun meat spicy topping accompanied by a cold yogurt drink. For the best Gozleme in town, head to Gozlemecim Restaurant, a cozy eatery near Kemeralti Market where they offer hundreds of these dishes. Their chicken-cheese-mushroom gozleme is a religious experience.

 

Gozlemecim Restaurant, Ozbeck Akkum, 897 sokak, n.19 Kemeralti. Tel: + 90 232 44 52748

 

Urla

 

The restaurants in this seaside resort offer a friendly atmosphere and exquisite fresh seafood. A local’s favorite is Akinin Yeri, a great place to indulge yourself in delicious seafood appetizers. With its friendly atmosphere and reasonable prices, this eatery is perfect for families. Right next to a little old-style fishing harbor stands Sahil Restaurant Urla. As the restaurant offers table service in its beautiful terrace, customers can enjoy the fresh air and admire the sea view while they savor the Chef’s special: deep fry red mullet. You can’t go wrong on baby squid with sevketi-bostan - a local delicacy extracted from wild herb’s roots.

 

Akinin Yeri, Ozbek, n. 16. Tel: + 90 232 753 0303• Sahil Restaurant, Iskele Mahellesi 2121 Sk. No. 8. Tel: + 90 232 752 33 62.