This time, we are talking about the flavors that stand out in the menus of these places that we tried one by one.
Veganism is one of the ways of life that causes confusion. When someone says I am vegan, “I wonder what he eats or drinks; What does it support, what does it oppose…” many questions arise in mind. Asked heartily, “Do you not eat at all?” The question summarizes the approach to veganism. Actually, it’s not that complicated. Vegans avoid the exploitation of animals for food, clothing and other purposes as much as possible and shape their lives accordingly. They constantly chase after products that do not contain animal use, places that use these products, scrutinize the labels of each product like a detective, and avoid those products even if they have the slightest question mark that they may be harmful to animals and the environment. That’s why, like anyone with a special diet, eating out can turn into a nightmare for them. Getting to know restaurants and cafes that serve vegan and healthy delicacies, and being able to taste the flavors that suit them, will both make life easier for vegans and those who care about their diet, and will enable them to set sail for new experiences.
For those who want to eat vegan and healthy, we tried the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants and cafes in Istanbul one by one.
Healin Foods welcomes its guests to the natural, fresh and clean world of Healin Foods. Indeed, it is possible to feel this freshness as soon as you step into the restaurant with its atmosphere and the smiling face of its employees. The colors of the place take you to different worlds. The same goes for their flavors. The founders of the restaurant, Hülya Gedik and Umman Asya Sadıklar, aimed to prepare a menu based entirely on healthy eating. Its restaurants serve vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, as well as flavors using rich proteins and healthy fats.
From healing soups prepared with seasonal vegetables or bone broth to distinguished dishes of Southeast Asian cuisine, from flour-free and sugar-free desserts to a snack plate consisting of falafel, various hummus, crispy chickpeas, organic muhammara, guacamole, haydari, cocktail crudite. While sipping one of the detox waters with clean ingredients, you can think about what to eat for breakfast or even lunch and dinner afterwards. Gluten-free and dairy-free people like me know very well how difficult it is to find or make tiramisu. Healin Foods succeeds in filling this gap with its raw tiramisu. I had to fight myself not to eat my second slice of cream, coffee taste and fragrant cocoa on it. I must admit that I still fight. Zucchini spaghetti with quinoa meatballs pleased me very much as I wanted to eat something both fresh and satisfying. It brought a summer mood to our table with its basil tomato sauce and wild mushrooms. Again, you can eat ramen, which gluten-free people always have to look at from afar, with peace of mind because they are made with rice noodles. There is also a gluten-free pizza with chickpea flour and a vegan cheese pizza. Since they use seasonal products, everything in their menu, which changes four times a year, is prepared with certified products. Healin Foods also offers its guests Detox Boxes prepared with the contributions of Taylan Cluster. These boxes pave the way for the body to renew itself and switch to a healthy diet with its purifying, metabolism-accelerating, fat-burning and regenerative options. If you want to be able to taste what you eat without feeling guilty, worrying if I can find something suitable for my diet or questioning whether reliable ingredients are used in it, you should definitely go to Healin Foods in Nişantaşı.
Bi Nevi Deli
Since 2014, Bi Nevi Deli has a kitchen that caters to various diets, adopts plant-based nutrition, zero waste philosophy, and prepares its products knowing that many diseases can be cured with a healthy diet. With its minimal decoration, it not only warms you up when you step inside, but also gives you peace with its lush little garden. Aiming to have a mindful diet, Bi Nevi Deli’s menu includes seasonal vegetables and fruits, cereals, legumes, nuts and healthy oils. Since I have a special diet, the happiness I feel when I see the menu of Bi Nevi Deli cannot be expressed in words. Everything from zucchini spaghetti to falafel, bowls made with gluten-free granola, tahini cheesecake that smells like tahini and leaves the beautiful texture and taste of tahini on the palate, and if you are lucky, pumpkin cheesecake that you come across in the season, everything made me taste the flavors that I have been missing for a long time. Melez Tea varieties that make me happy in every sip with their carefully selected and brewed coffees accompany your meal. Although you will be deprived of enjoying the environment, ordering from outside is also available. You can also buy vegan yoghurts, granola, crackers and desserts for home. Bi Nevi Deli, which pleases everyone who prefers unprocessed products, favors raw nutrition, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, refined sugar-free or paleo dieters, should be one of the frequent destinations of everyone.
