The City of Flavor

İzmir offers a cuisine full of health with its olive oil, various herbs and sea food…


İzmir cuisine has largely been affected by its multicultural history, hence the large variety of food. The city’s food shows the influence of Cretan, Greek, Balkan and of course Turkish cuisine, and was reshaped according to the taste of Levantines, who lived in İzmir during Ottoman Period.


The fertile land as well as the surrounding sea of İzmir provides the city with abundance of fresh vegetables and seafood and İzmir and Aegean cuisines have become much more popular in recent years with the increasing demand for healthy food.


Olive oil forms an integral part of the culinary tradition and has been used in Aegean cooking for over 4,000 years. Olive orchards and production plants are plenty in the region and even the simplest grilled fish or blanched herbs find new heights once drizzled with this liquid of the Gods.


There are two other trademark tastes of İzmir: boyoz and kumru. Easily found almost anywhere in İzmir, these two are “must-taste”s for visitors. With Judeo-Spanish roots, boyoz, mainly a mix of sunflower oil and flour and a little sesame paste is a round pastry made plain, or with meat, spinach or cheese filling.


Kumru, on the other hand, is a special kind of sandwich, featuring kasseri cheese, sucuk (spicy sausage), and slices of tomato. With bakeries open 24/7, especially in Çeşme, kumru is the first choice of all who want a satisfying bite fast.


Without a doubt, culinary highlight of the Aegean and İzmir is the wild greens and herbs, collected by villagers from gardens, fields, plains and farms; prepared and cooked in the simplest ways, slightly blanched or sautéed with olive oil. It may take a bit of knowledge to fully perceive the variety because the little on the meze platters (small appetizers) they may seem fairly uniform at first glance. Save your appetite and try ivy, mallow, nettle, will cabbage, radish, wild mustard, blessed thistle, chicory, glasswort, angel’s tears and watercress.


Seafood is another highlight and countless fresh seafood restaurants border the seashore. The city is famous for salt encrusted grouper, red mullet on vine leaves, fried or stuffed mussels, flounder fillets on skewers, gilthead seabream, grilled seabass and an İzmir specialty, fish in milk. All in all, whatever the food adorning the table is, it is certainly will make you happier and healthier!