All Reviews by SG213
16, Gunesli Bahce Sokak, Kadikoy, Istanbul, Turkey
Not too bad
This is one of a lot of similar natural product shops in the area just beside Kadikoy fish market.
It's not all that different from the other ones, however they do at least have some tofu, a reasonable selection of organic grains/cereals/chocolate and some interesting versions of Turkish coffee.
Apart from that, they have the usual other stuff like cheese, olive oil etc.
Kallavi Sokak 6, Istanbul, Turkey
Not bad but limited selection
Ambar looks promising from the outside, but like many other "natural product" shops in Istanbul, the selection is a bit limited when it comes to specifically veg. food.
Having said that, it's better than most, and you can get Tofu and a number of interesting sauces and variations on coffee, olive paste etc. The rest of the store has the usual types of herbs/spices/natural produce and it may be interesting if you're not exactly looking for veg. snacks.
For a better selection, try one of the Macro supermarkets in Nisantasi, or the Ecolife or Balya health stores in Cihangir.
C/ Valencia 240, Barcelona, Spain
Tasty vegan gyros
On a short trip to Barcelona, wasn't really sure about the Spanish restaurant opening hours, anyway we went into Armonia. Even though they weren't serving the full menu at that time, they had a Tortilla wrap and Gyros pita.
The Gyros pita was very tasty, the only disappointment is that it finished too quickly... however the place is very pleasant, the staff are friendly (a break from the frenetic rip-off places around Las Ramblas), prices moderate and the location is pretty good not far from the Passeig de Gracia area.
I would definitely come back here on a return trip to try more of their menu.
Bostancibasi sokak, Cihannuma Mah. 20 Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey
Tasty Indian style food
This is the cafe of a Yoga centre in Besiktas on the European side of Istanbul (not far from Taksim). They've just recently opened the cafe part, so they're still working on the menu.
You can get pure-vegetarian style dishes such as samosa, veggie burger, seitan plate, curried spaghetti, dhal and a thali plate. They also make their own soya drink which can be bought for takeaway.
I tried most of the dishes, and everything was quite good. However the portion size of some dishes such as the seitan or veggie burger may be a little small if you're hungry.
The thali plate is probably the best option here, since it has a combination of savoury rice, dhal, poppadoms and different cooked spiced veg. It's unusual to have this type of food in Istanbul, so it's a nice change from some of the other veg. places which often stick to local or generic dishes.
The interior is small but very nice and relaxing, and the owner is very friendly and speaks fluent English.
(To get to Besiktas from Taksim, you can get a dolmus a minute or 2 walk down Inonu Cd. past the Marmara hotel, or bus/walk it to Besiktas center from Kabatas tram stop. From the Asian side, you can get a ferry directly from Uskudar or Kadikoy.)
Munich area, Munich, Germany
Enjoyable veggie lunch
Boonian is a pleasant, quirky little veg. place in the fascinating Schrannenhalle building near the central marketplace in Munich.
We ordered TexMex dishes/sandwich - they were tasty although perhaps not amazing - would have preferred something like grilled tofu here instead of textured soya chunks. However there were a number of snack options on the menu which looked appetising which seem to be worth trying.
The staff were very friendly and helpful, the place has a nice atmosphere to it, the outdoor seating was pleasant and I would definitely come back here if in Munich again.
Guneslibahce Sokak 43, Istanbul, Turkey
Take a gamble
Ciya is famous for serving different styles of Turkish cuisine drawn from all over the country. Sometimes though, it seems more thought has gone in to making something appear "different" and not so much to the overall appeal.
I tried the vegetarian lamacun since I haven't heard of anywhere else that serves this. It was disappointing however, although the base was nice and crisp, the topping was dry and largely flavourless. Similarly with another offbeat starter, olive piyaz. Normally piyaz is a bean and salad mixture with vinagrette, in this case the beans were dumped entirely and replaced with green olives, resulting in (more or less) a plateful of olives in vinegar. I like olives, but I'm not sure anyone could really eat this many served like this! Still, it's nice to see something that's both veg. and different from the usual.
Good aspects of Ciya for vegetarians and vegans is that there is a reasonable salad bar and a number of other veg options such as the more familiar falafel and pide. The staff are also accustomed to catering for vegetarians.
If you're thinking of visiting and trying something new, I would suggest ordering a mixture of more familiar dishes and new ones. Prices are slightly higher than average but can be worth it to find some interesting new flavours.
12 Moore Street, Dublin, Ireland
I've been here a number of times trying the different menu items, which go beyond the typical Indian dishes you find in this part of the world.
