Advertised as the home of the kebab, the reality is that Turkey has such a rich cuisine that it can cater to anyone. Turkey is amongst the top 10 countries for the highest vegetable consumption per person globally. Most traditional Turkish dishes all have a zeytinyağlı (olive oil) version, which is meat-free and usually vegan friendly. However, if the rows and rows of döner kebab places cause your heart to sink and if you’re looking for vegetarian restaurants in Istanbul, then look no further than this article.
We have listed 12 of the best restaurants in Istanbul that love serving vegetarians and vegans. Some of these offer vegetarian options as a courtesy, and others are staunchly against animal exploitation.
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Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Istanbul:
1. Vegan Community Kitchen
Sandwiched between a stunning synagogue and an inviting park, Vegan Community Kitchen has that back-to-nature feel. Open every day from midmorning (11 am) to evening (9 pm); this place is designed like a fairy grotto. They have plugs on the wall, so try popping in if you have some work to finish.
The ever-changing menu is created from scratch by an amiable host. This snug eatery has a family vibe to it; perhaps it’s the narrow artistic streets surrounding it or any one of those cute furball kitties that snuggle up to you while you eat. If you’re feeling a little lonely, feel free to chat with the chef. The owner-chef Cansu, who has Mother Nature vibes, will happily recommend dishes and combinations.
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Address: Ayvansaray, Lavanta Sk. No:14, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul
2. Lokanta Kru
This is one to visit with companions. The dark green color takes center stage that’ll have you feeling like you’re in a tavern in a Tolkien classic. Above an upright piano sits a candleholder with unlit candles. Above that is a green chalkboard with the menu. Above that is the kind of decoration that gives off harvest vibes. In short, this place has a dreamy vibe to it. The ‘Moonlight Sonata’ feel is a bit like Dracula’s castle but without the scary vampire.
In fact, you may be shocked that the chefs are not as old as Dracula when you taste their foods. You’d think this kind of taste could only be created by someone with centuries of experience in the kitchen. However, this is the result of the vision of a young, ambitious chef who serves meat dishes with vegetarian options.
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Address: Teşvikiye, Avukat, Av. Süreyya Ağaoğlu Sk. No:13, 34360 Şişli/İstanbul
3. Basta! Neo Bistro
A real chef’s restaurant but without arrogance. Who wants to tell Gordon Ramsey about this adventurous yet elegant spot? As audacious as the dishes may be, they have a level of restraint to delight but not overwhelm. The noise from the main street can be irritating, but the delicious food does drown it all out. The wine list is also expansive at Basta! Neo Bistro.
Derin and Kaan are the founders of the Basta brand. The two chefs have experience in working in Michelin-starred restaurants abroad. Blending their foreign expertise with the Anatolian hearth, Basta! Neo Bistro may be slightly expensive as compared to the average vegetarian restaurant. However, bearing in mind the chef’s experience, this is more like fine dining that’s accessible to those that don’t possess trust funds.
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Address: Caddebostan, Operatör Cemil Topuzlu Cd. 40/2, 34728 Kadıköy/İstanbul
4. Mahatma Café
Vegans beware: this is the one spot that’ll have you saying: “Oh. My. God. It’s. Sooo. Cute!” This is an experience to behold. The meat-eaters might even get a little jealous. From the outside in, this place is as colorful as the Indian ‘Holi’ Festival of Colour. Even the menu is adorable that you may end up speaking in a higher pitch if you don’t start “aww” ing. The plates are also endearing. Just on appearance alone, this place is fabulous to unleash your inner child.
The food, however, is something else. The fusion cuisine is 100% vegan. A scrumptious approach to cooking, each dish has its own stunning hue. If you were ever curious as to what the famous Turkish breakfasts or pastry tasted like, but you were too vegan to try them, this is your spot.
This spot is designed to look like the kitchen of a neighbor. You can see the chef’s intense glare as he burrows his brows while mentoring each dish on how to be a culinary nirvana. However, get a spare moment with him, and he is super friendly. So much so that even after you leave, if you drop a review online, he is likely to reply with a whole host of loveable emojis.
You’ll be talking about this spot for decades to come. Now, this is how you truly do vegan.
