Best Vegetarian Turkish Food Istanbul Food Tour (Restaurant Names)

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Let’s read the guide to vegetarian Turkish food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour with a list of Turkish delights.

Turkish cuisine is famous for its diversity and the blends of many cultures.  As Istanbul is strategically located on two continents, it is considered a melting pot of western and eastern cultures, which reflects in their culinary skills too.  You can have the Western style of foods flavored with Asia’s aromatic spices and herbs, making Turkish food unique and worth trying.  

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour
Turkish Breakfast spread

So let’s take a vegetarian-friendly Istanbul food tour and discover some vegetarian Turkish food with a list of things to eat in Istanbul and where to eat in Istanbul in this post. 

BEWARE! This post can make you very hungry. 
Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour
Turkish Tea
Click here to read – ISTANBUL CITY TOUR GUIDE.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

I will categorize my vegetarian Turkish dining experience into

  • Turkish Breakfast
  • Turkish Food for Lunch-Dinner
  • Turkish Desserts
  • Turkish Drinks – Hot & Cold
  • Turkish InBetween Snack – Munchies & Finger Foods.

Istanbul Tour Itinerary Video

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

TURKISH BREAKFAST – “Kahvalti”

Turkish Vegetarian breakfast at Intercontinental Istanbul
Turkish breakfast at Intercontinental Istanbul

As Turkey is blessed with excellent agriculture due to the lovely climate, it has many natural ingredients, fruits, vegetables, and spices that are served totally on the breakfast palette. You will get plenty of choices to choose from the wide selection of different types of feta cheese – Peynir, green & black olives – Zeytin, fresh tomatoes & cucumbers – Domates & Salatalik, fresh vegetables, and luscious fruits.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

All are served with Turkish bread which is very unique in taste and different from western bread. You can also try a special Borek – flaky pastry sheets filled with cheese and vegetables.  Pickled jalapeno or green chili is great to have with spicy food lovers. 

THINGS TO EAT IN LUNCH & DINNER IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour
Vegetarian Turkish Dinner at Glamour Cafe with splendid view

Most people know the famous meats of Turkey and consider Turkey as a meat’s paradise with many traditional types of kebabs & shawarma. But there are main choices for vegetarians as well in main dining courses. 

On the first day, I did not find many veggie varieties, but on the second day, after walking a lot on the streets of Sultanahmet, I found many main course vegetarian dishes.  They are –

VEGETARIAN MOUSAKKA

A very similar to Greek veggie Mousakka dish. Roasted and spicy eggplant with vegetable curry served on a sizzler plate. 

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

VEGETARIAN FIRE PAN

Various grilled vegetables with semi-thick gravy or curry served hot on a fire pan with infused herb rice and vegetable salad make a completely delicious meal.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

VEGETARIAN TESTI KEBAB

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

Vegetarian curry with many grilled veggies cooked in a closed clay pot with fire. This style of cooking is a unique and authentic Turkish style of cooking that locks the aroma of food inside the pot.  The food is served with pot and fire and then some expert cuts the pot with some unique skills, and whole food is then poured into your plate.  This curried vegetable is also served with saffron rice or herbed rice and veggie salad.  You can order this meal for two or a dinner for one too.

VEGETARIAN CASSEROLE

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

Similar to Vegetarian Mousakka but in this instead of the only eggplant other vegetables are too grilled and served with spicy semi-thick curry. It is then served on a hot sizzling iron skillet. 

You can also order other vegetarian dishes like Mushroom Casserole and Vegetarian Kebab.

GOZLEME

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

Stuffed Turkish bread with spinach or cheese. It is similar to the Indian style of bread – Kulcha or Naan bread. With every main course meal, many restaurants serve complimentary Turkish bread made on iron skillet. You can also see making of bread in front of you by Turkish women and can also try your hand on learning some culinary skills too.

