Contemporary Spanish restaurant BOCA has earned another first for the region

Contemporary Spanish restaurant BOCA has earned another first for the region



It joins a select group of only 70 global hospitality establishments that have achieved three stars in the Food Made Good Standard.

As the ongoing COP28 conference brings the need for global climate action to the fore, one homegrown concept has proven that actions speak louder than words, earning a prestigious three-star rating in the Food Made Good Standard: BOCA. The only restaurant in the region to mark this achievement, awarded by The Sustainable Restaurant Association, it continues to stand as a pioneer in the culinary landscape of the UAE.

For the uninitiated, BOCA is a contemporary Spanish restaurant famed for its unwavering commitment to effecting positive change for both people and the planet. Tucked away in the heart of DIFC, it sources ingredients locally and supports local farmers and fishermen. BOCA has also boosted efforts to reduce waste with the help of its own Waste Officer. The restaurant continuously audits kitchen operations, refuses single-use plastic from suppliers, operates a demand-driven inventory, and prefers working with like-minded partners across the value chain. Additionally, BOCA not only runs on 100% renewable energy, but it has also just published its first carbon emissions report, which details its impact on the environment. 


Incidentally, BOCA's sustainability journey commenced nine years ago with the restaurant's inception. Today, responsible sourcing, conscientious waste management, resource conservation, community contribution, and purposeful measurement and reporting are integral components of its operational ethos. “The Food Made Good evaluation was exceptionally rigorous, necessitating a deep dive into our practices across Sourcing, Society, and the Environment,” says Omar Shihab, Founder and Chief Sustainability Officer. “Eleven detailed criteria, spanning traceability, biodiversity, water and energy use, waste policies, and internal human resource practices were meticulously examined as part of the Standard.”

Omar Shihab

Now, as BOCA takes pride in its three-star rating, it acknowledges that the pursuit of sustainability is a continuous journey. “The Food Made Good standard process has been an invaluable learning experience, prompting the formulation of sourcing policies, energy consumption reduction practices, and plans to enhance working conditions in the restaurant,” adds Shihab. Immediate action plans derived from the Food Made Good report include establishing traceability for key ingredients, increasing plant-based options, procuring environmentally certified produce, implementing health-centric menu strategies, setting water-use reduction targets, and adopting non-toxic cleaning practices.


“We are so pleased to award BOCA with a superb three stars in the Food Made Good Standard,” says Juliane Caillouette Noble, Managing Director of The Sustainable Restaurant Association. “This is a first for the UAE, and Omar is a true leader in this region, inspiring others to take action. Omar, Chef Patricia, and the team should be very proud of this significant achievement. It’s also fantastic to see that they truly recognise that sustainability is a journey — while BOCA is already doing some exceptional work in this space, they’re not prepared to rest on their laurels. Their commitment to continuous improvement is exactly what we at The SRA love to see, and we look forward to seeing many more impressive initiatives from BOCA still to come.”

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