There are two types of categories in the Irish Restaurant Awards 2023:
– Main Category Awards: Each category will have a county winner and/or regional winner and All-Ireland winner.
– National Category Awards: Each category will have one All-Ireland winner only.
The Best Cocktail Experience nominees will be offered the opportunity to take part in a live cocktail competition as part of the judging for this category. Details of this competition will be issued to all nominees in advance.
|Category||Type||County by County||Regional||National|
|Best Casual Dining||Main||x||x||x|
|Pub Of The Year||Main||x||x||x|
|Best Hotel & Guesthouse Restaurant||Main||x||x||x|
|Best Gastro Pub||Main||x||x||x|
|Best Customer Service||Main||x||x||x|
|Best Wine Experience||Main||x||x||x|
|Best Sustainable Practices||Main||x||x||x|
|Innovator of the Year||Main||x||x||x|
|Best World Cuisine||Main||x||x||x|
|Best ‘Free From’||Main||x||x||x|
|Local Food Hero||Main||x||x||x|
|Best Emerging Irish Cuisine||Main||x||x||x|
|Best Restaurant Manager||Main||x||x||x|
|Best Cocktail Experience||National*||x|
|Best Learning & Development||National||x|
|Best Private Dining & Club Restaurant||National||x|
|Best Cookery School||National||x|
We are looking for a restaurant that ticks all the boxes – exemplary customer service, wonderful atmosphere and of course, outstanding food. Nominate a place that you would recommend to anyone who wants to impress their guests, and that you would return to time and time again.
This award represents the chef who demonstrates an immense passion for food – someone who is committed to quality and the pursuit of creative new dining experiences. The winner will introduce their diners to exciting new flavour combinations, and consistently produces top quality dishes.
Best Casual Dining
We are on the search for the best casual dining establishment offering top quality food, great customer service and genuine hospitality. Whether it is table service or order at a counter, the atmosphere should be relaxed and informal. Décor, style of food and culture of each establishment will vary widely but should all complement each other within each restaurant.
Pub of the Year
The Pub of the Year is one that caters to all tastes – from whiskey lovers to craft beer enthusiasts. A wide selection of quality beverages should be on offer. The atmosphere should be comfortable and welcoming with that traditional ‘pub feel’. Staff will value their customers and be able to recommend drinks without hesitation. The winner should be popular with locals and visitors alike, and should inspire high standards.
Best Hotel & Guesthouse Restaurant
The best hotel & guesthouse restaurant will encompass all the qualities of great hospitality – exemplary customer service, top quality food and a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. We are looking for somewhere that extends its outstanding hospitality to both residents and walk-in guests alike.
Best Gastro Pub
This award recognises the gastro pub that offers an innovative menu of food which suitably complements their drink selection. The Best Gastropub will provide restaurant quality dining, whilst not compromising on the traditional ‘pub’ atmosphere.
Best Customer Service
The winner of this award will be one that consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty to its customers. Staff will be attentive, friendly and prompt, but not overbearing. It will be evident that they have been trained in the art of great customer service, and they will also be knowledgeable of both the food and wine menus. They will be professional and well presented at all times, and represent the customs and culture of the restaurant.
Best Wine Experience
This award recognises the restaurant that prides itself on its wine selection. An interesting array of wines will be on offer to cater for a wide range of wine lovers, and will be appropriate for the type of cuisine served. There should be a well-chosen selection from quality producers that provides a thematic match to the menu in terms of both price and style.
This award represents the best break-through establishment that has been in operation since 2021 (opened in/after June 2021) – offering an impressive dining experience, innovative menu and has had significant impact in the industry within a short time. They will have proven marketing abilities and a loyal customer following.
