15 Best Restaurants In Izmir | Best Food In İzmir

Chasing the Donkey may include affiliate links - if you decide to make a purchase through these links, we receive a commission without any additional cost to you. Disclaimer & privacy policy.
Post author Nicky

Written by our local expert Nicky

Nicky, originally from the UK, is now a local in Turkey. She moved to Marmaris, Türkiye for love 12 years ago and is now your Turkey travel planner.

Izmir is a city on the Aegean city and a wonderful place to visit. Not only is it packed with history, amazing nightlife, culture, and shopping, and it boasts great weather, but its gastronomy scene is off the scale, too.

If you’re visiting Izmir and want the best places to eat (who doesn’t), there here are what I think are the best restaurants in i̇zmir Turkey.

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Restaurants In Izmir

You’ll quickly see that there are more restaurants in Izmir than many other places and that’s because the food in this part of Turkey is super-delicious and fresh. This is the place to go for fresh seafood as the main course, an amazing Turkish breakfast, and street food in abundance.

But like anywhere you go for the first time, it’s easy to make the wrong choice in hindsight and then wish you’d gone somewhere else. To avoid that mistake, I’ve come up with a list of the 15 must-visit restaurants in Izmir.

But first, let’s explore the food scene the types of cuisine that are traditional in this area.

Izmir’s Food Scene

Like everywhere else in Turkey, food is super-important in Izmir and it’s seen as a social thing, bringing friends and family together. You’ll find a range of restaurants across the city, from international fast food giants to doner kebab street vendors, high end restaurants to unbelievably fresh seafood spots, laid-back dining options to traditional spots. Basically, Izmir has it all.

Izmir is a very vibrant city and it’s quite a youthful place. Yet, despite that you’ll find an even mix of old and young enjoying meals, especially on the weekend. In most cases, these meals go on for hours, with endless plates of meze, drinks, and conversation.

Probably the best way to explore Izmir’s food scene is to take a food tour. I can recommend the Izmir City Gourmet Tour, which takes you on a walking tour around the center of the city, trying different Turkish delights specific to the area.

Traditional Foods From Izmir – flavors of turkish cuisine

There are several foods which hail from Izmir and the local surrounding area.

Boyoz 

Traditional Izmir Pastry Boyoz
 

Traditionally a breakfast bread, boyoz is a flaky type of borek that has no filling. It goes wonderfully well with cheese and is often enjoyed with a glass of çay.

Kumru 

A delicious kumru sandwich from Alacati displayed beautifully on a plate.

Kumru is a large sandwich that is often toasted and includes cheese, sausage, ham, tomatoes, and pickles. Most people eat it smothered in ketchup and mayonnaise. It’s definitely filling.

Söğüş 

This one isn’t for the picky eaters out there but it’s famous in this area. It is a type of street food which is basically offal and traditionally contains cheek, brain and tongue. Parsley, onion, and sumac spice is added and it’s eaten either alone or with rice, but always cold.

Izmir Bomba 

If you have a sweet tooth, you have to try bomba. This is a thin pastry ball filled with a huge amount of melted chocolate (basically Nutella). It’s traditionally eaten warm.

Kokorec 

Turkish Street Food Kokorec made with sheep bowel cooked in wood fired oven. fast food.

Another famous street food is kokorec, which is lamb or goat intestines chopped up and seasoned. You’ll find this in Izmir and Istanbul, but the Izmir version isn’t chopped up as small as you’ll find it in Istanbul. It’s then served in bread.

Izmir Kofte 

A tray full of Mercimekli kofte, bursting with vibrant spices.

This is probably the most famous dish in Izmir and you’ll find it everywhere. These meatballs that are slightly different in shape to the kofte you’ll find elsewhere; they’re more sausage shaped, and they’re usually served in a tomato sauce with potato and sometimes peppers. However, you can find it in a dry version too.

15 Best Restaurants In Izmir

You won’t struggle to find a fantastic restaurant in Izmir, but here are 15 of the best.

1. Asansör Restoran – top picks for a view

Turgut Reis, Şht. Nihatbey Cd. 76/A, 35000 Konak/İzmir

If you want a meal with a view and you want to try some traditional cuisine or some great seafood, head to this spot. However, you will need to reserve a table beforehand if you don’t want to be disappointed because it’s super-popular.

