Fanelli Makes The Best (Meatless) Burger I’ve Ever Eaten

In a continuation of my quest to tell you about some delicious food that I haven’t gotten around to sharing with you on Downtown Lunch yet, today’s installment comes from Fanelli Cafe on Prince St. (at Mercer). I’ve never eaten anything at Fanelli’s other than the burger and vegetable burger, and I really don’t think there’s much else worth ordering except alcohol. This bar is one of my favorite old-timey spots in the city and is one of the few non-pretentious places to get a beer and some decent food after dealing with the hordes of tourists in the area. But back to this veggie burger. I think it’s the sum of its parts that make it great, or perhaps the fact that it doesn’t fall apart into a pile of mush when you bit into it. And dare I say it tastes a little meaty?

There are times when I want a big, messy, meaty burger and there are times when I’ve eaten one too many carnitas taco or plate of General Tso’s and instead go for a veggie burger. I know there are many reasons why you shouldn’t eat things masquerading as a burger, and I’ve had more than my share of misses while eating out and gambling on the plant-based option. Fanelli is one I go back to time and time again because it’s substantial, and made of things that actually stay together. I detect hints of mushroom and red pepper in there, but I really have no idea what’s in it, and I don’t really want to. One of my friends thinks they cook it on the same griddle as the meat, but since I’m not an actual vegetarian I don’t really care if they do.

The other thing that really makes the burger, in my opinion, is the pesto on top, coupled with a toasted onion roll. You get a side of fries or a salad and they’re both pretty good. The fries, however, are best eaten in as they were pretty soggy in the takeout sleeve.

I know there are a fair amount of people who don’t eat meat and read this blog, and I hope if you’re in the area you try out this burger at Fanelli. It’s especially tasty when coupled with a beer.

Fanelli Cafe, 94 Prince St. (at Mercer), (212) 226-9412


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