Top Galway restaurants selected for prestigious all-Ireland award

Kai Café and Restaurant has added yet another accolade to its already impressive collection after taking home the prize of best restaurant in County Galway, and its head chef Jessica Murphy named best chef in Galway at the Connaught Regional Final of the Santa Rita/LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards, which took place in Hotel Westport in Mayo this week.

More than 250 restaurant owners and staff celebrated their hard work and achievements at the awards, which saw many well-known restaurateurs of Connaught turn out to see if they had won one of the prestigious awards.

Other County Galway winners include Renvyle House Hotel for Best Customer Service, The Pins for Best Gastro Pub, Il Vicolo Café for Best Casual Dining, Owenmore Restaurant at Ballynahinch Castle for Best Hotel Restaurant, and West @ The Twelve for Best Wine Experience.

Speaking at the awards, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins said: “The Irish Restaurant Awards celebrate their sixth year this year and have become the Island’s biggest food awards. The credibility that these awards have is reflected in the amount of nominations they received this year - more than 19,000 votes were cast across nine categories, showing that these are the awards that everyone wants to win.

“The Irish restaurant scene is internationally recognised for its high calibre of restaurateurs and chefs. These awards celebrate the people that make the restaurant sector the dynamic and exciting industry it is. They are the people who provide 64,000 jobs to our economy and generate revenue in excess of €2 billion. We’re recognising the talent, hard work, and commitment that everyone here gives to the food industry.”

All county winners now compete for the regional and All Ireland title which will be announced at the Irish Restaurant Awards in the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, Dublin on Monday June 9, 2014. There are three components to phase two of the process with each element independently assessed by Ernst and Young. A mystery guest visit (comprising 55 per cent of the mark ) is conducted by Prism Consulting headed by Hugo Arnold, independent food writer and consultant, and takes place between April and May. 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 (comprising 35 per cent of overall mark ). Finally 10 per cent of the mark is from the menu judging with all county winners and the Dublin shortlist in each category being asked to submit a copy of their food menu and wine list for judging. The winners of the Industry Categories - Best Private Dining 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 Sustainable Restaurant, and Best Digital Marketing - will be announced at the All-Ireland event on June 9, 2014. For more information log onto [email protected].

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