zero waste restaurant Ginger Moon

8 Of The Best Zero Waste Restaurants In The UAE

7 mins

From composting to on-site farms and cocktails made from vegetable peels, these zero waste restaurants have come up with innovative ways to reduce what they send to landfill

The UAE ranks among the top nations in the world for food waste generation. According to Dubai Carbon, the local sustainability consultancy, roughly 38 per cent of the food prepared every day in the UAE is thrown into landfill. During Ramadan, this figure rises to 60 per cent.   

Aside from the ethical issues evolved, food waste also produces 58 per cent of methane emissions – a major cause of global warming – more than any other kind of waste material.

‘Increasing numbers of UAE zero waste restaurants are coming up with creative ways to cut down on the amount of food hey throw away each day while maintaining the quality of their recipes’

Thankfully, zero waste policies are no longer rare and hard to find. Increasing numbers of UAE outlets are coming up with creative ways to cut down on the amount of food and trash that they throw away each day while maintaining the quantity of their recipes and overall customer experience. 

Zero Waste Restaurant Revolution

W hotel has zero waste restaurants

Ranging from casual cafes to intimate private dining experiences, these are some of the most exciting Zero Waste Restaurants and brands leading the region’s zero waste revolution.   

BOCA, DIFC Dubai  

Unequivocally the most famous zero waste restaurant in the UAE,  Michelin Green Star-awarded BOCA is a stunning venue with a friendly and upbeat vibe. Named Sustainable Kitchen of the Year at the prestigious Gault&Millau UAE Gala 2023, its Spanish tapas and creative Mediterranean plates use every part of each locally sourced ingredient, right down to the skins, seeds and stems. 

Bruised berries are made into purées, nearly expired milk is crafted into cheese, while the ‘Yesterday’s Bread’ appetiser proves that even stale sourdough can be made into something delicious. Powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, BOCA has its own in-house waste officer, and it refuses to accept single use plastics from any supplier.

Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers 

Housed inside one of the UAE’s most iconic skyscrapers, Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers was the first hotel in the city to install its own zero waste hydroponic farm. 

Producing up to 10kg of fresh vegetables every day, including basil, thyme, rosemary, pea shoots, shiso, red chard and various other types of herb and lettuce, the zero waste restaurant teams and gardeners coordinate carefully to ensure that the correct amount of each plant is produced. 

With everything grown just metres away from where it is served in the hotel’s 12 restaurants and bars, the venue also uses the Winnow food waste app – which helps businesses track, measure, control and transform food wastage – to minimise further waste. 

Expo City Dubai

Expo City PXB zero waste restaurant

As the host venue of COP28, it should come as no surprise to learn that all the brands at Expo City Dubai, including vegan hotspot PXB, world-first African food hall Alkebulan and much more, are all invested in reducing waste. 

Initially launched during Expo 2020 Dubai, the city’s Food Rescue Programme continues to donate any surplus food to those in need, while the dedicated compostable waste bins allow the city’s fully biodegradable packaging and any food waste and offcuts to be turned into soil. 

During COP28 alone, the city saved 1,783kg of organic waste, and 6,435 meals from landfill. Food data software is also used to help the zero waste restaurants kitchens reduce waste, local ingredients are used wherever possible, free water is provided across the site, and the entire complex is designed to be energy efficient. 

Ginger Moon Dubai, W Dubai – Mina Seyahi 

Ginger Moon zero waste restaurant UAE

Although best known for its beautiful sea views, sizzling tunes and lively vibe, Ginger Moon is far more than just a pretty place to dance and mingle. Adding an extra depth to its stylish offering, the poolside restaurant has launched a special zero waste menu that uses 100 per cent of every ingredient, including 77 per cent in the recipes, 14 per cent in the beverages and nine percent in the compost in the living table centrepieces. 

Spanning delicious meat-free bites, such as locally grown cauliflower with truffle and edible flowers, and crispy black rice with grapefruit custard, the chefs turn leftover vegetable skins into oils, and even churn the butter in house. 

Enhancing the experience even further, each course is paired with zero waste cocktails, including the ‘Small Roots’ with beetroot molasses made from beetroot skins, the ‘Cauliflower Crumbs’ featuring fermented grapefruit leftovers, and eco-friendly wines from Sea Change, the family wine business dedicated to ocean conservation. Only available for private events, this zero waste restaurant is the perfect way of making your next big occasion extra memorable. 

KAVE – The Story of Things, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

eco cafe at Kave The Story Of Thins

Whether you want to refresh an old piece of furniture, fix your bike, learn a new craft or enjoy live music, KAVE – The Story of Things offers everything you want and more. With its own upcycling centre, custom bike shop, sustainable boutique and a wide programme of artistic workshops, it’s a vibrant community hub that’s entirely devoted to sustainability and creativity. 

The eco cafe avoids waste by making everything from scratch, and it is in the process of installing its own composting system. Free bottled water is provided for every guest, and everything from the furniture to the crockery and cutlery is either upcycled, or designed to be completely recycled after use. 

Collected water from the AC system is used to water the plants and clean the floor, and it tries to only work with suppliers that use eco-friendly packaging. Drinks are sold in glass rather than plastic, and guests are encouraged to bring their own cups. 

Mazaraa Kitchen, Al Bahyah, Abu Dhabi 

Hailed as the UAE’s first certified organic farm, Mazaraa Farm offers the most real and authentic example of ‘plot to plate’ eating you’ll find anywhere in the country. 

Along with cooking what it has personally grown and harvested, the team throws all the peels and leftovers into compost that is then fed back into the farm’s crops. 

Surrounded by greenery and the peaceful sounds of the farm’s grazing animals, everything on the menu is fresh, organic and gloriously tasty, while the upcycled furniture adds a cosy touch.  

Osterio MarioDubai Marina and Dubai Hills Mall

zero waste dinner at Osterio Mario Dubai

Coffee butter, broccoli pate and carrot cake infused with sea buckthorn are just some of the ultra-creative dishes found on Osterio Mario’s new zero waste menu

Created in collaboration with fellow Dubai restaurant Duo Gastrobar, every recipe is made from offcuts and ingredients that already feature on the main menu. 

Offering a set menu for AED 190 plus à la carte options, every course can be paired with sustainable zero per cent mulled wine, or refreshing zero waste pomegranate and basil spritz.   

Wild and the Moon, Dubai and Abu Dhabi  

The ultimate place for a boost of healthy, wholesome and incredibly delicious food, Wild and the Moon is a legendary hotspot for UAE vegans and eco-warriors. 

Offering colourful, creative and photogenic dishes that are all 100 per cent vegan and made from organic, local, ethically sourced and unprocessed ingredients, all four of its UAE branches employ many zero waste policies. 

Instead of throwing away any leftover meals and products, it gives them to anti-waste app FoodKarma to sell at a reduced price, while the pulps from its rustic nut milks and juices are used to make crackers. 

Plus, although its takeaway packaging might look deceptively plastic-like, it’s actually ‘vegetal’ plastic made from a biodegradable mix of corn starch and sugar cane.

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