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Kelly Bone

20 Vegan Burgers To Try in San Diego

Meatless burgers for everyone

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Native Foods
| Kelly Bone

These days vegan burgers are a big business. From the Beyond Star at Carl’s Jr to the Impossible Whopper at Burger King, veggie burgers are increasingly accessible. New vegan burgers capture the nostalgic sizzle of the backyard barbecue, while others improve upon the whole food diet for a new America. Packing vegetables into a familiar handheld form eases the choices many are making for health, ethical, or environmental reasons. Collected here are 20 satisfying vegan burgers in San Diego to fit everyone’s taste — from long-time vegans to reluctant carnivores abiding by doctors orders.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bagby Beer Co.

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601 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 270-9075
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Chef Robert Gaffney incorporated ample vegan options into the menu at Bagby Beer Co., on the airy edge of Oceanside. Americana becomes plant-based on the Anything is Possible Burger—an Impossible patty with vegan American cheese, iceberg, house made pickles, red onion, and tomato dripping with chef’s vegan sauce on a whole grain bun.

2. Modern Times Far West Lounge

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470 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 452-4304
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Encinitas sunlight streams into Modern Times’ Far West Lounge. This San Diego based vegan brewery serves the perfect accompaniment to their 30 beers on tap—The Double Burger. Two blackened Beyond Meat patties are stacked with roasted tomatoes, shallot jam, and coconut cheese with a scattering of smoked mushrooms that permeate everything.

Far West Lounge
Kelly Bone

3. EVE Encinitas

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575 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 230-2560
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Wooden alcoves lush with palm fronds and dream interpretation books hold diners waiting for the eclectic Beyond Meat burgers served at Eve Encinitas. Stand outs include the Jamaica Me Crazy, a cajun spice patty topped with caramelized plantains, mango salsa, and Cuban mojo sauce. Popular for their flatbreads, Eve pulls similar flavors into the Pizza Burger topped with house-made vegan mozzarella dripping with marinara, olives, and arugula.

EVE Encinitas
Kelly Bone

4. Mendocino Farms

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12873 El Camino Real
San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 436-0000
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Never one to take the easy road, Mendocino Farms’ chef Jeremy Bringardner infused the Impossible burger with a “Mendo” identity. The Impossible Burger Queen blends chorizo spices, fresh cilantro, garlic, and onions into the plant-based meat. Topped with melted tomato cayenne Chao cheese, a smoky lime-spiked thousand island sauce, juicy tomatoes, and celery and mustard seed pickled bread & butter pickles, the burger is finished with the crunch of red onion and butter lettuce against a toasted vegan brioche bun.

5. Shake Shack

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4309 La Jolla Village Dr Suite 2350
San Diego, CA 92122
(619) 391-1570
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A global empire of custards and burgers that arguably offers the best vegetarian burger of any chain restaurant, Shake Shack recently jumped into the shallow end of the vegan burger pool with the Veggie Shack. A scratch-made patty of roasted beets, brown rice, and black beans topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and mustard vegan mayo. (Hold the cheese and swap for the gluten free bun to be vegan.) The Veggie Shack is available at select locations, including the UTC mall.

Shake Shack
Kelly Bone

6. Green Door Cafe

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7644 Girard Ave
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 291-8886

The monochromatic presentation hides the complexity of chef Martin Hall’s signature Bombay Bomb Burger at Green Door Cafe. With hints of Indian curry, the burger travels through the subcontinent on a wheat bun with an upper layer of tart apple mayo and a base of chipotle spread. It is served with paprika potatoes and a thoughtful side salad in this secret garden of La Jolla. 

Green Door Cafe
Kelly Bone

7. The Oasis Cafe

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4909 Murphy Canyon Rd #100
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 492-1372
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The Oasis Cafe is a San Diego sleeper tucked into a business park off the 15 freeway. With special attention to depth of flavor, many of chef/owner Ramzi Madbak’s dishes can be made vegan through substitutions, not omissions, so everyone can enjoy a well-designed meal. His veganized California Burger comes with a smashed Beyond Meat patty under vegan smoked gouda or pepper jack with toum (garlic aioli), sliced avocado, and crispy ribbons of vegan bacon.