VEGGIE PIDE

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

Boat-shaped vegetarian Turkish-style pizza. These pizzas are freshly baked in a fire oven instead of an electric oven, and therefore, their taste is very smoky and authentic type. Veggie Pide is found at most restaurants all over Istanbul. I tried this veggie Pide at many restaurants on Istiklal street and nearby Galata Tower.

The vegetarian-friendly restaurant with lots of the above-mentioned varieties are

ALEMDAR – next to Basilica Cistern (Sultanahmet) – I strongly recommend Alemdar restaurant for delicious and spicy food with fresh ingredients and warm hospitality. Mr. Ercan(pronounced as Mr. Arjan) welcomed us in a homely manner and made us feel at home and explained to us all the vegetarian items with great patience. The whole restaurant is authentic Turkish style with lower traditional seating too.  Click here to find Alemdar on Google map.

GLAMOUR CAFÉ – nearby Hodja Pasha Cultural Center or Sirkeci Tram station – For delicious vegetable casserole with a stunning view of Galata Tower with sea and Bosphorus bridge. Click here to find Glamour Café on Google Map.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
View from Glamour Lounge & Cafe

THE HANS – You will get many vegetarian varieties here too but the food is not very spicy and you will find this restaurant a little expensive too. Here also you will find lower seating with traditional Turkish décor.  This restaurant is located few steps away from Alemdar restaurant. 

TURKISH DESSERTS

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

A trip to Turkey is incomplete without having a bite of famous Turkish desserts. Many foodies visualize Baklava when they hear Turkey. Discover the richness of Turkish desserts with many unique flavors when you visit Istanbul. There are numerous varieties of Turkish sweets made up of milk, cheese, flaky pastry sheets, sugary syrups, honey, and dry fruits. In Istanbul, dessert is not only eaten at the end of the meal, but it can be consumed at any time of the day to satisfy the in-between hunger.

So for in-between snacks, Turkish desserts are a great way to satisfy your hunger and that too is accompanied by Turkish tea or coffee. You can spot many sweet shops or sweet cafes full of people eating sweet delicacies all the time during the whole day.

I tried their famous

BAKLAVA – I tried “Fistikli Balklava” (Pistachio Baklava) with a burst of sweetness packed into crunchy and nutty flavors. The flaky filo pastry, stuffed with pistachio nuts and topped with thickened sugary syrup melts into your mouth within few minutes and you will always crave one more.  One Baklava will never satisfy your taste-buds and you will always ask for more.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

MY BAKLAVA RECIPE ON YOUTUBE –

DONDURMA – Famous Turkish ice-cream which is sticky and gooey sold with many tricks done by ice-cream sellers.  Try this world-famous special Turkish ice-cream which has sticky and solid consistency made by syrups from orchid bulbs. Not only this ice-cream is famous but the way they are sold is also funny as the seller plays many tricks upon you before handing you one cone or scoop of ice-cream.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

KADAYIF – Similar to Baklava but instead of flaky sheets, shredded Vermicelli strings are used to wrap the pistachio nuts.

turkish sweet

PISTACHIO PUDDING – A thickened milk and pistachio pudding. (Indians can relate it similar to their famous sweet – “Phirni”.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

Sweets can be purchased or eaten at special sweet shops and there are many choices of sweet shops all over the city.  I tried Hafiz Mustafa running since 1864, with many outlets all over Istanbul.  My favorite Hafiz Mustafa outlet at Istiklal street and Sultanahmet.  – Click here for Google Location.

FAMOUS TURKISH BEVERAGES – WHAT TO DRINK IN TURKEY

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

TURKISH TEA & COFFEEAs you know, Turkish Tea and coffee are famous, and that too they are served in special Turkish cups that are must try in Istanbul. So visiting Istanbul then you must try Turkish tea or coffee with a splendid skyline view.  Having tea or coffee with a perfect view of the city’s skyline is the must thing to do in your Istanbul city tour and must be included in your Istanbul itinerary.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour
Turkish Coffee
Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour
Turkish Tea

FRUIT JUICES 

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

As you all know, Turkey is blessed with many varieties of flora and fauna, and you can see many vendors selling fresh fruits in the markets here. Many juice bars are selling freshly squeezed juices made in front of you. You can select your favorite fruit and can have the juice of it. 

