Local culinary specialties in Çeşme include kumru, a sandwich made with a long sesame seed-sprinkled bread roll stuffed with Turkish sausage, melted cheese and tomatoes, served hot. (One such sandwich packs about a million calories.)
Damla sakız, or “drip pinegum,” is added to ice cream, Turkish coffee and other foods in a nostalgic nod to the days when the abundant local pinegum resin was a substitute for chewing gum. (Sakız is the same stuff that retsina wine is flavored with.)
Local herbs and spices (ot) are also favored, and Alaçatı has an Herb Festival (Ot Festivali) on a weekend in early April, when local folks scour the budding hillsides for their favorite scents and spices. Local cooks, both amateur and professional, offer their wares for tasting and purchase in Alaçatı’s bazaar.
Çeşme has a few pleasant waterfront restaurants off the main square, and many more restaurants of all types along the old main street inland, which is now Çeşme‘s major pedestrian strolling and shopping street.
I had a good lunch at Biz Bize Restaurant, at the beginning of the shopping street near the main square. The İmren Lokantası, a bir farther along on the same (right) side, is good and certainly reliable, having been in this same spot since 1960, serving Rumeli (Thracian) cuisine.