By Justin Mays:
We all know perfectly well that meat is an essential element of Turkish cuisine. We find it in dozens of dishes, such as köfte, döner, borek, and kebab, among many others. But times are changing and more and more people follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Istanbul, as a cosmopolitan city, is aware that some of its residents and many of its visitors have joined the rise of plant-based cuisine. And while it is true that it is often difficult to find cafes or restaurants that offer a 100% vegetarian or vegan menu, it is not impossible.
In this blog, we present five restaurants designed exclusively for vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Whether or not you have a plant-based diet, we are sure that its options will convince you. We hope you like them!
By the way, we don't know if you are aware of this, but there is a website called Happy Cow where you can check what vegan and vegetarian options exist around the world. It's a great app, perfect for non-meat eaters who travel often. Happy Cow shows you the location of the restaurants, some photos of their dishes, and the ratings that users have given them.
The first vegetarian and vegan restaurant that we present to you is Govinda, a place located in the Mecidiyeköy neighborhood, in the Sisli district. This restaurant is popular for serving authentic plant-based delicacies of Indian cuisine. In fact, it is considered the first restaurant in all of Turkey to offer vegetarian Indian cuisine. With quite affordable prices, Govinda is the perfect place to enjoy a vegetarian meal beyond the ordinary, since its dishes go beyond vegetables, to offer diners traditional dishes made from seitan, tofu, or other options of vegan proteins.
Located in Besiktas, KafeNAsanat is another of the most popular plant-based restaurants in the metropolis. This place has a completely vegetarian and vegan menu, suitable for all kinds of tastes. Among the dishes they offer, the one that stands out the most is the dürüm, since you can choose between several different types of protein, all of them plant-based: tofu, falafel, köfte, nugget, schnitzel... Some of these options are so real that will give you the feeling that you are eating meat. On the menu, you will also find salads, pasta, soups, and a wide variety of desserts.
Bi Nevi Deli
Bi Nevi Deli is a plant-based restaurant located in Besiktas, that takes ingredients from organic and local producers and produces completely vegan products, in season and on time. In this restaurant, you will find fresh, seasonal, feel-good breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all of them prepared consciously and produced with the known as 'superfoods' ingredients. On its menu, you will find dishes of all kinds, such as burgers, Mexican bowls, quesadillas, Asian chopped salads... Eating in this restaurant is a real delight.
Mahatma Cafe & Restoran
In the fourth place, we present you Mahatma Cafe & Restoran, a vegan and ecological restaurant located in the Kadikoy district. It is a local that is very easy to recognize, as it stands out for its colorful aesthetic: a turquoise interior and a terrace with chairs and tables of all colors. In addition, its menu does not leave anyone indifferent. Mahatma Cafe & Restoran is popular for its desserts and cakes, very elaborate and with the most original decoration.
Last but not least, we present to you Vegan Community Kitchen, a very quirky vegan restaurant located in the colorful district of Balat. Some of the tourists who visit this restaurant describe it as "going to dinner at grandma's house", since the owner of this place is known for her enormous hospitality and delicacy with her clients. At Vegan Community Kitchen you will find mainly traditional Turkish dishes, such as döner, made from plant-based products. It is the perfect plan: stroll through the streets of Balat and end the morning eating a vegetarian dish in this cozy place.
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