CLOSED: Loving Hut

Overall rating: 4.5 stars 16 Reviews
Part of international chain of vegan restaurants opened by followers of Supreme Master Ching Hai, an advocate for veg living. Each location is individual family owned. Reported closed to HappyCow. Price: Inexpensive more-less
Vegan, Organic, Asian, International, Fast food, Take-out
Ihlamurdere Cad. sair Veysi sok. 4/b Besiktas
Istanbul, Turkey
0-507-3638901, 0212-2369358
  • Outdoor seating
  • Cash only
reviews

Reviews

First Review by Laudi
svensdottir
svensdottir
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+17

Tiny but good

4
Posted on 09 / 11 / 2013

Lovin Hut in Istanbul is a bit hard to find, and their schedule seems to be a suggestion rather than the rule. Better to call ahead and make sure they are open first. It's probably best if you take a local with you so they can help you find it, given that.

The space is tiny. There is one spot to sit, right above the hot plate where they cook the food, on a little loft. The menu only consisted of 2 dishes when we went, but they were both good.

Pros: Good food, You will never forget this experience, Friendly staff
Cons: A cult, inconsistent hours with schedule
Soybean
Soybean
  • vegan
Contributions
+61

Pretty good food, welcome place for vegos.

4
Posted on 02 / 11 / 2013

Istanbul is not the easiest place to be vegan in the world, Loving Hut offers a (very) small space and a limited number of dishes on hand (though they change from day to day), the staff are friendly, helpful and enthusiastic.

The food itself is different from what I've experienced at other Loving Huts around the world (which in my experience have been mostly Westernised Pan Asian dishes) and offers some interpretations of Turkish and Arabic food as well as generic vegan Bain Maree stuff you see everywhere (the ubiquitous vegan lasagne and vegan quiche, for example).

Really enjoyed the place every time I've been there, and I heard they're moving to a bigger location in 2013, which is exciting.

Pros: Food is good to very good, vegan peace-of-mind, no nagging worries , Staff are great
Cons: Small menu, Tiny space
Eric_
Eric_
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+178

Why not if you're in the area

3
Posted on 01 / 07 / 2013

A part of the somewhat scary international chain, never really got an explanation to why that was (seemed like a strance choice in Turkey). Not a lot of options on the menu (in 2011), but the food was all right! Besiktas is nice area to hang out in.

Pros: Location
Cons: Semi-religious propaganda

SG213
SG213
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+166

Superb

5
Posted on 06 / 26 / 2012

If you're in Istanbul, Loving Hut is a must visit.

The food is delicious, imaginative, freshly prepared and very reasonably priced. As well as the regular menu items like falafel wrap and vegan burger, they have some daily specials like vegan lasagne, borek etc. so be sure to ask what they have available on the day.

They've also recently hired extra staff so appear to have solved the opening hour problems they had before (still may be worth looking at their Facebook page to double-check for updates).

The setting in Besiktas is also nice and for lolcat fans is especially worthwhile :)

Tip: The traffic from Taksim to Besiktas can get very busy at rush-hour. But there's a Dolmus that leaves from Taksim (just to the right of Ataturk cultural center, when coming from Istiklal direction) which can drop you off at Macka Cad. for 2tl. From there, it's a plesant 15 min. walk downhill via Suleyman Seba Cad. Alternatively, coming on the tram from Sultanahmet, it's a short enough walk to the center of Besiktas going past Dolmabahce palace.

Pros: Excellent quality food, Good prices, Nice staff and location
Cons: None
dfuoco
dfuoco
  • mostly-vegetarian
Contributions
+13

Too bad - closed

2
Posted on 05 / 16 / 2012

We travelled all the way across town via bus, the website here said it opened at 11 am but it was still closed when all the cafes in the area were open much earlier, very diappointing.


  • SG213 SG213

    I have had this experience a number of times too. It's a shame, since the place is very good. I see that they are advertising for more staff at the moment though, so hopefully the situation will improve.

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xkillerx
xkillerx
  • vegan
Contributions
+62

Attentiong seeking read my review first

2
Posted on 04 / 30 / 2012

I think this review will be a much bigger critique of the vegan kolektiv of istanbul and happy cow reviewers in general than of the place itself.

Shall we start with the "restaurant" first, then?

It is a tiny tiny place well of the beaten path, and quite the distance from the center of the city. It is more like a place a hairdresser would use for his tiny barbershop then where you'd expect to go to eat.

The food lacks almost any and all spices. The drinks are wishy washy at best. The rations are laughable... seriously? the vegan burger is smaller than a burger at mcdeath's. we ordered three dishes for the three of us, and when they arrived i think we should have ordered all three for EACH of us.

but maybe it's better, because it tastes so bland you wouldn't like to eat much of it anyways.

BUT the staff is super friendly and helpful. They even gave us tips on how to improve our domestic soymilk.

Still , that leaves little in the wake of the fact that we left hungry and unsatisfied and ten euros shorter.