The Oasis Cafe
Kelly Bone

8. Native Foods Cafe

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5604 Balboa Ave #107
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 278-2855
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With three locations in San Diego, it’s easy to find Native Foods’ protein-packed, house-made seitan burgers. Guest favorites include the Poppin’ Jalapeno Burger—double patties smothered in vegan American cheese, pimento spread, green goddess dressing, crispy onions, and pickled jalapeños. The menu also includes classic compositions like the BBQ Brisket Burger topped with slices of brisket-style seitan over vegan smoked gouda, ranch slaw, and BBQ sauce all soaked up by a crown of onion rings.

Native Foods Cafe
Kelly Bone

9. The Trails Eatery

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7389 Jackson Dr
San Diego, CA 92119
(619) 667-2233
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Bursting with quintessential breakfast dishes, the menu at The Trails Eatery also includes the retro Hippie Burger. Stacey Poon-Kinney’s scratch-made black bean and quinoa patty seems to levitate like a UFO over tomatoes and feathery sprouts with hunks of avocado. (Hold the aioli and cheese to make it vegan.) The kitchen takes kindly to diners with allergies, offering this burger on its fluffy vegan and gluten-free bun.

The Trails Eatery
Kelly Bone

10. Backyard Kitchen & Tap

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832 Garnet Ave
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 859-2593
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On the western end of Pacific Beach, Backyard Kitchen and Tap captures the neighborhood’s blend of casual beach days and lively nightlife. The inclusive menu highlights The Vegan Burger—a plant-based chipotle-spiced Impossible patty is spread with guacamole and spiced hummus under a layer of crispy onions.

11. Fourpenny House

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8323 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 825-8805
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Alongside Scottish brews and house-baked breads, Peter Soutowood’s Fourpenny House offers a modest vegan menu—including new pub favorite, the Vegan Burger. The house-made bun is stuffed with a fired Beyond Meat patty and topped with roasted tomatillo salsa, house pickles, tomato, and garlic spread.

12. Loving Hut

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1905 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 683-9490
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Though steaming bowls of pho and cool summer rolls dominate the menu at Loving Hut on El Cajon Blvd., the American dishes do not pander to timid tastes. The house-made mushroom patty of the Loving Hut Burger comes smothered in thick oyster mushroom sauce, cupped by iceberg lettuce with tomatoes, pickles, onions, and more sauteed mushrooms. Served with a pile of fries, this is one of the best veggie burger bargains in the city.

Loving Hut
Kelly Bone

13. Plant Power Fast Food

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2204 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 450-6845
Visit Website

The native son of San Diego, Plant Power has its eye on disrupting the norms of fast food with vegan convenience. Menu includes options like the Classic Burger, the Bacon Cheeseburger  the California classic combo of grilled onions and secret sauce. All can be had with a “beefy” or black bean patty. Stand outs include The Rambler—smothered in Follow Your Heart American cheese, BBQ sauce, and a pile of onion rings. 

Plant Power Fast Food
Kelly Bone

14. Veg’n Out

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3960 Normal St
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 299-3330
Visit Website

Regularly appearing at the Hillcrest and North Park Farmers Markets, Grant Plummer’s flat top grill smokes with seasoned Beyond Meat burgers and onions. The menu always offers two classic burgers along with an ever changing “Burger of the Week.” Past BoW favorites have included The Western, with vegan American cheese, crispy vegan bacon, onion rings, BBQ sauce, and chipotle ranch, and The Funk, with garlic aioli, arugula, and smokey vegan cheese finished with a thick layer of cherry & shallot compote spiked with Modern Times’ Gravity Hammer.

Veg’n Out
Kelly Bone

15. Chinatown Bar & Grill

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4727 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92105
(619) 795-4478
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Bill Lutzius, formerly of the iconic dive bar Aero Club, dreamed of a bigger space loaded with bar food favorites. In 2018 he debuted the two story Chinatown Bar and Grill on University Ave in City Heights. The Veggie Burger offers a quarter pound seasoned Beyond Meat burger grilled with shredded lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickles on a pretzel bun (by request) that pairs perfectly with the $5 Jameson shots that are always on special.

Chinatown Bar & Grill
Kelly Bone

16. Royale

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4204 Voltaire St
San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 431-5653
Visit Website

When the burger pop-up run by Mariah and Jordan Brownwood found a permanent home in Ocean Beach, they amplified the popular black bean and quinoa patty into the Vegan Royal. Sandwiched between rounds of deep-fried eggplant and a crunchy slaw of pickled beets, carrots, cucumber, and jicama, the burger is finished with Veganaise stacked in a whole wheat Sadie Rose bakery bun.

