Turkey’s ‘Pearl of the Aegean’ has plenty to offer apart from very fresh and delicious seafood. From amazing desserts to Aegean and Turkish classics, here are some dishes you can savor while in Izmir.
Meze (appetizers) are a classic in Turkish cities bordering the sea and are best enjoyed with rakı and friends. Yengeç is one of the best places to try meze because their menu has a vast amount of options from honey calamarı to grilled eggplant and so much more.
Yengeç, İskele Mahallesi 2121. Sokak No: 6 Daire: 1 Urla, Izmir, Turkey, +90 232 752 11 52
Apart from fresh fish, the Aegean also has a lot of amazing seafood on offer, and Akının Yeri is one of Izmir’s most popular seafood restaurants. The calamari is amazing and comes highly recommended.
Akının Yeri, Özbek Mahallesi, 35430 Urla, Izmir, Turkey, +90 232 753 02 32
Gözleme is the ultimate comfort food and is composed of slightly grilled sheets of dough with various fillings. Izmir’s Gözlemecim has more than 700 kinds of delicious gözleme and is, therefore, quite popular.
Gözlemecim, Konak Mahallesi, 897. Sk., Konak, Izmir, Turkey, +90 536 685 86 85
No trip to the Aegean would be complete without some fresh fish, and Deniz Restaurant is one of the best places to get the catch of the day grilled to perfection.
Deniz Restaurant, Kültür Mahallesi, No:/B, Atatürk Cd. No:188, Izmir, Turkey, +90 232 464 44 99
Urla is about a half an hour drive from Izmir city and is famous for both its wine and katmer. The puffy and buttery pastry is filled with cheese and parsley or minced meat, and visitors should definitely try it at Ege’nin Lale Katmercisi.
Ege’nin Lale Katmercisi, Malgaca Pazari No:23 Urla, Izmir, Turkey, +90 232 754 52 79
Mavra Restaurant is one of Izmir’s most frequented seafood restaurants serving classic meze and fish. However, the house specialty is the grilled octopus, which has become a favorite among regulars.
Şambalı is made from baked semolina, yogurt, and sugar and topped with sugar and almonds. Izmir’s Meşhur Hisarönü Şambalıcısı has been making this dessert since 1942 and serves it with a side of clotted cream. It’s heavenly.
A delightful dessert, profiteroles are composed of crispy pastry balls filled with cream and topped with a thick chocolate sauce. In Izmir, Reyhan Pastanesi is the best place to get a taste of this amazing saccharine wonder.
Izmir has a lot of excellent bakeries and patisseries, and Şortan Pastanesi is known for its amazing Lor Tatlısı. These sweet pastries, made with lor cheese, are moist due to a sweet sherbet.
If all that seafood has you yearning for some meat, then Tavacı Recep Usta is the best place to go in Izmir. You’ll find plenty of kebab varieties as well as grilled lamb chops or liver shish.
Tavacı Recep Usta, Ulus, Atatürk Cd. No:364, 34537 Alsancak, Izmir, Turkey, +90 232 463 87 97