Take 5 Sustainable Restaurants

January 2019

Have you wondered what a sustainable restaurant looks like? Surely it’s an establishment that minimises waste in all areas and achieves optimum resource efficiency. Here we take a look at five examples of restaurants with sustainability at their core and learn about what makes their ethos work.


Azurmendi, Basque Country


Having been ranked the most sustainable restaurant in the world by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018, Azurmendi sets the gold standard in sustainability for restaurants. Set in a bioclimatic building, the restaurant uses solar panels, geothermal energy, rainwater harvesting systems, charging points for electric vehicles and incorporates a living roof. Organic waste from the restaurant is composted for use as fertiliser in local orchards. The restaurant sources food from local independent producers. Some produce is grown on-site and the restaurant houses a germoplasm bank of local varieties to support biodiversity. Read more about Azurmendi here.


Silo, Brighton


Silo is a zero-waste restaurant in Brighton, now complete with its own brewery and flour mill. The décor of the restaurant is largely upcycled, with furniture made from materials that have been diverted from landfill. All products delivered to the restaurant come in reusable crates or containers. An aerobic digestor converts organic waste to compost. Silo has created a relationship with food redistribution network and charity FareShare so that Silo customers are invited to donate £1 to FareShare when they dine at the restaurant. Read more about this enterprise here.


Loam, Galway


In 2016, Loam was awarded a three star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), the first Irish independent restaurant to achieve this award. Loam maintain close relationships with local farmers and food producers. Menus change daily to reflect what is available locally. Preservation techniques preserve produce when it is in abundance. All dishes are cooked from scratch and the entire animal/fish/vegetable is used. Indoor grow boxes are used to grow herbs and flowers for the premises. Loam also collaborate with community food initiatives such as cookery demonstrations for children in conjunction with Slow Food Ireland. Find out more about their sustainability practices here.


Good Day Deli, Cork


John and Sally McKenna recently singled Good Day Deli out for the Green Sustainable Award as part of their 2018 Megabites Awards round up. GDD source local and seasonal food (organic and FairTrade where possible) and serve a range of vegan and vegetarian options. They are committed to a holistic approach to environmental sustainability. At GDD they minimise waste by using forecasting data systems, re-using where possible and composting organic waste on site. Find our more here.


3fe, Dublin


The brain child of Colin Harmon, 3fe now has three locations in Dublin in addition to its core business of roasting and supplying coffee. On the food side of things, Head Chef Holly Dalton and her team make a concerted effort to use what had formerly been thrown away including the outer leaves of vegetables which she now utilises in sauerkraut. Taking the lead from Loam in Galway, 3fe sought accreditation from the Sustainable Restaurant Association and their recommendations largely involved food waste management, product sourcing and single use packaging. Now coffee grinds from the cafés are turned into compost. Over winter months, leftover milk is used to make ricotta and yoghurt. At 3fe they weighed their food waste on a daily basis to obtain an accurate reflection of how much was generated. Takeaway coffee cups are recyclable and containers and cutlery for takeaway food are compostable. For more on their sustainability campaign and goals, see here.