Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Istanbul

April 25, 2018

Turkey is famous for its love for meat and it can be witnessed from the extensive meat dishes like Kebab, Doner, etc. The vegetarian concept is not very common in the country specially in the interior part of Turkey. This does not mean that Turkey does not have vegetarian options. Turks are also known for treating their vegetables good. But cities like Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul have far more options than other cities and hence are more convenient place for vegetarian food. So if you happen to be vegetarian and visiting Turkey, you don’t need to be concerned about the availability of vegetarian food. This little guide have jotted down best vegetarian restaurants in Istanbul and they surely will help you in having a pleasurable visit to this city and country.

Before we share our little gastronomic guide with you, we have grouped few Turkish phrases which can surely help you in your quest for vegetarian food and can also help you with avoiding awkward food situation.  

Learn Few Turkish Phrases

In order to communicate better, it would be good to learn and use the following phrases. These phrases can not only help you out in getting the desired dishes or food much easier but will also help you in intermingling with Turkish people. 

Below are few phrases which can help you out in inquiring about type of food:

  • Etsiz – without meat
  • Et var mı – is there some meat (in the dish) ?
  • Etsiz yemek var mi? – Do you have any dishes without meat
  • Ben bir vejetaryen – I am vegetarian
  • Tavuk, et ve balık yemem – I do not eat chicken, meat and fish

Some common food words:

  • Et – Meat
  • Balık (bah-luck) – Fish
  • Tavuk (tah-vook)- Chicken
  • Et suyu – Meat stock
  • Yumurta (yoo-moor-tah) – Egg
  • Peynir – Cheese

Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Istanbul

We have shortlisted few highly recommended restaurants which are famous with tourist for their delicious food and aura.

1. Zencefil:

It is one of the oldest and established vegetarian restaurant in Istanbul which serves organic food. Although there meat dishes are also famous among its clients but it is famously known for vegetarian serving.

Usually at the beginning of the dinner and lunch, waiters serve you with delicious basket of homemade breads and herb butter. Mainly, their menu  includes salads, pies, quiches, some Italian and Indian and specially Turkish favorites like mücver (vegetable pancakes). They also serve some mouth watering desserts like pumpkin pie and wine-poached figs at very nominal fare.

Their menu is in English thus it helps you in selecting the food more easily.

Address: ZencefilŞehit Muhtar Mahallesi, Kurabiye Sk. 8-10, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

2. Bi Nevi Deli

Bi Nevi Deli is owned by two passionate chefs who have strong Turkish background. This restaurant is located among trees in a sunny area of  Etiler.

Since 1995, this restaurant is serving food made from whole foods, plant-based and minimally processed ingredients. Most of the dishes are made from seasonal vegetables and fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds and are usually cooked in minimal vegetable oil. But they can also cook food without oil on request.

On regular basis, they introduce new dishes but their burgers and zucchini pastas are a must include. Their mouth watering desserts are something you will surely become a big fan of. 

It can also deliver food to offices and homes so that you can eat their healthy food in your own comfortable environment.

Address: Etiler Mahallesi, Bahtiyar Sk. 10-1, 34337 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey

3. Community Kitchen

This restaurant is owned by a lady who cooks and serves not only vegetarian food but also delicious kebab. Her brownies, vegan baklava, vegan kebab are some famous top menu items. If you are cat loving person then you will find yourself in heaven as few friendly casts will be roaming around.

Address: Community Kitchen-Şahkulu Mahallesi, Kumbaracı Ykş. No:57, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

4. Galata Kitchen

It is located few streets away from Galata Tower in a airy and sunny place. Its open kitchen showcases the colourful array of vegetarian, meaty dishes and some of the delicious desserts.

The chefs are firm believer of cooking in natural way, hence they try to avoid use of microwave or cooking their food in margarine. They choose their ingredient from seasonal produce usually procured from local markets which are used to cook dishes from soups, vegetables, rice to dessert dishes. Their top dishes are black-eyed-peas, green spinach cake, and many more inventive dishes that are introduced every day.

Address: Galata Kitchen-Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sk No:15, 34080 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey



5. Meze By Lemon Tree

If you want to go on gastronomic experience then this is the best place to be at. LemonTree provides homely service and is true to the Turkish meyhane. It is located opposite to historic Pera Hotel. 

The experience starts with waiters escorting you to a display of meze option where he introduces every dish. He will explain the ingredients of the dishes in detail which will help you in deciding your pick. You will have an option of choosing from 14 meze options which changes daily and are dependent on the season and festivities happening in the city. The meze includes dishes like sea ceviche, pepper packed with sweetly seasoned rice with restaurant signature warm hummus with walnut sauce.

The main highlights in their menu is their şaman bayıldı (fried sweet green pepper filled with cheese, pistachios and fresh onions) and desserts. You will also be able to find good meat options in this lavish buffet. You will be able to enjoy your food with Turkish music at the background and with wine from long list of menu.

Address: Meze LemonTree Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, Meşrutiyet Cd. 83/B, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

6. Kikerofalafel

This meat free restaurant is located close to Galata town. It is a small restaurant but provides an option for fast food on the go. It is decorated with 60-styles interior and offers a comfortable sitting option.

Menu offers falafel wraps, salads, toasts, sandwiches and hazelnut dessert. The ingredients chosen for the salads and sauces are vegan while toast and desserts are made from healthy dairy options. Kikero offers healthy, quick and tasteful food in Istanbul rush hours.

For more information you can visit Kikerofalafel website.

Address: Camekan Sk. No: 10/2 Galata,Beyoğlu/Istanbul

(Street opposite Galata Tower entrance gate – Bereketzade Mosque So)

7. Mahatma Cafe

On the Asian Side, this cafe is considered to be a place where you can have vegetarian food. The owner firmly believes in vegan lifestyle and their restaurant is a standing reflection of their commitment. Their restaurant offers a diverse vegan menu from pastas to cake. They have menu in both English and Turkey making it friendly for both expats and local.

Address: Rasimpaşa Mahallesi, Macit Erbudak Sk. 50/a, 34716 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey

8. Sultanahmet Fish House:

Dont get confused by the name. This restaurant offers long list of diverse meze. Inaugurated in 1994, this is one of the renowned restaurant operating in the old city of Sultanahmet. They are famous for their sea food and fish kebab but their vegetarian dishes are also loved by the tourists. The restaurant has a cozy atmosphere which makes you feel at home.

You can also visit Sultanahmet Fish House website

Address:  Prof. K. Ismail Gurkan Caddesi No: 14 Sultanahmet – Istanbul

9. Helvetia Lokanta

Helvetia is a modest restaurant in quiet street near Taxsim. This place provides local food as lunch and dinner with no-frill environment. You can enjoy a good food platter filled with homemade mezes from olive oils, yogurts, potatoes, eggplant, spinach and it offers meat and chicken option in just $8-$10.

Address: Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, General Yazgan Sk. No:8, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

10. Dubb Indian Bosphorus Restaurant

This is one of the restaurant which offers magnificent view of the city from 9th floor of Hilton. It offers tradtional Indian delicacies al fresco dining experience in the garden during the summer season. It is located at an ideal location and offers a casual atmosphere. This restaurant offers south asian vegetarian experience with non-meat dishes.

Address: Dubb Indian Bosphorus RestaurantHilton Istanbul Bosphorus, Cumhuriyet Caddesi No 50 Harbiye, Sisli, Istanbul

These restaurants provide best in town Vegetarian options for vegan. The amazing part of this is that these restaurants are true to their Turkish culture which is reflected in the cuisine presented here.

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