Definitive guide to Budapest’s best veggie burgers
Photo : We Love Budapest / Balkányi László
17/2/2015, 6:35 PM●10-minute article
For some, one of the greatest challenges of going vegetarian or vegan is that you can no longer have a huge burger with fries. But, in fact, numerous restaurants in Budapest offer meat-free burgers where the patty is not substituted by a piece of rubbery cheese. During our quest to find the best veggie burgers in Budapest we found divine oven-baked buns, tasty seed an vegetable patties, fine dining solutions and unbelievable sauces. The motto: the burger is not only for carnivores. Get your hands around one of these burgers ASAP!
This veteran of vegan restaurants has just started dealing in vegetarian burgers – which seems surprisingly late. Their chief goal with their burgers is to orientate young people towards healthy eating and a vegan lifestyle. We welcome the initiative, so we checked out their version of the popular dish without meat. Vegan Eden currently offers three types of burgers: the classic vegan hamburger (wheat patty, celery, potato, tomato, fried onions), vegetarian burger with mushroom (wheat patty, mushroom, tomato, spices) and grilled pineapple burger (wheat patty, grilled pineapple, rocket, fried onions, peanut butter). The pineapple variation was our favourite – even though we hadn’t believed it was going to work. Nonetheless we would be happy to have any of the burgers, anytime. It’s important to note that the burgers here have retained the essential quality of being impossible to consume without making a bit of a mess, thanks partly to the special vegan mayo. We only missed the fries, but the burgers were filling anyway. Price: 990 HUF.
Famous for its quality kitchen, Baltazár does not only focus on steaks, but also on vegetarian wishes, thanks – in part – to the creativity of chef Zsolt Litauszki, who concocts meat-free hamburgers of various homemade ingredients. Vegetarian burgers here consist of a hummus base, kimchi, grilled goat’s cheese from Őrség (a western region of Hungary), rocket and aioli sauce. Naturally, the soft and slightly sweet buns are also made on the spot. The combination of flavours is a bull’s eye: the cheese is a great substitute for meat even by carnivores’ taste buds, while the Korean kimchi and the garlicky aioli give a wonderful balance to it all. You can order it with fries, grilled vegetables or cucumber salad on the side. The serving is just the way its should be. The hamburger costs 2 760 HUF, add grilled vegetables for 980 HUF and fries are 990 HUF.
Decorated with anti-heroes, the slightly anarchist Utopia brings you a vegetarian burger that is rebellious; the place simply doesn’t give a thought to how others do it – and this is for the best. The sandwich (their name for it) is so huge, you cannot eat it without knife and fork. Stuffing so many things into the large buns requires committed engineering and the resulting masterpiece leaves you in no doubt you won’t stay hungry. Meat here is replaced by two thick slices of tofu drenched in teriyaki sauce, but they also use balsamic vinegar, honey mayo, homemade BBQ sauce (made with beer), and fried onions; and you can opt for extras like fried eggs or camembert. All this arrives in a slightly toasted giant bun. You can order grill potatoes on the side, which also comes in a sizeable portion, so if you go for it be sure to have a couch nearby and an hour to sleep. The prices only add to the fun: a tofuburger costs 590 HUF (!), while the grill potatoes are 300 HUF (!). We cannot think of a more generous offer in town.
Address: 1072 Budapest, Klauzál Street 32.
The only vegan burgers-only restaurant in Budapest, Isvánffy Burger, is hidden near Kolosy Square (District III). Dedication, professionalism and specialisation are rarely without results: the burgers here have been improved to perfection so they resemble the original meaty dish to the greatest extent. The place offers 10 types of burger, each with 3 patty varieties (wheat, mushroom, oats). We preferred the mushroom patty, since the mushroom sauce made this burger juicy and its flavouring exciting. The range of sauces add as a + to the A: the vegan mayo, for instance, could easily be mistaken for real mayonnaise, thanks partly to the use of almonds. These dishes are prepared without flavour enhancers or other additives from the devil. The vegetables are fresh, the buns are made on the spot, and the potatoes aren’t deep frozen. Istvánffy Burger is not only recommended as a vegan burger spot, but it has also earned a place on the map of the best burger joints in Budapest. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Facebook Address: 1036 Budapest, Lajos utca 36. 9/c
GoodBar in Kecskeméti Street has long been popular with hamburger fans, and it has smartly taken note of vegetarian wishes and satisfied it via two options. There is the Vega Burger with a chickpea patty, tikka masala and homemade eggplant spread (1 700 HUF), or the Vega Deluxe Burger with goat’s camembert, sun-dried tomatoes, grilled zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant sans the chickpea patty (2 200 HUF). The burgers come with potatoes and salad, making a nice, all-round course. The vegetarian burgers are also available in miniature versions. The mini-burger plates (3 mini-burgers – 2 500 HUF, 6 mini-burgers – 4 600 HUF) are recommended for groups. GoodBar is quite a professional spot, they are open to custom wishes, so they can also handle completely animal-free vegan shenanigans as well.
Address: 1053 Budapest, Kecskeméti utca 6.
Going for the gourmet trends, the vegetarian burger of Manga Cowboy in Ráday Street is based on a patty of mozzarella, olives and dried tomatoes. The only problem with this manly hamburger is that it is almost oversize, so only Chuck Norris could tackle it without utensils. The burger comes with fresh French fries and a coleslaw pimped with celery. Our carnivorous co-workers also loved this one. The price (fries and coleslaw incl.) is 1890 HUF, which might seem slightly expensive at first glance, but is perfectly all right at the end of the meal.
