Conscious cuisine: 10 restaurants that serve local sustainability
Mein Küchenchef, Köniz
Mirko Buri has found a recipe against food waste. He runs “Mein Küchenchef”, Switzerland’s first “anti-food-waste” restaurant, in Köniz, right next to the train station. Each year, an unbelievable 20 tonnes of vegetables – mostly surplus from farms in the region or veg that is too small, too big or too misshapen for the major supermarkets – are processed into delicious, healthy dishes. On weekdays, the “Mein Küchenchef” team conjures up a seasonal take-away offering of 15 creative items, far removed from uninspired canteen menus. Would you like an example? The pulled pork burger comes with fluffy sweet potato buns, BBQ sauerkraut, spicy garlic sauce and roasted potato skewers, yummm! The daily rotating lunch menu is always vegetarian.
Food waste prohibited
Freibank Speis & Trank
Move over, tenderloin and filet mignon! At the Freibank Speis &Trank restaurant, tender braised dishes, handmade sausages and traditional boiled meat salads are the stars of the menu. Showcasing less popular cuts of meat is second nature for this listed building in the WankdorfCity district. Butchers once offered their “less than perfect” cuts at the “Freibank (free bench)” in the weighing house of this former abbatoir. Coming from animals slaughtered under emergency conditions, the meat had to be examined particularly thoroughly – and was therefore of premium quality. The focus is now on holistic and sustainable meat processing with products from selected farms and as local as possible. Vegetarian preferences are also catered for. How about a burger made from Epsach lentils with rosehip chutney?
There are still free benches here
Everything that is used in the kitchen at the Provisorium at Muesmattstrasse 46 in the Länggass neighbourhood is organic, seasonal, regional or even completely local from their own allotment garden. The philosophy of this restaurant located right next to the Unitobler building also includes the careful use of food resources. Food waste doesn’t even get a chance here – but meat from regional farms with high animal-welfare standards or organic quality from Switzerland is always on the menu. Speaking of chances, as an inclusion project of the Blindspot support organisation , people with and without disabilities work together here side by side and, above all, as equals. With its vibrant and dynamic vibe, it’s an authentic spot to meet friends and enjoy something special, and it always has new and innovative projects in store for its guests.
Off you go to the Provisorium
Stale, my foot! Somewhat older bread sometimes stands in for lasagna noodles at Restaurant Eiger. “Rübis & Stübis” is also a creative and amazing idea to use up odds and ends. This homemade surprise dish is on the menu for lunch and dinner and serves up a delicious taste sensation every day. The five “Eiger Basis” lunch dishes come in two portion sizes as a way to combat food waste. If you’re still hungry, you can request seconds or expand your meal with various tasty snacks from the “Eiger Basis” to the “Eiger Gipfel (Summit)”. Two dishes are also available as take-away at lunchtime (preferably in a bring-your-own container). In the evening, the shared “Eiger Teilet” meal is very tempting. For a minimum of two people, there are eight cold, hot, savoury and sweet courses to be enjoyed together.
Climb the Eiger
Local is the name of the game and restaurant here – and an innovative culinary concept for this cosy eatery in the Breitenrain district. The simple dishes do not need any elaborate garnishes or trimmings, but they do need fresh, seasonal ingredients from the region. And these products don’t require any fussing at all to enchant guests’ taste buds. Local organic lamb stew, for example, is not found on restaurant menus in Bern every day – but it’s a fixture at the Lokal. The same goes for wines from almost exclusively small wineries with winegrowers who produce their wines biodynamically. A nice plus in the warmer months is the little garden in front of and next to the restaurant, which is a cosy neighbourhood oasis that delights not only local “Lokal” fans time and again.
Zehendermätteli: Good fun, good food
“Good + good equals super good” is what the founding team of the “Wagen zum Glück” must have said to themselves when they took over Restaurant Zehendermätteli, the idyllic natural oasis on the Enge peninsula. A pub, enriching culture and a garden – that’s what you’ll find if you take an excursion to the “Zehendermätteli ecosystem” in the north of Bern on foot (or by ferry). There are two menus for lunch, an Asian three-course meal in the evening and a delicious brunch on Sundays (be sure to make a reservation!). Whenever possible, the fresh and seasonal products in the dishes come from the restaurant’s own garden. So, who fancies a wild herb salad or organic beef tartare? Attention, all party animals: We’ve heard that the garden area occasionally transforms itself into a mint exhibition with a mojito bar and DJ vibes.
Fun, fun and more fun
A soup full of seasonal vegetables, a warm lentil salad with crispy herbed mushrooms, lemony potatoes and wasabi mayonnaise, and finally a slice of moist chocolate cake. That’s what a delicious three-course meal at “Dreigänger” might look like. The restaurant, which focuses on dishes with very fair prices made only from seasonal and regional organic products, is part of the Drahtesel operation in the Liebefeld district of Köniz. Unemployed people are offered temporary jobs, coaching, and educational opportunities as well as training positions in various fields, such as the catering industry. On Wednesdays, the menu is composed of ingredients that fight food waste, while on Fridays there’s a “Surprise Menu”. Our tip: Take a moment to browse around the adjoining second-hand shop before or after your meal.
Make your way to Dreigänger
At the “Werkhof” in Liebefeld, Köniz, they live out their convictions in a most practical manner: only products that grow (or are grown) in Switzerland are served. The commitment starts off with local feed for the animals and extends all the way to the crowning glory of the ambitious multi-course menus in the evening. There’s no regular coffee, of course, but there is an infusion made from lupins from the Seeland region that you should definitely taste! The delivery routes are kept as short as possible for the sake of freshness, flavour and the environment, and waste from animal and plant products is kept to a minimum, of course. The “Werkhof” team makes many products themselves, including a lot of preserves, vinegar and butter. At lunchtime, pasta or veggie specials are just as much a part of the menu as discounted “no food waste” dishes.
To the Werkhof
Hallers Brasserie tout le monde
At Hallers Brasserie in the Länggass district, sustainability is as natural as the smile that greets you at the door. Healthy, creative seasonal dishes made from regional products of the best quality are served. Whether it’s beef from suckler cow herds with high animal-welfare standards, Bernese artichokes, or “Nidle” cream from the cheese dairy – the premium ingredients from producers and farms in the area are not left to chance. And neither is social sustainability. Thanks to internships, disadvantaged young people can immerse themselves in the fascinating world of gastronomy at Hallers Brasserie and discover career opportunities through the Steinhölzli Foundation’s pilot project. In this lively and cosmopolitan neighbourhood pub, “tout le monde” is welcome!
Pit stop at Hallers
At Café Kairo in the Lorraine district, quality is served not only as a culinary statement on your plate, but also in your glass. The range of beers on offer here has always been small but mighty. Since its opening in 1998, this iconic pub with its own unique culture has been offering brews from small Swiss breweries. In other words, Café Kairo was pushing craft beers way before they started to receive so much attention in the context of the current craft boom. The always seasonal, organic cuisine uses products from trusted partners and suppliers in the immediate vicinity. The delicious hamburger and falafel plates have achieved cult status, and the same applies to the events. Many a musician and many a band have started their career downstairs at the Kairo.
Kairo is located in Bern
Even more sustainable enjoyment
Of course, the list does not end here; there are many other restaurants also offering inspiring sustainable cuisine.
Zum Blauen Engel, Länggasse
Restaurant Waldheim, Länggasse
Restaurant Ringgenberg, Bern
Casa Novo, Bern
Restaurant Cinématte, Bern
La CULTina, Bern
O Bolles, Bulwark
Restaurant Haberbüni, Liebefeld
Bären Buchsi, Münchenbuchsee