Located at the top of a very tall building that has been open since 1907, the Izmir Historical Elevator Building, this restaurant is a great place to see a panoramic view over the city. They also serve delicious local cuisine, including Izmir kofte, freshly caught seafood, and amazing casseroles.

2. İzmir Sakız Alsancak Restaurant – One of the top restaurants in izmir

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Restaurants In Izmir_İzmir Sakız Alsancak RestaurantPhoto Credit: İzmir Sakız Alsancak Restaurant
Akdeniz, Atatürk Cd. No:158/A, 35210 Konak/İzmir
You won’t struggle to find seafood restaurants in Izmir, particularly in the Alsancak area that runs along the coast of the Aegean. However, this particular restaurant is one of the best and it’s often busy with locals and tourists alike.
This is a top place to go if you want to try meze, seafood, and raki, which is a traditional way to enjoy time with friends or family members. You’ll find a huge range of different meze on offer, and you can go to the open fridge and choose the ones you want. You can also select your seafood in the same way. However, if you’re not into fish, they also serve steaks and kofte.

3. Yengeç Restaurant – Top dining in izmir

Alsancak, Atatürk Caddesi No:314 Kordon, 35460 Konak/İzmir
Yengec Restaurant is one of the most popular in the whole of Izmir, and it’s a good idea to reserve a table before you want to go. The restaurant itself sits in a stone building that dates back 150 years and it has a beautiful seafront location with large outdoor patio seating area available in the summer.
This is a great place to try traditional food, and the staff are very helpful in giving their recommendations. You’ll find meat dishes, vegetarian choices, and plenty of different types of seafood to try. The entire menu is designed around seasonal produce, so everything tastes super fresh no matter what the time of year. They also do great cocktails!

RECOMMENDED POSTS

4. La Cigale – French Restaurant

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Restaurants In Izmir_La CigalePhoto Credit: La Cigale
Kültür Mahallesi Alsancak Mahallesi Fransız Kültür Merkezi Cumhuriyet Bulvarı, 35220 Konak
Strictly speaking, this isn’t a Turkish restaurant but a French one, yet it’s one of the most popular spots in Izmir and definitely worth a visit.
Here, you’ll find traditional French food with amazing salads and even the odd Italian dish thrown in for good measure. Absolutely try the classic French cheese plate with a glass of wine.
The restaurant itself has a beautiful décor, and the vibe inside is really classy yet comfortable. This is another restaurant you’d be best reserving a table for to avoid any disappointment, particularly at weekends. This is one of the top places for celebrations and special occasions, too, so it can get busy with large parties.

5. Tavaci Recap Usta

Alsancak, Atatürk Cd. No:364, 35220 Konak/İzmir
If you’re keen to try different traditional kebabs, head to Tavaci Recap Usta, one of the most popular meat spots in the city. Here, you can try all manner of different meat dishes, including succulent lamb that literally melts off the bone. This is also a great place to try the famous Izmir kofte without the street food label.
Before your meal, you’ll be served with a plate of meze and delicious, fresh bread while you wait for your mains.
If you’re not sure what each kebab includes, the staff will be more than happy to help you. You can also sit outside during the warmer months, with a spacious outdoor patio area on offer.

6. Deniz Restaurant – Aegean Seaside View

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Restaurants In Izmir_Deniz RestaurantPhoto Credit: Deniz Restaurant
Kültür, İzmir Palas Oteli, Atatürk Cd. No: 188/B ZEMİN, 35220 Konak/İzmir
A restaurant named after the sea pretty much tells you what they offer – seafood; but not just any old seafood – the best seafood. This restaurant is a city staple, having opened its doors in 1981.
It has a stylish vibe inside, but it doesn’t feel uncomfortable; instead, it’s very welcoming, and the staff are accommodating. Of course, you also get an amazing sea view.
The meze menu is large and slightly different from many other seafood restaurants around. Be sure to try the stuffed zucchini and olives before moving to your main meal. The fish here is freshly caught and cooked perfectly; if you want your fish without bones, you can ask for a fillet, too.

