Sustainable and low-waste dining in Amsterdam
We’re all becoming more aware of how our consumption impacts the planet. One of the ways we can help is by thinking about where the food on our fork comes from. In Amsterdam, waves of new sustainable superheroes are tackling food waste, promoting seasonal produce and working with local suppliers to reduce the impact on the planet. Here’s a round-up of restaurants and initiatives that are making the most of every last bite.
Café de Ceuvel
From the composting toilets to the locally sourced ingredients, there’s simply no waste (or wasted appetite) at De Ceuvel. Office-boating innovators built this sustainability project as a cleantech experiment over what once was a polluted harbour. The menu champions honest vegan cooking with a colourful array of breakfast and lunch dishes that are set up for sharing. Besides the excellent food and drinks, you’ll find several showcases of sustainable tech that the compound uses itself, including a fascinating aquaponics greenhouse, heat exchangers and treatment facilities for kitchen and toilet waste.
Not only does Mediamatic ETEN have an aquaponic garden - where a vast proportion of herbs and veggies are harvested for the restaurant - but their on-site research team delves into food-related experiments that promote seasonality and sustainability. Fermented, dehydrated and pickled ingredients find their way onto the ever-changing menu that is 100% plant-based. Keep an eye on the agenda for various workshops and events related to urban farming, foraging and food preservation.
Tucked away at its new location in Oost, Elixer is a circular restaurant focusing on sustainability and good food. Not only do they allow locals to exchange allotment-grown vegetables for dining tokens, but they also organise monthly cooking sessions and ’swap’ markets with varying themes. Order à la carte - choosing from variations of Burgundian and Dutch classics - or be surprised by the chefs' three or four-course menu.
NoordOogst Agricultural Project
Just west of NDSM, the Noord Oogst Agricultural Project (website in Dutch) is home to several fascinating initiatives that inspire more green thinking. Eat freshly plucked veggies, sip local beers and delicious wines at POF, a restaurant that only serves produce grown in its immediate surroundings (except for coffee and cinnamon). Bacon is procured from local pigs and vegetables are grown directly in the garden. Nearby, the Friekens Brewery beer garden is an idyllic spot to sample fresh beers made using traditional recipes and natural ingredients grown locally.
Chef Bas van Kranen took over the reins at Hotel de l’Europe in 2021, to change the direction of their classic French Michelin-starred restaurant (formerly Bord’Eau). The new concept, Flore, offers a more locally-focused, seasonal menu showcasing what the chef calls “conscious fine dining”. Explains Van Kranen, “By focusing on local products, preceding dairy and using sustainable produce, grown with the greatest care, our kitchen team remains motivated to cook even more consciously and creatively. It makes us better cooks.” The veg-led tasting menu changes weekly with certain ingredients distilled in the in-house fermentation lab.
Capital Kitchen is ready to impress with locally sourced ingredients and fresh and inventive pairings to tickle your taste buds. Their mission is clear: to unite food, art, and local stories all in one space. Their menu starts with a croquet from the famous Patisserie Holtkamp and continues on to smoky North Sea mackerel in sour lemon. For mains, the options present fried cod, flat iron steak stew and several vegetarian options. And how about a candied carrot for dessert?
Based on the principle of circular dining, where food is sourced locally, shared and recycled, this restaurant in the Zuidas Business District is all about sustainability. Chef Rudolph Brand experiments with canning and fermenting to reduce food waste. Hit team makes menu magic with soups, salads, sandwiches and hot dishes starring delicious rescued vegetables provided by InStock. Even the furniture and plates are second-hand, making for an eclectic and low-waste aesthetic.
Tucked away on a cobbled side street in Cetrum, this is a cosy living-room cafe with a big heart and even bigger flavours. At Gartine, all produce is sourced directly from the kitchen garden and local region, with all dishes falling under the ethos of the “Slow Food” movement. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or high-tea, the menu features sandwiches, soups, quiches, salads and eggs benedict procured from only the happiest of hens.
- Bataat (formerly Beter & Leuk) is ideal for vegan breakfast, lunch and cakes in a cosy and light café where you can also get inspired by – and purchase – pieces of promising new artists.
- Yerba’s plant-forward dishes can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. Keep an eye out for the restaurant’s rotating menus that are at once seasonal, sustainable and creative.
- Brewery Kleiburg’s monastery beers are available at its tasting room and restaurant, De Proefzaak. Have your beer with hearty sandwiches made with ingredients locally sourced from small farmers.
- Located on the water in Houthavens, Bak uses fish from sustainable fisheries, meat from local producers and the best vegetables from non-subsidized farmers.
Low-waste food apps and community dinners
- Too Good To Go offers discounted boxes packed with delicious food from nearby restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries. Users can browse their map to see which establishments near them have boxes ready for the day and reserve them for pick up. Offerings range from pastries made that morning to big bags of fresh produce.
- Olio connects neighbours and businesses so they can share food rather than throw it away. People with leftover food can open the app, add a photo, description, and when and where the item is available for pick-up.
- BuurtBuik collects excess food from caterers, supermarkets and grocers and shares it with local residents through neighbourhood meals.
- Taste Before You Waste gathers food from grocery stores, organises weekly dinners and markets, and educates communities on food waste.