For a truly eco-friendly dining experience, support restaurants that tread lightly on the earth. Find your local eco-eateries for a delicious experience.
Eating sustainably isn't only about going to farmers' markets and buying organic produce. It's also about dining at establishments that tread lightly on the earth. Slowly but surely, this is getting easier, as thoughtful restaurants put green practices in place: eliminating styrofoam, for instance, and serving organic, shade-grown coffee. At San Francisco's Nopa, the staff not only buys 90 percent of the produce direct from local farms but also incorporates other earth-friendly ideas. Instead of bottled water, they serve filtered tap water. They compost and recycle diligently—so much so that serving 400 meals per night results in only one standard-size garbage can's worth of noncompostable, nonrecyclable waste. Soaps are nontoxic and biodegradable; menus are printed on kenaf paper (made from a fast-growing plant); old menus are used as underliners on plates.
It's not possible to green everything—"We still have to serve Coke," co-owner Allyson Woodman says with a laugh—but Nopa's owners don't let that stop them from making an effort wherever possible.
To find green restaurants near you, check with the Green Restaurant Association (www.dinegreen.com), an organization that has limited listings but is building its database steadily.
Nopa, 560 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA, (415) 864-8643, www.nopasf.com