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Launch of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2018

Launch of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2018

Irish Restaurant Awards Launched for 2018

The Battle for the #FoodOscars Returns. Online nominations open on Wednesday, 10th January to the public.

For Immediate Release

Thursday, 11th January 2018

The Restaurants Association of Ireland is pleased to introduce the tenth annual Irish Restaurant Awards which was launched yesterday at an event held in Chapter One Restaurant, Dublin. The head chef and owner, Ross Lewis put together an amazing and very delicious lunch menu for all attending the launch.

The Irish Restaurant Awards showcase the true talent that Ireland’s hospitality industry has to offer by acknowledging outstanding performers in the sector. Growing steadily from its humble beginnings back in 2009, the awards are now a five-month long process consisting of online public nominations, judging panels, mystery guest inspections and regional and national events. In 2017, the awards received 80,000+ online public nominations. This number is expected to grow exponentially with the continued support of our media partner, The Irish Times.

Last year, the Irish Restaurant Awards consisted of a roadshow of four regional events – Kilkenny, Fermanagh, Limerick and Sligo – with over 2,200 guests in total. The final event was held in the Doubletree by Hilton, Dublin and saw 900+ guests sit down for a six-course gala dinner cooked by 5 renowned chefs (previous award winners).

Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association commented; “This is the tenth year of the Irish Restaurant Awards. Each year, the awards have grown bigger and better and I am excited for what 2018 will bring. Our awards are the only awards in Ireland to have a Mystery Judge element, we can really stand over the entire process. The aim of the Irish Restaurant Awards is to honour the hard-working people of the hospitality industry from cocktail makers, sommeliers and waiters to restaurant managers and local food champions. The restaurant industry is the biggest employer within the Irish tourism sector, employing over 74,000 people and these awards are a celebration and acknowledgement of the hard work put in by restaurateurs year round.”

Liam Edwards, President of the Restaurants Association commented; “People these days know their food and know what good food is and I hope that they put this knowledge to good use and to vote for their favourite establishment.”

Online nominations open at 1pm on Wednesday, 10th of January and will close 2 weeks later at 12 noon on Wednesday, 24th January. Nominations can be made via

This year, there are 21 categories in which the general public can nominate. These categories are made up of 16 Main award categories, including an exciting new category Best ‘Free From’, and five National award categories.

Main awards categories will each have county winners with the exception of Best Restaurant Manager, Best Emerging Irish Cuisine, Best World Cuisine, Best Café, Best Kids Size Me and Local Food Hero. These categories will announce regional and All-Ireland winners only. National categories will have one All-Ireland Winner only.

Main categories are as follows:

  • Best Restaurant – Sponsored by Tindal Wine Merchants
  • Best Chef
  • Best Restaurant Manager
  • Best Hotel Restaurant – Sponsored by BWG Food Service
  • Best Casual Dining – Sponsored by San Pellegrino
  • Best Gastro Pub – Sponsored by Coca Cola & Schweppes
  • Best Newcomer – Sponsored by Elavon
  • Best Customer Service
  • Best Wine Experience – Sponsored by Classic Drinks
  • Best Emerging Irish Cuisine – Sponsored by Odaios Foods
  • Best World Cuisine
  • Best Café – Sponsored by Illy
  • Best Kids Size Me – Sponsored by Dubliner Cheese
  • Local Food Hero – Sponsored by Rewarding Times
  • Pub of the Year – Sponsored by Bushmills
  • Best ‘Free From’ (NEW!) – Sponsored by Peroni Gluten Free

 National Categories

  • Best Cocktail Experience
  • Best Private Dining & Club Restaurant
  • Best Cookery School – Sponsored by Avonmore
  • Best Seafood Experience
  • Best Digital Marketing

In the first stage of the judging process, online nominations are given a weighting of 20%, while the remaining 80% is made up from a regional judging panel assessment. Both of these results are combined and reviewed by an independent auditor (BDO) to give an overall county winner per category. These winners will be announced at a number of regional events held in March.

Each county winner then goes forward to the Regional and All-Ireland stage whereby they will then each receive a mystery guest inspection.  They will be assessed on their menu, customer service, and the overall dining experience from the moment the booking is made until the customer receives the bill. Full details on the judging process can be found on the official Awards website

National Categories will not receive a mystery guest inspection. They will be judged by the National Academy with the exception of Best Cocktail Experience which will be judged by the Bartenders Association of Ireland at a live competition.

The All-Ireland final of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2018 takes place on Monday 14th of May 2018 in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road.


For more information, please visit:

Twitter: @restawards  #FoodOscars

Adrian Cummins,
Chief Executive,
Restaurants Association of Ireland,
11 Bridge Court, Citygate,
St Augustine Street, Dublin 8.

Mobile: +353 86 8263311

Telephone: +353 1 6779901



Twitter: @RAI_ie


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