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Looking for vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Türkiye? Here are our top five

A selection of traditional Turkish meze dishes prepared for a wedding dinner
A selection of traditional Turkish meze dishes prepared for a wedding dinner Copyright AP Media/Murad Sezer
Copyright AP Media/Murad Sezer
By euronews
Published on Updated
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Turkish cuisine offers vegetarian and vegan travellers plenty of options - here’s our pick of the top dishes and where to eat them.

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When you think of Turkish cuisine, kofte and kebabs might initially spring to mind, but a lot of dishes are in fact vegetarian and vegan friendly. What’s more, there’s been a surge in veggie and vegan eateries across the country in recent years, offering travellers the opportunity to sample Turkish cuisine without compromising on their dietary requirements.

While many of the bigger cities sport great restaurants and cafes catering to vegetarians, most day-to-day Turkish food is easily adaptable for the meat-avoidant. Simit are sesame-seed-covered bread rolls, a bit like bagels, which make a cheap and easy snack. While kahvaltı (Turkish breakfast plates) provide plenty of veggie-friendly fare with oodles of fresh bread, cheese, olives, tomato, cucumber, jams and crispy pastries like börek and kalem böreği and that’s just the start). There are also plenty of pide, a kind of flatbread, which comes with a variety of toppings, many of which are vegetarian.

Curious? Here’s what to try and where to try it in Türkiye.

Mücver - a Turkish fritter or pancake, made from grated courgettes.
Mücver - a Turkish fritter or pancake, made from grated courgettes.Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA)

Go to: Community Kitchen, Istanbul

Go for: Vegan versions of Turkish classics

On the north side of the Golden Horn, this compact, brick-walled eatery is a specialist when it comes to vegan Turkish food. Plant-based diners will delight in their versions of kebab (made from seitan), kofte and baklava. The menu varies depending on the season, but the chances are high you’ll be able to sample their popular vegan doner kebab along with some of their sweet treats. Stop by on a Saturday to indulge in the kitchen's succulent vegan brownies. Vibes are relaxed, with plant-based reading material dotted about and rustic wooden furniture ready to recline in.

Get to it by: Taking the tram to Beyoğlu Tünel or walking from the Karakoy ferry, just 15 minutes away.

Kısır is a bulgur-based salad
Kısır is a bulgur-based saladTürkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA)

Go to: Dr. Falafel, Ankara

Go for: Falafel in all its forms

Falafel is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, and this casual spot in Ankara’s buzzy downtown district has made it their business to offer new twists on the salads and wraps so popular in Western Europe. While their burgers, wraps, sandwiches and mezze plates all have falafel as their focus, these are alternately made from either pea protein or chickpeas. What’s more, their “meal” options come with Ayran, a cold yoghurt-based drink common across the country. Dr. Falafel makes vegan versions so lactose-intolerant visitors don’t miss out.

Get to it by: Walking ten minutes south from Kızılay metro station.

Go to: Junk Vegan, Ankara

Go for: Vegan fast food (and their chocolate pudding and biscuit cake)

Being vegan doesn’t mean only eating salad and veg. This restaurant in the country’s capital caters to veggies craving a burger and fries and offers a range of delicious sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and deep-fried sides made with soy minced meat. There are also dips, juice drinks and our favourite item on the menu: the bisküvili pasta – or biscuit cake. This sweet treat comes with a side of chocolate pudding and is the perfect plant-based indulgence.

Get to it by: A roughly 20-minute walk south on Atatürk Boulevard from Kızılay metro station.

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Pide - a flatbread-type dish that can be ordered with vegetarian toppings - and glasses of Ayran.
Pide - a flatbread-type dish that can be ordered with vegetarian toppings - and glasses of Ayran.Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA)

Go to: Cappadocia Pide House, Goreme

Go for: Pide, of course!

Cappadocia is high on the hit list for many tourists visiting Turkey for the first time, and it’s important to stay energised while taking in one of the country’s most breathtaking destinations. After a morning soaking up the Goreme Open Air Museum, refuel with a portion of pide in this charming restaurant, which specialises in the Turkish flatbreads. Inside, it's casual dining in brick-walled environs, while outside numerous tables offer an al fresco feel. Try Turkish tea to go along with your pide of choice, which can be served up covered with mushrooms, cheese, tomatoes and even walnuts. 

Get to it by: Walking around; Goreme is small so easy to explore by foot. Head to no:16 Hakki Pasa Meydani.

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Artichoke (enginar) hearts stuffed with vegetables and braised in olive oil.
Artichoke (enginar) hearts stuffed with vegetables and braised in olive oil.Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA)

Go to: Bolulu Osman's Restaurant

Go for: Traditional Turkish fare in an iconic setting

On Turkey’s south coast, a few hours west of Antalya, lie the ruins of the ancient city of Patara. The Roman remains (including an amphitheatre, city gates and well-preserved main street) date back to 100 CE and draw tourists from all over the globe. But aside from its incredible history, Patara also boasts some great dining spots, including this laidback gem. An extensive menu covers all the Turkish classics – kebabs, pide, meze, ayran – as well as pasta dishes and moussaka. Aside from its affordability and flavoursome offerings, one of its best assets is that it’s a mere five-minute drive from the beautiful Patara Beach.

Get to it by: Flying into Dalaman and driving or catching a bus the 120 km to Patara.

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