Amsterdam is not famous for its cuisine, so you'll find many options. Cau is one of them with tons of online reviews, what does it worth regarding sustainability?
In Amsterdam, the CAU restaurant is known for its meat coming straight from Argentina. The restaurant is actually a chain of British restaurants that began to extend beyond the British border in Amsterdam. There are lots of Argentinian restaurants in Amsterdam, especially around Dam Square, one of the most touristic places of the city. For a long time, we wondered why there were so many Argentinian restaurants in Amsterdam. In fact, it is simply because tourists like this kind of restaurants and the label “Argentinian beef” is recognised as good meat because cattle are supposively raised in grassland. However in recent years, the Argentine beef suffered from economic pressure and most farmers are now switching to either soy crop or factory farming to be profitable.
Meat and fries formula is highly popular among tourists who do not know what to eat in Amsterdam which doesn’t really have a local cuisine. Between all these Argentine restaurants and the french fries vendors, it is rather difficult for tourists to make healthy choices regarding food in Amsterdam. And of course you will not see ANY Dutch eat in one of those places. Those places are for tourists, hungry after wandering the streets of Amsterdam, between the crazy bikes and cannabis scent. That’s why this type of restaurant work and continue to serve a meat having crossed an ocean from farms in Argentina everything but sustainable.
Cau, an example of world excessive meat consumption
And as greenpickers, we decided to go for a ride in one of these restaurants, the CAU chain, supposed to be the best Argentine restaurant in Amsterdam and look a little more closely the impact of this restaurant environmental, sustainable or not their practices and quality. Already with meat from Argentina, their notes may not be good …
Denis and I are not big meat eaters, and honestly, I often consider becoming vegetarian and even vegan. For Denis it is more difficult as he comes from Eastern Europe where cultuurally, eating meat is associated with healthy eating. But now, the problem is not so much that we eat other living things, because there are natural cycles. As the chain predator-prey is met, the cycle is also and thus the life is respected. It is also thanks to the existence of trophic systems that evolution occurs. The problem is that today human kind doesn’t know any predator and no longer respect anything in the way we produce our meat.
What solution therefore? Stop eating meat? Yes and no, because vegetarians and vegans will remain a niche as the world is not ready to simply ditch meat away. Reduce drastically our meat consumption and try to push the industry to produce better and more lasting consuming traceable and certified products? This is the approach we have need to start choosing. I never eat meat that is not derived from certified organic farming and good animal treatment (living in freedom, decent death age).
So when we decided to go to CAU in Amsterdam, this popular restaurant specialized in meat, we were not really thrilled, but we knew we could help tourists to make better choices. Responsible tourism does not necessarily mean only eating vegetarian food, it means being responsible and conscious of consequences.
Cet article est disponible en Français (French)
CAU Restaurant in Amsterdam
A meat restaurant that could be more sustainable
The meat served in Cau comes from the wholesale supplier Rellman foods, a meat wholesaler from Argentina which does not provide traceability of its food. So yes, the supplier has labels of hygiene and safety. But nothing about sustainability. Nothing on the environment or the will to reduce environmental impact of farming. Altogether, the meat is not at all environmental friendly. And frankly, it is not an exceptional meat to taste either. We ordered a plate for 2, the Asado Chorizo, which is actually the Sirloin part of the beef. The meat arrived, it looked very fat and full of nerves. The side dishes were good but very oily and the wine was not really tasty.
The whole menu was average but the bill was definitely not… 75 euros. The ambience of the restaurant is very average, especially if you go during weekends. It’s so loud! It sounds like in a cafeteria. The tables are stuck together and you can practically eat in your neighbor’s plate. The menus show if the dishes containing allergens and there is an indication on vegetarian dishes. No options for vegans though … And no mil alternative like soy milk for coffee!
In short, we do not recommend this restaurant, not cheap, just good and not “green” at all.