The Connacht Regional Final of the Irish Restaurant Awards took place in The Benbulben Suite at Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa, Sligo on Tuesday night and named the top restaurants in the five counties for 2016. Over 500 restaurant owners and staff celebrated their hard work and achievements at the Awards, which saw many well-known restaurateurs of Connacht turn out to see if they had won one of the prestigious awards.
Restaurants in Castlebar, Westport, Ballina were amongst the winners announced on the night. The Best Restaurant gong went to Sage in Westport, Aine Maguire of The Idle Wall in Westport was the winner of the Best Chef award, her restaurant was also the winner of the Best Newcomer section. The Library Restaurant at Belleek Castle was named the winner of the Best Hotel Restaurant and the The Pantry and Corkscrew in Westport was the winner of the Best Casual Dining. Pat Cohan’s Bar in Cong won the Best Gastro Pub, staying in Cong Ashford Castle was the winner of the Best Wine Experience award and The Hungry Monk Café won the Best Customer Service gong on the night. There was even more success for Cong with The Lodge at Ashford was the winner of Best Emerging Irish Cuisine at the awards. The Best World Cuisine section was claimed by Ballinrobe’s Yangs Chinese Restaurant. The final two awards were claimed by Café Rua in Castlebar who won Best Café and Best Kids Size Me awards.
Speaking at the awards, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins said, “The Irish Restaurant Awards celebrate their eighth 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 – over 70,000 individual nominations were cast across fourteen 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 72,000 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. Tonight, everyone is a winner.”