There were nine food and drink establishments celebrating this week at the Connacht finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards in the Radisson Blu in Sligo. In the overall provincial awards, Café Rua in Castlebar picked up the win in the Best Kids Size Me section. When it came to the Mayo specific awards, Sage in Westport was the winner of 'Best Restaurant', with Johnathan Keane from The Lodge at Ashford winning Best Chef. The Best Gastro Pub award went to Flanagan's Gastro Pub in Claremorris and Bar One in Castlebar was the winner of the Best Casual Dining gong.
The Best Hotel Restaurant win was taken home by Wildes at the Londge in Cong and the Best Customer Service Award went home with Library Restaurant in Belleek Castle in Ballina. Hotel Newport was named as the winner of the Best Wine Experience, while Cian's on Bridge Street in Westport won the Best Newcomer award and in the new Pub of the Year section, John Moran's Bar in Westport was announced as the winner.
Speaking at the awards, Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI ) said, “Now in their ninth year, the Irish Restaurant Awards continue to showcase the exquisite and admirable calibre of food available in our restaurants and pubs nationwide. Online nominations have increased from 9,000 in 2013 to over 80,000 this year and with the increase in interest comes an increase in standards, making the judging process more difficult than ever.
“Our small island boasts everything from fine dining to high quality gastropubs, from the exotic taste explosions of world cuisine to the comfort of traditional dishes. We have an appreciation for what we eat, for the journey of our food from farm to fork, and for the dedication of those working in the food industry to serve up Ireland’s finest food.”
All County winners now compete for the regional and All Ireland Title which will be announced at the Irish Restaurant Awards in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin 2, on Monday, May 8.