The Restaurants Association of Ireland has announced that nominations for the 10th annual Irish Restaurant Awards 2018 are now open.

The public can choose their favourites across 21 categories including Best Restaurant, Best Casual Dining, Best Chef, Best Seafood Experience, Best World Cuisine and more. An exciting new category has been added for this year, Best ‘Free From’, to be awarded to the establishment offering mouth-watering ‘free from’ options within their menus – meals free from the main list of allergens and whose presentation highlights the unique qualities of the ingredients.

Nominations can be made now at The deadline for nominations is Wednesday 24th of January.

The Irish Restaurant Awards showcase the true talent that Ireland’s hospitality industry has to offer by acknowledging outstanding performers in the sector. Growing steadily from its beginning in 2009, the awards are now a five-month long process consisting of online public nominations, judging panels, mystery guest inspections and regional and national events.

CEO of the Resturants Association, Adrian Cummins, commented; “The aim of the Irish Restaurant Awards is to honour the hard working people of the hospitality industry from cocktail makers, sommeliers and waiters to restaurant managers and local food champions. The restaurant industry is the biggest employer within the Irish tourism sector, employing over 74,000 people and these awards are a celebration and acknowledgement of the hard work put in by restaurateurs year round.”

2018 Irish Restaurant Awards Categories:

Main categories

  • Best Restaurant

  • Best Chef

  • Best Restaurant Manager

  • Best Hotel Restaurant

  • Best Casual Dining

  • Best Gastro Pub

  • Best Newcomer

  • Best Customer Service

  • Best Wine Experience

  • Best Emerging Irish Cuisine

  • Best World Cuisine

  • Best Cafe

  • Best Kids Size Me

  • Local Food Hero

  • Pub of the Year 

  • Best ‘Free From’ (NEW!)

National Categories

  • Best Cocktail Experience

  • Best Private Dining & Club Restaurant

  • Best Cookery School

  • Best Seafood Experience

  • Best Digital Marketing

The first stage of the judging process is the online nominations, which are given a weighting of 20%. The remaining 80% is made up from a regional judging panel assessment. Both results will be combined and reviewed by an independent auditor (BDO) to give an overall county winner per category. The county winners will be announced at a number of regional events held throughout the country in March.

Each of the county winners will then go forward to the Regional and All-Ireland stage whereby they will each receive a mystery guest inspection. Assessments will be made on menu, customer service, and overall dining experience from the moment the booking is made until the customer receives the bill.

The All-Ireland final of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2018 will take place on Monday 14th of May 2018 in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road.

Find out more at