Royale
Kelly Bone

17. Evolution Fast Food

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2965 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 550-1818
Visit Website

Celebrating its 10th anniversary as San Diego’s original vegan drive-through, Evolution Fast Food offers one of the most unique veggie patties in the city. The ground tempeh and mushroom base is seasoned with a mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions and served on a thick Sadie Rose bakery bun. Available as a basic hamburger, it also comes dressed in toppings like pesto and vegan mozzarella or bathed in the slow burn of chipotle sauce and jalapeño.

Evolution Fast Food
Kelly Bone

18. Panama 66

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1450 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 696-1966
Visit Website

Patrons of Panama 66 lounge at high top tables on the edge of the San Diego Art Museum’s sculpture court. The Mushroom Lentil Patty, once a staple at sister restaurant Tiger!Tiger!, has found a new home in Balboa Park. Fried in a panko crust, the patty comes sandwiched between planks of focaccia, with pickled cucumbers and onions, a smear of chipotle tahini, and sprigs of cilantro over ruffled leaves of butter lettuce. 

Panama 66
Kelly Bone

19. Fernside

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1946 Fern St
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 255-9591
Visit Website

A labor of love by chef Travis Clifford, Fernside’s Vegan Burger was built to be enjoyed. The husky beet and chickpea patty is fried crisp without the mush of so many legume-based burgers. Topped with a smash of avocado, lettuce, and tomato with a smear of vegan “fern sauce” and served on a perfectly proportioned focaccia bun with waffle fries.

Fernside
Kelly Bone

20. Cafe Gratitude San Diego

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1980 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 736-5077
Visit Website

Cafe Gratitude’s “Magical” burger is right at home on a menu that crosses health (fresh-pressed juices) with comfort (deep-fried coconut calamari). The patty comes loaded with a little bit of everything: beets, mushrooms, oats, quinoa, brown rice, black beans and so on. Spread with cashew-macadamia cheddar, shredded lettuce, and heirloom tomatoes, the burger is served with fries and a pulpy, house-made chipotle ketchup.

Cafe Gratitude
Kelly Bone

1. Bagby Beer Co.

601 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054

Chef Robert Gaffney incorporated ample vegan options into the menu at Bagby Beer Co., on the airy edge of Oceanside. Americana becomes plant-based on the Anything is Possible Burger—an Impossible patty with vegan American cheese, iceberg, house made pickles, red onion, and tomato dripping with chef’s vegan sauce on a whole grain bun.

601 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054

2. Modern Times Far West Lounge

470 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
Far West Lounge
Kelly Bone

Encinitas sunlight streams into Modern Times’ Far West Lounge. This San Diego based vegan brewery serves the perfect accompaniment to their 30 beers on tap—The Double Burger. Two blackened Beyond Meat patties are stacked with roasted tomatoes, shallot jam, and coconut cheese with a scattering of smoked mushrooms that permeate everything.

470 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

3. EVE Encinitas

575 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
EVE Encinitas
Kelly Bone

Wooden alcoves lush with palm fronds and dream interpretation books hold diners waiting for the eclectic Beyond Meat burgers served at Eve Encinitas. Stand outs include the Jamaica Me Crazy, a cajun spice patty topped with caramelized plantains, mango salsa, and Cuban mojo sauce. Popular for their flatbreads, Eve pulls similar flavors into the Pizza Burger topped with house-made vegan mozzarella dripping with marinara, olives, and arugula.

575 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

4. Mendocino Farms

12873 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130

Never one to take the easy road, Mendocino Farms’ chef Jeremy Bringardner infused the Impossible burger with a “Mendo” identity. The Impossible Burger Queen blends chorizo spices, fresh cilantro, garlic, and onions into the plant-based meat. Topped with melted tomato cayenne Chao cheese, a smoky lime-spiked thousand island sauce, juicy tomatoes, and celery and mustard seed pickled bread & butter pickles, the burger is finished with the crunch of red onion and butter lettuce against a toasted vegan brioche bun.

