Leyla Yvonne Ergil
In celebration of World Vegan Day kicking off the month on Nov. 1, here are the best vegan dining spots in Istanbul. From plant-based takes on Turkish classics to comfort food classics and exotic dishes from all over the world, these innovative venues have animal lovers covered
Whether you are a full-on vegan, trying the lifestyle out or simply want to eat healthy, these seven exclusively vegan restaurants will satisfy any craving. Each of these restaurants listed has crafted menus filled with crave-worthy food for vegans and created by vegans.
Yuzu Taste of Nature
Istanbul is truly a blessed place for vegan diners due very much in part to the existence of Yuzu Taste of Nature, which is Türkiye’s sole vegan Asian cuisine restaurant. It offers sushi with ingredients such as vegan cream cheese, bao bun sandwiches, fried tofu, tempeh and seitan. With starters such as gyoza and baozi, and noodles and rice dishes that go way beyond the classics, this place makes being vegan easy and delicious. Located in Moda and open from noon to 9 p.m. (except on Mondays), this place is stylish with ample seating inside and out. However, they don’t take reservations, so it’s first-come first-served, but they do deliver via Yemeksepeti.com.
Sisters & Harvest
Located in Moda, Sisters & Harvest is a quaint and adorable bakery, cookery and florist that serves up sweet and savory vegan specialties. The perfect spot for breakfast or lunch, and an excellent option for takeaway and home delivery, Sisters & Harvest prepares gourmet sandwiches such as caprese with cashew mozzarella, focaccia sandwiches with vegan sucuk or pepperoni, and desserts such as tiramisu magnolia and Boston cream donuts. In addition to dining in, in which case their hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, they also cater. Their food can be ordered on @fuudyapp, @trendyolyemek, @getvego and @yemeksepeti, and in case you were wondering, the answer is “Yes!” this establishment is run by sisters.
Located in Göztepe, Ethique Plant-based is a 100% plant-based French patisserie, bakery and cafe that is a refreshing venue where you can stock up on fresh bread and pastries. It’s a great place to nosh on an elevated vegan breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. They have seating indoors and out, and a large display case showcasing their artisan breads and desserts. Classics such as croque monsieur, mushroom crepes, quiche and even a sweet potato tartine are coupled with an exotic croissant. They also offer focaccia sandwiches filled with ingredients such as tofu, harissa, artichokes and asparagus doused in a hollandaise sauce.
They deliver via Yemeksepeti.com or you can order delightful desserts such as their Napoleon and Raffaelo directly from their website online. They also have a section devoted entirely to gluten-free vegan desserts and their bakery offers artisan sourdough bread in varieties such as Einkhorn, tomato and banana. While it may seem out of the way for some, this is a must-visit venue for any vegan in Istanbul. Open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, they don’t deliver on Sundays.
Bi Nevi Deli
Opened in 2014 and now serving in two locations, Karaköy and Etiler, Bi Nevi Deli continues to be one of the most popular vegan establishments in Istanbul. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at both locations and have an extensive international menu of dishes such as Philly sandwiches, green curry zucchini noodles, pad Thai, Korean seitan buns and a variety of plant-based burgers, as well as so much more. The breakfast menu is also loaded with a wide array of scrumptious items.
Both venues are industrial-sleek and comfortable, but the Etiler restaurant is especially resplendent, boasting large glass windows and booth seating. They deliver, as well as cater to orders from their website where they also have a vegan shop with a plethora of nut butter, sauces, cashew creams, granola, seitan and tempeh, as well as apparel. The restaurants are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week.
If you ever want to try vegan versions of Turkish meat specialties then you must pay a visit to Veganarsist in Balat and Kadıköy. In Balat, this colorful and casual dining spot has a terrace overlooking the characteristic neighborhood next to the Golden Horn. This makes it a great stop to discover plant-based Türkish cuisine and from there to stroll around Balat. That said, the branch in Kadikoy is great, too, with street-side seating from which to try Türkish classics such as lahmacun, tantuni, içli köfte and even ayran. They have a selection of faux egg menemen dishes, as well as a long list of soups. They have catering options for delivery on their website. The Balat branch is open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., while the Kadikoy branch serves from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day.
Vegan Food Cartel by Veganzza
Located in Beyoğlu, near where Cihangir and Taksim meet, Vegan Food Cartel by Veganzza has a huge menu of faux-meat dishes that are entirely plant-based. This meat restaurant for vegans has classic Turkish dishes such as Iskender döner, shish kebap and tantuni, as well as items such as Café de Paris steak and so much more. They even serve up a vegan “meat” platter. But if food reminiscent of meat isn’t your thing, they still have you covered, as there is an extensive pizza menu as well as a variety of international and Asian classics like General Tso’s “chicken” and peri peri. In addition to salads, zoodles (aka zucchini noodles), pasta and desserts, they even have a kid’s menu with stuff like tacos, felafel and veggie rice. They also serve desserts such as cheesecakes and tahini fudge, a number of which also double as gluten-free.
The space is simplistic yet stylish, and certainly comfortable with ample indoor seating and a balcony terrace with a couple of tables, too. They also have some hilarious T-shirts available which could make for the perfect gift for any vegan. Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, their food is also available for home delivery by Getir and Yemeksepeti.
Vegan Dükkan Lokanta
Last but certainly not least is Vegan Dükkan Lokanta, an entirely vegan eatery that was opened by the purveyors of the city’s first-ever vegan shop. Set in Cihangir in a small and cozy space, the menu offers everything from breakfast to dinner with a wide range of delicious options such as Turkish mantı and their take on Adana Kebap, as well as a ravioli stuffed with smoked eggplant and a sauce of sage butter. They have an extensive menu that, in addition to some items also being gluten-free, includes a full-on breakfast spread, as well as plates like avocado and hummus toast. Their desserts, especially the carrot cake, are divine. While the restaurant has a sprinkling of tables, their shop has everything one could ask for. Open from Tuesday to Sunday between the hours of 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.