When visiting a new country, I’m sure trying local cuisine or a food tour is top of many peoples list of things to do. Mine included, I absolutely love trying new things, and local cuisine is one of my favourite things about travelling – I just have to work that much harder to find it all gluten free!
For Turkey I’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to – here’s where to find local food and dishes throughout the country so if you’re visiting Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadocia or the coast – or completing a road trip around the county you don’t have to miss out!
Here’s the round up of my research so you can make it your goal to try one of everything, that was definitely mine!
Karakoy Gulluoglu is a baklava dessert shop that is known for selling gluten free baklava in Istanbul and it has been on my bucket list for so long. They sold proper baklava in both pistachio and walnut. I had the pistachio and it was syrupy and delicious.
The first baklava I bought on my trip was from Ustuntat Baklavalari in Ankara. They made the baklava separately from what I could establish and they stored it in a tray behind the counter of gluteney baklava. I chose to try both the pistachio and walnut baklava here and actually preferred the walnut. It was nice to try the flavours of baklava but found Karakoy Gulluoglu and Burbella better as they made their baklava from pastry. This one was more of a rice paper containing the baklava filling.
I tried to buy some Baklava at 100% gluten free love and bakes but they didn’t have any at the time of my visit.
Burbella Glutensiz Firin Cafe – Denizli (near Pamukkale)
I visited Burbella on the same day as Pamukkale (we had hired a car so it was easy for us to detour here). The cafe sold several types of baklava frozen so I bought a tray of gluten free walnut baklava and it was very good particularly the pastry but needed more filling in my opinion.
Borek is a gluten free cheese filled pastry that was also available with spinach or minced meat but as it was sold in large portions I had just the cheese one. I tried it for a lunch on the go from Love and Bakes dedicated gluten free bakery.
A gluten free cheesy pastry – what’s not to love?
Burbella Glutensiz Firin Cafe – Denizli (near Pamukkale)
I also found trays of gluten free borek at Burbella but I didn’t buy any as they were sold in quite large frozen portions.
I didn’t risk eating dondurma anywhere as it’s a kind of sticky icecream that means there are a lot of pranks played on customers with the icecream being attached to the cones. I can’t see how any of it wouldn’t be a cross contamination risk.
Kamelya Dondurma Ve Glutensiz – Ankara
I did have this place on my list to try dondurma but weren’t in Ankara when it was open.
It shows as being open online but reviews are old and they didn’t reply to my message so may be a risk of not being open if you drive out your way for it just as a heads up.
My Pirzolam Steak and Kebap – Kayseri
My Pirzolam Steak and Kebap restaurant was a non dedicated gluten free gem of a restaurant in Kayseri found thanks to glut.end.tr gluten free map of Turkey. The owner served us and was very clued up as his son had been diagnosed as coeliac for over ten years so I felt in safe hands. They had some gluten free options on the menu including burgers and kofte.
I tried to order the kofte but they’d sold out so ended up with steak and safely fried chips instead.
Meshur Filibe Koftecisi – Istanbul
This casual kofte restaurant was also shown on the glut.end.tr map as potentially having gluten free kofte so I had been planning to try the kofte here.
As a Turkish version of a loaded jacket potato these were on my list to try in Istanbul. However, I didn’t get a chance but something that I would definitely check out as a gluten free option on a return trip. I also saw them advertised in Bodrum.
This baklava dessert shop also stocked gluten free kunefe that I’m now regretting not buying at the time! Kunefe is a a sticky syrupy dessert made up of shredded pastry and filled with cheese, nuts or cream.
Slightly further out of central Istanbul but i did have Meydan Kunefe saved as an option to try gluten free kunefe, found thanks to glut.end.re gluten free map. I didn’t get to try it so do make sure you check their cross contamination measures.
We drove past Bursa when driving between Istanbul and Pamukkale and would definitely have stopped if we had more time or if we had passed at a time that we needed to eat rather than the middle of the afternoon. We would have checked out Iskender Kebab 1867 which was on glut.end.tr map of Turkey as being able to cater for those with coeliac.
After visiting Cappadocia we spent a night in Kayseri and loved the city. We visited Glutensiz Kafe which as a dedicated gluten free cafe was an absolute dream after a few days of struggles in Cappadocia finding safe gluten free food.
Prices were cheap compared to touristy locations in Turkey and particularly compared to many gluten free cafes I’ve visited around the world. It came to about £7 for a portion of gluten free Manti, pide, a homemade lemonade and a latte.
Manti are Turkish dumplings or like ravioli. The tomato sauce transported me back to the tinned ravioli I used to eat as a child but served with yoghurt and spices. It was warming and delicious and I ate every single one! These should definitely be on your gluten free bucket list of eats in Turkey.
Located in Kadikoy, I didn’t try the gluten free Manti at Mr Dumpling so make sure you check their cross contamination processes before eating here if you’re coeliac but it came highly recommended.
Burbella sold gluten free (and I think vegan) frozen Manti to takeaway.
Menemen (Scrambled eggs with tomatoes and peppers)
This was on my list to try that I was hoping to be a naturally gluten free breakfast dish but i didn’t have it in the end so it’s firmly on the list for next time. If I’d eaten out more in Istanbul this is the place I was planning to investigate for gluten free options to see if it was possible to order safely without bread or the sausage.
Pide (Flat bread/pizza)
As well as gluten free manti at Glutensiz Kafe I ordered some pide to takeaway. Topped with meat and peppers it was more of a flatbread or very thin crust pizza rather than the traditional boat shaped pide with thick pastry edges but it was still tasty.
As lahmacun is more of a flatbread I could have been served that rather than the pide.
With five branches in Istanbul Ali Ocakbasi has an excellent gluten free menu which included pide. However, as I didn’t eat here I didn’t check their cross contamination processes so do check if you are coeliac.
I didn’t eat out in Istanbul having been glutened earlier in the trip, but Rolla Gluten free restaurant was 100% on the list for Simit and amazing bakes. I was also told by locals on Instagram that they do the best gluten free burgers and products in Istanbul. Definitely have this restaurant on your must visit list!
Glutensiz.com market and cafe looks like another must visit gluten free cafe and supermarket that sells all sorts of gluten free products including Simit and baklava.
Kind of a cross between bagels and a pretzel I knew I had to find gluten free Simit! the best one that I tried was from Burbella. I bought a five pack, and ate one in which was heated up for me and took the rest of the pack away.
I bought Simit from Love and Bakes that felt really soft. Unfortunately, I bought this just before I was glutened and then it had gone hard before I could face eating again.
I also bought some Simit in Ankara from Ilkerim Kafe. Unfortunately, my experience wasn’t great as my two pack were really dry to the point of being inedible. I did have them in a hotel in Cappadocia so May have been better if I’d had a way to toast them but I wouldn’t recommend from my experience.
If you’re staying in Antalya definitely check out this dedicated gluten free cafe for Simit and local Turkish cuisine.
Turkish breakfast is made up of lots components. Mainly bread/Simit with dips like hazelnut spread, chocolate spread and honey and then lots of cheese, olives, tomatoes and cucumber. I ate most of the breakfast at Taskonaklar Hotel in Cappadocia which had gluten free bread and supplemented it all with scrambled eggs. I just didn’t touch the dips as although I asked for a gluten free breakfast I wasn’t confident that they knew to do more than avoid pastries and bread.
I also had similar options several times in our air b n b as brunch/lunch.
Other Resources and Options
I’d already done some research and found 100% gluten free restaurants and cafes in Turkey to help me find some of these foods to try. However, glut.end.tr sent me her gluten free map of Turkey whilst I was there and it was a huge help in finding non dedicated restaurants for eating out so I would recommend this resource if you’re travelling at all in the country.
Gluten Free Product List in Turkey
Products that you may expect to be gluten free as they are in other countries weren’t necessarily – Magnums, sweets and even fruit juice. I found this list by the Turkish Coeliac Association a really useful resource to refer to whilst on holiday in Turkey (I opened it using Chrome to translate it to English) and it helped me discover some gluten free options such as Sarelle hazelnut spread and Tadelle chocolate which were hazelnut praline bars and tasted amazing for a road trip pick me up!
I may not have enjoyed the Simit here but they did stock a lot of other gluten free products that could be worth a try including sesame crackers and soups.
Note that this comes up as a restaurant online but it just stocked gluten free products to buy.
Naturally gluten free options
I bought some things like olives from the spice bazaar in Istanbul (note that prices just outside we’re a lot cheaper than inside!)
I plan to write a follow up guide to Turkey of everything we ate but I hope this gets you started with trying some of the local cuisine gluten free.
In the mean time you may like to read my gluten free guide to Europe for further resources.
Happy gluten free travels!
Note: Writing a gluten free travel blog is a passion project of mine but the website has an annual subscription cost so it actually costs me money to run. If you find my guides helpful please consider buying me a virtual coffee through my kofi link to help me run this free resource for gluten free travel. Thank you!