Vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurants in Istanbul
by İklim Arsiya
ISTANBULJan 20, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by İklim Arsiya
Jan 20, 2016 12:00 am
Vegan- and vegetarian-friendly restaurants have been popping up all around Istanbul, offering foodies who do not eat meat or animal products a great selection of delicious, healthy meals
Veganism, known as the practice of refraining from consuming animal products or by-products, is a lifestyle that has gained popularity in recent years. Although people may find the vegan diet very restricting, once you expand your knowledge on the subject you can discover a whole new world of exciting foods and flavors. A vegan diet is richly diverse and consists of all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and sprouts which can be prepared in endless combinations. Finding a vegan friendly place to eat in Istanbul isn't as difficult as it was in the past, as many restaurants and cafes have opened, offering vegans an immense menu of vegan-friendly foods and drinks. Here is a list of vegan-friendly venues around Istanbul.
Ek Biç Ye İç
Located on İnönü Street in Taksim, Ek Biç Ye İç (Plant, Harvest, Eat, Drink) is among the pioneers of the sustainability concept in Turkey. A chart on the wall reflects their policy where all elements of the place's identity come together to create the final product: A space where environment-friendly foods are harvested to serve both your body and soul. Operating as a fully functional garden in the heart of Turkey's busiest city, Ek Biç Ye İç (Plant, Harvest, Eat, Drink) uses sustainable and organic products not only to satisfy their vegan customers but also to raise awareness about veganism. Offering good taste at an affordable price, their menu has many high-quality, vegan-friendly foods to choose from such as soups, salads and wraps. Using hydroponic methods to grow plants, Ek Biç Ye İç (Plant, Harvest, Eat, Drink) also raises awareness about how this method of planting and harvesting is a way to save water and energy at the same time. With their innovative techniques, Ek Biç Ye İç (Plant, Harvest, Eat, Drink) gives a whole new meaning to urban gardening. If you're looking for a unique new place to eat, even if you're not vegan, give Ek Biç Ye İç a try.
Located in Beyoğlu's Gümüşsuyu neighborhood
Opened in 1996 and regarded as the best vegetarian restaurant in Turkey by the Spanish International Leader's Club (ICL), Parsifal gets its name from the famous opera of Richard Wagner. With a capacity of 40 people, Parsifal is decorated with paintings and trinkets that give the vibe of a French café. With a vast variety of vegetarian and vegan foods on the menu, Parsifal has something to offer all of its customers. Great service, generous portions and reasonable prices are some of the things Parsifal is known for. On the weekdays, Parsifal features daily menus that consist of soup, a main course, salad and dessert for only TL 12 ($3.97). You can stop by Parsifal not only to have a delicious meal but also to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Customer satisfaction, taste and reliability, production quality and hygiene are some of the topics Parsifal focuses on to give you the best vegan/vegetarian experience you can have outside of your home.
Located on Kurabiye Street, Beyoğlu
Zencefil opened long before vegetarian and organic diets became trendy in Istanbul and has been expanding its menu ever since. Once you enter this cute little restaurant, you will come across exposed brick, skylights and a green courtyard where you can enjoy your meal. With wholesome dishes that include salads, quiches and pies, Zencefil - "ginger" in Turkish - is a quaint little venue where you can enjoy delicious international and Turkish cuisine. Known for its mouthwatering dessert menu which includes pumpkin pie and wine-poached figs, Zencefil is a highlight for vegetarians in Istanbul looking for a tasty meal to enjoy. Some of the recommended dishes include "ayran aşı," a cold Turkish soup, made from corn, chickpeas and yogurt, and beans and tarragon, eggplant and goat cheese and green lasagna. If you're in the mood for something different and tasty, check out what Zencefil has to offer.
If you prefer a diet of raw foods, Dair'e Café is the place for you. With a concept of trying to change the way we view raw foods, Gözde Şatıroğlu has created a menu that only consists of raw foods that do not contain any eggs, milk, flour or sugar. Desserts are made with blue agave syrup and sweetened with dates. A dash of coconut oil is used to bind the mixture together and create a delicious, organic dessert. Preparing everything themselves without using any additives, Şatıroğlu says that all the salty foods are prepared daily and the desserts are changed every two days. One of the most recommended desserts on the menu is the cheesecake, which is prepared with mascarpone cheese and special chocolate. The comfort of the café is another aspect that customers are fond of. The homey atmosphere of the café creates an intimate ambience that reflects the concept of the menu and draws food enthusiasts in. If you've never tried raw foods and are looking for an alternative place to enjoy some delicious foods and desserts, stop by Dair'e café.
Located in Caddebostan neighborhood Kadıköy
Bi Nevi opened in 2013 in Karaköy and has been cooking up unique vegetarian and vegan recipes ever since. With vegetarian dishes that won't have you searching for meat, Bi Nevi also has some great vegan desserts that are a must try. Lemon and blueberry cheesecakes that are sweetened with dates are some of the most recommended desserts. If you are after a different taste you should try Bi Nevi Crunch, made from carob powder and coconuts. Mexican style wraps are one of Bi Nevi's specialties. Made from sautéed bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and wetted walnuts, the Mexican-style wraps have people questioning what is inside that makes it so delicious. If you are in the Karaköy district, stop by Bi Nevi and try some of their great vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes.