Parsifal Vegetarian Restaurant

For a city of 15 (?) million or so people, there’s not a lot of vegetarian restaurants in Istanbul. So it was nice to discover Parsifal which is not far from Taksim Square and is on a street parallel to Istiklal Caddesi (or find them on Facebook). Parsifal is great, not simply because it’s vegetarian, but the food is actually really good. Vegan options are clearly marked and prices are reasonable.

I’ve been to this restaurant a few times, a couple of times by myself and a few times with Mr T (Mr Turk). It was funny when I went back with Mr T after about a year and the guy at the restaurant remembered us and was shocked we were still together, such must be the nature of most Turk/foreigner relationships, or maybe he just got a bad vibe from us LOL.

When you get there they give you this really yummy warm homemade bread with a herbed oil to dip it in. Did I mention that dipping bread in oil is one of my all time favourite activities? Well it is, so this restaurant is off to a good start in my books.

Next up is Potato Borek: light crispy pastry, soft potato and lots of dill = winning combination!

Then there is dolma (stuffed chard leaves). Now my personal preference is for dolma to be oily, lemony and salty, you know where you cringe a little when you eat it from the combination of salty and sour *drool*, but I think that must be more the Lebanese version because most of the dolma I’ve eaten in Turkey isn’t like this and is a little more ‘reserved’ in flavour, but delicious nonetheless. The dolma at Parsifal is served with a tasty tomato salsa which gives it a nice lift.

On to mains they serve an eggplant dish which isn’t much to look at, but the taste, oh the taste! Smoky eggplant, garlic, tomato, green peppers, need I go on? It was yum.

I’m one of those vegans who isn’t vegan for health reasons, I’m vegan purely because I love animals. I am what other vegans would refer to as a ‘mock meat vegan’. I think the hardest thing about being in Turkey is not being able to get my mock meat fix (okay maybe the hardest thing is the cultural differences, but that’s another story altogether). So anyway you can imagine my delight when I saw a dish on the menu called ‘soya burger’. I imagined a soy meat patty of some sort in a bun, you know, like a burger. I was just planning on ditching the bread and salad bits and going to town on the soy meat patty. Well this isn’t a burger in the traditional form. It’s crumbed, fried potato patties stuffed with soy mince served with salad on the side. Different and not quite as filling as a normal burger might be, but it would work well as an entree. Although my craving for soy meat wasn’t totally satisfied, this was still a good dish.

We also ate a vegetable stew which was good. In Turkey you can’t really go wrong with ordering a vegetable stew (‘sebze guvec’ in Turkish) as long as it’s not cooked in any animal stock or oil.

My favourite dish that I’ve eaten at Parsifal is the vegetable grill plate, which is skewers of barbequed vegetables with a light tomato sauce served with grilled potatoes, rice and a salad garnish. My favourite vegetable on the skewer is definitely the oyster mushroom and I could easily eat 10 skewers of just those! Although I’ve eaten this dish a couple of times I’ve never managed to take a photo of it because I’ve been too busy shovelling the contents of the plate into my salivating mouth.

The only criticism I have of Parsifal is that they don’t have any vegan deserts on the menu. Now it’s besides the point that I’m usually too full to eat desert anyway and often don’t like sweet stuff, but it would just be nice to have that option.

If you’re in Istanbul, be sure to check out Parsifal. Even if you’re of the meat-eating type, you’re arteries will need a break from all those kebabs at some point.


About theveganfoodophile

Well the title of my blog pretty much gives me away. I'm an Australian girl currently based in Turkey who loves food and animals, just not when the two are combined. This blog is about my vegan culinary adventures and attempts. I'm not claiming to be a good cook or to have super taste buds, I just simply enjoy food: eating it, looking at it, taking (average) photos of it, reading about it and now hopefully writing about it. Some people have hobbies, I have food.
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3 Responses to Parsifal Vegetarian Restaurant

  1. Kelley says:

    Thanks for the review. My hubby and I are heading to Turkey in May/June this year. We are both vegetarian, so we will have to check it out. Any more restaurants you would recommend?

  2. Kelley says:

    Thanks for the review. My hubby and I are both vegetarian and will be coming to Istanbul in May/June. We will have to check this place out. Any other good veggie places.options you would recommend?

    • Hi Kelley, thanks for your comment and sorry for the delayed reply, but my laptop broke and I was computerless for a while! I have many recommendations for restaurants, too many to mention! I assume you’ll be staying around Taksim or Sultanahmet. There are the ones listed on Happy Cow of course (including Nar Mutfak which is great – just say you’re vegetarian and they’ll make up a plate for you for about 10TL), but there’s so many more than just those. Turkey isn’t really perceived as a vegetarian friendly country, but it is, they just don’t realise things are vegetarian. Make sure you try simit (like a sesame seed bagel) which you can buy from bakeries or from street vendors. If you can handle spicy food then I recommend that you try cig kofte which can be found all over the place (by law cig kofte must be “etsiz” which is without(siz) meat(et) but it can’t hurt to double check in Turkey!). Also make sure to try gozleme (it’s like a savoury crepe, my favourites are spinach or potato) and kumpir (baked potatoes stuffed with your choice of fillings), the best ones can be found in Ortakoy. Fish restaurants are surprisingly veg friendly with the choice of mezzes on offer, the same goes for meyhanes (Turkish pubs) where you should definitely eat mezze and drink raki (aniseed flavoured liqueur)! Basically all ‘zeytinyagli yemek'(olive oil food) is vegetarian. If you start to get sick of Turkish food, there’s a good Chinese restaurant called Cin Cin in Taksim just off Istiklal Caddesi where you can get dumplings and tofu (which rare in Turkey), there’s a good Italian place called Pizzeria Trio in Taksim and there’s also a great falafel place near Taksim Square called Falafel House (details on Happy Cow) which is a welcome break from Turkish food. I hope you have a great time in Istanbul and if you want any other advice or recommendations please feel free to ask.

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