Embracing a diet rich in vegetables is crucial not only for our health but also for environmental sustainability, reducing our ecological footprint and supporting responsible food systems. In the world of gastronomy, the Netherlands stands out with 16 exceptional entries in the We're Smart Green Guide’s 2023 list of top 100 vegetable-forward restaurants. This guide annually evaluates global eateries on their innovative vegetable-centric dishes and ecological practices. Curious foodies might ask, "Why should we pay attention to this guide?" Well, We're Smart World annually scrutinises hundreds of eateries across the globe, rating them based on the quality and quantity of their vegetable-forward dishes, their culinary innovation, ecological considerations, and social impact.
At Humbee, we're keen on sustainable dining, and the Dutch influence in this sector deserves our spotlight. Here are the Dutch restaurants leading the way with plant-forward dining experiences:
"Botanical gastronomy" isn't just a fancy term for this establishment; it's their culinary mission. Drawing inspiration from both local and exotic plants, De Nieuwe Winkel crafts dishes that are a testament to sustainability and innovation. Their view? Our plates shape our landscape, and they’re aiming to redefine it, one sustainable dish at a time.
In the bustling heart of Amsterdam lies Flore, an intimate culinary haven with only 11 tables. Chef Bas van Kranen's commitment to sustainability shines through each dish. Prioritising locally sourced ingredients from organic farms and sustainable fishmongers, Flore offers vibrant, dairy-free plates that burst with flavour. Their dedication to fresh, seasonal produce is epitomised by their ever-present 'Vegetable of the Moment'. Here, purity of flavour and high-quality ingredients come together, ensuring every diner leaves with a memorable experience.
For Jonnie and Thérèse Boer, hospitality is all about welcoming guests with warmth, akin to inviting them into their own home. They masterfully craft an experience that brings forth the interplay of wine and cuisine, tantalising the senses with aroma, flavour, and artistry. At De Librije, nature is Jonnie's muse, inspiring him to create unique taste sensations. The restaurant itself, with its sprouting vegetables and herbs, tells the story behind every dish, while regional sustainable products are transformed into plate masterpieces. Diners are treated to a mesmerising ambiance beneath a grand glass ceiling, witnessing the dance of the sky and its elements up close.
Embracing the spirit of Dutch Cuisine, Bolenius showcases the richness of local ingredients: from Kamper lam to North Sea sole, Eindhoven caviar, and a bounty of vegetables, many harvested from their adjacent garden in Amsterdam's Zuidas. Luc Kusters, steering the kitchen since 2010, ensures that every dish celebrates sustainability and quality. Their commitment to green gastronomy has been recognised with a Michelin star since 2016 and, most recently, the coveted Green Michelin Star in 2021. The accolades underscore Bolenius' reputation as one of the top vegetable-centric restaurants locally and globally.
At the heart of Triptyque lies a genuine dedication to locality and seasonality. With Westland and Midden-Delfland's bountiful surroundings, the menu brims with regional gems—from radiant tomatoes to fresh dairy. Each plate served is a testament to commitment, integrity, and innovation. Niven, the illustrious owner and chef, achieved his Michelin star recognition at the mere age of 24. With a keen focus on vegetables, he's been the force behind the notable 80/20 philosophy and is a co-founder of DutchCuisine. His culinary journey further shines with a recent Green Michelin Star accolade, highlighting a unique approach to sustainable gastronomy.
In the heart of Zuid-Limburg’s Mergelland, Brut172 offers an unparalleled dining experience. Chef Hans van Wolde crafts dishes celebrating Mergelland's rich produce, with a strong emphasis on vegetable-centric cuisine. Every bite embodies the region's essence and Brut172's dedication to culinary excellence.
Located near the Central Station, Choux once housed a tin factory and gin distillery. Chef Merijn van Berlo offers a veggie-forward menu, showcasing vibrant and flavourful dishes. While the emphasis is on plants, even his fish and meat dishes shine with vegetal creativity. Known for his forward-thinking approach, Merlijn is hailed as a pioneer of future gastronomy. They serve a variety of tasting menus, with options for vegetarians and vegans, and have an affinity for natural wines through their sister company, Zuiver Wijnen.
