The All-Ireland Finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards took place last night in the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin.

Over 90,000 online nominations were received for Irish restaurants and hospitality businesses this year. Nominations were received for 21 categories that included all areas of the hospitality sector and keeping with recent movements, the awards introduced their newest category this year, Best ‘Free From’, which received an impressive response from nominees and the general public.

On the night, Liam Edwards, President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland spoke about the resilience of the industry saying, “As an industry, the restaurateurs, pub-owners and entrepreneurs of Ireland, continue to defy the odds. You strive to create jobs, expand upon Ireland’s understanding of food standards and world cuisine, all while maintaining exemplary customer service. Your support of Irish produce has never been greater and for this you should be wholeheartedly applauded.”

Attendees were treated to a six-course gala dinner, prepared by a line-up of Ireland’s most high-profiled chefs. The team included Shamzuri Hanifa of Cottage Restaurant, TV Chef, Gary O’Hanlon, Danni Barry of Clenaghans Restaurant, Keith Boyle of the Bay Tree Bistro in Waterford City and Elena Martinez of Crover House Hotel.

The All-Ireland Best Chef winner was announced as Jess Murphy from Kai Restaurant in Galway. Her philosophy at her establishment is very simple – Murphy sources fresh, organic produce from local suppliers to create daily menus bursting with flavour, texture and colour. The judges were wholeheartedly impressed with Murphy’s commitment to high-quality, local produce.

Etto Restaurant took home the coveted All-Ireland Best Restaurant Award 2018. Based in Dublin, Etto offer a daily changing, seasonal menu, served in a relaxed and informal environment and describe their dishes as honest and simple, using ingredients from local producers and suppliers where possible.

2018 Awards Winners:

Best Gastro Pub:

  • Dublin – The Legal Eagle
  • Connaught – Cronin’s Sheebeen
  • Leinster – Lennons Gastro Pub
  • Munster – Moorings
  • Ulster – The Brewer’s House
  • All-Ireland – The Legal Eagle

 

Best Hotel & Guesthouse Restaurant:

  • Dublin – The Marker Hotel
  • Connaught – Wilde’s at The Lodge
  • Leinster – Ballyfin Demesne
  • Munster – Park Hotel Kenmare
  • Ulster – Newforge House
  • All-Ireland – Park Hotel Kenmare

 

Best Newcomer:

  • Dublin – Michael’s Mount Merrion
  • Connaught – Hooked
  • Leinster – Barrows Keep
  • Munster – Dooks Fine Foods Fethard
  • Ulster – Clenaghans
  • All-Ireland – Clenaghans

 

Best Cafe:

  • Dublin – Honey Truffle
  • Connaught – Pudding Row
  • Leinster – Strandfield Café
  • Munster – Maison Gourmet
  • Ulster – The Jolly Sandwich Bar
  • All-Ireland – Pudding Row

 

Best Wine Experience:

  • Dublin – Piglet Wine Bar
  • Connaught – Aniar Restaurant and Boutique Cookery School
  • Leinster – La Touche Wines 4 U
  • Munster – The Black Pig
  • Ulster – Ox Cave
  • All-Ireland – Piglet Wine Bar

 

Best World Cuisine:

  • Dublin – Nightmarket
  • Connaught – MoMA Restaurant
  • Leinster – Pink Salt Indian Restaurant
  • Munster – Palmento
  • Ulster – Tuk Tuk Asian Bistro
  • All-Ireland – Nightmarket

 

Best Kids Size Me:

  • Dublin – Michael’s Mount Merrion
  • Connaught – Gather Restaurant
  • Leinster – Platform Pizza Bar
  • Munster – GROW HQ Café and Food Education Centre
  • Ulster – Amici
  • All-Ireland – Michaels Mount Merrion

 

Best Local Food Hero:

  • Dublin – Jenny & Patrick McNally of McNally Family Farm
  • All-Ireland – Mark Murphy & Mark Doe of The Apprentice Chef Programme


Best Casual Dining:

  • Dublin – Hey Donna
  • Connaught – Gather Restaurant
  • Leinster – Truffles Restaurant & Wine Bar
  • Munster – PILGRIM’S
  • Ulster – Shu Restaurant Belfast
  • All-Ireland – PILGRIM’S

 

Best Emerging Irish Cuisine:

  • Dublin – Craft Restaurant
  • Connaught – Tartare Café + Wine Bar
  • Leinster – Kernel Bar & Kitchen
  • Munster – SAGE Restaurant
  • Ulster – 28 Darling St
  • All-Ireland – Craft Restaurant

 

Best Restaurant Manager:

  • Dublin – Talha Pasha of Michael’s Mount Merrion
  • Connaught – Lee Hanifa of The Cottage Restaurant
  • Leinster – Joanne Harding of the Aldridge Lodge
  • Munster – Sally O’Brien of Farmgate Restaurant and Country Store
  • Ulster – Saul McConnell  of NOBLE. Holywood
  • All-Ireland – Sally O’Brien of Farmgate Restaurant and Country Store

 

Best ‘Free From’:

  • Dublin – I Monelli
  • Connaught – Sweet Beat Café
  • Leinster – Zucchini’s Restaurant
  • Munster – Nutrilicious Food Co
  • Ulster – The Dirty Duck
  • All-Ireland – Sweet Beat Café

 

Best Customer Service:

  • Dublin – Etto
  • Connaught – House of Plates
  • Leinster – Roundwood House
  • Munster – The Mustard Seed at Echo Lodge
  • Ulster – Harvey’s Point
  • All-Ireland – Harvey’s Point

 

Pub of the Year:

  • Dublin – Walshs Stoneybatter
  • Connaught – Flynns Bar
  • Leinster – Morrisseys
  • Munster – Murphy’s Bar Brandon
  • Ulster – Tomneys Bar
  • All-Ireland – Walshs Stoneybatter

 

Best Chef:

  • Dublin – Barry Sun Jian of Etto
  • Connaught – Jess Murphy of Kai Restaurant
  • Leinster – Sam Moody at Ballyfin Demesne
  • Munster – Aidan McGrath of Wild Honey Inn
  • Ulster – Chris McGowan of Wine & Brine
  • All-Ireland – Jess Murphy of Kai Restaurant

 

Best Restaurant:

  • Dublin – Etto
  • Connaught – Cian’s on Bridge Street
  • Leinster – TwoCooks Restaurant & Wine Bar
  • Munster – Mews Restaurant
  • Ulster – The Muddlers Club
  • All-Ireland – Etto

National winners:

  • Best Private Dining & Club Restaurant – Locks Windsor Terrace
  • Best Cocktail Experience – The Sidecar at The Westbury
  • Best Cookery School – MacNean House & Restaurant
  • Best Seafood Experience – Klaw Seafood Restaurant
  • Best Digital Marketing – Kai Restaurant