Veggie lovers can rejoice in these flavorful picks that prove you don’t need meat to enjoy a satisfying burger. Whether it’s made with grains, potatoes, squash, soy, beans or a combination of them all, each of these burgers is more than just a substitute for its meaty counterpart. In fact, these patties are so good that even the most carnivorous of restaurant-goers has been known to order them for a change of pace.
413 E. Girard Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125
Boasting the best Philadelphia burger according to the 2013 Zagat Survey, this eccentric Fishtown spot offers a funky atmosphere and, of course, delicious burgers. While there are a number of everyday burgers to choose from (such as the standard sirloin beef, American Kobe and turkey burger), there are also rotating specials that are noted on chalkboards. All burgers at Sketch are made to order and come on a country white bun from nearby Philly favorite, Le Bus Bakery. Here, the vegan bean burger has plenty of flavor and substance and is made from oats, a variety of beans, potatoes, onions, carrots, spices and herbs. Before it’s placed on the bun, this patty is deep fried to give it a crisp exterior, proving that vegetarian burgers can pack all the punch (and calories!) of their meaty counterparts.
Kite & Key
1836 Callowhill St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
With 17 rotating drafts and approximately 50 bottled varieties, Kite & Key is a prime spot for craft and imported beers. But this Callowhill spot doesn’t stop at beer. This popular Museum District eatery also offers lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch featuring top-notch pub fare. The mussels and veggie burger are two favorites, especially when enjoyed in the outdoor beer garden. The vegetarian patty is akin to a cornucopia of veggies on a multigrain roll and is made with carrots, green beans, corn, onions and sweet peas. It’s then topped with Swiss cheese, shredded cabbage, delectable cooked shiitake mushrooms and a spicy horseradish mayo. Served with a side of fries for $10, it’s no surprise that Kite & Key was named “Best Veggie Burger” by Philadelphia Magazine in 2012.
Hip City Veg
127 S. 18th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, chances are good that you’ve enjoyed a few meals at Hip City Veg. This Center City spot boasts a menu that is 100 percent plant based, and everything is served in compostable packaging with utensils that are made from plant materials. The classic veggie burger is made with soy and grains and topped with lettuce, onions, tomato, mustard and ketchup. A welcome change of pace from the chunky veggie mixture that many places offer, this $7.50 burger has a smooth, meat-like consistency.
118 S. 20th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
While the drinks often take center stage at Village Whiskey, with Chef Jose Garces behind the restaurant, the food is just as noteworthy as the beverage selection. Sure, the $26 foie gras burger is impressive, but vegetable lovers won’t feel left out while enjoying the $10 veggie burger. Made with a mixture of black beans and lentils, this burger is topped with pickled red cabbage and guacamole for one tasty, albeit messy, sandwich. And if you want even more, the Village Whiskey burger addition menu includes options such as truffled mushrooms, fried eggs and pickled long hots.
Related: Top Pulled Pork In Philadelphia
The Twisted Tail
509-511 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
With Chef Leo Forneas in the kitchen at The Twisted Tail, you can enjoy the flavors of a charcoal grill any time of year. The aptly named Harvest Burger is a vegetarian’s dream. Diced yellow squash and zucchini are mixed with caramelized onions and then wrapped with wafer-thin slices of eggplant. The grilled burger is topped with a creamy gingered goat cheese and mizuna. Grilled flatbread is used instead of a traditional roll for a lighter, fresher option. Don’t let all the vegetables fool you, though. This is one big burger that easily calls for a knife and fork. At $11, it’s paired with a small pot of delicious pickled vegetables on the side.
Related: Best Corn Dishes In Philadelphia
Michelle Hein is a copy editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer boyfriend would love to open.