Top 5 foodie tips for eating like a local in Izmir
Izmir is not only famous for being the most modern and colorful city of Turkey, it’s also famous for its delicious street food. After all, isn’t street food the best way to experience a country’s cuisine? The coastal city of Izmir is perfect for wandering around as most of the attractions are relatively close to each other, centered around the coast and easy to get around because of the flat landscape.
Start your trip in Alsancak; the cultural center of the city, just a short distance from the Park Inn by Radisson Izmir. The small, historic streets of Alsancak are filled with cozy little bars, plus you’ll find plenty of local restaurants and street food! Make sure to taste our top 5 street foods on your way:
Gevrek and boyoz
While walking around, you will see many street “gevrek” or “boyoz” being sold in food-carts in the city. Boyoz is a delicious pastry served with baked eggs and brewed tea, often known as a gift from the Jewish community to Izmir and comes from the Sephardic cuisine. In the bakeries in Alsancak you can find different variations of boyoz, such as boyoz with artichoke, spinach, cheese, and tahini. Although “gevrek” looks like the other types of bagels found in other cities, it’s a pastry unique to Izmir. It is soaked in molasses before baking and this method comes from the Caucasian Turks tradition. A hot, crispy and fragrant gevrek with plenty of sesame makes a great breakfast when served with a slice of goat cheese, fresh tomatoes, green pepper and a glass of well-brewed tea. You can find gevreks at all hours of the day in special glass-fronted cabinets found all over the city as well as in bakeries in Alsancak.
After you’ve devoured this fragrant sesame snack, head to the Kemeraltı Bazaar which is located just a 10-minute car ride away from Park Inn by Radisson Izmir. Find a little local cafe and order a Turkish coffee, which will be one of the best coffees you will ever have! In fact, there is a saying in Turkish: “A cup of Turkish coffee is remembered for 40 years.”
Kamaraltı Bazaar is great for shopping, but don’t forget to check out some of the antique shops, old churches there as you enjoy the unique architecture. You’ll probably get hungry sooner or later with all the wandering around, so head to a “kumpir” place and find yourself a seat. Kumpir is a traditional baked potato or jacket potatoes with cheese and butter whipped with rich toppings.
Mussels & beer
Your next stop is Kordon – the coastal edge of the city. Time for a cold beer with a view of the sunset! While looking for a pub to enjoy the beautiful gulf view, it will be difficult to walk past the stuffed mussels sellers along the way with huge baskets filled with the shiny, black shells and wedges of fresh juicy lemon. Stuffed mussels are called “midye dolma” and locals usually eat them with beer.
Fresh seafood in Kordon
If you still happen to have space for more food, find a waterfront seafood restaurant in Kordon where you can sit, order some sea bass, fried calamari and drink raki; an unsweetened, anise-flavored Turkish alcoholic drink. Sit back, relax and enjoy beautiful Izmir as you watch the boats go by and the sun set around you.
Park Inn by Radisson Izmir
Izmir is definitely the one-stop-shop for the best street food you can find in Turkey, so why not enjoy it in style with Park Inn by Radisson Izmir. You can wake up right in the heart of the city, next to the Kordon, the city’s famous seafront promenade that offers a vibrant view of the Aegean Sea. You will also be easily connected to the ceity center and the Adnan Menderes International Airport so you won’t be far to catch your flight to your next destination!