The onion bhajees are especially good. The various dosas (served at weekends) are also very delicious. In fact, the ordered menu items are usually much better/more interesting than the daily buffet dish selection, however this is also a reasonable option and gives the best value for money if you just want a lot of food for a low price. But if you only ever get the buffet, you're missing out on the good stuff on the menu.
The interior is a little basic/canteen-style, but not too bad. It's an awesome place to go for a quick, cheap & tasty meal, and in addition offers a lot of interesting options to go through.
7, Camekan Sokak, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey
Good value, nice food
EcoIstHan recently changed to all-vegan and revamped the food options to include a menu with four main plates, some desserts and tea/coffee options.
The main dishes are reasonably tasty and filling. They feel healthy and nutritious. However, the style of cooking of the falafel for example is more like lightly cooked or baked, which may be unexpected if you're looking for traditional-style falafels.
The mafush plate is interesting, it's like a vegan type of omelette, and like the other dishes is served with sides such as hummus, rice, cooked beans and salad etc. They're not heavily salted so you may find that you need to add some to bring out the flavour.
At 13tl for these plates (10tl for mafush), it's very good value.
The only thing I didn't really like is that most of the dishes are quite similar to each other. It would be nice to have some more options to increase the variation, however they are trying to keep the prices low and reduce wastage, so it's understandable.
The staff are very friendly and the location is on a pleasant laneway with a number of small shops and cafes winding down from Galata tower.
Updated from previous review on Thursday July 24, 2014
Karkuyusu Sk, 19, Mecidiyeköy, Istanbul, Turkey
Tasty and filling
Falafel Veggie is a new vegetarian fast food restaurant on the top floor of the City's shopping centre/mall in Nisantasi.
The menu is based around variations of falafel, salad, pitta bread and hummus. If you've ever been to the Maoz chain of falafel places, it's very similar, except that you choose the options from the salad bar instead of helping yourself. Luckily the salad is not just restricted to lettuce/tomato, but has at least 15 different options including spicy garnishes, tomato sauce and roasted aubergines etc. If you opted for the "Falafel veggie", i.e. the filled pitta bread, then it's finished off with a few more falafels and a dollop of hummus or tahini on top.
So all the options are vegetarian and mostly everything seems vegan also, except there is a "Sabih" dish which looks like the pitta bread but with the addition of a slice of egg in it.
I ordered the pitta bread and then (being hungry!) tried out the Veggie burger. They were both delicious. In some ways, the veggie burger is more surprising, because it's more like a giant falafel/hummus burger with garnishing, and it's really tasty too.
The seating area is small but fine, and I'm guessing that they would probably also do take-out if you wanted but I didn't ask. One thing is that most of the menus and other signage are mostly in Turkish, but they've designed them well with pictures and it's fairly obvious what everything is to a non-Turkish speaker.
One thing I would love here (having been to Maoz quite a bit) would be an option of french fries/belgian style fries as a side dish, but what they have already is great so can't really complain.
KM Celebi Mah Ipek Sokak 15/1, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey
I've been to Govinda's in Istanbul a few times now and I like the place, however, there is a slightly too much emphasis on carbohydrates on the menu. The main menu item is the "plate of the day" and this is especially good value on Mondays when it's half price. This consists of the cooked vegetable dish of the day, plus rice, pakora, falafel and either salad (vegan) or lentil raita (vegetarian).
The problem is that, and this may just be my personal taste, but, even though the pakoras and falafels are fine, there is only one subji or hot vegetable dish, and apart from the raita, there is not usually another cooked sauce available. This makes things a bit dry, and cold-ish. They need something like a chunky cooked dhal or spiced bean garnish to balance things out a bit more. Maybe even something with tofu or soya chunks would be good.
Hasfirin Cad, Unit 72/2, Sinanpasa Mah, Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey
I was very excited when I heard that Just Falafel was coming to Turkey, since there are very few exclusively veg. places in the city or country (if you exclude Cig kofte), and a vegetarian chain is unheard of.
It's maybe no surprise then that Just Falafel doesn't really live up to expectations.
Their menu is based around some new interpretations of the traditional Falafel sandwich or wrap. They look interesting on the menu and everything is done very professionally.
However, it suffers badly from menu picture syndrome - what you eventually get after ordering isn't half as appetising as suggested by the photos. Part of the problem is that the wraps are flattened panini-style before serving, which leaves the falafels dull and soft.
