This local fast food institution inspires a nearly rabid passion in its fans, who like the multicultural flavors and are grateful for one of the first veggie options from a burger joint in L.A. According to Cosmos Kapantzos, the reserved but friendly owner of the Hollywood location, it was Astro Burger that introduced Los Angeles to the Gardenburger ($6.23) back in 1986 (the same year he went vegetarian), and it's been on the menu ever since. Offered plain and with cheese, the most interesting option may be The Garden Greek: Served "Tycoon"-style with a deliciously tangy feta, sweet onions, tomatoes and parsley wrapped in a scrumptious pita, it offers comfort and familiarity while keeping each bite interesting.
The humble veggie burger used to be an afterthought, something on the menu to placate the neglected vegetarian or vegan friend in a world dominated by carnivores. But today, things are different. Los Angeles has transcended Meatless Mondays—everyone in this city seems to be a part-time vegetarian, especially as plant-based meals are touted as a way to combat the drought. Now the veggie burger has a cast of elite chefs from some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles who are determined to put their own spin on this meat-free delight. With no clear rules for what constitutes the patty, the field is wide open for experimental deliciousness. To find the best veggie burger options in L.A., we did some research: here are eight solid picks to sink your teeth into.