With the opening of new meat-free burger joints like Next Level Burger and ‘Table this year, and the much-hyped, lab-designed Impossible Burger hitting restaurants like Rhein Haus and the Carlile Room, veg-minded Seattle diners have more burger options than ever. Below, we’ve rounded up seven of the most remarkable choices for your consideration, from red-blooded meaty imitations to house-made veggie blends.
Though admittedly nowhere near as flashy or farm-to-table as the other burgers on this list, the humble Aurora Burgermaster veggie burger nevertheless possesses the virtue of being located less than a block away from recreational pot shop Ocean Greens, should you wish to team it with fries, onion rings, a peanut butter shake, and a dose of Platinum Girl Scout Cookies, as Sarah Galvin does in her review. It’s a solid choice if you’re looking for a classic all-American patty on a squishy bun, and it’s also Stranger copy chief Gillian Anderson’s favorite veggie burger in town.
For those who prefer a burger that embraces rather than rejects its vegetal roots, Heyday’s Beety Bean Burger has received rave reviews on Yelp and from Angela Garbes, who wrote, “I was surprised to be so captivated by the Beety Bean burger ($10), a lovely magenta veggie patty made in-house from beets, beans, mushrooms, nuts, and brown rice. While I hesitate to call it a burger, it was terrific for what it was—moist and crumbly, earthy and sweet. Topped with sharp white cheddar and creamy mashed avocado, it was almost like a savory dessert that, against all odds, worked.”
The Impossible Burger (Rhein Haus, The Carlile Room)
The Impossible Burger is a meatless burger engineered to deliver an unthinkably realistic simulacrum of a classic beef patty, made with wheat and potato protein, coconut oil, and soy-based heme (an iron-containing molecule found in plants and animals). Katie Herzog, who ventured to Rhein Haus to try it, wrote in her review, “The Impossible Burger tastes, and looks, nothing like its component parts: There is no hint of wheat or potato or vegetable material at all...As for the taste of the patty, it's not quite meat but not not meat. It has a synthetic umami flavor.” Though she also advised skipping the burger in favor of something like Next Level Burger (more on that below), we understand the urge to try such a buzzy item firsthand—you can do that at both Rhein Haus and the Carlile Room.
Next Level Burger
The 100% plant-based fast-food spot housed within the Roosevelt Whole Foods boasts a roster of 10 veggie burgers. In his review, Sean Nelson says their patties are “far tastier than standard-issue veggie burger substitutes” and suggests the All-American, the Sausage Bacon, and the Signature. If you’re feeling particularly gluttonous, go for the Animal, which clocks in at around 1,300 calories and features a double sausage patty with bacon, crinkle-cut fries, sautéed onion, cheese, and two sauces.
Mark Fuller and Doug Kawasaki’s newly opened fast-casual vegetarian establishment, which aims to be the herbivorous equivalent of a Shake Shack on the West Coast, introduces their proprietary “‘Table mix,” a savory blend of quinoa, kidney beans, hominy, eggplant, mushrooms, Marmite, cashews, and a “veggie caramel” (a caramelized paste made from carrots, tomato paste, onions, and garlic cloves), which Tobias Coughlin-Bogue says could be "the opposite of every cardboard patty that's ever turned people off to meatless burgers." It’s available atop a Franz sesame seed burger bun with American cheese, pickles, and vegan tomato mayo, or over a bowl with butter lettuce, brown rice, pickles, and yogurt ranch.
When it comes to best veggie burgers in Seattle, the Fremont converted-garage burger shack’s name comes up again and again. Chewy, toothsome Bluebird Grains emmer farro sets their hearty veggie patty—made with portobello mushrooms, a mirepoix, and herb seasonings and fried until crisp—apart from the rest. It comes with more portobellos, tomato, romaine, and special sauce by default, but you can also swap the meat patty for a veggie one on any of the signature burgers on Uneeda's menu.
Occupying the same uncanny-valley territory as the Impossible Burger, the Beyond Burger, available at the vegan chain Veggie Grill, is made with pea protein isolate and advertises its sanguine ability to “bleed” when cut into (a trick achieved through the use of beet juice). Though Tobias Coughlin-Bogue wrote that it was “lacking that subtle, 'something extra' richness that is implicit to real meat,” he says of its verisimilitude: “Texturally speaking, it’s spot on. It’s pliant and juicy in a way that no veggie burger has ever been before, making it remarkably satisfying to bite into.”