A regional favourite, meatballs cooked in tomatoe sauce, green peppers and potatoes takes the city’s name as İzmir Köfte (meatballs). We recommend you not to leave the city without trying the İzmir köfte at one of the local esnaf (artisan) restaurants.
Şevket-i Bostan (Holy thistle) is a local herb, popularly used in İzmir cuisine. It is a type of plant with the root and the stem part are all edible. Şevket-i bostan has been used by herbalists since the 1500s for alternative herbal treatments. Magnesium, calcium, and iron minerals are very rich in this herb which can be consumed cold as a salad with olive oil or cooked with chunks of lamb meat.
Arapsaçı (Wild Fennel)
Arapsaçı (also known as wild fennel) is commanly used herb, both in cooking and for medicinal purposes. Structurally similar to dill, it has a less pungent flavour than anise. It can be used in salads with olive oil or cooked with lamb meat.
Variety of Local Herbs
Herbs are an important part of İzmir cuisine. As most of them are endemic to the region, or used in cuisine in their authentic ways, they are named by locals and know with their local names. Sarmaşık (Ivy), ebegümeci (common mallow), ısırgan otu (nettle), cibez (radish-like herb), radika-karahindibağ (dandelion greens), Şevket-i Bostan (holy thistle), deniz börülcesi (samphire), hardal otu (leaf mustard), kenger (gundelia) , kuzu kulağı (sorrel), yaban enginarı (wild artichoke) , arapsaçı (wild fennel) are just some of the most consumed herbs of İzmir. These herbs are mostly boiled or sauted, dressed in olive oil and lemon and take their place on the tables as salads.
An addition to İzmir cuisine by city’s Jews, the dish is made by first boiling and then frying the leek with meat and bread.
One of the indispensable tastes of the Aegean tables equipped with appetizers, zucchini flower stuffing is made from the flowers of freshly collected zucchinis as the name suggests. Stuffed zucchini, which is a typical dish of Cretan cuisine, is also preferred because it’s a light meal.
Artichoke, which is often referred to as health potion thanks to its numerous benefits, is abundant in spring. It can also be blended with broad beans and flavored with dill. It’s usually cooked with olive oil. The stuffed artichoke and salad are other options. Having a 2 festival organized to its name in Urla every year, artichoke is a herb you should definitely try in İzmir.
Lokma is a small, round, syrupy friedcake made in the mobile kitchens that you will come across while you are visiting the city. It has a flavor that especially sherbet dessert lovers should not miss. After the dough balls fried in hot oil are rested with plenty of sherbet, they are served with cinnamon and usually distributed free of charge. If you want to eat this dessert, you can go to the shops on Anafartalar Street in Basmane or on the Karşıyaka shore.
This dessert prepared with gum of the mastic tree (pistacchia terebinthus) will fascinate you with its smell first. If you want to eat this dessert, you should turn your route to Çeşme.
Mastic Flavoured Ice Cream
Another special flavor of Çeşme is the gummy ice cream which has an exquisite smell. You can consume gummy ice cream with other desserts that you can eat to cool off in summer.
Mastic Flour Cookies
When you go to Mordoğan, one of the desserts you should taste is the gummy flour cookie. These crispy fresh cookies taste even better with tea.
If you want to have a sweet break while visiting the historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, you can try the sambali, which is made from semolina, sugar and milk, and served with cinnamon and clotted cream.
If you want to taste the samsade made from mandarin which is one of the traditional tastes of Seferihisar, your main address should be the Women's Products Market established in Kale Inn on Sundays. If you are visiting the market, you can also buy
You will love this dessert which is served with black mulberry jam placed on Tire’s famous curd cheese.
The sherbets that you can drink with any meal of the day or another time are among the almost-forgotten tastes of İzmir. The most famous kinds are almond sherbet with cinnamon, grape sherbet, subye of Sephardic Jews (a drink made from melon seeds), tamarind, cranberries, and black mulberry sherbet. You can go to the shops in the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar to drink icy black mulberry sherbet and to cafes around Kızlarağası Inn for grape sherbet. Lemonade is another refreshing alternative in the summer.
It is another major stop during the journey into the cuisine of İzmir. Fish dishes such as sardines cooked in vine leaves, sole fillet, fried picarel, sea bream, fried papalina, fish cooked with milk (sütlü balık) and salty fish, octopus nibbles, scallops, shrimps, mussels, stuffed mussels, cuttlefish and hermit crab are a selection of what will be served at table.
Street food of İzmir do not let down the ones who love street food. If you want to experience a typical İzmir breakfast, try “boyoz”, a delicious fried pastry, “gevrek”, the twice-baked simit, and “pisi”, a fried bread best eaten with İzmir’s famous “tulum cheese”. Another local flavor is “kumru”, a delicious sandwich made with salami, cheese and tomatoes. The bun is what makes this sandwich special. Kelle söğüş, kokoreç and mussels are also among the favorite street tastes of İzmir.
İzmir is also renowned for its excellent bakeries and desserts. A popular local delicacy is “Sambali”, a dessert made with semolina and yogurt. “Zerde”, a rice pudding, and “lor tatlısı” made with lor cheese, “lokma” you see every corner in İzmir streets.