What is the Michelin Green Star and which Dubai restaurants have it?

Sustainable gastronomy is growing in the city, led by these three restaurants

Carlos Frunze De Garza, executive chef at Teible. Reuters
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The Michelin Guide unveiled its 2023 list for Dubai on Tuesday, naming restaurants who've retained or earned its much-coveted star along with a clutch of special awards.

The guide awarded one star to 11 restaurants, two stars to three restaurants and chose 17 venues as part of its Bib Gourmand category.

Three restaurants were given a Michelin Green Star, including home-grown Lowe, which was the only restaurant named in the green category last year. It is joined by two other restaurants this year – Boca and Teible.

First revealed in 2020 and introduced in the guide the following year, there are now more than 300 restaurants around the world with the Michelin Green Star.

But what is a Michelin Green Star?

The special accolade is given to restaurants “at the forefront of the industry when it comes to sustainability practices,” according to the guide's website.

“They hold themselves accountable for both their ethical and environmental standards, and work with sustainable producers and suppliers to avoid waste and reduce or even remove plastic and other non-recyclable materials from their supply chain.”

This could manifest in many different ways, such as restaurants only sourcing vegetables and other ingredients from local farms, or using recyclable materials in packaging and other aspects of operations.

It could also be as simple as working directly with farmers or fishermen, or as innovative as employing methods such as vertical farming or no-dig gardens.

Green star recipients can also involved in charitable and educational projects related to the environment.

Although there is no specific requirement for restaurants vying for the star, Michelin inspectors consider factors such as the provenance of ingredients, the use of seasonal produce, overall environmental footprint, waste disposal, and recycling and resource management.

Lowe

Located at the KOA Canvas community in Dubai's Al Barari, this restaurant has made headlines for using leftovers in delivering experimental and quality dishes.

Its “Waste Not” menu offers an eight to 10-course meal made from would-be waste products that were saved over the previous month. The restaurant also changes its menu regularly, as it highly depends on the seasonality of ingredients.

“We are also building our own kitchen garden. We aim for zero waste and have a nose-to-tail ethos,” says chef Kate Christou, as quoted by the Michelin Guide.

Proudly home-grown, Lowe has an open kitchen concept that features a charcoal grill, a rotisserie and a wood-fired oven.

The venue specialises in rustic, accessible, relaxed dining, offering dishes such as smoked organic beef tartare with crisp artichokes and soured onion; black pepper miso aubergine with tofu cream; and slow roasted lamb shoulder with sumac onion salad.

Open Wednesday and Thursday 6pm-11pm; Friday-Saturday 8am-4pm and 6pm-11pm; Sunday 8am-4pm; Koa Canvas, Al Barari, Wadi Al Safa 3; 04 320 1890

Boca

The restaurant in the Dubai International Financial District offers modern European cuisine with a strong Spanish influence.

Boca has a sustainability manifesto which outlines in detail its approach to eco-friendly dining. Its practices are informed by the idea that the UAE is “far from being a barren land”, says Omar Shibab, the restaurant's founder and chief sustainability officer.

“The Hajar mountains of the north are biologically rich habitats, while the central region’s oases are home to modern hydroponic, organic, and traditional farms, and the bounty from the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean is plentiful,” he says.

Boca works with local farmers and fishermen for its ingredients, and actively audits its kitchen and bar operations to ensure sustainable practices are observed. It runs on 100 per cent renewable energy and publishes carbon emissions reports to remain accountable.

In terms of dishes, the menu is inspired by Spain. There are cold and hot tapas, and for mains, diners can order a black garlic risotto, smoked duck and orochiette pasta, seared halibut sourced from the Gulf of Oman and gnocchi with braised beef short rib.

Open daily, noon-3am; Gate Village 6, Dubai International Financial Centre; 04 323 1833

Teible

Sustainability, seasonality, simplicity and locality are the four pillars of Teible, located within the Jameel Arts Centre.

On its website, it describes itself not just as a restaurant, but a platform for diners to lean more about locally grown ingredients in the UAE. Teible sources 85 to 90 per cent of its ingredients from local sources, and the menu changes three times a year.

Teible made headlines for turning food waste and leftovers into usable gourmet products, such as sauces, oils and even kombucha.

The restaurant is currently on its fourth seasonal menu, which include dishes such as koji corn, fermented hummus, garum beef tartare and prawn mamak. The venue was designed to reflect Teible's simplistic approach to dining, incorporating modest furniture, floor-to-ceiling windows and other minimalistic undertones.

Open Wednesday-Monday, 10am-6pm and 7pm-10pm; Jameel Arts Centre, Jaddaf Waterfront; 04 243 6683

Updated: May 24, 2023, 4:02 PM