This “Istanbul for Vegans/Vegetarians” page is a guide to help you out with some insider tips on vegan and vegetarian Istanbul and giving you an idea of being a Vegan/Vegetarian in Istanbul.
What is the difference between being Vegan And Vegetarian?
Many of us see those two choices as the same, but there are some major differences between Vegans and Vegetarians. Vegetarians simply don’t eat meat, poultry, and seafood. On the contrary, Vegans don’t eat meat, poultry, and seafood, but also they take it a step further and eliminate all animal products that include any type of animal milk and eggs from their diet.
Vegans also avoid foods produced using animals or by animals in any way like honey. Many vegans also avoid household products, clothing or items made from animal products or tested on animals. Both do it for some reasons considering health, ethics environmentally motivation.
How to survive as a Vegan/Vegetarian in Istanbul?
For the one who are vegan or vegetarian, life can be a little bit hard when travelling to a different countries. And it is same in Istanbul. However, with the right kind of planning your visit to Istanbul by means of what the city offers for vegans and vegetarians, the districts and neighborhoods with sufficient restaurants and stores for vegans and vegetarians, people’s approaches and more, you can get the chance to survive without paying much effort in Istanbul.
Being a vegan or vegetarian in Istanbul has become somehow easy in the last decade or so. You may have a challenge by a restricted number of choices when it comes to the Turkish cuisine. The wide range of food in Istanbul has boomed and so Istanbul has necessary options for its vegans and vegetarians.
This situation can also be problem in between friends if you are visiting and travelling Istanbul with a group of your friends. Being the only vegan or vegetarian in your group of friends can make you feel very isolated when you are going out for eating out together. Also note that vegan and vegetarian restaurants and dishes may be expensive so you should also check the menu prices of the veggie restaurants and cafes in Istanbul.
So it is better to have an idea of city’s best veggie restaurants and cafes or restaurants having veggie-friendly menus. The majority of the restaurants and cafes in Istanbul at the popular tourist zones have all their vegetarian dishes. While Turkish people are a real welcoming and honest nation, you may come across some misunderstandings that usually result from the cultural gaps. In that case, it is better to proceed with extreme caution when you select your restaurant or cafe in Istanbul.
In many restaurants in Istanbul, you may see that they use the word “vegetarian” to describe some of their dishes but remember that it may not mean that their dishes would be what you are looking for. Because what the majority of the local restaurants and also the people in Istanbul know about “vegetarian” dish as simply lacking red meat only. They might not consider the chicken and seafood.
And many Turkish vegetarian salads may continue fish. So you should be careful and ask about the ingredients of the dish before you order and make sure you specify exactly what ingredients you want your meal be without when you talk with the restaurant staff.
Well, the situation for the vegans are much more harden than vegetarians that the people will have no idea about the vegans. They would think that the word “vegan” can be abbreviation for vegetarian. So Vegans should have extreme caution with that.
Despite the love of meat in Turkey and meat’s being the favorite ingredient in majority of the popular dishes at the every Istanbul restaurant, Turkey is also known for its rich crops of vegetables that include tomatoes, garlic, onion, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, cabbage, artichoke and more… Turkey can be considered as one of the leading producers of vegetables in the world and Europe.
Where to Find Vegan and Vegetarian Food in Istanbul?
For the ones who look for larger variety of foods for vegans and vegetarians, than check out the nearby street markets or vegan and vegetarian healthy food stores. The most common products are soy, rice, and almond milk. You may find variety of street markets, spice shops, vegan and vegetarian stores, health food stores, organic markets and shops in Istanbul that has begun to open in almost every neighborhood of Istanbul.
Street markets in Istanbul are very common, popular and more than 200 markets are held every week on the popular districts and neighborhoods of Istanbul. Besiktas, Fatih, Yesilkoy, and Ulus street markets in the Istanbul European side and Kadikoy market on the Istanbul Asian side are the most popular street markets in Istanbul and they offer great fruit and vegetables.
The Egyptian Spice Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) is also one of the most popular covered bazaars in Istanbul where visitors may find variety of quality spices. It is located in Eminonu.
In Istanbul, there are shops named “Aktar”, a shop that specializes in natural products. Aktars sell natural spices and teas as well as beauty products and almost every Istanbul neighborhood has its own Aktar.
Where to Stay in Istanbul as a Vegan/Vegetarian?
Most of the popular vegan and vegetarian restaurants and vegan markets are situated in Taksim, Beyoglu, Galata, Besiktas and Sisli on the European side of Istanbul, Kadikoy in the Asian side of Istanbul. Beyoglu district and neighborhoods of Taksim and Galata is a popular tourist zone and hub with great number of all kind of quality hotels and entertainment zones.
So it is better for the vegans and vegetarians to choose their hotels or apartments in those above districts and neighborhoods. Of course you may find especially vegetarian food and menus in about all the popular restaurants in Istanbul at the popular tourist zones but if you are really looking for restaurants and cafes dedicated to vegan and vegetarian food, than above districts and neighborhoods of Istanbul do great.
Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Istanbul
Istanbul boasts a wide range of delicious veggie dishes at the variety of lovely vegan and vegetarian restaurants. We suggest taking advantage of the lunchtime fixed-price menus and fueling up with plenty of veggies for your afternoon energy instead of spending the time cooking by yourself.
You may find some of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants which you can visit during your stay in Istanbul from our Top 10 Best Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Istanbul page.
Flea & Street Markets, Vegan/Vegetarian/Health Food/Organic Stores in Istanbul
Below, you may find the popular vegan/vegetarian/health food/organic product shops and stores in Istanbul.
Vegan Dukkanin Cihangir, Beyoglu
Vegan Shop – online shopping available
Address: Siraselviler Str. Soganci Str. No:8/C Cihangir Beyoglu, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 243 23 83
Elta-Ada Organic Products in Kadikoy
Organic Food Store
Address: Caferaga Mah., Yeni Fikir Str. No:3/A Moda, Kadikoy, Istanbul
Tel: +90 216 336 23 76
Balya Organik in Beyoglu
Health Food Store – online shopping available
Address: Firuzaga Mah., Defterdar ramp, Batarya Str., No.:16/A, Beyoglu, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 252 35 82
Mom’s Natural Foods in Kagithane
Health Food Store – online shopping available
Address: Ortabayir Mah. Erkilic Str. No:2/A, Kagithane, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 281 28 00
Natura by Anne
Only online shopping
Tel: +90 543 267 89 20