Oh the veggie and vegan burgers, what a high art cuisine, tried by many, failed by most, and mastered only by a chosen few. While nearly every burger place in town also has a vegetarian and oftentimes even vegan burger on their menu, that doesn’t mean the choice of good ones would be plenty. Rather the opposite. There’s also no correlation of meat-grilling-talents and vegan artistry, a place serving a great beef-burger doesn’t necessarily (or possibly never?) also has the skills to do a good veggie one.
Despite the fact that I am by no means a die-hard-burger-lover, I was invited to join the jury of Zitty’s latest Essen Gehen magazine to judge the vegetarian alternatives. But I went further, and ate my wabrioy through the city, managing to taste-test ten vegetarian options. Which doesn’t mean I’ll stop here, this post will be updated with even more burger-glory every time I meet and eat a burger I like. Please join in the fun and let me know you favorite vegetarian and/or vegan burger in the comments!
As a novelty, this list doesn’t only include the ones I’d recommend, but I reviewed some I rather say you don’t have to try. Either because they’re praised by so many and still failed to impress me, or because the place is so ridiculously famous for their meat burgers, one would expect they’re good in veggie’s as well.
I didn’t know they even had burgers until I went there with a no-gluten friend, who had the bibimbap for lunch. Their happy vegan burger (pictured above, 5,50 Euro) certainly sounds delicious with its kimchi, polenta and tofu patty, spinach and cucumbers and nori-wasabi-majonaise. Although a bit too shy on the wasabi for my taste, I enjoyed the little one and its kimchi and nori mix served in this very cool spot just off Oranienstraße. Furnished in neon-yellow and designed to the bone, this place still has a laid-back vibe, obviously, since their main treat is still fried chicken, spiced from friendly to furious. (Angry Chicken, Oranienstraße 16 in Kreuzberg)
Ban Ban Kitchen
The Korean food craze may forever continue. Especially when it’s as delicious as Kimchi-fries and veggie bulgogi burger with ice-cold ginger beer as in the case of this small take-out on Hermannstraße.
I’ve never understood the appeal of this place, not only was the music and mood too bad to be ignored every time I went there, and although the burgers look great in photographs, they fail on almost every taste level. Pictured is the Veggie-Burger (5,50 Euro), but yes, I’ve also tried the Halloumi burger before. Besides being impossible to eat (they’re just stacked too high), the bread and salad have almost no taste, and while the curry spice in the veggie patty was nice, the overall note is just blah… (BBI, Pannierstrasse 5 in Neukölln)The Bird
The Bird has every right to call themselves the most loved place for beef-burger-lovers in town, I have only met a handful of people who’d even dare to criticize what they do in the meat department (and then it’s mostly about them using English muffins as buns). But… this is what they should stick to. Pictured here is a portobello mushroom burger I had in their fairly new spot in Kreuzberg, and it was as lousy as the veggie-bean patty I had a while ago in Prenzlauer Berg. Their veggie burgers literally go by the name Lousy Hunter (though the price is everything but, 12 Euros with fries and thus more expensive than their house burger). While the veggie-patty had the rather displeasing trait of growing in my mouth while I chewed on it, the portobello was just burned. Not enhanced with lovely roast aromas, but black and chalk-like burned. (The Bird, Kottbusser Damm 95 in Kreuzberg)
Burger de Ville
Another veggie burger filled with a portobello mushroom. Seriously, I never had a really great portobello mushroom, no where. Does it even exist? This one’s actually saved by the halloumi and the grilled peppers. But that’s not enough. Burger de Ville has a tragic history, it started out as a enthusiastic adventure on the construction site of a West Berlin mall, but then had to move once the building was finished and they had struggles finding a new place. I visited them when they parked their beautiful silver truck on the rather horrific “urban beach” just by Checkpoint Charlie, a field of sand decorated with branded sunbeds and parasols. It was just an overall sad experience. But who says there can’t be a comeback? I heard so many people rave about their potential, so my fingers remain crossed for them. (Burger de Ville food truck, check their facebook for updates)
Three time Berlin’s Best Burger winner District Mot might have won their title mainly thanks to their beef version, but the veggie one isn’t behind in neither taste nor looks – served in a steamed bun, with fresh mango and a crispy cracker, the main star is the marinated tofu. I loved it every time I had it (which was many), may that be in the restaurant itself, or at Burgers & Hip Hop event at Prince Charles.
