I love to eat. The only thing better than eating in is eating out because you don’t have to do the washing up. And let’s be honest, eating out in a restaurant that is also doing something good is a bonus. I don’t mean to boast but I was quite the connoisseur of conscious restaurants when I lived in London. After I moved to Amsterdam I had to start from scratch, and I have been eating my way around the city (budget allowing), which is ahead of the curve when it comes to conscious eating. There are so many cafes and restaurants that use sustainably and locally sourced food. Here is my growing list of my favourites so far:
We can all agree that food waste is one of the most pointless things existing due to various policies and laws in restaurants and supermarkets. Instock is a social enterprise restaurant that makes incredible meals out of surplus food. This restaurant was started by some pals who worked at Albert Hein (supermarket) and were shocked by the amount of perfectly good food that was thrown out by the supermarket each day.
They started InStock, to combat food waste, and create a business from things people usually throw away. Pretty cool right? InStock is now in three locations in the Netherlands. Their menu changes dependent on the season and what is “in stock”, but mainly have small plates to share. They kindly invited me to try their current menu and I basically ate almost everything on the menu. Every year, Schipol airport has to cull a certain amount of geese that fly too close to the aeroplane and Instock uses the meat that would otherwise go to waste in some of their dishes. Even their wine is mislabeled wine that cannot be sold, and their beer is made from excess potatoes and bread. You can find their products on the online shop Looped Goods. Around the corner you can find a windmill that has been turned into a brewery for a pre-dinner beer. I think my favourite dish at Instock was the gazpacho (above) and the grilled croissant banoffee (below). Instock run a food waste programme for primary schools, have recently set up a B2B marketplace as well as running regular events at their restaurants… is there anything these guys don’t do?
One of my favourite brunch places in Amsterdam, Dignita employs and helps people who have been victims of sex trafficking to integrate them back into the workplace. Go for brunch early, before the torrent of tourists get there and try the mushrooms on toast with sage butter. And the pancakes. Ah it’s all delicious.
Based in the North of Amsterdam, this little sustainable haven is well worth a visit. De Cuevel is a circular creative and office space built in an old abandoned shipyard. At their cafe, they grow their own vegetables, grow mushrooms in old coffee grounds and even are working on a “Biogas boat” which would allow organic waste to be transformed into biogas to cook with. So far, I have only tried their homemade beer which was delicious, but this place is very special to any eco-warrior.
Also in the North of Amsterdam, based in shipping containers Pllek works with seasonal local products. Their fish is sustainably and responsibly caught and they won’t use additives in their bread. Their menu is 75% vegetarian. I went here in winter with a big group, the place is really cosy and the food was very good. They offer events on different evenings and weekends, so check out their agenda before you go.
This is somewhere I’ve wanted to try for a while. Close to the Vondelpark, it’s a not-for-profit vegan kitchen, operated on a voluntary basis from an organised squat. They have a rich history of supporting artists and there is a performing space and usually some kind of cool event going on. They are only open 3 days a week, and only serve food between 7:00pm – 8:30pm (it’s almost like they don’t want you to eat there) so I am hoping to go one day after work.