Housed in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Spectrum stands tall with its Dutch heritage under the leadership of Chef Sidney Schutte and Cas Kratz. Chef Sidney, hailing from Zeeland, boasts a rich culinary history, including time at De Librije. Drawing inspiration from local North Sea fishermen and Dutch farmers, Sidney crafts dishes celebrating the seasonal bounty. Despite his down-to-earth nature, his culinary approach delivers intense and powerful flavours, aiming to provide guests with an unforgettable dining experience. With vegetables taking center stage, Spectrum is poised to be an international destination for plant-based connoisseurs.
Set in the picturesque Vischmarkt square of Harderwijk, Restaurant Basiliek is a testament to Chef Yornie van Dijk's dedication to the essentials. Drawing inspiration from Nordic cuisine, he crafts dishes that spotlight regional ingredients with emphasis on bright, vibrant flavours. The restaurant's past as a centuries-old chapel merges seamlessly with its contemporary Scandinavian design. Recognising Yornie's remarkable talent with vegetables, Basiliek was nominated as the Netherlands' "Discovery of the Year" for 2023.
At De Treeswijkhoeve, Chef Dick Middelweerd crafts inventive vegetable dishes using primarily organic produce sourced from traditional farmers. While the emphasis is on vegetables, the menu also features diverse delicacies, such as lobster with asparagus and miso, turbot with Jerusalem artichoke and basil, and fowl paired with truffle and Madera.
Under the inspired leadership of Chef Jonathan Zandbergen, who's been at the helm for five years, Restaurant Merlet celebrates the slow-food philosophy. Drawing from the local bounty – the dunes, the North Sea, and the Noord-Holland countryside – Zandbergen crafts creative, balanced dishes. With a Michelin star maintained for over 25 years and lauded scores from Gault&Millau and Proefschrift, Merlet's dining experience, characterised by ever-increasing precision and refinement, firmly places Jonathan among the culinary elites in the Netherlands.
Pollevie, under Chef Martin Berkelmans, emphasises the plant kingdom in its dishes. While meat and fish are available, vegetables predominantly guide the menu. The "Botanical Challenge" showcases dishes made of 80% plant-based products. Employing a mix of traditional and innovative techniques, they craft unique, plant-forward flavours, evident in both their botanical and traditional menus.
Located near Amsterdam's Museumplein, Yerba offers an inventive, seasonal dining experience. Established in 2018 by Chef Walter Marskamp and Sommelier Sally Mitchell, this restaurant emphasises sustainable "root to seed" practices, working closely with local farmers and producers. Their commitment shines through a rotating tasting menu, which can be tailored as vegan or omnivore, enhanced further with curated wine pairings.
Nestled within the Rijksmuseum, RIJKS® is led by executive chef Joris Bijdendijk. Bijdendijk, alongside Yascha Oosterberg and Friso van Amerongen, emphasises the ‘Low Food’ philosophy, celebrating the purity and authenticity of Dutch produce. Their dishes are a testament to native ingredients blended with the diverse international influences that have enriched Dutch cuisine over time. This culinary dedication earned RIJKS® a Michelin star in 2016.
Located in Den Haag, Bøg offers a fresh take on New Nordic Cuisine, blending Danish free-spiritedness with northern nature's potency. Embracing contrasts, they curate dishes that harmonise diverse elements, striking a balance between tradition and modernity. The Scandinavian ethos shines through their dedication to organic, sustainable produce, innovative gastronomy, and warm hospitality.
Located in Roermond's historic ECI-factory, ONE combines raw architectural charm with culinary excellence. Under Chef Edwin Soumang's guidance, the restaurant celebrates 'New Dutch Cuisine', deeply rooted in local produce and traditions. The ethos is simple: offering guests a gastronomic journey, from meticulously curated aperitifs by Bethany DeLong to inventive dishes, all encapsulating ONE's unique essence. Every visit promises a moment of culinary discovery in a setting steeped in history.
The Dutch culinary scene's remarkable representation on this list speaks volumes about their commitment to sustainable, innovative, and delectable dining. While the We're Smart Green Guide serves as a compass pointing towards the best in green gastronomy, at Humbee, we spotlight the sustainability narratives behind the rankings, especially when a single country, like the Netherlands, is setting such a compelling global example. As the culinary realm evolves, the Netherlands stands as a beacon, connecting flavour with sustainability. The message is clear: sustainability isn’t an afterthought; it’s the main event