Aniar has been crowned winner of Best Restaurant in Galway at the Connacht regional final of the Santa Rita Irish Restaurant Awards 2013. The awards, which took place in The House Hotel in Galway last week, named the top restaurants in Connacht for 2013.
Other winners in the Best Restaurant category include Eala Bhán in Sligo, The Yew Tree in Roscommon, The Cottage Restaurant in Leitrim, and An Port Mór in Mayo.
All county winners will now compete for the regional and All Ireland titles at the main event, taking place in the Burlington Hotel in Dublin on Monday June 10.
Other categories included Best Customer Service, Best Gastro Pub, Best Casual Dining, Best Hotel Restaurant, Best Chef, Best Wine Experience, Best Kids Size Meal, Engaging with The Gathering, and Best Just Ask! Menu.
Some 250 restaurant owners and staff celebrated their hard work and achievements at last week’s event, which saw many well-known restaurateurs turn out to see if they had won one of the prestigious awards.
“Santa Rita is pleased to be once again sponsoring one of the biggest nights of the restaurant industry’s calendar,” said Terry Pennington, commercial director (UK and Ireland ) for Santa Rita wines. “With such high standards in each category, everyone nominated can be proud that they are a winner. We are very much looking forward to seeing who will be crowned all Ireland Santa Rita Best Restaurant winner. Roll on June 10.”
Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, also spoke on the night. “Each year, the Irish Restaurant Awards cast a spotlight on the brightest and best players on the Irish restaurant scene,” Mr Cummins said. “This year the nominations went online for the first time and we got a spectacular response from the public as nominations doubled and we received 10,000 votes for Ireland’s favourite restaurants, chefs, gastro pubs, hotel restaurants, and customer service experience. Tonight, everyone is a winner.”
There are three components to the next stage of the winning process, with each element independently assessed by KPMG:
Mystery guest visit (55 per cent ): This component of the awards is conducted by Prism Consulting headed by Hugo Arnold, independent food writer and consultant. All county winners receive a mystery guest visit throughout the month of April and May.
National Awards Academy (35 per cent ): The National Awards Academy is made up of representatives from each of the regional judging panels and will meet in May to judge the county winners.
Menu judging (10 per cent ): All county winners and the Dublin shortlist in each category are asked to submit a copy of their food menu and wine list for judging.
Voting in the industry categories commenced on April 4. Voting in these categories is exclusive to Restaurants Association of Ireland members, with members competing for Best Club Restaurant, Best Seafood Experience, Best World Cuisine, Best Newcomer, Best Café, Most Innovative Restaurant, Best Restaurant Design, Best Cocktail Experience, Best Restaurant Manager, Best Cookery School, Best Supplier, and Best Digital Marketing.