5 great vegetarian burgers in Johannesburg

Chickpeas and kidney beans, tofu and spices, juicy mushrooms, rosemary-roasted butternut, fried halloumi… The vegetarian burger can be an art form in its own right. We sent Hennie Fisher to find five of Jozi’s best.

African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel

Stone-ground flour is used to make the light and airy artisanal bun for the Moroccan-inspired vegetarian burger at this chic Johannesburg hotel. The chickpea and baby corn patty is seasoned with a selection of North African spices, including coriander, paprika and cumin. Topped with smoked mozzarella, chunky relish and vegetable sprouts, this vegetarian burger is accompanined by a healthy side portion of hand-cut, oversized fries tossed in a herbed chilli sauce. This burger experience, firmly situated on the ‘gourmet’ end of the spectrum, goes for R95.

African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.


This legendary burger restaurant has no less than eight vegetarian options from which to choose. There’s the Ghandi, made with a red lentil and chickpea patty, with mango and red pepper chutney and bed of rocket (R64); the Cleopatra features a falafel patty, tomato and red onion salsa, and hummus and tahini sauce (R64; and the Lady Marmalade is made with rosemary-roasted butternut, fried halloumi, red onion marmalade, basil pesto and mango chutney (R64). Choose between a normal bun, gluten- and dairy-free version, or no bun at all. All burgers are served with either chips, sweet potato or normal wedges, or a salad.

Dukes Lady Marmalade. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Dukes Lady Marmalade. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Fruits & Roots

This vegetarian restaurant and health food shop – catering for various food intolerances and preferences – offers two great vegetarian burgers. The Earth Burger (R58) and the Mighty Burger (R62) are served on a choice of plain, wholewheat or gluten-free buns and come with a side salad or French fries. The Earth Burger patty is made from tofu, vegetables, spices and herbs, while the Mighty patty is made from mushrooms and beans assembled with hummus, lettuce, tomato and mushrooms.

Hudson’s Burger Joint

New on the scene but already much talked about is Hudson’s Burger Joint (originally from Cape Town), which calls its vegetarian burger The Meridian (R51). Comprising a chickpea and lentil patty topped with mustard mayonnaise, tomato relish, red onion and jalapeño, it can be enjoyed on either a normal or wheat-free bun, or ‘guido’ style on a bed of lettuce (no bun). Side orders include a choice between fries, health salad, onion rings, sweet potato crisps, sweet potato wedges, sweet potato fries or their Liberty slaw.

Fruits & Roots. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Fruits & Roots. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.


Even though there is no actual ‘mama’ hiding in the kitchen, this homely rock and roll eatery serves a mean vegetarian burger. You can order a basic burger (R35) from a tick-sheet menu or adapt it to your taste from a range of items (charged separately) such as aged cheddar, emmental, feta, blue cheese dressing, home-made guacamole and sautéed mushrooms. When conceptualising this burger, they did not merely want to emulate a meat patty, so the Rocomama veggie patty is made with chickpeas, crushed red kidney beans and red lentils, finely chopped red pepper, red onion, fresh ginger, cumin, coriander and a ‘brinjali’ spice mix, served on a sesame bun. Enjoy it with a side of chips or a choice of salads such as barbeque bean salad, coleslaw or Greek salad.


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