It was a successful night for the restaurant industry in Galway on Tuesday with local eateries taking eight gongs at the Santa Rita/LIFE magazine Irish Restaurant Awards 2013, including three national awards.
The prestigious awards ceremony, dubbed the ‘food oscars’, saw national accolades go to Aniar restaurant, which was named Best Restaurant in Connacht and Best Emerging Irish Cuisine; Renvyle House Hotel, which was recognised as Best Customer Service in Connacht and Best Customer Service in Ireland; and Kai Café and Restaurant which scooped Best Restaurant Design in Ireland.
The Best Gastro Pub in Connacht award went to Eat @ Massimo, while The Twelve Hotel picked up Best Wine Experience in Connacht. Oscar’s Seafood Bistro received the Best Just Ask! Award in Connacht.
Jp McMahon of Eat Galway, which owns both Aniar and Eat @ Massimo, spoke of his delight at securing three awards. “Eat Gastropub is producing some wonderful exciting food following on from the philosophy of sourcing local sustainable food so it’s wonderful to get that recognised,” he said. “Of course the exciting award of Best Emerging Irish Cuisine for Aniar is precisely where we are aiming with the food served. Constantly reinventing and using the best ingredients, using innovative techniques, is a daily challenge for Ultan, our head chef. I would like to extend thanks all the staff in both restaurants for their trojan work each and every day.”
According to Pádraic Óg Gallagher, president of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, this year’s awards were the biggest and most competitive to date.
“They are the awards everyone wants to be associated with, and everyone wants to be a winner,” Mr Gallagher said. “We’ve seen a huge increase in nominations and votes since last year, with 30,000 votes cast across 10,000 nominations for Ireland’s favourite restaurants, chefs, gastro pubs, hotel restaurants, and local food heroes throughout the country. The Irish Restaurant Awards are all about celebrating those who have brought acclaim to the Irish food scene from abroad and who keep the restaurant industry thriving at home.”
The awards recognise achievement and excellence in the restaurant and hospitality industry throughout Ireland in 25 categories, and celebrate all aspects of the industry from chefs and restaurants, cafes and gastro pubs, to food producers, local food heroes, and cookery schools.