Best Sustainable Practices
This award goes to the hospitality establishment engaging in sustainable practices and activities in the day to day running of their business. Including: food waste management / reduction, general was management / reduction, recycling efforts, water consumption / management, energy consumption / management, carbon offsetting, energy sources used, suppliers, produce (“food miles” and seasonality)
Innovator of the Year
The award seeks to highlight restaurants/gastro pubs/cafes who demonstrate excellence and creativity on a daily basis within their venues. In particular, this creativity and innovation should be seen within the design & development of their menus, as well in the overall running of the establishment.
Best World Cuisine
We are looking for a restaurant that provides a genuine international experience for their diners. The winner should provide outstanding food, excellent customer service and a real insight into their culture through both the dishes and the decor. We want to see what global delights are available right on our own doorstep.
Best ‘Free From’
This award goes to the establishment offering mouth-watering ‘free from’ options within their menus – meals free from the main list of allergens* and whose presentation highlights the unique qualities of the ingredients.
*Dishes must be ‘Free From’ at least 1 of the following allergens: celery, crustaceans, eggs, fish, gluten, peanuts, soybeans, milk and products thereof (including lactose), mustard, nuts, sesame seed, sulphur dioxide and sulphites, lupin and molluscs.
Please note that sugar free and ‘meat free’ meals are also eligible for nomination.
Entrants should have a variety of ‘free from’ meal options on their menus to cater for a ‘free from’ audience, however their menus do not need to be entirely ‘free from’.
This award represents the establishment that strives to provide the best coffee and dining experience, using ethically sourced ingredients and delivering outstanding customer service. Knowledgeable baristas, great quality food and a warm and inviting atmosphere. Nominate your go-to place for a casual lunch with friends, or a quick bite on the go.
Local Food Hero
The Local Food Hero award recognises the individual that promotes food culture in their locality and inspires people to get involved with food. They may be actively encouraging the restaurants in their area to use local produce, or perhaps they are working to attract food tourists by creating food trails and markets. Or maybe they produce the finest quality ingredients.
Best Emerging Irish Cuisine
This award will go to the restaurant that displays a genuine commitment to actively influencing the future of Irish cuisine by encouraging us to try something new, while simultaneously reminding us of our heritage. The menu will showcase the best of Irish produce from the land and sea. Traditional Irish dishes may be rejuvenated with a modern twist. Unique and modern ingredients, methods and styles of cooking may be used.
Another way of describing this category in simple terms would be Best Contemporary Irish Cuisine!
Best Restaurant Manager
This award recognises the individual that oversees the day to day operation of the restaurant with enthusiasm and expertise. They will be an exceptional leader for their team and will be able to handle any situation that arises. They will demonstrate strong business acumen, working knowledge of the industry and an intimate knowledge of the menu and wines being offered. The restaurant manager will be the face of the establishment and will have a good rapport with both new and returning customers.
Best Cocktail Experience
This award goes to the restaurant or bar which brings a creative and exciting approach to cocktails, coupled with flair and imaginative presentation. Nominees for Best Cocktail Experience will be invited to submit an original cocktail recipe and the next stage is a live cocktail competition where the drinks will be made and presented to a panel of experts.
Best Learning & Development
This award goes to the establishment that has a strong focus on staff learning & developmental needs, including the delivery of staff training programmes in key areas. These training programmes may have been delivered in person and/or via digital avenues. This award strives to highlight excellence, best practice and innovation in learning & development within the Hospitality industry.
Best Private Dining & Club Restaurant
This award goes to the private members clubs – including golf clubs, sailing clubs, private dining clubs and tennis clubs – which offer their members a dining experience which demonstrates outstanding value, excellent food, appropriate service, genuine hospitality and an appropriate overall dining experience.
Best Cookery School
This award goes to the cookery school who contributes greatly to food culture in Ireland by educating its students in nutrition and best practice in the preparation, cooking and presentation of food to a high standard. The winning school will have the ability to foster a passion for culinary arts within its students from experienced chefs and tutors. The school will produce a high standard of graduates who have the necessary skills and techniques to go on and become successful chefs.