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Address: Rasimpaşa, Rasimpaşa Mah. Prof.Dr, Macit Erbudak Sk. No:50/A, 34716 Kadıköy/İstanbul
Japan: the country of zen and the Okinawa diet. Longevity is infused in their dishes; this restaurant unconsciously taps into the peaceful side of Japan. Located in a fashionable neighborhood on the Anatolian side, it’s rare to find a fully vegan Asian place in Istanbul. However, their sushi is to die for. Yes, you heard right, vegan sushi. If sushi has never been your thing, they have salads, curries, noodles, and pad Thai.
However, the one thing that might blow you away is their buns. You have three choices: basil, beetroot, or spinach. They come in three different colors and these picturesque dishes are served on vibrant plates. Sauces are drizzled to create a modern work of art. Each dish can be wonderfully paired with soy lattes is not the healthier kombucha. Follow it all up with a luxurious dessert with flavors ranging from coconut to matcha.
You can buy Asian ingredients or practice using chopsticks in this place. If you want to eat in, the bamboo-looking inside has that zen concept. There is a garden with picnic benches. Inside or out, you won’t have any trouble meditating before your food comes. Although the concept is peacefulness, you may find it overcrowded in the evenings. A favorite of the locals, you may wish to go when everyone is at work.
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Address: Caferağa, Şair Latifi Sk. No:41, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul
6. Vegan Istanbul
The fast foods of Turkey, enjoyed by the locals, tend to leave vegans out. Well, no one puts vegans in the corner! You can find the notorious kebabs, lahmacuns, mantı, and other meat-based fast food dishes in the best vegan form here. They do have salads, but why bother with the never-ending list of opulent options on the menu? Take your carnivore friends, distract them at the entrance, and you’ll find that they can’t tell the difference, especially as it has that traditional döner kebab restaurant vibe.
Suppose you’re tempted to try vegan food or the lifestyle. In that case, this family-owned restaurant is a welcoming spot for those who feel intimidated by the strict “you’re killing animals” attitudes some vegan chefs employ. They proudly state that there is no judgment.
At Vegan Istanbul, all the ingredients are made with healthy ingredients. If you enjoy their fresh olive oil-based traditional dishes, you can buy a bottle of virgin olive oil from their shop. This vegan restaurant is a mix between a market, restaurant, and café. After you try their gluten-free cake, you may wish to grab a vegan cream or a jar of homemade jam to take home. A few minutes away from Taksim Square, this place has the cleanliness that Turkish housewives are famed for.
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Address: Firuzağa, Türkgücü Cd. No:51, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
7. Aman da Bravo Bistronomique
In the middle of nowhere, this secret gem is surrounded by greenery and has a relaxed atmosphere. You may feel like the prince in Sleeping Beauty, cutting through shrubs to get to a hidden treasure. Although this eatery tends to attract the 30s-40s, globetrotting, cultured, chic crowd, it does welcome anyone. Aman da Bravo has an incredibly classy vibe with its candlelight dinners, and the romantic vibes extend to its menu.
The fusion dishes have an idealistic theme. You may wonder what the buzz is until you try the fish with the green apple puree. This adventurous place has that high-class dining atmosphere, so you may be blown away by its selection of wines and cocktails. Open from 12 to 12 every day except Mondays, this foodie spot is a place for a super long lunch or an even longer dinner.
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Address: Bebek, Bebeköy, Bebeköy Sok No.5, 34342 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
8. No 19 Dining
For seven hours a day, except Mondays, each plate at No 19 Dining rivals the paintings of Thomas Cole. Shaped like a workshop of a visionary scientist or a genius artist, there’s an undeniable artsy yet somewhat nostalgic atmosphere. You can buy pottery here, and they do offer cooking classes if you have at least two students.
The theme is ‘home-cooked foods from the traditional women of Turkey’. Therefore, this women-led business creates the same environment that you may find at a pampering aunt’s house. If you’re interested in stories, ask the English-speaking staff to narrate the origins of each dish. For the adamant carnivore, there are meaty options. There’s no set menu because the dishes change according to the seasonal crops as well as the moods of the cooks.
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Address: Kuloğlu, Faik Paşa Cd. No:6, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
9. Healin Foods
Vegan restaurants tend to suffer from that ‘uptight’ adult décor. This vibrant, green restaurant will have you feeling in the middle of a rainforest. The kids who loved Tinkerbell in Peter Pan or those that love the nymphs, fairies, and satyrs of Ancient Greek and Irish literature will find themselves brimming with joy at just the decoration.
