One of our family travel hacks is to manage our meal consumption. We pick a hotel that includes breakfast or has a kitchenette and eat out for a late lunch/early dinner. We usually carry a box of soy milk, peanuts, and dates to round out the rest. This plan worked exceptionally well for our recent trip to Istanbul where there were an abundance of vegan options to try out. I did my research beforehand because salads and hummus alone can’t sate our appetites and we were all satisfied with what we found.
Community Kitchen in Beyoğlu
Not far from the Şişhane Metro Station or the Tünel Trolley Stop, you’ll find this venue down a steep cobble-street road that feels more like home than a restaurant. Oya is the humble owner who serves veganized traditional Turkish dishes like iskender, köfte, and lahmacun. She also makes cold meze platters, pizzas with homemade cheese, and gluten-free desserts. We were most impressed by the seitan she prepares from wheat and green lentils and can’t wait to order some for home delivery!
Minda Mantı & Ev Yemekleri near Taksim Square
Discovering this place was such a relief. It was a cold, snowy night and our day’s meal was a little lighter than we anticipated. For a night cap, we snuck into Minda after seeing fasulye or white beans on their open buffet. We confirmed that their bulgur pilau, beans, and vegetable dishes were all etsiz or meat-free and dug in. As the restaurant name indicates, their food is really good traditional homecooking and we couldn’t agree more.
Bi Nevi Deli (now in Etiler)
This Sunday brunch was an indulgence but so worth it. Tempeh bacon, tofu scramble, mashed avocadoes, seitan salami, artisinal nut cheeses, seitan salami, and chia pudding. Need we say more? Other than delighting our taste buds thoroughly, the meal inspired me to research where they found these foods in Turkey and how to get them in my kitchen.
Parsifal near Taksim Square
Opened since 1996, Parsifal is staple in the veggie scene of Istanbul. Their menu is tried and true with a variety of veggie burgers, stuffed chard leaves, and vegetable side dishes. Save space for their vegan brownie, which is more like chocolate cake, but still a sweet end to a nice meal.
Vegan Dükkan near Taksim Square
Though not a restaurant, this vegan shop has been going strong for more than eight years and is well-stocked with treats, non-dairy milks, and whatever you might need to do your own cooking. The owner, a die-hard vegan, is hospitable and warm. We order from this shop for home delivery regularly.
If you know of any other vegan-friendly eateries, please add them to the comments. Thanks!