Which may not be much in istanbul, but it certainly is money that will get you stuffed via local food.

And then, to highlight this inglorious event, they have no bathroom. No toilet. No handwashy. No pee pee. WTF?

---

OFF TOPIC

People who rate this place FIVE stars? Seriously? Wtf is wrong with you? Do you people EAT , at all? Have you ever been to a place where you go when you're hungry, and leave when you're happy and stuffed? If you're the kind of person who prefers high quality food in regular-person quantitities, you might want to reconsider believing all the other reviewers who rated this place with five stars.

Pros: super friendly and helpful staff
Cons: everything else
  • SG213 SG213

    Wow.. a bit of a harsh review, although I think you're right about the portion sizes. The thing is though, that this is more of a small cafe than a restaurant, so I wouldn't go in expecting the full restaurant service - but for what they do, inexpensive homemade vegan food, they do it very well.

    I noticed that the prices have risen slightly recently, but still many people just go in and order a few things from the menu. Even after ordering a vegan burger and a falafel wrap, for example, the cost will still be less than a single main dish from one of the restaurants on Istiklal street. The problem is just the format of the menu - it doesn't really have any "mains" on it, so if you're hungry and order a single item, it may not be enough.

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  • xkillerx xkillerx

    QUOTE:"Wow.. a bit of a harsh review, although I think you're right about the portion sizes. The thing is though, that this is more of a small cafe than a restaurant, so I wouldn't go in expecting the full restaurant service - but for what they do, inexpensive homemade vegan food, they do it very well."

    NO, they do NOT do it very well, that is the whole point and the main problem. For example, *I* do home made vegan food, and it is way better than their bland, spiceless snacks. And according to the reviews of the others, one would expect a lot more!!! (Shame on you, fellow happycow reviewers)

    QUOTE:"Even after ordering a vegan burger and a falafel wrap, for example, the cost will still be less than a single main dish from one of the restaurants on Istiklal street. "

    Who in the right mind would look for food on Istiklal??? It is a tourist place where you might hop in for a drink or dessert, but definetely not a meal. Although, now that you'd brought it up, there is a meatless Cigkofte stall in one of the side streets, it's tasty, it's spicy, and the wraps are 3 TL each.

    ===

    Folks, I DO NOT WANT TO OFFEND ANYONE, but based on your reviews, we thought this was going to be an incredible place, and we are very dissapointed!! (Out of 10 reviewers nobody mentioned there isnt even a toilet?! I prefer to wash my hands prior to using them to feed myself).

    I understand your feelings about this place , but it is not my fault there is not a single quality happycow-compatible restaurant in Istanbul. If you have the option, please consider visiting Budapest, Wien or Berlin to understand what I mean. (And I should know best, because the situation is even worse here where I live, than in Turkey).

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  • SG213 SG213

    xkilerx, I've been to all of Budapest, Wien and Berlin, and yes there are some wonderful vegan/vegetarian restaurants there. However, this is Istanbul, and vegetarian/veganism is something of an alien concept here. It's seen as a special "diet" for example, for the purposes of weight loss, as opposed to a lifestyle choice.

    So I think this influences the reviews. However I still consider Loving Hut to be one of the best *small* vegan places I've been to throughout Europe. It doesn't compare with Tibits/Hiltl or one of the better Govindas etc., but it's not a fair comparison - there simply isn't a developed enough market in Istanbul for a place of that size unfortunately. Turks look at the menu and get all stupid when they see there isn't meat - I've witnessed it myself today. The upmarket Saf vegan restaurant opened a large branch here in the center but they were closed within a few months (they still have a smaller place in the suburbs though).

    As for spicyness, well I think that's more personal taste. I think the falafel wraps are quite spicy enough.

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  • AndreaVeg AndreaVeg

    I have been to this place several times every year and I always enjoyed our meals with a low cost. a soup with garlic and mint, a Turkish typical recipe, was nothing short of a fabulous surprise and to wash my hands ... I simply asked to do so in the kitchen sink. the falafel were great and the portions normal (and I'm one who eats a lot, I assure you). I'm not one who puts five stars all reviews but I really liked the food at this place.

    more-less
wyrd
wyrd
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+77

Best place to eat out in Istanbul!

5
Posted on 04 / 02 / 2012

The Loving Hut is simply the best place to eat vegan food in Istanbul. The staff is young and friendly (and listens to good music too!), the sandwiches are amazing, the muffins are great and the vegan smoothies are really nice (I tried those with berries and with bananas).

I consider it a heaven surrounded by awful kebab/doner smelly places. 5 stars!

It is also incredibly cheap.

Pros: Great food, Friendly staff, Low prices
volkan
volkan
  • vegan
Contributions
+20

Was closed

5
Posted on 02 / 01 / 2012

When I went there on a Wednesday around 2PM they were closed eventhough it says that they are open daily from 11AM. So it might be a good idea to give them a call before going there, especially if you are going there from the other part of the town like I did :
Updated from previous review on Thursday December 29, 2011

But I did not give up and went to this place again on another day, and I can fairly say that this is the best vegan/vegeterian place in Istanbul. The food was yummy and ridiculously inexpensive. The staff is friendly.

