Have recs for everywhere but Katakolon and Ephesus
Hi guys, I've been lurking here for a while looking up stuff in Chicago (where I live) and Hartford (where I work), but currently I'm planning for a Mediterranean cruise in October starting in Athens, then visiting various islands, then Alexandria, then more islands then Istanbul (followed by a layover in London where I shall dine at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay).
I've scoured this forum and now have a list of over 100 restaurants to visit throughout my cruise (how I'm going to decide between them I have no idea).
However, I found very few recommendations for Katakolon and Ephesus so I wanted to ask if anyone has any suggestions for those areas.
Also, I've compiled a lot of info and my itinerary in a Google spreadsheet. If anyone is also going to the area next month and would like to see it, let me know. Otherwise once the cruise is done, I will cleanse the document and post it for everyone to use and provide my own pics and reviews as well.
I'm not surprised you haven't found much in the way of restaurants for Ephesus. The area is touristy and most places cater to the backpack crowd (cheap and cheerful) and the busloads of Christian tourists visiting the Virgin Mary Church, etc, etc.
Ephesus is the ancient city, just on the outskirts of Selcuk, the modern town. There are no restaurants, save some fast food joints as you buy your entrance tickets, in Ephesus. Best to avoid them. However, if you jaunt out to the Church of the 7 Sleepers, a left turn about halfway down the road into Ephesus, and maybe a kilometre or 2 along, there is a home-style outdoor restaurant/cafe just before you get to the entrance of the 7 Sleepers. Sit outside on weatherbeaten furniture slathered with pillows and carpets enjoying home-made ayran (frothy yougurt drink) out of clay jugs. Gozleme (filled pancakes) are home-made, fresh, and tasty.
In Selcuk, try Amazon, a modern-looking place in the old section of town, back in behind the Selcuk museum. Nicely done Turkish fare in up-scale-ish (for Selcuk) environs.
However, not to be missed, is Sirince, a little Greek village up the hill from Ephesus. You will have to take a bus or drive up there, a stunning 15 minute drive that always seems too short. Mind the dizzying drops as you climb up. Once there: Just where the bus drops you off, is an old winery/church/school (can't remember) converted to a restaurant. Not the best food in Sirince, imo, but a gorgeous view and surroundings. The best place is a further climb up, by foot, to the top of the village. It's just before you get to the old Greek church. Another mostly outdoor place that couples a fantastic view with fantastic food: stuffed zucchini flowers, dolma, olives bathed in oil, home-made bread and that's just the mezze.
Trundle around the village and pick up some of the new season olives, figs might still be in season, persimmons too, and some of the old variety apples from the old ladies selling by the streetside. There will be loads of home-made olive oil, too, sold in re-used plastic coke bottles. It's a touristy place, too, but one that Turks frequent so quality is higher, prices lower.