7. Mavra Restaurant

Cemal Gürsel Caddesi, İnci Apt No:506, 35590 Karşıyaka
Mavra Restaurant is a great choice for groups that want a mixture of meat and fish; for instance, if one of you isn’t into fish but some area, you’ll find a great choice for everyone here. The wine menu is also extensive, and the staff will help you choose the right bottle to pair with your meal. It isn’t the cheapest restaurant in the city, but it’s more than worth the occasional splurge.
You’ll find traditional Turkish food here along with amazing meze that are made with the freshest ingredients possible. Grilled octopus is a famous dish to try here, and it’s so popular that it’s considered the restaurant’s most-ordered meal. However, you won’t struggle to find something delicious to suit your palette in this small yet fantastic spot.

8. Ristorente Pizzeria Venedik

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Restaurants In Izmir_Ristorente Pizzeria Venedik
Photo Credit: Ristorente Pizzeria Venedik

Kültür, 1382 Sokak, Alsancak – İzmir Gül sokak No:10/A-B, 35220 Konak

Everyone fancies a good slice of pizza from time to time, and if that’s the case, the best place to head is Ristorante Pizzeria Venedik. While pizza isn’t Turkish, the ingredients used in these pizzas most definitely are, giving you an Italian and Turkish twist.

It’s also a popular restaurant, so you know you’re getting good quality.

The cheese and fresh prosciutto pizza is a major hit, but there are many other choices available, including a seafood version and one that also includes mussels and shrimp. They also do smaller pizzas like the pizza al quattro for children, so it’s a family-friendly spot to visit.

9. Kofteci Remzi

Bostanlı, Cemal Gürsel Cd. No:486, 35590 Karşıyaka/İzmir

We know that Izmir kofte is famous in this area and it should be tried in a high quality place – that’s exactly what this restaurant is. They also serve a great range of other kebabs and fresh soup. Kofteci Remzi is a favourite in the local area and it’s been pen since 1965, which should give you some idea of how good it is.

The restaurant is set by the water, so you can sit and enjoy the view, and the staff are very helpful if you’re not sure what to order. Everything is cooked to perfection and made with the freshest ingredients possible.

10. Etci Ahmet

[caption id="attachment_125513" align="alignnone" width="900"]Turkey Travel Blog_Best Restaurants In Izmir_Etci Ahmet Photo Credit: Etci Ahmet

Bostanlı, Cemal Bülbül Sk. 15/A, 35590 Karşıyaka/İzmir

For a special occasion, Etci Ahmet is the best place to go. It’s high quality and fine dining, which means a higher price tag, but it’s more than worth it for the quality of food you get. You can choose different meze, and the list is massive, before looking at the main menu, which includes an array of different grilled meats and fantastic steaks. They also have a large range of vegetarian options too.

The wine menu is extensive, and this is definitely a place to enjoy slowly and take your time indulging in conversation and people-watching. However, this is another that may be worth reserving at the table simply because it’s so popular.

11. Damla Restaurant

Kültür, 1407. Sk. 8 B, 35220 Konak/İzmir

If you’re looking for somewhere simple that serves delicious food with no fuss, Damla is the place to go. This is a meyhane, which means it serves alcohol, and it’s a local favorite. You’ll see many local people enjoying a meal here and plenty of conversation with family and friends.

The vibe in this restaurant is really cozy and calm; you don’t feel like you’re in a busy restaurant at all. The food is also top-notch, with amazing meze and great meat dishes on offer. The vegetarian choices are limited, but if you speak to the waiting staff, they’re sure to help you.

12. Pally Restoran & Kokteyl Bar

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Restuarants In Izmir_Pally Restoran & Kokteyl Bar
Photo Credit: Pally Restoran & Kokteyl Bar

Çınarlı, Mistral Tower, Ankara Asfaltı Cad No:15/1AG, 35170 Konak/İzmir

Pally is the perfect place to go and socialize for an evening and enjoy a delicious meal. The menu is primarily made up of international choices, and they have a great selection of pastas and pizzas. The plus point is that they also have a great cocktail menu, and they make their drinks with fresh ingredients.

This restaurant gets very busy at the weekends when it turns into a vibrant and fun place to spend some time. However, it’s never rowdy, and it always has a fun feel in the air.

