In a city where barbecue and steaks reign supreme, it should come as no surprise that the city slings solid burgers. But in an age where food sensibility is increasing, the restaurant market scene has been diversified with vegan and vegetarian options, resulting in restaurants and burger bars developing irresistible meatless choices. With the convenience of being able to offer wildly popular Beyond and Impossible patties, which taste painstakingly similar to real meat, chefs are able to get creative with their veggie burgers. Moreover, some restaurants forego the plant-based patty altogether, opting to build their own house-made concoction.
Below, Houstonia’s picks for the top 10 places to indulge in the perfect meatless moment between the buns. You might just be fooled by how close these ‘burgers’ taste to the real thing.
Stephanie Hoban has long been recognized for cooking some of the finest vegan eats in town. The chef began slinging plant-based plates at the Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market via her Ripe Cuisine food truck to now offering guests a full-service experience at Verdine in the Heights. Hoban features not one, but two meatless burgers, each built on Kraftsmen Bakery buns. The Bistro burger is full flavored with an organic lentil-walnut-mushroom patty, red pepper aioli and non-dairy cashew “chevre,” while the more traditional Waterworks cheeseburger boasts a Beyond Meat patty with lettuce, onion, tomato and vegan cheddar.
449 W. 19th St. Houston, TX 77008, 713-876-4768
The Burger Joint is popular for its vast menu of classic and adventurous burgers, so it’s no surprise this is a fantastic destination for vegetarian burgers too. The ‘Impossible’ burger is a safe bet, crafted with a plant-based patty and traditional toppings, while the ‘Veggie’ is equally as tempting with its savory red bean and mushroom patty and a slathering of garlic aioli.
2703 Montrose Blvd. Houston, TX 77006 281-974-2889
3. Hobbit Café
Hobbit Café is an Upper Kirby institution, in part because of its impressive burger menu which includes not only imaginative choices like the jalapeño pork boudin-topped Angus burger, but two hearty meatless substitutes. The sky-high black bean burger arrives with Hobbit Café’s own house-made black bean patty, and the mushroom burger sandwiches an entire portobello mushroom cap between the buns, along with balsamic-dressed greens and peppery basil pesto.
2243 Richmond Ave. Houston, TX 77098 713-526-5460
In the Houston restaurant game for more than four decades, Hungry’s has been serving up vegan and vegetarian eats long before it was trendy to do so. Here, the meatless wonder is made with a house-made patty built from organic, tri-color quinoa and kale, then finished off with melty provolone, sliced avocado and chunky pico de gallo.
2356 Rice Blvd. Houston, TX 77005 713-523-8652
This always-reliable neighborhood gem with locations all over Houston offers a wealth of options for diners looking to score a fantastic Texas-sized veggie burger. In addition to varieties built with imitation patties (the Boca, Impossible and Beyond burgers), Barnaby’s entices with choices like the spiced falafel burger, a fiery chipotle black bean burger and the nutty hemp seed burger.
6. Local Foods
With a strong focus on sourcing from local purveyors, Local Foods is a hub for fresh and tasty plant-based eats, making its meatless burger one of the most sought-after in the city. Fully vegan, the burger provides a wholly satisfying bite with a patty made from quinoa, garden-fresh toppings, and a smear of vegan aioli, sandwiched between a firm pretzel bun.
7. Bella Green
Bella Green raises the bar when it comes to all-inclusive dining, including a thoughtfully prepared meatless burger. Served on a brioche bun, the crux of the burger is a flavorful patty made from scratch in-house, with sautéed veggies, potatoes, hemp seed, almonds and gluten-free bread crumbs. Not into the brioche bun? Opt for gluten-free.
2305 W. Alabama St. Houston, TX 77098 713-533-0777
8. Rodeo Goat
Ever since arriving in EaDo, this Dallas-transplant has upped Houston’s hamburger game with a number of imaginative, well-built beef burgers — and each one can be substituted with a meatless patty. Rodeo Goat’s vegan patty is made with black beans, brown rice, lentils, oats and barley, but guests may also opt for the plant-based Impossible patty in handhelds like the fan-favorite Chaca Oaxaca.
2105 Dallas St. Unit 102 Houston, TX 77003 281-853-9480
Burger or bowl? At Onion Creek Café, guests are given the choice to enjoy the restaurant’s popular veggie burger layered with a juicy plant-based Beyond patty, Havarti cheese, mushrooms, golden-fried onions, avocado and creamy aioli on an airy challah bun or alternatively in a bowl.
3106 White Oak Blvd. Houston, TX 77007 713-880-0706
10. Island Grill
Island Grill may be famed for its Mediterranean stuffed pitas, dependable breakfast menu and fresh fruit smoothies, but the burgers should not to be overlooked — namely its house veggie burger. The no-fuss burger is made with a Beyond patty, lettuce, tomato, onion and creamy garlic sauce on a wheat bun, but guests may customize it fully with fun toppings like mushrooms, jalapeños, avocado or a fried egg.