Turkey’s most glamorous seaside town Bodrum, also known as the Turquoise coast, lies on the edge of the Aegean where it meets the Mediterranean. With its disconnected fishing villages, marinas and clubs, Bodrum has the glam of French Riviera and magic of thousands of years of history.
Bodrum is a tourist hotspot with both local and foreign vacationers crowding the gorgeous beaches, bars and restaurants from May till October. The local cuisine features an abundance of vegetables, wild plants, grains and pulses - making it plant-based heaven. Farm to table is not just a trend here but an eternal way of life. Breakfast is often skipped as, any day, lunch prepared from the freshest ingredients can take several hours and you realize you have spent all that time talking about tomatoes, nutritional benefits of olive oil and where to eat next. There are many reasons why Bodrum should be on your travel bucket list but discovering the local cuisine alone is a strong enough rationale.
This June we spent a week in Bodrum to catch-up with friends and family. We visited some old favorites, strong establishments who make no compromise on quality. We also discovered some of Bodrum’s newest trends. All recommended by locals, here is a roundup of great vegan friendly restaurants in Bodrum’s hidden corners.
Bodrum branch of Istanbul’s favorite restaurant bistronomique, Aman da Bravo is located in a seafront design hotel, Boho, in posh Yalikavak. Enjoy a modern take on homemade products and regionally ingredients with luxurious comfort in a bohemian setting. Small plates like grilled leeks with almonds or braised spinach roots are vegan delights.
Run by a husband and wife duo in between mandarin fields of Bitez, Bagarasi is a long time favorite. This is not your typical meze restaurant and each dish carries the owners little twist on traditional recipes. Choose from originally created vegetable and olive oil based dishes displayed in a glass showcase, order a small bottle of raki (traditional Turkish drink) and enjoy a joke or two from the owner, Ismail Bey who likes to personally greet his customers. Braised green tomatoes, pilaki with cardamom, okra with plums are just a few dishes from a vastly plant-based and dairy free menu. This is a very popular little gem so booking a few days in advance is highly recommended.
Another Bodrum classic, Limon is well-known for its boho-chic setting overlooking the ancient city of Myndos in the village of Gumusluk. This charming place has one of the best sunsets in Bodrum making it also a popular location to go for an aperitivo. Limon's restaurant menu features a delicious range of traditional dishes alongside homemade syrups and liqueurs, cocktails and special teas.
There is nothing more Aegean than dining on blue dyed wooden tables right by the sea. According to the handsome front of the house, ayana means where mountain and the sea meets. Here, if you are lucky, you will be seated literally on the edge of the beach with waves almost reaching your feet. Although a fish restaurant, you will be amazed by the variety of delicious cold and hot vegan mezzes. Its difficult to choose from tens of different wild plants and olive oil based dishes, so there is that risk of ordering more than you can eat. Possibly the most laid-back romantic flair you can find.
A no fuss local eatery specializing in manti, turkish ravioli. Traditionally a meat based dish, manti over the years have adapted to growing culinary trends with many modern Turkish chefs including variations of manti in their menus. Here you can choose from 3 vegetarian options and your can skip the butter sauce if you like. We are quite fond of the green lentil manti with a side of “coban” salad. Bitez Mantici is everything you would expect from a small turkish artisan restaurant.
An instagrammable urban brassarie in Bitez village popular for its back garden. Menu comes with classic cafe staples such as salads, pizzas and pasta as well as a veggie burger. If you want a refreshing change from heat, sand and the beach, Vamos offers nice al fresco dining.
Zeytinlik is a small shop close to Bodrum center specializing in regional food products. The owner couple are very kind and knowledgeable about olive oil and great narrators of its health benefits. Over their counter, they pour different types of olive oil into small shot glasses and explain, as you taste, what makes a good blend and how to pick the bottle perfect for your diet. Same shop also has a range of quality vegan products which is a rare find in Bodrum.