Giving up meat doesn’t mean you have to give up the delicious sandwich that is the hamburger (yes, it is the official stance of SKB that a hamburger is a sandwich). Vegetarianism and veganism have both gained a lot of mainstream traction in the last few years, and with it, the rise of the veggie burger.
Some of the restaurants on this list are purely vegan, while others do have meat on the menu. It’s good to know both, depending on who you’re going out to lunch or dinner with! Regardless of what else is cooked in the kitchen, all of these patties are completely meatless and completely delicious.
Plant Matter Kitchen
Neighbourhood: Old South
162 Wortley Rd. (map)
Plant Matter Kitchen is one of the leaders of the plant-based trend in London, being one of the first fully vegan restaurants in the city. They are dedicated to great food without compromise – no additives, no chemicals, and certainly no animal products. Their menu consists of wholesome, delicious, organic food that is globally inspired and locally produced (they’re even Feast On certified). While their entire menu is incredible, we’re here today to focus on their burgers.
On the lunch menu, Plant Matter Kitchen offers three burgers: The Village Vibe, the 162, and the Scoville. The first burger, the Village Vibe, is their classic burger with the unique addition of hummus and vegan sour cream. The 162 is Plant Matter Kitchen’s take on a bacon cheeseburger, utilizing smoky tempeh strips and Chao cheese melted over the top. The Scoville is named for the units of spiciness, so you know you’re in for some heat. Only the Village Vibe is currently available on the dinner menu, so you’ll have to make a midday trip if you’re interested in the 162 or the Scoville.
As for the patty itself, Plant Matter Kitchen has recently begun to offer the Beyond Meat burger patty on their menu. For those not in the know, Beyond Meat patties are said to be the most realistic plant-based alternative that you can get to a real beef patty in terms of taste and texture. Anywhere it’s offered, the Beyond Meat patty has a tendency to disappear quickly – people are that in love with it!
However, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some vegetarians and vegans aren’t looking for realistic meatiness in their burgers. In which case, Plant Matter Kitchen offers their original house-made patty, an awesome blend of veggies formed into a patty that will never disappoint.
Plant Matter Kitchen also constantly has specials, which are often crazy and awesome burgers piled high with different toppings. Previous burger specials have included a Hawaiian burger, which was topped with crispy pineapple slices and a ginger rum sauce, and a chili cheese burger. Stay tuned to their social media to find out what their new specials are on the daily!
Neighbourhood: Huron Heights & Downtown London
1141 Highbury Ave. N (map) & 252 Dundas St. (map)
Most people seem to think that vegans and vegetarians have given up on fast food when they commit to their dietary restriction. Globally Local proves that is not the case. This vegan fast food joint offers all of the classics you grew up with, from sandwiches to tacos to breakfast, but without the animal products.
Globally Local offers a variety of burgers, some of which replicate the style and toppings of the fast food chains that vegetarians and vegans can no longer frequent. For instance, the Famous Burger bears an eerie resemblance to the Big Mac, with the middle bun and the special sauce. The Vopper is a portmanteau of “vegan” and Burger King’s “whopper,” topped with dairy-free American cheese, smoky bacUn, pickle, tomato, onion, lettuce, ketchup, and mayo.
Their most recent addition to their menu (at the time of writing, they’re constantly adding and updating) is the Preposterous Burger, the restaurant’s made-in-house answer to the popular Beyond Meat burger, stating that it’s “scarily similar” to the “real” thing. The patty is thick and juicy, and even has a little bit of beet in there to give it a red tinge like rare beef.
The burger patties, except for the Preposterous Burger, are made with a base of chickpeas, ensuring that you’re still getting protein from your burger, even without any meat. However, there are some breadcrumbs in there, so celiacs be warned – these patties are not gluten free! In the style of most fast food burgers, the patties are thin and cooked on a flat top, giving it an appealing crispy outer layer when you bite down.
No one is saying that Globally Local is gourmet, but that’s not what they’re going for. Cravings for fast food cannot be satiated by anything else, and now plant-based Londoners have a place to turn, even in the middle of the night!
The Squire Pub & Grill
Neighbourhood: Downtown London
109 Dundas St. (map)
Welcome back, Squire, we’ve missed you! It’s been a couple weeks since you’ve appeared on one of our lists! As regular SKB readers know, the Squire is an amazing downtown bar and restaurant right across the street from Budweiser Gardens on the corner of Talbot and Dundas. We featured them on our Best Burgers in London list, and their veggie burger is just as amazing!
It all starts with the patty, made in-house. Made from a combination of black beans, beets, and quinoa, the patty is hearty, fresh, and best of all, vegetarian. Take that patty and place it lovingly on a perfectly toasted bun, then top with lettuce, onion, tomato, pickle, onion crisps (that’s right, two kinds of onion), and herb mayo.
