A good veggie burger is crucial to the survival of any non-meat-eater. It can also be a delicious alternative to the repetitive “I would like a burger n’ fries please” for those of us who usually prefer beef. There are killer vegetarian burgers all across Winnipeg, for almost every suppertime scenario. By no means exhaustive, the following is a list of 10 great veggie burger options available in our city.
1. Boon: vegan, vegan, vegan
I will never stop raving about Boon Burger, a vegan restaurant on Sherbrook in West Broadway. Everything they serve is vegan, from the cheese, to the gravy, to the sauces, to the soft ice cream. Their menu is filled with so many delicious burgers it’s difficult to single one out. The current champion of my heart is the Thanksgiving Burger: a delicious “turkey” burger, topped with gravy, glazed yams and cranberry sauce. Thinking about this burger makes me salivate involuntarily. I have no complaints for Boon. Their prices are reasonable, averaging around seven or eight dollars a burger, their menu boasts a lot of variety and their sides are fantastic. So long as you are prepared for the vegan cheese — which is weird if you are used to regular cheese — you will not be disappointed.
2. Prairie Ink: so many grains!
McNally Robinson is arguably the most beautiful bookstore in Winnipeg, and the Prairie Ink restaurant is a fantastic place to eat (or to catch an author’s reading or a book launch). Personally, I regularly travel down Grant Avenue for the veggie burger. If you can keep it from falling apart — which I admit, this burger is prone to do — the patty is a delicious mixture of beans, nuts and grains. It’s expensive: $10 for a burger and a pickle, but worth it.
3. Kelsey’s: a chain restaurant with an edible veggie burger?
Believe it or not: if you order the veggie burger at Kelsey’s, you will be pleasantly surprised. Sure, it is overpriced at $11.99 (with fries), but what chain restaurant isn’t? The toppings, though, make the sandwich: this veggie burger has tzatziki and bruschetta on top of the patty, so the pre-frozen slab isn’t as hard to swallow. This may not sound fantastic, but when your friends are suggesting Boston Pizza or Moxie’s, you do not have to be the pretentious ass who suggests that little hole-in-the-wall place in the village that no one has heard of. Kelsey’s can be a nice compromise.
4. Mondragon: notoriously delicious
I first discovered Mondragon at Folk Fest a few years back, and spent the next two days consuming almost $100 worth of their delicious food. The veggie burger at Mondragon has a little something for everyone: beans, beets, carrots, yams, onions, roasted garlic, toasted seeds, gluten free grains, topped with vegan mayo, sweet tomato chutney, dijon mustard and a ton of veggies; this burger is unbelievable. And it’s soy free for those vegetarians who are cursed with a soy allergy. Mondragon is a vegan safe house and a fantastic place for anyone to eat.
5. Burger King: fast food joint
Fast food is both beautiful and terrible, but when you are in a rush it’s nice to breeze through and, in less than five minutes, have a cheap, delicious meal option. Unfortunately, the fast food industry, largely, does not cater to vegetarians. Most big chains do not carry vegetarian burgers and if they do sell one, it is usually so bad that most dogs won’t touch it. Burger King is the notable exception to this rule. The Burger King veggie patty is thin and delicious. If you ask for the patty with the angry whopper toppings (minus the bacon), you will soon be in veggie burger heaven.
6. Unburger: trendy and new
Unburger opened up in the village this past June, and ever since I first heard about this restaurant I have been itching to try their veggie burgers. The restaurant itself is beautiful — with tons of light and cool fixtures. They have two vegetarian burger options on the menu: the Great Falafel Burger and the Bella Burger. The Bella Burger is made from a portabella mushroom; the entire patty is one big chewy mushroom! If you can deal with the texture, the burger is to die for. If not, stay far away. The Falafel Burger, however, is made of chickpeas, topped with banana pepper salsa, and is fantastic. It’s zingy and delicious. The toppings are fresh, and the sides — in this case, yam fries and an eight-grain salad — are unbelievable. The burgers tend to fall on the pricier side, but after the last bite you’ll know it was worth it.
7. Degrees: cheap and on campus
Food is expensive! As an impoverished student, I have become keenly aware of how much I spend to fill my stomach. Degrees diner, on the third floor of university centre, is a student-owned not-for-profit restaurant with an affordable veggie burger. The Garbonzo Burger patty is a mixture of chickpeas, carrots and zucchini. Topped with mango ginger sauce, this burger rocks. At $7.50 for the burger and the side (including taxes), this burger is both filling and affordable.
8. The Mountain Burger: grocery store option
Cooking a veggie burger from scratch is no easy task. After trying several different recipes and emerging with only crumbly or goopy results, I have concluded it is easier to buy premade patties. When confronted with the veggie burger section of the grocery store, I urge you to choose the Mountain Burger, made by Big Mountain Foods. This patty is thick, deliciously seasoned and it imitates the texture of a regular beef burger better than any other pre-packaged patty. Top it with spicy mustard or a BBQ sauce and you can’t go wrong.
9. Daly Burger: the best a typical burger joint has to offer
Daly Burger was, without any competition, my favorite burger joint before I became a vegetarian. The veggie burger at Daly Burger does not hold a candle to their beef burgers, but is good because it does not try to be anything but a burger. There are no fancy extras, no strange beans or nuts in the patty and no exotic sauces. This is a burger that tastes like a burger, with regular burger toppings and a delicious bun. The fries are to die for, the price is right at $4.95 and the burger that you get tastes just like you remember a good burger tasting.
10. Cousins: the Wolseley option
Located on the corner of Sherbrooke and Wolseley, Cousins Deli and Bar is a hip hangout well known for its veggie burger as well as its menu. The menu features a whole host of vegetarian options. The burger options typically include tamarind chutney, banana peppers, pickles and onions, which come together in unique, tasty fashion. As far as price goes, Cousins provides a great taste at a relatively low cost. Nice weather also favours a Cousins visit as they have a nice, low-key, patio where you can enjoy whatever your vegetarian selection may be.