Vegan Food Guide for Istanbul

jana meerman blue mosque sunrise istanbul (1)

Istanbul is perhaps not somewhere you associate with vegan food, given that kebab, fish and meze reign supreme on the streets of this fantastic city, but there are some neighbourhoods of Europe's largest city that are absolutely teeming with vegan options for an audience that is eager to eat delicious Asian and Turkish cuisine, veganized!

Istanbul is relatively affordable when it comes to eating out, with most meals coming in at less than 100 lira, so heading out for breakfast (Turks take breakfast very seriously!), lunch or dinner or hanging out a cafe is really quite common around here.

Here is my guide to some of the best vegan spots in Istanbul:


VEGAN COMMUNITY KITCHEN

Located in the heart of the colourful neighbourhood of Balat, this tiny little hole in the wall is run by a delightful woman who uses family recipes to make mouthwatering Turkish vegan dishes. A small menu but perfectly curated, this is a must-try. I had stuffed peppers for starter, homemade seitan Turkish kebab for dinner, watermelon for dessert and washed down with refreshing Hibiscus tea. YUM.

Location: Ayvansaray, Lavanta Sk. No:14

jana meerman vegan community kitchen balat istanbul (1)
jana meerman vegan community kitchen balat istanbul (2)

MAMA BOWL KITCHEN

This cute bright spot in Kadıköy, the main neighbourhood on the Asian side of the city that is home to TONS of vegan options, is a wonderful little refuge offering yummy vegan and vegetarian salad, Buddha and smoothie bowls.

Location: Caferağa, Keresteci Aziz Sk. 27A

jana meerman mama bowl kitchen istanbul (2)
jana meerman mama bowl kitchen istanbul (2)

VEGAN BAKKAL MODA

Also in Kadıköy, and not exactly a vegan restaurant, this one deserves an inclusion because it's an entirely vegan grocery store and health food shop where you can buy things like tofu, non-dairy milk, meat alternatives and all sorts of other vegan goodies that I've struggled to find at regular grocery stores in Istanbul.

Location: Caferağa Mh, Bademaltı Sk. No:38/C


WEGAIN

This was definitely one of my absolute favourites in all of Istanbul. They offer a massive selection of delicious homemade brunch, lunch and dinner options and I ate myself silly on multiple occasions. Best of all is their vegan dessert choice, which I came back for often. It's a local spot run by a few ladies who speak not a lot of English - just as it should be.

Location: Firuzağa, Boğazkesen Cd. 74/A

jana meerman wegain vegan istanbul (2)
jana meerman wegain vegan istanbul (2)

Karaköy Güllüoğlu

Baklava is a very traditional Turkish dessert consisting of layered sweetened filo pastry filled with chopped nuts. You'll find baklava literally everywhere in Istanbul, but if it's vegan baklava you're after then this divine spot (which only sells baklava of virtually every shape, kind and flavour) offers two delicious vegan kinds. A big win.

Location: Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Kemankeş Cd. No:67

jana meerman vegan baklava istanbul karakoy gulluoglu

Kumpir

Okay this one isn't only vegan, but it is delicious. A kumpir is a traditional Turkish dish which is essentially a big baked potato cut open and stuffed full of yummy toppings such as sweet corn, olives, pickles, couscous and (if you're not vegan), butter and cheese.

Location: near the Karaköy ferry terminal at Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Genelev

jana meerman kumpir istanbul (2)
jana meerman kumpir istanbul (2)

Vegan Dükkan Lokanta

This tiny little hole in the wall offers all vegan food and a particular new favourite: vegan manti! Manti are Turkish dumplings and they are my new favourite obsession.

Location: Cihangir, Sıraselviler Cad, Soğancı Sk.

jana meerman vegan dukkan lokanta istanbul (2)
jana meerman vegan dukkan lokanta istanbul (2)

Mama Manti

Walking into this tiny little place literally felt like walking into grandma's kitchen and you sit at a dining table while the old couple prepare homemade delicious manti for you and life is just really good.

Location: Vişnezade, Maçka Meydanı Sokağı No:24/A


Vegan Istanbul

Much as the name says, this place is a small place run by locals and entirely vegan and serves up a big buffet of all sorts of yummy goodness. We walked in and just asked for "a little bit of everything" and loved it - especially the desserts.

Location: Firuzağa, Türkgücü Cd. No:51

jana meerman vegan istanbul

Dükkan Galata

This aesthetic little cafe is a popular spot in the heart of Karaköy offering juices, pastries, big breakfasts and loads of other delicious food. Not all of it is vegan but it sure is delicious (if a little pricier than local equivalents - caters to tourists).

Location: Müeyyedzade, Tatar Beyi Sk. No:15/B

jana meerman dukkan galata istanbul (1)
jana meerman dukkan galata istanbul (1)

Perre Çiğköfte

Although typically a meat dish, this little spot in Kadıköy offers a vegan alternative with bulgur and tomato paste and it's so good. You sit outside in the street and dig into a delicious plate, getting your fingers all red.

Location: Osmanağa, Kazasker Sk. No:18

jana meerman perre cigkofte istanbul (1)
jana meerman perre cigkofte istanbul (1)

Hanimeli Vegan

I only found this place in my final week and came back THREE TIMES because it was so damn good. You just ask for a plate of everything vegan and you get a bit of everything that she's deliciously handmade in her small kitchen. So good.

Location: Cihangir, Ağa Hamamı Sk. No:6-a

jana meerman hanimeli vegan istanbul (1)
jana meerman hanimeli vegan istanbul (1)

Turkish-German Bookstore & Cafe

I loved coming here to work remotely, they've got plugs and comfy seating and it's both a cafe and a bookstore offering up delicious goods including vegan cake and non-dairy milks!

Location: Şahkulu, İstiklal Cd. No:237

jana meerman turkish german cafe istanbul
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Jana Meerman

Hi! I’m Jana, a British-Dutch-Canadian with a dream of seeing every country in the world. I am a storyteller, photographer and adventurer passionate about documenting and sharing my travels.

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