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Pulled Jackfruit Burger at East Sydney Hotel
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best vegetarian burgers in Sydney

We road-tested some of Sydney’s best pub burgers for our meat-free friends fanging for a pub dinner

By Emily Lloyd-Tait and Aobh O'Brien-Moody

Pub dining for veggos and vegans used to mean a bowl of chips or a sad side salad – but these days plant-based eaters can get in on the snack party, with loaded mushroom burgers and totally vegan meat imitations. These are the best vegetarian burgers in Sydney.

Want more veggo eats? Check out Sydney's best restaurants for vegetarians.

Totally plant-based? Here's our guide to Sydney's best vegan restaurants.

More flexible? Try one of Sydney's 50 best restaurants.

The best vegetarian burgers in Sydney

Pulled Jackfruit burger at East Sydney Hotel
Photograph: Anna Kucera

East Sydney Hotel

Bars Woolloomooloo

Order the: Pulled jackfruit burger

The East Sydney Hotel might be one of the last places you expected to jump on board the vegan train, but the unassuming old timer on the corner of Crown and Cathedral Streets in Woolloomooloo has made a break with tradition and taken a big step towards accommodating the changing tastes of a city with their new vegan menu. Luckily, the new menu echoes the pub’s famous lack of pretension, with comfort food in pride of place – think deep fried vegan mac-and-cheese and faux-fish fingers. The pulled jackfruit burger is particularly impressive, and almost succeeds in imitating the taste and texture of pulled pork, with a strong spicy barbecue flavour that permeates the fruit’s juicy flesh. It comes dressed in a rich, eggless aioli on toasted bun, with a crunchy slaw to cool the burn from the hot sauce.

Harpoon Harry Mushroom and Halloumi burger
Photograph: ELT

Harpoon Harry

Bars Surry Hills

Order the: Mushroom and halloumi burger

No one ever said a dirty burger couldn’t also be vego. It’s not the beef that fires off all those junk food receptors in your brain, but the accoutrements. That’s a big part of what makes Harpoon Harry’s meat-free burger so good. The pickles, special sauce, and slightly sweet bun are the same as a cheeseburger, but here they’re hitting their protein targets with a juicy flat mushroom and a very generous serve of stretchy, squeaky halloumi. It hits the salty target in all the right places – it’s not pretty to eat, but this juicy burger is vego fast food at its finest.

a burger cut in half with fries
Photograph: ELT

Pub Life Kitchen

Restaurants Ultimo

Order the: Shroom burger 

This burger kitchen inside an old backstreets pub in Ultimo might be famous for their Wednesday experimental burgers and their American-style cheeseburgers, but those who do not partake in meat eating don’t get left out in the cold. Instead, a big field mushroom is panko crumbed and fried so that it’s crunchy on the outside and juicy in the middle. It comes wedged within a slightly sweet burger bun with cheese, red cabbage coleslaw and mayo. A side of sweet, salty and slightly spicy fries completes your junk food fix.

Vegan pub food at the Green Lion
Photograph: Emily Lloyd-Tait

The Green Lion

Restaurants American Rozelle

Order the: Green Mac burger

It’s a brave new world in 2016. A few years ago if we’d have told you that the first floor vegan restaurant in an old pub was packed, while downstairs at the bar you could count the punters on one hand, you wouldn’t have believed us. But people are enthusiastically embracing a plant-based diet nowadays and the Green Lion pub kitchen (upstairs from the Red Lion Hotel) is surfing the wave of their fervour. The green mack burger is a house take on a Big Mac. It’s a double-decker, double (non) meat patty with pickles, lots of shredded lettuce and special sauce. 

a burger and fries
Photograph: ELT

The Henson

Bars Marrickville

Order the: Tempeh burger

In a blessed reprieve from the ubiquitous (but still delicious) mushroom burger, at the Henson they’re cooking up a patty of tempeh (fermented soybeans) and dressing it in a fragrant satay sauce. It comes on a sesame seed bun with a salad of bean sprouts, cabbage, red onion, carrot and coriander, along with fat tomato slices to save it from dryness. It’s very filling and one of the more original offerings around town for meat-free pub dining.

Want more plant-based eats?

Food at Alibi Bar Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Food at Alibi Bar Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best vegan restaurants in Sydney

Restaurants Vegan

People repping a vegan diet don't have prentend they enjoy pumpkin salad anymore. Sydney is now home to plant-based burger shops; classic Italian pizzerias that opt for cheese and meat alternatives; gelato shops that favour coconut bases; and a growing contingent of fine diners offering fancy degustations for vegans.


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