Never say never, but the chances of us telling you all about the gourmet meal we ate at some swanky restaurant in the middle of a Turkish city whilst on our travels are pretty slim.
We usually have a foods-to-eat-agenda before we go anywhere, because most regions of Turkey have dishes and foods that they become famous for. They are the foods that top our agenda and, most of the time, those foods are street foods or dishes that are more traditionally served in lokantas – ideal for those of us on budgets!
And such is the case with Izmir. The first time we went, we were given don’t-come-back-to-Fethiye-without-eating-(insert name of food)-instructions and we gladly obeyed.
Plump stuffed mussels (midye dolma), Çeşme Kumrusu and söğüş, amongst other dishes, all featured on our menu. And, also on that first visit to Izmir, we found ourselves grabbing a quick snack at a lokanta on Kıbrıs Şehitler Caddesi in Alsancak on more than one occasion. We liked it there but never wrote about it.
On our visit to Izmir last weekend, we went back to the lokanta again, so we’re writing about it now…and about another food that Izmir is famous for.
Izmir Sardalya, Yenidoğan Kokoreç
And this is the interior of Yenidoğan Kokoreç. It could well have had a facelift since our last visit; we’re not sure because our first visits were in the summer and we only sat outside. Rows of kokoreç are cooked over coals on the spit, on full display to the street outside.
Because, for just a few lira, you can have your fill. You can have your köfte or sardalya portion served on a plate with a side salad or you can have it served in a half bread for a couple of lira less. The sardalya plate was a favourite on our first visit, but last weekend, we went for the half bread option.
These are not the sardines you get in a tin like you do in the UK. They’re not packed tight together in tomato sauce or oil and stored on the supermarket shelves – they’re just fresh filleted sardines.
They could have seen the inside of a freezer, we’re not sure, but the point we’re making is, this is just plain simple fish, and it fits the bill perfectly.
The fillets are lightly battered, deep-fried and then placed between fresh crusty bread with salad and a wedge of fresh lemon. It’s the grown-up fish version of an anchovy sandwich and it sets you up for the day. This was our brunch before we went to the Karşıyaka Fethiyespor match.
Yenidoğan Kokoreç proudly display their accolade of being ranked amongst Turkey’s top 10 places to eat kokoreç. Not sure who decided that or how often those rankings are updated so take from that what you will.
What we will say is, should you find yourself in Izmir’s Alsancak and you’re in need of a good value, tasty snack made with real ingredients, you’re not going to go far wrong in grabbing quick bite – kokoreç, köfte or sardalya – at Yenidoğan Kokoreç.
Yenidoğan Kokoreç, Alsancak, Izmir – Useful Info
- Yenidoğan Kokoreç also serve midye tava (fried mussels) and midye dolma (stuffed mussels) as well as kokoreç, sardalya and köfte
- Should you so wish, you can get a beer to go with your meal at Yenidoğan Kokoreç
- Yenidoğan Kokoreç is on Kıbrıs Şehitler Caddesi in Alsancak, next door to the big Tansaş entrance