Estonia's MICHELIN Green Star recipients

Source: Mart Vares, Põhjaka Manor

Estonia's MICHELIN Green Star recipients

Besides the MICHELIN Stars, there are two other awards given out by inspectors: the Bib Gourmand and the Green Star. Of these three distinctions, the Green Star is the most recent, first appearing in the 2021 editions of the MICHELIN Guide. The first Estonian edition of the guidebook includes two Green Star restaurants, Fotografiska and Põhjaka Manor.

What is a MICHELIN Green Star?

This award recognizes restaurants that hold themselves to the highest sustainability standards and show innovation and accountability while meeting ethical and environmental standards. These restaurants offer top-notch, eco-friendly dining experiences. By working with sustainable producers and suppliers to minimize waste and remove non-recyclable materials from their supply chain, they inspire both keen foodies and the hospitality industry as a whole.

Any restaurant in the MICHELIN Guide is eligible, and there are no specific criteria, as every restaurant and its surrounding region work in a unique context. The MICHELIN Inspectors look for restaurants that genuinely commit to sustainable practices. They consider the source of the ingredients; the use of seasonal produce; the restaurant's environmental footprint; food waste systems; general waste disposal and recycling; resource management; and the communication between the team and the guests about the restaurant's sustainable approach.

Let's take a closer look at Estonia's first two MICHELIN Green Star restaurants. One is a self-sustaining countryside haven. The other is located in the hippest neighborhood of the capital. Both have sustainability at the heart of their business.

Fotografiska, Tallinn

The fine art photography center Fotografiska Tallinn is a Telliskivi hotspot. Above the museum, you'll find their rooftop restaurant where you'll be treated to a beautiful view of Old Town. And while the view might be the first thing to grab your attention, your gaze will soon be drawn to the open kitchen running the length of the room.

Fotografiska is in the heart of Tallinn's Telliskivi neighborhood.

Photo by: Kaupa Kalda 

Fotografiska follows a 'leaf to root, nose to tail' mantra and employs a zero-waste approach. Each ingredient of their modern, Nordic dishes is chosen with care, using only fresh seasonal ingredients in imaginative configurations that let nothing go to waste. About 80% of their ingredients are produced locally, many of which are organic and sustainably grown or raised by small artisan producers. Honey comes from hives on the rooftop, and leftover leaven bread is turned into flour to make the next batch. Drinks are made with the same no-waste approach; mixologists make syrups from kitchen trimmings, such as the leftover bits from cleaning a pumpkin. Any excess bio-waste that can't find its way into a dish or drink is turned into compost overnight.

This eco-friendly philosophy extends from the kitchen to the front of the house. The entire team works to ensure diners understand the restaurant's ethos from the moment they sit down. Yet, the owners are not content to stand still; they consider Fotografiska a work in progress and hope to constantly adapt and update their everyday practices.

Even broken plates find a new use in their zero-waste approach.

Photo by: Fotografiska, Visit Estonia

Põhjaka Manor, Mäeküla

Midway between Tallinn and Tartu, you'll find Põhjaka Manor, an early 19th-century manor house surrounded by beautiful wooded countryside. Once an abandoned house, it is now a self-sufficient destination restaurant with a charming vintage, shabby chic vibe.

The menu is full of the freshest herbs, vegetables, and produce straight from their garden. The team goes foraging in the nearby forest and raises chickens and sheep. Table decorations come from their flower garden. They produce some of their own spirits in their distillery 15 kilometers away.

Põhjaka Manor is a self-sustainable countryside haven.

Photo by: Kristjan Jekimov, Visit Estonia

Alongside traditional kitchen appliances, you'll find a wood-fired stove and an open hearth, and fish and meat are smoked on-site. The menu changes daily, and the focus is always on what's in season and what can be procured locally. While the dishes maybe be simple and rustic, the natural flavor of the ingredients shines through.

The no-waste approach is also part of the Põhjaka experience. Surplus produce is pickled or preserved to use later on in the year. Non-edible food waste is composted and used to fertilize the gardens or fed to the chickens, whose fresh eggs are a kitchen staple. This is a local, circular economy at its best.

Seasonal homegrown ingredients are the focus of the dishes at Põhjaka Manor. 

Photo by: Põhjaka Manor, Visit Estonia

Last updated : 13.09.2022

In category: For the green traveler, Food & Drink & Nightlife