Also, there isn't a whole lot of difference between some of the menu options - e.g. the "Anadolu" and "JF Sandwich". The Original with tahina is not too bad. The Indian with coriander and Quesadilla with Jalapeno peppers are mildly interesting in a country where you don't often get those flavours.
The fries are OK but nothing to get excited about. The best thing about them is you can be certain that they haven't been sitting next to a slab of Doner meat for a few hours. The takeaway hummus is pretty good though. I didn't try the salads. The prices are about average for Istanbul.
Ultimately, it's veggie fast food, functional but uninspiring. There are some better options for falafel in Istanbul, but if Just Falafel do expand in Turkey then it would at least certainly be a better option than the local McDonald's or Burger King, if stuck for a quick bite to eat.
16c, Muallim Naci Caddesi, Ortakoy, Istanbul, Turkey
Not bad, but...
This is currently the only branch of Just Falafel in Istanbul after the closure of the Besiktas branch, and it doesn't really look like this one will do any better.
It's quite a big place, and as well as the Falafel wrap varieties, it also has a full veggie Kumpir (baked potato) serving area which is pretty cool considering all of the other baked potato places have the repulsive unnaturally pink turkish meat.
Anyway, the falafel wraps are ok but nothing special - this is very far from being a Maoz falafel. The different international themes seem a little gimmicky.
Worse is the way that the heat from the panini machine kills all of the crispyness of the falafel balls leaving a dull mush - they might be ok if you order them separately. Still, given that everything is vegetarian (and maybe 50% vegan) it's a good enough selection.
The location is very central in relation to Ortakoy, but can be difficult to get to from other parts of Istanbul with heavy road traffic in this area.
6 Mainguard St, Galway, Ireland
Not your average fast food place
Good prices and delicious food, this is probably your best option in Galway for something quick & tasty. Both the chips (fries) and veg. burrito I had were delicious, much better than you might expect from such a place.
I think they also have vegan options for the burritos etc.
Ihlamurdere Cad. sair Veysi sok. 4/b Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey
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.
43, Old Compton St, London, England
Maoz is simply awesome, it's one of the main reasons I'll visit London from Ireland!
As if the falafel, hummus + salad bar done right wasn't enough, the Belgian style chips are some of the best around too.
Kurabiye Sokak No 9/A Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey
New menu is a big improvement
They've just recently updated their menu in the past week or two and it seems to be much better compared to the old one.
One of the main problems before were the very bland veg. burgers, however I ordered the Vegan burger from the new menu and was very happy to see that they had made it much better with an actual burger bun, and mustard/ hummus(?? how about some Veganaise?) garnishes, tomato slices, lettuce etc.
They've also added a new falafel plate and falafel wrap so
the choice is a lot better than before. Looking forward to trying it.
The prices are still reasonable and all of the other good points (location, ambiance) remain the same so it appears to be quite a good option now. Still wish Loving Hut was open again though!
Turnacibasi Caddesi, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey
Good option for a cheap snack
It's another Cig Kofte place, there's a lot of them around but this one seems pretty hygienic, the cig kofte tastes good/healthy and it's in a good location close to Taksim (albeit down a small hill in the Cukurcuma area - look for the green sign). Price is inexpensive - just 3TL for the wrap (durum). They don't serve any non-vegetarian food.
If you get the wrap you might want to consider having it without the hot sauce (they will ask you... 'ajuh' is hot, 'beeraz ajuh' - some hot sauce, 'ajuh-suhz' - without the hot stuff) since the cig-kofte mixture already has hot chilli spices in it. It comes wrapped with lettuce and also optional pomegranate syrup (slightly sweet/sour).
Kumbaracı Yokuşu 57/ A, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey
Could be good, but has some difficulties
Although price inflation is a problem everywhere in Istanbul, it seems that Community Kitchen got a lot more expensive after they moved to their new premises.
Most of the dishes were 18TL, but there was no menu and just the 2 or 3 things they had available at the time.
This place is clearly a labour of love for the person running it and presumably their regular contributors - there were people making some desserts at the table beside us when we entered - but it just feels disjointed for outsiders.
18TL isn't actually an outrageous price compared to other places in Istanbul like Parsifal etc., but those other places don't have the DIY ethic - instead, they have proper menus, more fully considered portions, table service, no trays of food left lying around in the open etc.
Currently, this place feels more like a community or social centre for aspiring vegan cooks, and while that's not a bad thing at all, it just doesn't seem to be that compatible with the concept of a commercial cafe or restaurant.
I hope they can improve some of these aspects but it's not somewhere I would return to that quickly until they do.