Do try the cakes! They had the best apple cake that I had.


guraytezcan
guraytezcan
  • vegan
Contributions
+152

Vegan Collective of Istanbul meets here!

5
Posted on 01 / 09 / 2012

Need more words? This is the hub for vegan community of Istanbul (Vegan Kolektif) . So delicious foods and even better people who both owns the place and also prepares/brings the food.



shedonteatnomeat
shedonteatnomeat
  • vegan
Contributions
+23

Excellent!

5
Posted on 12 / 26 / 2011

Adorable restaurant with the lowest prices of any 100% vegan place I've ever heard of. The owner is wonderful and makes delicious, healthy, perfect vegan food!

Pros: Excellent food, Low prices, Central location
Cons: not good for large groups
Arthur
Arthur
  • vegan
Contributions
+25

A tiny gem hidden away but worth seeking out.

4
Posted on 08 / 04 / 2011

Excellent food freshly prepared by two charming people. All of the food on the menu is Vegan. It is worth asking what the "special" is for the day - you may get to try something really interesting (I did !).

My wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary at this charming little restaurant and enjoyed the food and company so much we went back a couple of nights later.

The restaurant is slightly off the beaten track but if you telephone them they will happily direct you.

We would definitely recommend this place and hope to return in the not too distant future.

Pros: Excellent Vegan food, The "Specials", Run by lovely people
Cons: Slightly difficult to find
melsabee
melsabee
  • mostly-vegetarian
Contributions
+9

Extremely Delicious

5
Posted on 06 / 05 / 2011

It is so nice to have a vegan cafe in Istanbul and so centrally located.It is a little hard to find at first (right next to the Besiktas hamam though, so maybe it was just me). The food is excellent and all prepared with love. It takes a while for your order to come as the owner prepares everything to order from fresh ingeredients. I HIGHLY recommend the mas corbasi, best soup I have had in Istanbul. Her prices are extremely low for the quality. She amkes chai tea lattes from scratch (order in advance because it takes a while). I love this place and could eat here everyday. Everything is delicious from the dinners to the breakfasts. You can't go wrong. But remember, it takes a while for the food to come. I would even recommend calling and ordering before you come. But it is SOOOO worth the wait :)

Pros: Quality, Price, Taste
Cons: Wait
dandan_buttons
dandan_buttons
  • vegan
Contributions
+18

lovely food

5
Posted on 02 / 07 / 2011

I think we managed to overwhelm the kitchen with our party of 6! It's a small, cosy, lovely place - totally different to all the other loving huts I've been to (in the US). There is only enough space for about 10 people in the resturant at a time, and if there is a group expect a bit of a wait. Having said all that, I had an amazing birthday meal there on Jan 23. A friend of the owner even showed up to play a song on violin - very special! I had soup which was amazing, and some others had burgers - the freshest they've ever had was their comment. Some wonderful hand made craft items on sale too. If you're vegan and in Istanbul it's a must stop for you :)

Pros: amazing food, great value, very friendly owner
AndreaVeg
AndreaVeg
  • vegan
Contributions
+105

lovely place!

5
Posted on 12 / 29 / 2010

it's a small, delicious place, the staff is very friendly and the atmosphere is calm and relaxed. the food is very good and there's a good choice of fresh juices and centrifuges. There is also a small shelf with crafts for sale very nice; i really liked the basil and mint tea.

Pros: excellent food, unbeatable prices, lovely place and staff
syzygy
syzygy
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+11

Great little vegetarian place

5
Posted on 12 / 24 / 2010

The atmosphere of Loving Hut is very cozy, and the food is excellent and prepared with much care: wholesome, delicious, made from fresh local ingredients (when possible). I would recommend trying the soups and any daily special (these are often vegetarian variations of traditional Turkish dishes). The prices are very reasonable. The woman who runs the whole operation herself is a wonderful person. If you are a vegetarian traveler in Istanbul, then count your blessings that this place exists! Highly recommended.

Pros: Excellent food, Friendly owner, Nice atmosphere
Laudi
Laudi
  • vegan
Contributions
+94

Absolutely Delicious

5
Posted on 12 / 13 / 2010

This small place provides a very cosy atmosphere, and the food is absolutely georgeous. It is also by far the cheapest place to have vegan food of very good quality that I've seen so far in Istanbul.
In addition to the nice regular menue, there is an additional daily menu, and even though this place is not located in the centre of the "touristy" part of Istanbul, you can enjoy the walk or take a bus and see some different parts of the town.

Pros: Excellent home-made food, Unbeatable prices, Very friendly staff
Cons: No cons at all - really!

 

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Last updated: 2014/02/22

 

Added: 2010/06/09

 

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