We’re becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of everything we do – from how we get to work in the morning to which clothes we buy. What we eat every day is one of the most significant factors in setting our carbon footprints, and while purchasing your own ingredients and cooking them gives you more certainty on what effect your meal has on the environment, trying to do the same at a restaurant is another matter. While some industries are just now adopting an eco friendly ethos  for decades many restaurants have been working to provide sustainable meals. We take a look at who is doing it best.

1. Relae (Denmark, Copenhagen)

Winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Sustainable Restaurant Award in 2015, Danish restaurant Relae has a dedicated staff working towards ethical sourcing and social responsibility. From the gold mark, certified organic produce, meat and beverages all the way to their recycled chairs and fair-trade coffee supplier, Relae’s operation has considered all the factors that go into making a dish from start to finish. The restaurant also works to use primarily entire animals in their meals to minimise waste, and all of their produce is seasonal and locally grown to reduce pollution from deliveries.

2. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)

Azurmendi’s sustainable vocation lies in both its design and menu. Almost all of the building’s heating needs come from geothermal energy and the greenhouse provides the restaurant’s produce. When customers arrive, their dining experience begins with a tour of the restaurant’s greenhouse where six appetisers are hidden within the gardens. Azurmendi cooks with sustainable meat and fish. Be sure to try the restaurant’s spin on a bloody Mary called the bloody mar – it’s made with sea urchin juice.

3. The Captain’s Galley (Scrabster, Scotland)

Only open for six months of the year, the family-owned Captain’s Galley is one of the UK’s most sustainable restaurants. The owner and chef, Jim Cowie, goes out to the wharf every morning and hand picks fish for the restaurant. Relying on the daily catch, the restaurant’s menu is always changing and customers get full disclosure on exactly where the ingredients in their meal are coming from. The Cowies grow their own herbs and produce eggs from the chickens in their cottage. Even the oil from the restaurant is recycled to power Cowie’s car.

4. Tilth (Seattle, Washington, USA)

Maria Hines, owner and head chef of Seattle’s Tilth, focuses primarily on offering her customers as much locally grown and organic produce as possible, as well as supplying her kitchen with materials that are recycled or produced sustainably. Chef Hines also works with nonprofit organisations like the James Beard Foundation, the Chef Action Network and the PCC Farmland Trust on issues surrounding restaurant sustainability and social justice. She has received numerous awards for her efforts and continues to work on her commitment towards sustainable foods and health.

5. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)

Previously named Les Creations de Narisawa, Narisawa restaurant is known in Japan for its award-winning efforts towards sustainability. Despite the use of chemicals and pesticides in a lot of Japanese produce, Chef Narisawa is dedicated to providing his customers with traditional Japanese minimalist dishes that consist of organic ingredients. Though there are few eco-conscious restaurants in Japan, there is a push to raise public awareness about waste management and ethically sourced foods. Narisawa was the first restaurant to receive the SRA’s Sustainable Restaurant Award in 2013.

Baby Steps Towards Sustainable Travel

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