Sustainable Restaurant Award 2024

Sustainable Restaurant Award 2024

Nobelhart & Schmutzig


The cool kids on a ‘vocally local’ mission with producer-defined cuisine

Nobelhart & Schmutzig, self-described as ‘Germany’s most political restaurant’, lives its ‘vocally local’ mission statement through more than just ingredients, which are all sourced within 250km of Berlin’s city limits. While owner-sommelier Billy Wagner and culinary creative director Micha Schäfer present a six-course dinner with a side order of fun, the restaurant also believes it has an educational mission, and is outspoken about everything across its operations, from staff culture to society.

The winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award 2024 takes a holistic approach to sustainability. This year, Nobelhart & Schmutzig has focused on its people, creating a pioneering Guide of Conduct to help provide staff with a secure, inclusive and safe working environment, the goal being to nourish a culture of growth.

It goes further than the Guide of Conduct though. Nobelhart & Schmutzig has appointed an external, independent ‘person of confidence’ that staff members can go to, offers continued education for employees in areas such as cheese production, butchering and fermenting, and gives team members the chance to take a two-week internship each year.

Although 90% of the restaurant's menu is vegetarian – with no seafood, as the supply chain is not transparent – any animal products used have high welfare standards and heritage species are prioritised as they are reared more slowly. The animals enjoy high-quality feed and are slaughtered on the farm to reduce stress. On top of that, Nobelhart & Schmutzig ensures the whole animal is used, sharing produce with other restaurants across Berlin.

On the theme of sharing, last year the restaurant launched Gemeinschafts Symposium, which connected more than 300 farmers and restaurants in and around Berlin to help establish a German food culture based on local products.

There are myriad initiatives being implemented behind the scenes: a new sous chef position has been created to help widen the network of producers, to encourage more feedback on crop management and purchasing plans; teas are produced from regional herbs and dried in-house; beechwood charcoal is sustainably sourced; and planting and husbandry projects are pre-financed to support producers in their endeavours.

Nobelhart’s approach is wide-ranging – from having its napkins sewn from old bedsheets and tablecloths to gluing together broken crockery, recycling old wine corks, sustainably sourcing all its energy, reducing CO2 emissions from the supply chain by working with partners to use reusable containers, and reducing how much food the kitchen freezes, opting for other preservation methods such as fermentation.

This focus on sustainability across the board, while keeping guests thoroughly entertained, makes Nobelhart & Schmutzig a hugely worthy winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award 2024.

The Sustainable Restaurant Award is given to the restaurant that achieves the highest environmental and social responsibility rating as determined by 50 Best’s audit partner, the Sustainable Restaurant Association. All restaurants on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 1-100 list were invited to enter the award via self-nomination and each entry was assessed across three main pillars: sourcing, society and environment.