Vegan in Turkey Part 1 – Veg Restaurants

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There are a few vegetarian restaurants in Istanbul, if you want to get an easy meal with no stress or confusion. We skipped the ultra-chic one attached to a club, because I didn’t know where it was, but we visited three others.

Parsifal

Parsifal was our first foray into Turkish vegetarian cuisine, and I have to say I had high hopes. I was really looking forward to a fuss0free vegan meal with Turkish flavour.

There were only a few vegan options on the menu, but they looked decent. The meal started off looking promising, with some on-the-house warm and delicious bread served with olive oil, to start us off while we waited for our meal. The bread was some of the best I’ve had while we’ve been away, which is saying something!

Best Bread

Our mains came next. I ordered the vegan patties, which came out fairly plain, with just a side salad. For me, the size was ok, but it would have disappointed most people, just three patties and some lettuce. The patties tasted good, if a little bland, but were too dry, and could really have used a sauce.

Patties

Mr ordered the eggplant dish (I cant remember the name). It was a disaster. It looked bad, all yellowy-green and mucus-like, and it tasted shockingly bland.  It may sound hard to believe that bland could get so sever as to cause shock, but this was the case. The only flavour was a slight tinge of smokeyness, but without salty, tangy, spicy or anything else to lift it into something you’d actually want to eat.

Eggplant thing

Based on the prices and the disappointing mains, we didn’t order dessert, but vegan travellers should note that there was a vegan brownie and a pumpkin sweet on the menu, and the tea was lovely.

The service was great, and the place is easy to find near to Taksim Square, and has a great atmosphere. Shame about the food.

Max Green Co.

Max Green Co is a little sandwhich and juice place in the food court at the Akmerkez shopping mall. Its a bit of a hike if you’re planning on checking out the city centre, but it was on my way home to our share-place. Actually, I found it by accident when I was sick and wandering around looking for Lysine – I went up the escalator and was confronted by a sign for raw and vegan food. Awesome.

I got a roasted zucchini and cashew cheese sandwich, and a kiwi fruit and pineapple smoothie. It was heaven. It was served up beautifully, with raw nuts and some salty olives on the side, and tasted great. I’m sure the smoothy filled with vitamin C goodness helped my cold, too.

The other downside, besides the location, was the prices. At 15 lira for a sandwhich, in a city where a cooked lunch can be 5 to 8 lira, it was pretty pricey. If you’re missing your vitamins or you’re into raw food though, this might be the place for you.

As with basically everywhere in Turkey, service was super friendly, and there was a menu in English.

Loving Hut

Everyone’s favourite international vegan cult has expanded once again, and there is now a Love Hut franchise in Istanbul.

The place is really small, so don’t plan on going with a part of more than four (and even then, you need to get thetable), but its has good food and ridiculously cheap prices. It is located a little ways from Taksim, about a 40 minute walk, or a 15 minute walk after a short ride on the 559 bus. You can find them at ıhlamurdere Cad. Şair Veysi Sok.no 4/B beşiktaş/İstanbul.

The menu here is unlike most Loving Hut locations in that it has no mock meat or tofu (because they aren’t really available in Turkey). Instead there is a soup, felafel, a burger and a roasted vegie roll, as well as salads and cakes. We tried everything they had in the time we were there, and I can recommend it all. It isn’t a classy, gourmet meal, but its decent and filling. The cake is really nice, too.

Vegan sweets at Loving Hut Istanbul

In all, I was way more impressed by the meals we got at non-veg places, and I’ll post them soon.

 

 

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