At first glance it may seem that Edirne is not the right place for a vegetarian, given the abundance of fried liver and kebap. However, there are plenty of dishes that don’t include any meat and are just as important to Edirne’s local cuisine as the carnivorous options. Here are our recommendations for the best vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the city.
It might be easy to look past this little shop in the city center, but Ziyafet happens to make some of the best çiğ köfte (hand-kneaded balls of lentils, bulgur, onions, garlic, parsley, tomato and pepper paste) in town. A delicious treat for vegetarians and vegans is to order a portion of çiğ köfte with ayran (yogurt drink,) and people watch along this pedestrianised street.
This is one of the best places to get breakfast in Edirne at any time of the day. A popular dish at Tadım is the menemen, which is perfect for vegetarians. Menemen (scrambled eggs with diced tomatoes and peppers) is served in a skillet so that the eggs always stay warm. If you’re still hungry you can order the Turkish cheeses, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and plenty of tea, for the full Turkish breakfast treatment.
The börek — thin layers of baked pastry with filling — of Edirne are quite famous and very delicious. Every börek shop has its non-carnivorous fillings, ranging from cheese to spinach to potatoes. Edirne Börekçisi is one of the most popular börek makers in town. Whether for breakfast or lunch or dinner, börek is always filling and delicious, especially accompanied by ayran (yogurt drink).
Turkish esnaf restaurants (tradesmen’s restaurants) serve classic Turkish home-cooked dishes. Among these are plenty of vegetarian options, such as cooked vegetables with sauce served with rice or bulgur. Balkan Lokantası is Edirne’s favorite spot for Turkish and Ottoman home cooking, and serves classics such as kurufasulye pilav (baked beans in sauce with rice) or nohut pilac (chickpea stew with rice).
Another great place to try some of Edirne’s best börek, Bahar Börek Evi is especially famous for its excellent su böreği, which is boiled and then baked sheets of dough filled with feta cheese and parsley. The breakfast favorite, poğaça (fluffy pastry with cheese filling), is also great with a glass of freshly brewed tea, while Bahar’s many baklava varieties are preferred as a very sweet dessert.
Last but certainly not least, Edirne’s Deniz Börekçisi is the place to try kol böreği (flaky layers of dough filled with cheese and parsley, chopped before serving), as well as delicious potato-filled börek. Deniz’s homemade lemonade and poğaça are also a favorite for breakfast or a much-needed snack after a day of sightseeing.