Address: 1092 Budapest, Ráday Street 33.
At this Bartók Béla Street joint, you can order smoked mozzarella or grilled camembert vegetarian hamburger. The mozzarella version comes with red pesto sour cream, iceberg salad, tomato and rocket; the grilled camembert is accompanied with cranberry chutney, rocket, walnut and corn salad. Both arrive in buns sprinkled with seeds, and can be ordered in a menu with French fries. The name of the place says it all: it’s Semmi Extra (‘nothing special’), but these vegetarian burgers are all right – just like their price (1 250 HUF/burger, 1590 HUF/burger menu with fries). There is one downside here: the service is neither friendly, nor attentive, so if you don’t tolerate these kinds of things, we wouldn’t recommend it, despite the great food. We hope this will change in the future.
If you’re used to the city centre, Big Daddy is practically the edge of town. Still, you only need to jump on tram number 47 to enjoy the two kinds of vegetarian hamburgers. One of the options comes in a sweet bun with harmonising gomolya cheese, and though this might seem to be the perfect choice, we still went for the falafel variety served in a Mediterranean flatbread baked by Croatians. In addition to the domestic environment and the friendly prices, Big Daddy excels in homemade sauces, from the excellent BBQ, through the hot, to the garlic-yoghurt sauce. We found the place to be great and would definitely recommend it. Burger prices: 750 HUF (standard) and 1 400 HUF (extra).
Address: 1116 Budapest, Mezőkövesd Street 2.
La Perle Noire Restaurant
In addition to its à la carte specialities, this restaurant on Andrássy Avenue also serves hamburgers, including a vegetarian version, which is highly surprising, but joyous at the same time. Although it is difficult to tell at first sight (or taste) what this nicely served burger holds, we’re happy to report the burger contains fresh vegetables, plus a cheese-like patty of grated zucchini, egg, flour, starch and herbs, which are accompanied by steak potatoes and homemade ketchup made of smoked tomatoes. The sandwiches are delicious, but we find the addition of starch instead of grilled cheese strange. It is, however, really worth your attention. The burger costs 2 900 HUF.
The Attaboy team opened its own street food bistro in Síp Street at the end of 2014, serving their popular burgers and new specialities. Fortunately, the burger range also includes a vegetarian variety called “Meatless burger”, which is almost heavier than its protein-filled counterparts. This is one of those burgers that meat-lovers enjoy as much as vegetarians do. The buns (made at a bakery) hold smoked gomolya cheese, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers and garlic ricotta. The homemade French fries and the breaded onions are essential, though they make the dish double the size. Once you start though, you cannot really stop. Price: 1 390 HUF, with side dish: 1 650 HUF.
Address: 1075 Budapest, Síp Street 4.
It is unbelievable just how juicy and soft a patty they can make with bell peppers and bean purée. W35 is an old hand at creating burgers, so it’s no surprise that the selection of their perfect meaty burgers is complemented by an impeccable vegetarian one. The side is their usual ginger red cabbage salad and the confit steak potatoes. Instead of the creamy cheese sauce, you can order BBQ sauce, making the entire meal plant-based and yet still juicy. This is a filling burger that gives you enough energy for the day and won’t prompt you to sleep immediately afterwards. Price: 1 390 HUF.
The popular Buda-side craft bistro, Finomító Kantin serves a proper vegetarian burger at a proper price. They love working with fresh vegetables, and now the a menu of soups, salads and hamburgers now includes a vegetarian burger and grilled sandwiches. Zucchini, mushroom, eggplant, Roman salad, tomato jam, cucumber, white onions and the secret recipe Finomító sauce compose this light dish. The emblematic French fires of this spot is also a must-have. Your best option is the burger menu, which includes the sandwich and the fries as well as a soup, which can also be vegetarian. Price: just the burger – 990 HUF, burger menu – 1 790 HUF.
Address: 1027 Budapest, Varsányi Irén Street 33.
Kozmosz Vegan Restaurant
The Kozmosz Vegan Restaurant is a pioneer in the field of vegetarian burgers. Its creations are simple: the buns hold a plant-based patty, salad, tomato, onions and cucumber; plus (if you go for the cheese burger) a coconut milk cheese slice, which melts like the real thing and tastes great. Kozmosz, fortunately, prefers traditional flavours, foregoing unnecessary gourmet tricks. The burgers are served with fries and salad, which make it a complete meal even for those who’d otherwise opt for the meat. Prices: 1 200 HUF (veggie burger) and 1 300 HUF (cheese burger).
Address: 1067 Budapest, Hunyadi Square 11.
Hard Rock Café
The Hard Rock Café rock museum, restaurant, bar and souvenir shop complex is known as a true, meaty, American style spot, however, it still serves a vegetarian burger called ‘Veggie Leggie’ (vegetarian x legendary). This dish is based on vegetable patties starched with eggs, served in toasted buns (made on the spot), with zucchini, peppers, lemon mayo, salad, tomato and grilled onions. The sizeable sandwiches deliver the quality you’d expect from an American restaurant of this standard; it is huge and juicy and comes with spicy potatoes. It’s ok if you drip the sauce on your shirt or the table, thanks to the relaxed ambiance and the informal service. We have nothing against it, but all the more for it. The burger might be just a bit too pricey for 3 600 HUF, but satisfaction is guaranteed.