13. Ozsut Cafe

Alsancak, İrfan Boyuer Sk. No:18, 35220 Konak/İzmir

Turkish desserts are just as delicious as main meals, and this café is where you’ll find the best tea, coffee, and cake in Izmir. There are several branches throughout the city, but the one in Alsancak offers a great ambiance and close proximity to the sea.

On a cold day, try a strong Turkish coffee or a glass of salep, and when it’s warm, enjoy some ice cream from the huge selection on offer. They also serve traditional Turkish cakes, and they have a large breakfast menu to choose from.

14. Vino Locale

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Restaurants In Izmir_Vino Locale
Photo Credit: Vino Locale

Kuşçular, 8037. Sk. No:3, 35430 Urla/İzmir

Located just outside of Izmir itself, in the small region of Urla, you’ll find this extremely high-quality restaurant with a high-end feel. They also have one of the best wine lists in the entire area because Urla itself is a seriously up-and-coming wine region.

You will need to reserve a table at this restaurant, such is its popularity. You can choose to sit indoors or outdoors during summer nights, and the range of food on offer is exquisite. The interior is really comfortable and cozy; it feels a lot more like a neat family home than a dining establishment.

Oh, and did I mention that this restaurant has a Michelin star?

15. Cappadocia Restaurant 

Alsancak, 1440. Sk. No: 6/D, 35220 Konak/İzmir

The best authentic Turkish food can definitely be found at Cappadocia Restaurant in Alsancak. Yes, the name might be confusing, but no, you’re not actually in Cappadocia! This is a small restaurant, but it certainly serves mighty food, and you can choose to sit indoors or outdoors, depending upon the weather. It’s also pretty family-friendly too. 

Here, you’ll find a different type of cuisine than you might be used to. We’re not talking about kebabs but meat and vegetable-based food like stews. The guveç here is off the charts, and certainly try the bamya, which is filling and a flavor explosion in your mouth of the very best kind. 

Brands We Use And Trust



FAQs

IZMIR RESTAURANTS FAQS

What can I expect from the food scene in Izmir?

The food scene in Izmir is diverse and vibrant, offering a wide range of delicious options. From traditional Turkish dishes to international cuisine, you will find something to satisfy every palate.

Are there any vegetarian or vegan-friendly restaurants in Izmir?

Absolutely! Izmir has a growing number of vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants that cater to plant-based diets. You can find delicious options like falafel, vegetable-based mezes, vegan kebabs, and more.

Can you recommend any seafood restaurants in Izmir?

If you’re a seafood lover, you’re in luck! Izmir is known for its fresh seafood. Some excellent seafood restaurants to try are “Rıza Balık” in Alsancak, “Kordon Balıkçısı” in Kordon, and “Hacıbey” in Konak. These spots offer a wide variety of mouth-watering seafood dishes.

Are there any rooftop restaurants or cafes with a view in Izmir?

Yes! Izmir boasts several rooftop restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy a meal or a drink with breathtaking views of the city and the Aegean Sea. “Soho Rooftop Restaurant & Bar” in Alsancak, “Raven Terrace Bar” in Alsancak, and “La Scala Roof” in Konak are some popular options.

Is it necessary to make reservations at restaurants in Izmir?

While it may not be necessary to make reservations at every restaurant, it is always a good idea, especially during peak tourist season. Some popular and upscale dining establishments may have limited seating, making reservations essential for guaranteed seating.

Are credit cards widely accepted in restaurants in Izmir?

Yes, most restaurants in Izmir accept credit cards. However, it is a good idea to carry some cash with you, especially when visiting small local eateries or street food stalls, as they may not accept cards.

Are there any food festivals or events that take place in Izmir?

Yes, Izmir hosts various food festivals and events throughout the year. The International Izmir Festival in September, the Izmir Street Food Festival in May, and the best Baklava Festival in August are just a few examples. These events showcase the culinary diversity and local delicacies of the region.

Can you recommend any food markets or bazaars in Izmir?

The Kemeraltı Bazaar in Konak is a must-visit for food enthusiasts. It’s a historic market filled with local produce, spices, sweets, and many more culinary delights. Additionally, the Alsancak Farmers Market makes a great place to find fresh and organic ingredients directly from local producers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Move This Adventure To Your Inbox & Get An Instant Freebie

Subscribe To Unlock Your FREE Customizable Travel Packing List & All Our Best Tips!