Rosemary's Midtown
Photograph: Daniel Krieger

10 eco-friendly restaurants and bars in NYC

These spots use sustainable practices every day.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Contributor: Christina Izzo

You’re just one person, right? You likely have existential concerns about the health of the planet. Maybe sometimes those veer into anxiety. If you live in New York City, odds are you recycle. Perhaps you even compost. Maybe you opt for metal straws or none at all, consuming frozen margaritas like a McFlurry or a water ice. And those efforts can add up. 

There are, of course, even more ways to eat and drink a little more sustainably in the five boroughs. Even as admirable local sourcing and farm-to-table menus seem to have become the entry-level expectation, there are places that further endeavor to minimize food waste, reduce or reuse and aim to shade a bit more green than the overall food and beverage scheme. These are a few broad and specific ways to try to lighten your own footprint and put your money where your mouth is, when and where you can. 

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Where to eat sustainability in NYC

  • Breweries
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 1 of 4

Instead of hauling those bottles and cans out for collection week after week, you can head to Other Half Brewingwhich has locations on Centre Street, Domino Park and Rockefeller Center—to refill your own growlers of beer again and again in the brewery's taproom. You do have to bring your own jug, and remember to drink it within a few days, as it won't be factory-sealed. Options are a little more limited than they were in years past, so call for present availability. 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Time Out New York Best of the City award winner Billion Oyster Project partners with restaurants and bars citywide to collect spent oyster shells and ultimately re-introduce them to the sea from whence they came. The goal is to install—you guessed it!—one billion oysters around New York Harbor by 2035 to bolster reefs and, among other possible benefits, mitigate potential flooding after storms. All you have to do is order the noble bivalves from favorites like Gage & Tollner, Raoul's and Grand Army, and enjoy. BOP also has a public shell collection location, should you prefer to slurp from home. 

  • Fort Greene

From the same team behind similarly sustainably-minded Brooklyn concepts Rucola, June and Purslane, Rhodora Wine Bar first opened in 2019 with a pledge to minimize its carbon footprint, in part, via ingredients that can be recycled, upcycled or composted. Its mission “to be the first zero waste wine bar of its kind in the country” remains, with further promises to avoid single-use plastics and items destined for landfills. Its menu spotlights natural wines alongside tinned fish and local cheese. 

  • Seafood
  • Midtown East
  • price 3 of 4

Chef Todd Mitgang and partner Brian Owens are no strangers to sustainably sourced fish—their restaurant Crave Fishbar was New York’s first sustainable seafood restaurant over a decade ago. Next door to that eco-conscious spot is this sushi-focused sister restaurant, which is similarly thoughtful about sourcing fresh fish from traceable, sustainable producers. A delicious example: their partnership with American Unagi, a women-owned eel farm in Maine that is the only regenerative producer of glass eel in the United States

  • Italian
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

The beloved West Village institution Rosemary’s recently opened in midtown, and its bringing its dedication to farm-to-table seasonal fare with It. The restaurant has partnered with McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton, New York, to bring seasonal organic produce to the restaurant while also sending organic waste back to be composted at the farm. The new location will also feature educational classes on seasonal ingredients and sustainable wines. (The vino program spotlights small, sustainable, family-owned producers solely from Italian appellations.)


Give back by ordering a bottle at La Marchande

Along with serving up fine French-accented plates like roasted chicken with herbs de Provence and broiled prawns with bouillabaisse butter, this Wall Street brasserie from John Fraser also is making an effort to support cleaner waters: The restaurant has recently partnered with RETI Center, a non-profit organization advocating for sustainability in New York City. For every bottle of wine enjoyed while dining at La Marchande, the corks will be repurposed to construct a floating garden, contributing to a more sustainable shoreline.  Santé!

  • Real estate
  • Midtown West

Manhattan West, the real-estate development that is home to such restaurants as Ci Siamo, Zou Zou's and Daily Provisions, among others, partners with Rethink Food, a NYC local non-profit that tackles food waste and supports communities in need by repurposing excess food into nutritious meals. As of press time, the partnership has resulted in saving a whopping 37,000 pounds of excess food, which have been transformed into just as many fresh meals,  and has diverted 92,000 pounds of CO2 diverted and saved over 850,000 gallons of water.  

  • Shopping
  • Shopping centers
  • Battery Park City
  • price 3 of 4

If you’re hungry for delicious cuisine, you’ll find a variety of options for every budget at Brookfield Place's Hudson Eats, whether you’re seeking a fancy sit-down dinner or a quick bite on the go. Even better, though, is what happens to your food after you go: the dining destination has partnered with Think Zero to reduce food waste and divert materials from landfills leading to a decline in greenhouse gas emissions. Diners can dispose of leftover food and compostable materials at designated bins in the dining terrace.

  • American
  • Flatiron

This farm-centric dining room is inspired by the barn houses of Long Island’s East End with barn-rafter ceilings, weathered-wood café tables and hand-stitched linen banquettes. Doherty’s menu is similarly rustic, with ingredients sourced from area farmers, ranchers and fishermen: Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Amish chicken with a panzanella salad, bone marrow accompanied by lemon-herb crumb and Manila clams from Jersey’s Sea Dog Boat, and a curried Orange County–bred cauliflower steak with toasted pine nuts and pickled raisins.

But the sustainability doesn’t stop at your dinner table. The spot uses energy-saving equipment, recycles its plastic, glass, aluminum, paper, and cardboard, and partners with Peat, a Queens-based circular farm, to upcycle food scraps.

Peat collects our compost and uses it to farm fresh, sustainable mushrooms. These mushrooms are returned to BLACKBARN, which uses them in its signature dishes!


Too Good To Go aims to reduce food waste by enabling businesses to sell their excess inventory at a lower cost by closing time. Because of purveyors’ relative uncertainty about what items will remain by day’s end, the free app touts “surprise bags” from area restaurants and cafes. Peruse and reserve your choice, book a pickup time and enjoy still-fresh fare that would have been priced way higher hours earlier. Selections will vary, but recent options have included baked goods from top NYC bagel shop Kossar’s, prepared foods from gourmet grocers like Brooklyn Fare and a few pizza places. 

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