Zeynep Uzel and Müferra Çakır, aka Müfo, are the pupils of Helvetia, opened in 2005. It has been serving its guests for 19 years at the corner of General Yazgan Street in Asmalı Mescit. There is almost no passage to the crowd of Istiklal from a lower street. One moment you feel stuck in the middle of people, the next you find yourself at the peaceful tables of Helvetia. Its name also has a good story: They decided to give the restaurant this name when an article came to light showing that this place was once a branch of Helvetia, the famous Swiss beer house, while the exterior wall was being cleaned before the opening of the place. It is possible to see the original Helvetia inscription on the left side of the door. In the restaurant, two women greet you with big smiles on their faces and immediately ask how you are eating. Despite all the crowd, they listen to your food sensitivities and diet and recommend you to eat accordingly. You feel that there are people here who are always thinking of you and your nutritional needs. The passers-by spit on the restaurant owners, chat, chat, laugh. You feel joyful as if you are together with your school friends whom you have not seen for a long time, but whom you love very much. And you do all these with delicious meals. The olive oil dishes cooked with the Original Olive Oil that they have specially brought from Ayvalık offer the taste of mother’s cuisine. In Helvetia, which always uses seasonal vegetables and fruits, you can’t do without eating peas cooked just right with all the garlic, basmati rice with mushrooms that makes you go to other worlds, and zucchini with rice that makes you say a zucchini can’t be this delicious. In the restaurant serving vegan and vegetarian, the custard with mastic and chard borani, which I couldn’t try because it is milky, also makes the one who eats it addicted, all the regular customers say so. Anyone who wants to eat delicious and healthy meals prepared with carefully selected ingredients, accompanied by friendly conversation, should definitely make their way here. It is impossible not to be a regular afterward.
Veganarsist is a restaurant that invites you to nature and naturalness with its green door. It was the branch in Nişantaşı that I had the opportunity to experience. Unfortunately, this branch closed a short time ago, but its branches in Kadıköy and Balat welcome you with its renewed menu and the same greenery. As its founder Emre Aydoğan said, their aim is “to offer vegan alternatives to all the flavors that come to mind.” It is possible to find all kinds of vegan dishes here, from vegan burgers to wet burgers, from mother’s meatballs to stuffed meatballs, from kokorec to mother’s meals. Also many dishes and soups are gluten free. In fact, you can now prefer wraps, mini wraps and toasts gluten-free. Of course, desserts are also vegan. Various cakes, cookies and puddings will make your fingers lick. Apollon Pumpkin Soup, Dionysos Eggplant Moussaka, Isis Juicy Meatballs, Zakharion Islama Meatballs are addictive vegan and gluten-free dishes that I had the chance to taste with their smiling names inspired by mythology. Veganarsist, who shows that there is an alternative to every dish for vegans, is a very special establishment where vegans can go and enjoy the food they crave with peace of mind when they say, “Oh, how I craved a burger” or “I wish I could have had a steamed meatball”. You can also order all of their food either cooked, half-cooked or frozen. Confused, he said, “What, nice lahmacun or vegan?” If you say so, you should go to one of the branches of Veganarsist and enjoy healthy alternatives.
These restaurants, which appeal to those who have a special diet and deserve the title of the most thoughtful places in Istanbul in my opinion, will allow me to constantly turn my steps towards them with the quality of materials, service services and the feeling of “We respect your nutrition and we are trying to do the best for you”. Live this experience too, I’m sure you won’t regret it.