For a city that is a meat-lovers dream, Istanbul doesn’t skimp on what’s available for vegans. The vegan restaurants in Istanbul give you everything from takes on the traditional Turkish cuisine to international flare. You can find plant-based eats in Istanbul in almost every setting, street food, casual restaurants, and fine dining tasting menus. You name it, Istanbul has it. Now let’s get into the good stuff the most noteworthy vegan restaurants in Istanbul:
In the lively Besiktas neighbourhood, you’ll find a new comer to the scene, but is quickly claiming it’s spot as one of the best vegan restaurants in Istanbul. It’s a casual dining vegan restaurant called Vegan Masa, and it’s a must try for any vegan or plant based eater that comes to Istanbul.
They serve the traditional Turkish favourites of lahmacun, which is like a flat bread with minced “meat”, onions and peppers, alongside their mouthwatering variety of tasty pide. Everything is made fresh to order and cooked to perfection in their stone oven. The prices are extremely affordable, and it’s one of the only places in the city that you can find vegan Ayran, which is a traditional Turkish yogurt drink.
Bi Nevi Deli
If you’re craving a healthy meal while you’re in Istanbul, head to Bi Nevi Deli in Istanbul’s Etiler Neighbourhood. As one of Istanbul most upmarket districts, Bi Nevi Deli knows how to please their customers, you’re not only going to find Turkish flavors, but also international flare.
Bi Nevi Deli’s menu is seasonal and is a perfect place for breakfast or lunch. From Pancakes to Smoothie bowls, and a lunch selection including dishes like green goddess bowls, vegan caesar salad, and bean chili sin carne, you won’t be disappointed.
If that wasn’t enough, they also have a selection of homemade vegan deserts, which look as good as they taste, my favourite is the vegan fruit tart with coconut cream.
Down one of the winding streets in the colourful neighbourhood of Balat you’ll find a tiny little hole in the wall called Community Kitchen.
You can expect to be greeted by an extremely friendly woman named Oya, who was one of the pioneers of the vegan food scene in Istanbul. She makes everything home made in the shop. The vegan “döner” plate is killer and is made with her speciality seitan.
If you’re craving her delicious recipes after leaving Istanbul, don’t stress, she has a youtube channel sharing her recipes. Oya is a wealth of knowledge about the vegan food community in Istanbul, so if you’re looking for something specific, she’ll either have it or know where to get it.
While this Istanbul based resturant isn’t entirely vegan, it is Ranked in the top 50 of the Worlds Best Restaurants and offers an entirely vegan tasting menu. For those of you looking for a more fine-dining experience, Mikla is the place for you.
The mastermind chef behind the restaurant, Mehmet Gürs, aims to bring a new perspective to the Anatolian Kitchen calling it “The New Anatolian.” While he believes in preserving culture, he also feels that it can be looked at in a new light,
“I believe the time has come to rethink the Anatolian kitchen. A new perspective is needed to allow the rich food cultures from the past to survive and evolve. The New Anatolian Kitchen has no boundaries; it is a way of perceiving food, it is a philosophy that can and should be interpreted in many ways.”
The fine dining restaurant is located in the Marmara Pera. In true Istanbul fashion it has a rooftop terrace with a picturesque view over the Bosporus.
This low key, diner style restaurant in the heart of Istanbul gives us foreigners a taste of Turkish home cooking with a vegan flare.
Order by small or large plate of mixed mezze, or have a Turkish speciality like Manti or lahmacun as your entree. Either way you can’t go wrong, you’ll taste that each dish is made with passion and love for the Turkish kitchen.
Before leaving you absolutely must try their homemade vegan baklava, it’s the best in the city.
Vegan Food cartel
Three words: Vegan Junk Food. If you’re craving something naughty and greasy, Vegan Food cartel has you covered with their “meat” heavy menu.
They make all their meat alternatives in house, so it’s no surprise that the dishes on their menu are centred around these specialities. You’ll find everything from a steak wrap and curried chicken to iskender kebabs. They even make their own “bacon.”
Mahatma Cafe is a colourful place that was (or at least is the self-proclaimed) first vegan cafe in Turkey. The cafe is extremely inviting and warm with its vibrant color palette, but the extravagant food plating and dessert decorating takes the cake for creativity.
It’s a defiant must go place while on the Asian side of Istanbul. It’s located in the Yeldegirmeni quarter of Kadiköy. They are making delicious organic Turkish, Mediterranean and Middle Easter Food. If you’re a hummus fan, make sure to try theirs.
Looking for a bit more umami flavor in your life? Look no further than Yuzu vegan. Located in Kadiköy’s trendy district of Moda, yuzu is serving up asian fusion dishes.
The menu boasts a variety of sushi and fried sushi options, alongside decadent noodles, pad Thai, glazed tofu and Thai coconut curry.
The place itself has a chic atmosphere with a beautiful design. It makes the perfect place for a date night out on the town, or a lunch with main character energy.
This cozy cafe in the Besiktas on the European side of Istanbul serves a little bit of everything, from a healthy vegan breakfast plate and rainbow bowls to comfort foods like Turkish manti and Vegan Burgers, this place has everything covered. The ingredients are locally sourced, and the construction materials used to make the cafe are from primarily recycled or rescued materials from the street.
The name, uses “NA” which means no in Kurdish and Persian, they are using it as a way to say no to consumerism, glutinous living, animal exploitation, and violence against women.