If you’re feeling a little extra when you’re ordering, you can add feta for just a couple bucks more. Feta adds some extra saltiness and cheesiness and when they put it under the grill to get the cheese a little melty and caramelized, it takes this already-incredible burger to the next level.
Upon request, the burger can easily be made vegan as well. You’ll have to sacrifice the herb mayo and obviously can’t add feta with this request, but those are easy alterations to make sure not a single animal product is on your plate!
To make this burger even more ridiculous, on Tuesdays it’s only $8. That’s right, this is no typo and your eyes aren’t lying to you: Eight freakin’ dollars. You might end up paying more for parking downtown than you will for your burger! If that’s not a great bang for your buck, then I don’t know what is.
The Squire continues to be one of the overall best eateries in the city. Their ingredients are fresh, the cooking is impeccable, and the prices are so reasonable, it’s almost not even fair. If after reading all of our lists, you haven’t checked out the Squire because you don’t eat meat and thought there wasn’t anything for you, now this veggie burger will give you a reason to go!
The Root Cellar
Neighbourhood: Old East Village
623 Dundas St. (map)
The Root Cellar believes that fresh and local are two of the most important things when it comes to food and business. Everything on the menu of this Old East Village restaurant is made from scratch in their kitchen from ingredients grown by local farmers – they even have a map in their restaurant to show where in Ontario each ingredient came from! The menu changes every season to stay fresh and seasonal, but one of their mainstays is the Root Cellar Organic Veggie Burger.
The patty is comprised of black beans, mushroom, and quinoa, which is then brushed with vegan miso gravy. The gravy makes the burger feel juicy, and combined with the mushrooms gives it an awesome umami (AKA savoury or meaty) flavour that is hard to find in many veggie burgers. Take that perfect patty and top it with aged cheddar cheese, caramelized onion, sautéed mushrooms, Dijon, garlic aioli, house-made pickles, and greens.
If you’re worried that going meatless will leave you hungry, let your worries fade away: You will not be leaving the Root Cellar with an empty stomach. The veggie burger is absolutely massive, it’s almost intimidating when your waiter sets it down in front of you.
Ask for the burger to be made vegan, and your wish will be granted! The cheddar will not burden your burger any longer and you can dine without any animal products in your food.
The Root Cellar offers many vegan options, but their veggie burger is one of our favourites. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just not feeling like eating meat for one meal, the Root Cellar Organic Veggie Burger is a fantastic idea.
With the drastic increase in demand for plant-based options, a number of chain restaurants have begun to offer non-meat options at their franchises. While they aren’t born and bred in London, these restaurant chains have heeded the call for vegetarian and vegan options and added delicious veggie burgers to their menus.
South St. Burger
South St. Burger has just opened up two locations in London (one in the north, one in the south), and alongside their 100% angus beef burgers, they have an awesome veggie burger.
The patty is soy-based, and they promise it is “low in fat, high in fibre” and it is vegan friendly.
Build your own burger from their plentiful topping options, including classics like lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Go off the beaten track with tomato salsa, maple infused onions, or green olives on your burger. If you feel like splurging, add one of their premium toppings like ginger glazed pineapple or sautéed mushrooms and you’ve got quite the unique and delicious burger on your hands.
A&W struck a deal with Beyond Meat and brought the plant-based patty to the Canadian masses on a scale that had not been seen before for the meat alternative brand. There was some serious hype around the A&W Beyond Meat burger, and it paid off. It was so popular on the first run in July 2018 that they ran out nation-wide faster than they could restock. The introduction of the veggie burger is considered to be one of the fastest and most successful product launches in Canada!
After a short Beyond Meat drought, A&W has restocked and the Beyond Meat burger is back as a permanent menu item across the country.
The A&W Beyond Meat burger comes with classic burger toppings – lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayo. Ask for no mayo to make it truly vegan!
A&W also offers the Veggie Deluxe burger, which is made with a portobello and veggie patty, topped with mozzarella, pickles, onion, lettuce, and tomato.
Harvey’s has been the unsung fast food hero for vegetarians for a long time. They were one of the first large Canadian chains to add a veggie burger to their menu, even before the plant-based trend gained mainstream popularity.
Just like any Harvey’s burger, the veggie burger is flame-grilled, giving it an extra layer of smoky, charred flavour. The patty even goes above vegetarian and is completely vegan! Top the burger with your choice of toppings, whatever floats your veggie boat, and you’re off to the races!
As is the Harvey’s slogan, your hamburger will be a beautiful thing, made even more beautiful by the fact that there are no animal products involved!