12873 El Camino Real
San Diego, CA 92130

5. Shake Shack

4309 La Jolla Village Dr Suite 2350, San Diego, CA 92122
Shake Shack
Kelly Bone

A global empire of custards and burgers that arguably offers the best vegetarian burger of any chain restaurant, Shake Shack recently jumped into the shallow end of the vegan burger pool with the Veggie Shack. A scratch-made patty of roasted beets, brown rice, and black beans topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and mustard vegan mayo. (Hold the cheese and swap for the gluten free bun to be vegan.) The Veggie Shack is available at select locations, including the UTC mall.

4309 La Jolla Village Dr Suite 2350
San Diego, CA 92122

6. Green Door Cafe

7644 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037
Green Door Cafe
Kelly Bone

The monochromatic presentation hides the complexity of chef Martin Hall’s signature Bombay Bomb Burger at Green Door Cafe. With hints of Indian curry, the burger travels through the subcontinent on a wheat bun with an upper layer of tart apple mayo and a base of chipotle spread. It is served with paprika potatoes and a thoughtful side salad in this secret garden of La Jolla. 

7644 Girard Ave
La Jolla, CA 92037

7. The Oasis Cafe

4909 Murphy Canyon Rd #100, San Diego, CA 92123
The Oasis Cafe
Kelly Bone

The Oasis Cafe is a San Diego sleeper tucked into a business park off the 15 freeway. With special attention to depth of flavor, many of chef/owner Ramzi Madbak’s dishes can be made vegan through substitutions, not omissions, so everyone can enjoy a well-designed meal. His veganized California Burger comes with a smashed Beyond Meat patty under vegan smoked gouda or pepper jack with toum (garlic aioli), sliced avocado, and crispy ribbons of vegan bacon.

4909 Murphy Canyon Rd #100
San Diego, CA 92123

8. Native Foods Cafe

5604 Balboa Ave #107, San Diego, CA 92111
Native Foods Cafe
Kelly Bone

With three locations in San Diego, it’s easy to find Native Foods’ protein-packed, house-made seitan burgers. Guest favorites include the Poppin’ Jalapeno Burger—double patties smothered in vegan American cheese, pimento spread, green goddess dressing, crispy onions, and pickled jalapeños. The menu also includes classic compositions like the BBQ Brisket Burger topped with slices of brisket-style seitan over vegan smoked gouda, ranch slaw, and BBQ sauce all soaked up by a crown of onion rings.

5604 Balboa Ave #107
San Diego, CA 92111

9. The Trails Eatery

7389 Jackson Dr, San Diego, CA 92119
The Trails Eatery
Kelly Bone

Bursting with quintessential breakfast dishes, the menu at The Trails Eatery also includes the retro Hippie Burger. Stacey Poon-Kinney’s scratch-made black bean and quinoa patty seems to levitate like a UFO over tomatoes and feathery sprouts with hunks of avocado. (Hold the aioli and cheese to make it vegan.) The kitchen takes kindly to diners with allergies, offering this burger on its fluffy vegan and gluten-free bun.

7389 Jackson Dr
San Diego, CA 92119

10. Backyard Kitchen & Tap

832 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

On the western end of Pacific Beach, Backyard Kitchen and Tap captures the neighborhood’s blend of casual beach days and lively nightlife. The inclusive menu highlights The Vegan Burger—a plant-based chipotle-spiced Impossible patty is spread with guacamole and spiced hummus under a layer of crispy onions.

832 Garnet Ave
San Diego, CA 92109

11. Fourpenny House

8323 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942

Alongside Scottish brews and house-baked breads, Peter Soutowood’s Fourpenny House offers a modest vegan menu—including new pub favorite, the Vegan Burger. The house-made bun is stuffed with a fired Beyond Meat patty and topped with roasted tomatillo salsa, house pickles, tomato, and garlic spread.

8323 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942

12. Loving Hut

1905 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104
Loving Hut
Kelly Bone

Though steaming bowls of pho and cool summer rolls dominate the menu at Loving Hut on El Cajon Blvd., the American dishes do not pander to timid tastes. The house-made mushroom patty of the Loving Hut Burger comes smothered in thick oyster mushroom sauce, cupped by iceberg lettuce with tomatoes, pickles, onions, and more sauteed mushrooms. Served with a pile of fries, this is one of the best veggie burger bargains in the city.