We haven’t even got to the food yet. The plates are pretty, but the actual food – the colors are incredibly lively.
Their focus is on healthy food, so while they do sell chicken (without antibiotics), they prefer organic vegetables, Himalayan salts, gluten-free, and sugar options. In other words, this is the home of superfoods. This place will fit right into your diet whether you’re on a protein-heavy, keto, vegan, or pescatarian diet.
When you look at the menu, you’ll feel like you’re in heaven. Ayurvedic dishes, raw cacao porridges, caramelized bananas, vegan ice-cream, falafel, noodles that won’t break your diet, Mediterranean & Middle Eastern vegetarian dishes, and a whole menu of delightful desserts leave just one question: where has this restaurant been your entire life?
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Address: Teşvikiye, Hüsrev Gerede Cd. No:110, 34365 Şişli/İstanbul
This unassuming restaurant is tucked away in a narrow alleyway and surrounded by gorgeous architecture and meat restaurants. The traditional decoration has a ‘Cinderella sitting by the fireplace’ vibe to it. Each dish has a warm, orangey hue to it as though it was handmade in a cottage in a fairy-take. They serve traditional Turkish vegetarian dishes, which makes one wonder: if the Turks have such wonderful vegan and vegetarian delicacies, why do they not advertise it more often?
This is a place where you can mix and match different flavors for a price that’ll leave your wallet as heavy as it was before you entered. If you were ever wanted a Turkish mother, this would be her cooking. Prepared with love, each healthy dish will have you grinning like a child at Christmas. There’s no way you can visit just once. Fortunately, if you run out of cash, they do accept cards.
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Address: Asmalı Mescit, General Yazgan Sk. No:8, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Who doesn’t like Indian food? This colorful restaurant that once hosted Canadian rockstar Bryan Adams and his crew is located inside the Goranga Yoga center. They prepare their dishes according to Ayurvedic and sattvic principles. In other words, if an expert practicing Ayurveda has given you a diet to follow, this is the restaurant which you want to visit. For those curious about Ayurveda, yoga, or even Hare Krishna, this location also hosts programs, sessions, and seminars.
Founded by the first disciple to bring Hara Krishna to Turkey, you will be served by the humble devotees who start their day with long meditation sessions and cook with love.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Hare Krishna followers, and Jainism all encourage non-violence to animals. If you agree with them, stop by.
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Address: Büyükdere Caddesi Naci Kasım Sokak, No:6B Mecidiyeköy, 34387 Şişli/İstanbul
12. Bi Nevi Deli
Together, they are a heroic pair trying to introduce cruelty-free dishes to the consciousness of the Turks. In their Nordic-style restaurant, they serve guilt-free, gastronomical pleasures.
Belkis, the head chef in the kitchen, has several certifications in nutrition, and everything about plant-based nutrition, raw cuisine, and holistic health is her domain. Özge, on the other hand, is the business brain living by principles of environmental sustainability. In Özge’s words: “Don’t act like you don’t see them, lend a helping hand and protect them.”
A woman-run business, their dedication to vegan cuisine is exemplary. Instead of the typical vegan junk food, you’ll find colorful yet healthy choices. The range of selection is insane, and the most ardent carnivore will find themselves somewhat relenting. Particularly with the vegan alternatives to their favorites. Even better, they do have gluten-free, nut-free, and even oil-free options. The grain-free flourless chocolate cookie paired with the healthy raspberry kombucha will have you wishing you lived next door.
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Address: Etiler, Bahtiyar Sk. 10-1, 34337 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
If you are vegan or vegetarian, Istanbul is the city for you. We have listed 12 of our favorite places to eat in Istanbul, where vegetarians and vegans can find dishes that will satisfy their cravings. In Istanbul, you’ll also see traditional vegetarian Turkish foods on the menu at most restaurants which are great options if you are looking for quick vegetarian food.
If you want more than just eating out at one restaurant, we offer vegetarian-friendly food tours where our expert guides will introduce you to traditional Turkish dishes—including some that are vegan or vegetarian! Join us on one of these culinary journeys if this sounds like something up your alley.
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