The 7 Best Veggie Burgers in the Bay Area

plant-burger.jpeg
Ed U./Yelp
The seriously red, seriously delicious Plant Burger.
​You know what sucks? When you get to a restaurant, all hungry and excited to eat, and upon scanning the menu, you realize your only option is a motherloving Boca burger. Ye gads, the only thing worse is the dreaded GVP (Grilled Vegetable Plate), which is enough to send even the most committed vegan into the arms of a sirloin. I joke, because PUKE, but for reals, us vegetarians want more ― and lately, we're getting it. From the Mission to the Marina and from Marin to Berkeley, the Bay Area is bringing it with the veggie burgers. Also: Want to make your own? Check out our recipe for the deeply mourned Mission Burger vegan burger.

My criteria for a winning veggie burger:

A. Superior mouth feel. Actually, I'm just talking about texture, but I wanted to sound fancy. SUE ME!
B. Heartiness. Does this bitch fill me up?
C. Craveability. Would I kill my own mother for another taste? No, I would never do that, I'm not some sociopath. But, you know, do I want to eat it again and again and again, until I'm inevitably buried in a piano box?

So, please, go forth, you brave veg and veg-curious soldiers, and conquer my entire list of the top seven San Francisco Bay Area veggie burgers. They're in no particular order (that you can decipher) because these burgers are like my children: I (pretend to) love them all equally.

1. The Plant Burger at the Plant Cafe Organic: Pier 3 (at the Embarcadero), 984-1973.
It's huge, it's bright red (from beets, not blood!), and it'll fill you up for days. In addition to the beets, the patty consists of lentils, mushrooms, cashews, and bulgur wheat. LOLZ WHAT? I don't know, but it tastes of delicious. It's a destination dish, with people going out of their way to get to any number of the Plant's inconvenient locations to chow down. The only thing arguably annoying about this burger is that it falls apart easily. It's not a huge deal, because it's fun to find chunks later in your bra. Snack time!

devil-burger.JPG
Jordan Pattern/Flickr
Evil in a good way: St. Francis Fountain's Devil Burger.
2. The Devil Burger at St. Francis Fountain: 2801 24th St. (at York), 826-4200.
Okay, this isn't so much an actual BURGER as it is a pile of thinly sliced fried seitan with melted vegan cheese on a burger bun with pickles, onions, tomato, lettuce, and vegan mayo. Remember when Roseanne opened those loose-meat restaurants (joke too easy must ignore)? Well, this is the vegan version of that! Get it with fries and a Diet Coke (the fat girl's Coke! Holla!) because this meal is best if it's comprised of completely empty calories and chemical death. When you're done, stroll down 24th Street to La Victoria and pick up a Wholesome Bakery cupcake. It's the most nutrition you'll be getting all day!

3. The Guacamole Burger at Saturn Cafe: 2175 Allston (at Oxford), Berkeley, 510-845-8505.
House-made Saturn patty with buffalo sauce, salsa, and heaps of terrific guacamole. I order mine with a side of pancakes because why the fuck not? Saturn has many burgers to choose from, and lots of great toppings and condiments (vegan ranch! vegan wasabi mayo!), so just eat your way through the menu until you've found a favorite. Most fun challenge ever!

rsz_saturn.jpg
Mike McCaffry/Flickr
Choosing a veggie burger at Saturn? Totally hard.
4. Chipotle Almond Sunflower Burger at Nature's Express: 1823 Solano (at Colusa), Berkeley, 510-527-5331.
They've got about a million veggie burger combos to choose from, but this is my favorite. The rich and hearty nut patty (hehe) is offset by the sweetly spicy chipotle sauce, and it all just makes your taste buds dance. This place is totally nouveau-hippie so I can say, "makes your taste buds dance" and not sound like a complete jerk. Disagree all you want, I can't hear you yelling through your computer, and I never read the comments*. Plus, Nature's Express has vegan soft serve! Nothing goes better with a burger than soft serve. Someone somewhere believes that.

*I kid; my entire sense of self-worth is determined by my negative-to-positive comment ratio.


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14 comments
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Marke626
Marke626

Great article.  The title is a little misleading though.  These really are not the 7 best burgers in the Bay, they're the 7 best burgers in SF and Berkeley.

Just Marie
Just Marie

Thanks Laura! You've made my job so much easier. We just moved to the Bay Area from the Sacramento area and I needed to find a new "veggie burger" place.  Since you put it out there, you HAVE to try The Sunflower, in Fair Oaks, if you are ever in the Sacramento area. It's the best ever. I don't even know where to begin with a recommendation because everything is delish. Yummy nutty burgers, and their Super Avocado and Cheese is dang good. Plus, the peanut butter smoothy, is the best and I don't like smoothies. 

Best of luck!

Just Marie
Just Marie

update. I went to Saturn Cafe last night. I was not impressed. I had the Jalapeño Burger. Everything on it was fine, like the sauce and toppings, and I like the spiciness (sp?). But the patty itself tasted like dirt, literally and the texture was mushy.  

Will I ever find a place I like as much as The Sunflower Drive-In in Fair Oaks??!

gardenburger
gardenburger

I like the burgers are being made. Healthy yet I bet these are all so delicious. Thumbs up on being green.

Wanderess79
Wanderess79

Have you ever tried the black bean and quinoa burger in Big Sur at Ventana? I'm not even vegetarian and I prefer it to a hamburger - any hamburger. It's worth the drive!

Denise
Denise

The mushroom burger and garden burger at Pearls Phat Burger (Mill Valley). IF you want it to really taste like a burger, I cannot tell the difference from back in the days of eating meat.

morian
morian

On your recommendation I tried Source (San Francisco). Loved it. There are lots of dishes on their menu that sound delicious.

melissa_iris
melissa_iris

i highly recommend the house-made veggie burger at hotel utah. a classic!

convivia wallace
convivia wallace

I am so glad to see the burger at Source featured! That house-made pita is really special!

Nonny99
Nonny99

Mushroom burger at namu. Seriously addicting...

Carina Ost
Carina Ost

I like the one that is falafel like at Super Duper burger

Codysmomuk
Codysmomuk

Love the way you write! I live in PA, so sadly I won't be able to try any of these any time soon, but I have friends who live in the Bay area and I will be passing this info along as well as keeping it in mind for when I visit. :) I haven't gone completely vegan yet, but its mainly because I am a mother of two and married to a man who believes a meal isn't complete without a 10-16oz. portion or meat on his plate. I started eating meat free 5 days a week about 8 months ago and thats the way I cook our family dinners now. My husband has been following that guideline with me if we are eating at home. It goes out the window if we get take out or we are in a restaurant though. I have been eating less and less meat as the months have gone by and I have to say, I don't really miss much, but a burger is hard to beat!

joce
joce

The house made veggie burger at Hillstone (formerly Houston's) is really delicious!!!

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