Turkey has an amazing kitchen with countless delicious dishes, desserts, pastries and much more, so much so that you can reserve a couple of days just for a Turkish Food Tour. Since Istanbul is the biggest city of the country, you can find dishes from all around Turkey here. However, enjoying everything the Turkish kitchen has may seem like challenge for vegans since so many Turkish dishes revolve around meat and other animal products. But do not worry, there are actually many vegan-friendly restaurants in the city, and if you are a vegan looking to learn about them, here are the best ways to eat vegan in Istanbul.
Vegan Dukkan (dukkan means “store” in Turkish) is not only one of the first vegan stores in Istanbul, but in Turkey as a whole as well. If you want to prepare your own vegan meals or are just looking for some quick vegan snacks, this is the place to go. Inside, you can find almost everything vegan-related, like plant-based milks, tofu, nut butters, many Veggy products (A local vegan products company), various fruits, grains and vegetables and more.
It is located in the Beyoglu district and you can get to it by getting off at the Mimar Sinan Universitesi stop of the T1 Kabatas – Bagcilar tramway line.
Kadikoy is home to many vegan cafés in Istanbul, and Mahatma Café is one of the coziest and friendliest among them. Its staff and owner are really friendly people and the café itself has a very chic, elegant and cozy atmosphere. Its menu is %100 vegan with various local and delicious options such as borek, lentils, falafel, dolma (stuffed vegetables), pilaf, beans, potatoes, bulgur and much more. The true highlights of the place are its vegan desserts, though. Be sure to sit on one of its outdoor tables and enjoy one of their vegan desserts like cakes, cookies, tarts or tahini while drinking a tea or coffee of your choice, all while enjoying the view of the its modest street.
From the European side, you can easily reach it by using either the ferries from Eminonu to Kadikoy or getting off at the Ayrilik Cesmesi in Marmaray as it is close to both locations.
Vegan Istanbul is a vegan café and restaurant situated in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, near the Tophane neighborhood. It is run by a local couple who also speak English. They make great vegan versions of many Turkish dishes like lahmacun (Turkish pizza), meatballs, borek, dolma (stuffed vegetables), halva and more. There are also more traditional vegan dishes like peas, lentils, beans, various vegetables and a delicious kombucha, all for affordable prices. Vegan Istanbul also sells many vegan ingredients in their Vegan Market, ranging from various grains, breads and plant-based milks to vegan cheese, pasta, jam, gluten-free products and other specials.
The closest public transportation option is the Tophane stop of the T1 Kabatas – Bagcilar tramway line.
Bi Nevi Deli
Bi Nevi Deli is one of the first vegan restaurants in Istanbul, and they show their experience in vegan food in every way possible. Though it started as a vegetarian restaurant at first, they changed to vegan shortly after their founding 2014. It was founded by 2 aspiring women: Belkis, an America-born Turkish cook specialized in plant-based nutrition and Ozge, a Middle East Technical University graduate entrepreneur.
Though their menu is a bit pricier than our other choices, it is definitely worth it since their menu is one of the most extensive vegan menus in Istanbul and their dishes are top-notch. They have muffins, toasts, granolas and pancakes for breakfast, guacamole, rolls, tartines, hummus and other additions for starters, and various vegan burgers, falafels, toasts and special plates for the main dishes. You can also get various macro bowls and smoothie bowls. To finish it off, there are also many hot & cold drinks and desserts like various coffees, teas, lemonades, kombucha, cookies, cakes, bars and tarts.
Bi Nevi Deli is located in the elite Etiler neighborhood of the Besiktas district, which you can easily access by getting off at the Etiler stop of the M6 Levent – Bogazici Universitesi metro line. You can transfer to this metro line in the Levent stop of the M2 Yenikapi – Haciosman.
Another great vegan restaurant in Beyoglu is the Community Kitchen. Like many other vegan places in Istanbul, their staff is extremely friendly. They have all the classic vegan dishes like veggies, hummus, lentils, peas, beans, vegan burgers and wraps, but their highlights are the vegan versions of famous Turkish foods like iskender kebab, stuffed peppers and eggplant, meatballs and baklava (thin layers of pastry with syrup). The place itself is very cozy and comfortable and you can often find cute stray cats just sitting around the place, watching the visitors or sleeping.
Community Kitchen is easily accessible via the M2 Yenikapi – Haciosman metro line. It is very close to the Sishane stop.
Despite what its name may make you believe, there are many more vegan options in the Falafel Zone other than falafel. The menu includes many options ranging from various falafels, mushroom-based dishes and wraps to salads, vegan burgers, hummus, soups and various drinks like coffee variations and lemonade. Its affordable prices, friendly staff and quick service are also among its strong points. If you are a vegan looking for a place to eat in Istiklal Avenue, give Falafel Zone a try!
You can go to Falafel Zone quickly by going to the Taksim Square via the M2 Yenikapi – Haciosman metro line and getting off at the Taksim stop.
Located in Kadikoy, Muhtelif Mekan is another highlighted vegan restaurant with a cozy interior, friendly staff and delicious dishes. They have many options prepared with fully vegan ingredients, even some traditional Turkish foods like lahmacun, iskender kebab, meatballs and cacik (watery vegan yogurt with cucumbers and mint). More common vegan food like various grains and smoothie bowls are also present in the menu on top of numerous vegan drinks and desserts like coffee variations, teas, cakes and cookies. You can also try out Turkish coffee here. If you like it, you can always learn how to make Turkish Coffee yourself. For those that are looking to try a traditional Turkish breakfast but can’t do so because of animal products can come to Muhtelif Mekan and try their vegan Turkish breakfast.
Muhtelif Mekan is located near the Kadikoy pier, so you can reach it with either ferries from Eminonu or Besiktas, or the Kadikoy – Tavsantepe metro line.