1905 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104

13. Plant Power Fast Food

2204 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, San Diego, CA 92107
Plant Power Fast Food
Kelly Bone

The native son of San Diego, Plant Power has its eye on disrupting the norms of fast food with vegan convenience. Menu includes options like the Classic Burger, the Bacon Cheeseburger  the California classic combo of grilled onions and secret sauce. All can be had with a “beefy” or black bean patty. Stand outs include The Rambler—smothered in Follow Your Heart American cheese, BBQ sauce, and a pile of onion rings. 

2204 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
San Diego, CA 92107

14. Veg’n Out

3960 Normal St, San Diego, CA 92103
Veg’n Out
Kelly Bone

Regularly appearing at the Hillcrest and North Park Farmers Markets, Grant Plummer’s flat top grill smokes with seasoned Beyond Meat burgers and onions. The menu always offers two classic burgers along with an ever changing “Burger of the Week.” Past BoW favorites have included The Western, with vegan American cheese, crispy vegan bacon, onion rings, BBQ sauce, and chipotle ranch, and The Funk, with garlic aioli, arugula, and smokey vegan cheese finished with a thick layer of cherry & shallot compote spiked with Modern Times’ Gravity Hammer.

3960 Normal St
San Diego, CA 92103

15. Chinatown Bar & Grill

4727 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92105
Chinatown Bar & Grill
Kelly Bone

Bill Lutzius, formerly of the iconic dive bar Aero Club, dreamed of a bigger space loaded with bar food favorites. In 2018 he debuted the two story Chinatown Bar and Grill on University Ave in City Heights. The Veggie Burger offers a quarter pound seasoned Beyond Meat burger grilled with shredded lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickles on a pretzel bun (by request) that pairs perfectly with the $5 Jameson shots that are always on special.

4727 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92105

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16. Royale

4204 Voltaire St, San Diego, CA 92107
Royale
Kelly Bone

When the burger pop-up run by Mariah and Jordan Brownwood found a permanent home in Ocean Beach, they amplified the popular black bean and quinoa patty into the Vegan Royal. Sandwiched between rounds of deep-fried eggplant and a crunchy slaw of pickled beets, carrots, cucumber, and jicama, the burger is finished with Veganaise stacked in a whole wheat Sadie Rose bakery bun.

4204 Voltaire St
San Diego, CA 92107

17. Evolution Fast Food

2965 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Evolution Fast Food
Kelly Bone

Celebrating its 10th anniversary as San Diego’s original vegan drive-through, Evolution Fast Food offers one of the most unique veggie patties in the city. The ground tempeh and mushroom base is seasoned with a mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions and served on a thick Sadie Rose bakery bun. Available as a basic hamburger, it also comes dressed in toppings like pesto and vegan mozzarella or bathed in the slow burn of chipotle sauce and jalapeño.

2965 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

18. Panama 66

1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Panama 66
Kelly Bone

Patrons of Panama 66 lounge at high top tables on the edge of the San Diego Art Museum’s sculpture court. The Mushroom Lentil Patty, once a staple at sister restaurant Tiger!Tiger!, has found a new home in Balboa Park. Fried in a panko crust, the patty comes sandwiched between planks of focaccia, with pickled cucumbers and onions, a smear of chipotle tahini, and sprigs of cilantro over ruffled leaves of butter lettuce. 

1450 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101

19. Fernside

1946 Fern St, San Diego, CA 92102
Fernside
Kelly Bone

A labor of love by chef Travis Clifford, Fernside’s Vegan Burger was built to be enjoyed. The husky beet and chickpea patty is fried crisp without the mush of so many legume-based burgers. Topped with a smash of avocado, lettuce, and tomato with a smear of vegan “fern sauce” and served on a perfectly proportioned focaccia bun with waffle fries.

1946 Fern St
San Diego, CA 92102

20. Cafe Gratitude San Diego

1980 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Cafe Gratitude
Kelly Bone

Cafe Gratitude’s “Magical” burger is right at home on a menu that crosses health (fresh-pressed juices) with comfort (deep-fried coconut calamari). The patty comes loaded with a little bit of everything: beets, mushrooms, oats, quinoa, brown rice, black beans and so on. Spread with cashew-macadamia cheddar, shredded lettuce, and heirloom tomatoes, the burger is served with fries and a pulpy, house-made chipotle ketchup.

1980 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101

Related Maps