Let It Be
This fully vegan food place all the way down Weserstraße is somewhat of an expert when it comes to vegan burgers – they not only offer five varieties with either soy, falafel, black bean or vegetable patties, they also named them after famous vegans like Peter Dinklage and Mike Tyson. Plus, you can get a sweet crepe for dessert (but won’t have to, their burgers are filling). Read more here.
This pretty burger’s name is KRS-Bun, it’s Piri’s newest addition to their veggie burger menu and it is really delicious. Filled with tofu bathed in melted cheese, it has a surprisingly sultry “cheese-steak”-like texture, which is then smothered in sauteed red onions and generous Chipotle mayo, giving this one a nice spice. You might know Piri’s as the winners of Berlin’s Best Cheese Burger, no wonder they’ve got some cheese-pertise.
Schiller Burger earns extra points by having a vegetarian and vegan menu almost as big as the meat one (6 to 9). Pictured here (horribly thanks to my iPhone) is a vegan sweet potato burger called Anmut und Würde (like the philosophical text by Schiller dealing with Kant) I ate in the Kreuzberg location for a whooping 6 Euro. I liked it, yet it didn’t manage to make me excited. No problem though, I got five others to try.
When I went there for the first time mere weeks after the opening last summer, I wasn’t convinced. Not only was the service rather inattentive and not really friendly, but the food left me unimpressed as well. (If I remember correctly, I had the toad burger, with portobello, again!) I never went back until the before mentioned test by Zitty asked me to. And while the kimchi and coleslaw we ordered as starters once again left me underwhelmed, the veggie burger (4,50 Euro) was more like whoa! They’re not huge, but filled with flavor! Maybe thanks to the tiny black sesame seeds on top of the bun? Or maybe because of the grilled eggplants, the fried tofu, the red onions or the cheddar cheese? Anyhow, this is a serious recommendation! (Shiso Burger, Auguststraße 29c in Mitte)Sun Day Burger
Despite the overall success of Asian-style burgers with my taste buds, I am nonetheless open to other flavors when it comes to veggie and vegan burgers. Proof is my favorite vegan one at this stall in the Markthalle 9. Equipped with a gorgeous bun embellished with loads of seeds and served with a plethora of pickled vegetables and very dainty grilled tofu, this one would be my most loved “clean” burger, if that category exists. Order it with a green smoothie to get even more points on the health scala. (Sun Day Burgers at Markthalle 9, Eisenbahnstraße 42 in Kreuzberg, and with a truck at Sunday’s Mauerpark flea markets, Bernauer Straße in Prenzlauer Berg)Tommi’s Burger
Much awaited like only few other burger places in Berlin, Tommi’s finally opened in the beginning of this summer and won Berlin’s burger-hearts by storm. Unless you’re a vegetarian. Despite the high marks with meat-lovers, the vegetarian version (5,25 Euro) has still loads of room to improve in my opinion. But with a crew that enthusiastic and a place with such a nice atmosphere I strongly believe they will, one day, be able to apply their beef-grandeur to this speciality – Go Tommi!
If you’re there, don’t miss out on the divine coffee milkshake. Seriously. (Tommi’s Burger Joint, Invalidenstraße 160 in Mitte)
To call this place an institution in the Berlin food landscape would be an understatement. By now in their third location, a giant hall with an even bigger garden at Kreuzberg’s Flutgraben, this restaurant is probably mentioned in every Berlin guide available. And many people love it, which is why I’ve been there more than once (you know, invites, friends…), although it never convinced me. I find the music annoying, the waiters a bit too ignorant and the food just bland. (White Trash Fast Food, Am Flutgraben 2 in Kreuzberg)