1. Mitzi's Sister
1554 Queen W, at Fuller, 416-532-2570, mitzis.ca.
Most veggie patties have no flavour at all; they're there to provide texture and little else, their flavour coming from the toppings. But this Parkdale watering hole's Harvest Veggie Burger ($11.95 with salad) borders on the - dare we say it? - meaty, a massive 8-ounce puck of grains, nuts, mushrooms and feta cheese dressed with tomato and caramelized onion on a whole wheat mini-pita spread with spicy mayo.
Weekdays 4 pm to 2 am, weekends 10 am to 2 am. Brunch Saturday and Sunday till 3 pm. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement.
2. Burger's Priest
1636 Queen E, at Coxwell, 647-346-0617, theburgerspriest.com.
Start with two deep-fried panko-crusted portobello mushroom caps glued together with melted processed cheese, serve them dressed with fried onions, lettuce and tomato on an optional gluten-free bun ($7.99) and understand why there's almost always a lineup. Or add several rashers of decidedly meaty bacon and turn your virtuous Option into a Religious Hypocrite ($8.99).
Monday to Wednesday 11:30 am to 9:30 pm, Thursday and Friday 11:30 am to 10:30 pm, Saturday noon to 10:30 pm. Closed Sunday, some holidays. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: barrier-free, no washrooms.
3. Queen Mother
208 Queen W, at Duncan, 416-598-4719, queenmothercafe.ca.
Also known as the QM burger, this Queen West original's Cosmic Burger ($9.95) has been on the menu since the quirky café first opened its doors back in 1978. Hell, apart from soup, it was the only thing on the menu. Little has changed: same nutty patty of high-protein grains and mushrooms offset with melted white cheddar, tomato, lettuce and Ranch-style dressing and stuffed into a whole wheat pita.
Monday to Saturday 11:30 am to 1 am. Brunch Sunday 11:30 am to 4:30 pm, dinner till midnight. Licensed. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement.
4. Great Burger Kitchen
1056 Gerrard E, at Jones, 416-778-0111, greatburger.ca.
Though it's easy to dismiss this recently launched take-away as a Gourmet Burger Company clone, its house-made veggie quarter-pounders with optional feta ($7.50) set it apart from the crowd. The considerable mash of grilled millet, garbanzo and kidney beans on a Brick Street Bakery bun comes with all the fixin's, including pickled jalapeños. Make sure to ask for it well-done. Without a crust, it's mush.
Daily 11 am to 11 pm. Unlicensed. Access: two steps at door, no washrooms.
1960 Queen E, at Kenilworth, 416-691-2305, lickshomeburgers.com.
Straight out of the freezer they're nothing to get excited about. But throw a Nature Burger ($6.20 tax inclusive) on a crusty kaiser and run it through the garden - lettuce, tomato, onion - and slather it in mayo-like Guk sauce and behold the veggie Whopper of your dreams.
Daily 11 am to 11 pm. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free.
586 College, at Clinton, 416-534-7751, utopiacafe.ca.
The tasty veggie burgers ($9) at this very laid-back resto-lounge and backyard patio get points for the convincing patty ("so good we'll fool you into believing it's beef"), whole wheat kaiser and upscale toppings but lose a few for being cooked on the same grill as the regular burgers, much like every other non-vegetarian restaurant in town. No wonder they taste like meat!
Monday to Thursday 11:30 am to midnight, Friday 11:30 to 1 am, Saturday noon to 1 am, Sunday noon to midnight. Licensed. Access: two steps at door, washrooms in basement.