Best veggie burgers photo
(BGR veggie burger; photo by Matt McClain)

Best veggie burgers

Lavanya Ramanathan and Justin Rude  |  Updated 09/20/2011

If you're looking for superlative meat-free version of the classic juicy burger, look no further.

 

The Counter

Reston, VA

The vegan patties unique to this cool California-based burger chain are merely the tasty canvas for a vegetarian meal of your own design: You pick the size (from one-third of pound to a pound), your bun (or salad greens) and as many as a half-dozen toppings from a list that extends half a page, nearly all of which are free. Will it be herbed goat cheese, tomatoes and grilled onions? Or pineapple, hard-boiled egg, ginger soy glaze and crispy onion strings? If only the waitstaff apprised you of the virtues of restraint. (Starting at $8.50)

 

BGR: The Burger Joint

Bethesda, MD

BGR owner Mark Bucher says his vegetarian wife inspired his burger, an unwieldy slab of brown rice, sweet potato and black beans that could probably sustain a small family for days - though thanks to a crunchy, sweet coating of molasses, it's unlikely you'll leave behind a single bite. If you're vegan, ask for it on a salad - the golden brioche bun is made with eggs and butter. ($7.99)

 

Good Stuff Eatery

Washington, DC

Spike Mendelsohn's Capitol Hill burger joint is a place to indulge, even for vegetarians. His meat-free selection, cheekily named the "Vegetarians are People Too 'Shroom Burger," is as thick, juicy and caloric as the best of his beef burgers. Portabello tops are stuffed with muenster and cheddar cheese, coated in panko bread crumbs and flash-fried, then topped with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, the house sauce and a pickle. ($6.89)

 

The Reef

Washington, DC

No one expects this aquatic-themed nightlife destination to have such a good menu, let alone a revelatory veggie burger. The house-made patty, with flaxseed, almonds and black beans, packs a savory, earthy flavor that easily stands up alongside the menu's bison burger; the veggie burger has body without being dense and is moist without feeling soggy. Vegans should request the dairy-free buns. (3 oz. slider, $6; 6 oz. $10)

 

Science Club

Washington, DC

Coated in panko and studded with black beans, celery and carrots, the housemade vegan burger at this sleek downtown bar has the crunch of falafel and the distinctively earthy flavor of veggies. And it's practically guiltless: It's served not with fries, but a heaping spinach salad. ($10)

 

Breadsoda

Washington, DC

Though the (non-vegan) patty is mass-produced by Morningstar Farms, it's hard to care when it comes sandwiched in a pillow of ciabatta bread slathered in an aioli spiked with basil, tarragon and rosemary. A little Swiss cheese, sauteed red onion, field greens and tomato elevate the sandwich, accompanied by one of Breadsoda's housemade pickles, to surprisingly refined bar food. ($8.95)

 

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