Five green and eco-friendly restaurants

The BLT at The Waterboy. Eco-friendly? Who knew.

The BLT at The Waterboy. Eco-friendly? Who knew.

Photo By Anne Stokes

There’s food, and then there’s sustainable food. The first option’s boring, the second gives us hope. Or at least it won’t give us indigestion.

Sustainable food supports the longevity and health of ecosystems. It’s organic, seasonal, and often grown by local farmers who don’t use toxic pesticides, fertilizers, irradiation, sewage sludge or genetic engineering. Plant-based foods in general are sustainable because they require fewer natural resources, according to the Green Restaurant Association. And locally grown fruits and vegetables reduce the fossil-fueled transportation miles it takes to move food from farm to kitchen table.

But you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to be eco-friendly. Meat-eaters can go green by eating fish that’s sustainably farmed or wild, or by purchasing meat that’s raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones.

Sacramento restaurants can be green, too. Here are five eco-friendly dining destinations.

Greenhouse Restaurant and Brewery
This hotspot is the only eatery in the Sacramento area to be certified by the Green Restaurant Association. Greenhouse’s menu is constantly in-flux, changing throughout the year to offer seasonal produce grown at local farms. While the Greenhouse “fries” are tasty, the Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut is a customer favorite. The halibut is coated with a sage butter potato puree, nage and ginger chimichurri; whatever you don’t finish, take home in a biodegradable doggy bag. And don’t forget to wash the meal down with a 100 percent organic margarita. 1595 Eureka Road in Roseville, (916) 789-1900,

The Waterboy
You may wonder how a Midtown restaurant could serve “local” fruits and vegetables, considering it’s surrounded by shops and houses. Waterboy does so by using produce grown at Soil Born Farms, an urban-agriculture project with two sites nestled in Sacramento. This restaurant specializes in southern French and northern Italian cusine, but during lunch customers can also find tried-and-true seasonal favorites, like the BLT sandwich, which features Applewood bacon and heirloom tomatoes, served on toasted Pugilese bread with a sweet corn-fregola salad. 2000 Capitol Avenue, (916) 498-9891,

Udupi Café
A vegetarian Indian restaurant, Udupi Café also has plenty of vegan options, including eight curries. There’s the chole peshawari, which has chickpeas and dried potatoes; aloo gobi, with potatoes and cauliflower mixed with onions and spices; and dal curry with lentil tempered with mustard, cumin seeds and spices, just to name a few. So why not take that extra leap and find out just how delicious eco-friendly eating can be? 2226 Sunrise Boulevard in Rancho Cordova, (916) 851-5900,

Andy Nguyen’s
Andy Nguyen’s has been around since 1983, but this Broadway restaurant didn’t offer its meatless-menu until it re-opened in 2003, when the owner decided to put personal Buddhist beliefs into business practice. Andy Nguyen’s serves vegetarian Vietnamese dishes, such as the Enlightened Mind Rolls and Wish Fulfilling Jewel soup, which are creative and tasty. The menu also features plenty of faux-meat options to appease meat-eaters. 2007 Broadway, (916) 736-1157,

Mulvaney’s Building and Loan
This bustling Midtown restaurant features an open kitchen, where chef Patrick Mulvaney is all about local food. He buys produce from small Sacramento-area farmers. So whether you feast on the spinach ravioli, wild mushroom risotto cakes or homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh berries, you’ll support local growers. 1215 19th Street, (916) 441-6022,