The best way to quench your thirst and add vitamins to your body is to have a glass of freshly squeezed juices between your walking tours.  Pomegranate, also known as “Anar”(In India, too, we call Pomegranate Anar) in Istanbul, is very prominently found here and also a favorite fruit and juice here.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour
“Anar” Juice

Tap water is not recommended here, so go for filtered or bottled water.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

IN BETWEEN SNACKS – WHAT SNACKS TO EAT IN BETWEEN (MUNCHIES & FINGER FOOD)

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour
Turkish Simit Seller posing for photo

Istanbul tour can be done best by walking tours.  And I walked approximately 18,000 steps a day, so it is always great to have a glass of juice with some quick bites between main course meals. It is the most famous quick bite in food tours Istanbul Turkey.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour
Turkish Simit Selling Vendor

So for quick bites, you will get many options from local street vendors like

  • Vendors selling roasted corn and chestnuts.
  • Simit (Turkish bread) is similar to Pretzels of the west.

All these vendors sell street food in red-colored lorries, which can be found at every corner of the streets of Istanbul. Not only do tourists slurp over these delicious munchies but these in-between snacks are favorites among locals too.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour

Not only food in Istanbul is excellent to have, but eating in colorful, quirky restaurants is also a great way to explore this city while doing an Istanbul Food tour. I hope you enjoyed reading Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour and would surely love to try some Turkish delights when you visit Istanbul.

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour
Colorful Ice-cream bar at Balat/Fener

Restaurants – Vegetarian Turkish Food – Istanbul Food Tour 

Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour
Restaurants near HodjaPasha Cultural Center
  • Colorful restaurants with huge mural art in the Balat region of Istanbul.
  • Some quirky and rustic décor restaurants at the Karakoy neighborhood adjoining Galata Tower.
  • Turkish-styled authentic restaurants in the Sultanahmet region.
  • Restaurants with a view nearby Sirkeci Tram station.
  • Fine Dining at the restaurants on the top of 5-star hotels for the view of the whole of Istanbul city.
  • Dine while cruising across Bosphorus cruises.
  • Some funky food or sweets at famous shopping and European street style – Istiklal street.

Now you know some Turkish vegetarian food with Istanbul on food culinary tours. I hope you loved this delicious post – Guide To Vegetarian Turkish Food – Complete Istanbul Food Tour with some suggestions on where to get vegetarian food in Istanbul.

If you are visiting Istanbul, then read the full guide on the Istanbul tour

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What to eat in Istanbul, Turkey - Istanbul Food Guide

So, till then KEEP TRAVELING……………… KEEP EXPLORING…………………………………………………… 

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92 Comments

  1. Being a Vegetarian myself I always worry about food when It comes to travel.. I normally tend to play it safe and stick to chips and cheese tosties haha. not very adventurous at all. I have to say that Simit looks yummy! I will try that for sure next time we are here! I love love love pomegranate juice from turkey its my fave! so fresh and amazing taste! well Im super hungry now I have been reading through this post haha!

  2. Being a vegetarian I am finding easier to travel and still east well. But there are still some limitations based on the country. It looks like I won’t have a problem here. Everything looks so delicious.

  3. First of all, thanx for the warning at the beginning – however, it didn’t help: As soon as I finish this comment, I’m going to stuff face. Unfortunately, not with Turkish food which I love since I’ve spent time in Turkey. What I enjoyed was the Turkish appreciation for food – those lovely pyramids they build from produce and sweets, everything looks so well-arranged and just delicious….delight in its purest form. I liked that a lot, everything looked so appetizing. But now I really have to run to the kitchen. Afiyet olsun!

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