When it comes to dining out, many eaters want food that not only tastes good but is good for the planet. Food Tank recognizes 10 restaurant innovators striving to lighten their impact on the environment by integrating sustainable practices into their business operations.
1. Arbor Restaurant: Bournemouth, England
Located in the Green House Hotel, Arbor Restaurant received the 2016 Food Made Good Award for the Environment Winner, presented by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), in recognition of their eco-friendly practices focused on water-saving, waste management, and energy efficiency. One of the few restaurants in the United Kingdom to have received three Michelin Stars from the SRA, Arbor Restaurant helped found the Sustainable Food City Partnership, an organization working to revolutionize the way people in their communities grow, buy, cook, eat, celebrate, and dispose of their food.
2. Azurmendi: Larrabetzu, Spain
Recipient of the 2014 Sustainable Table Award and three-time Michelin star winner, Azurmendi incorporates sustainability into all facets of their business. Located in a space designed in 1976, Azurmendi boasts a sustainable and bioclimatic infrastructure, integrating photovoltaic solar panels with a geothermic system and producing electricity while also harvesting rainwater to be used for irrigation and cleaning operations. Head Chef Eneko Atxa collaborates with local supplies, sharing knowledge in an effort to revive lost varieties of local vegetables.
3. Bobby Chinn Saigon: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Bobby Chinn Saigon is the second restaurant opened in Vietnam by celebrity Chef Bobby Chinn, a highly regarded culinary figure known for his innovative dishes and environmental activism. Chinn creates dishes using a responsible seafood menu, sourcing ingredients from producers that employ environmentally friendly and sustainable methods and are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
4. Central: Lima, Peru
Ranked first on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2016 for the third year in a row and named the 2016 Best Restaurant in Peru, Central head Chef Virgilio Martinez creates dishes using a wide range of ingredients sourced from Peru. Martinez strives to showcase the diverse ecosystems of Peru through vertical ecological monitoring, meaning he specifically sources ingredients from various altitudes; ranging from the low altitudes of the Pacific Ocean, medium altitudes of the Amazon, and extremely high altitudes of the Andes Mountains.
5. The Daily Table: Dorchester, Massachusetts
Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, opened the Daily Table in 2015, reducing food waste by repurposing food products slightly past its sell-by-date into healthy, grab-n-go, ready-to-eat meals. The Daily Table provides these meals at affordable prices, competing with fast food options and allowing families to eat healthier meals within their means. Working with a large and diverse network of growers, supermarkets, and manufacturers who donate their excess, healthy food, The Daily Table is committed to reducing both food waste and the health implications affiliated with malnourishment.
6. Dear Me: Cape Town, South Africa
Dear Me is a bistro, bakery, and deli catering to those on special diets such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free. Dear Me is a founding member of the Long Table Project, a social enterprise focused on helping restaurants in Cape Town adopt more sustainable practices in line with global sustainability trends. Dear Me supports ethical food production practices, sourcing all produce from small-scale local farmers, and serving all organic meat and egg products.
7. Masque: Mumbai, India
Committed to expanding the farm-to-fork movement in India, Masque opened its doors in September 2016, serving seasonal produce sourced directly from local farmers. Head Chef Prateek Sadhu works closely with local farmers, training them to grow a variety of exotic and seasonal ingredients. Sadhu and his chefs frequently travel to neighboring regions to forage for produce themselves, creating a revolving menu that changes on a daily basis.
8. The Perennial, San Francisco, California
Named one of America’s Best New Restaurants of 2016 by Bon Appétit and GQ Magazine, co-owners Karen Leibowitz and Anthony Myint founded The Perennial with the intent to give back to the environment. They source food through partnerships with progressive farmers and ranchers in the Bay area and built a greenhouse that produces vegetables using aquaponics. The building is Leadership in Energy Efficiency Design (LEED) Gold Certified, the space is made from reclaimed lumber, and even the paper menus are recycled by being fed to the worms in the greenhouse.
9. Relae: Copenhagen, Denmark
Winner of the 2015 and 2016 Sustainable Restaurant Award on the annual 50 Best Restaurants list and Michelin-starred organic restaurant, Ralae strives to serve customers meals with the lowest possible environmental impact. Co-owners, Director Kim Rossen and Chef Christian Puglisi, operate an organic farm about 45 minutes outside of the city. They currently produce vegetables for the restaurant and plan to source veal, beef, pork, and chicken within the year. In addition, the restaurant makes food deliveries by bike, feed their organic chickens with used coffee grounds from the restaurant, and use plates crafted by a local potter down the road.
10. Uncommon Ground: Chicago, Illinois
Named the 2011 and 2013 Greenest Restaurant in the World by the Green Restaurant Association, Uncommon Ground established America’s first certified organic rooftop farm. Located on a 2,500 square foot deck, this rooftop farm is made entirely from post -consumer recycled materials, produces a variety of vegetables and herbs, and is home to four beehives. Furthering their commitment to local and organic sourcing, Uncommon Ground’s beer list is procured from Greenstar Brewing, the first certified organic brewery in the state of Illinois.