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Top Restaurants in Ireland Announced at Santa Rita/ LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards 2013

Waterford Restaurant The Tannery named Best Restaurant in Ireland

Sunil Ghai of Ananda crowned Best Chef in Ireland

June 11th 2013, Dublin, Ireland.

Waterford Restaurant The Tannery took home the prize of Best Restaurant in Ireland and Sunil Ghai, Head Chef of Ananda, was crowned Best Chef in Ireland at the Santa Rita/ LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards 2013, in The Burlington Hotel, Monday 10th June. Almost 800 restaurateurs and industry players turned out to attend Ireland’s biggest ever Restaurant awards where Regional and All-Ireland winners were announced in the following categories;

The Tannery Best Restaurant in Ireland Sponsored by Santa Rita
Sunil Ghai of Ananda Best Chef in Ireland Sponsored by Tipperary Water
The Lady Helen @ Mount Juliet Best Hotel Restaurant in Ireland Sponsored by Pallas Foods
The Brewer’s House Best Gastro Pub in Ireland Sponsored by Faustino
Saba Best Casual Dining in Ireland Sponsored by Joseph Drouhin
Renvyle House Hotel Best Customer Service in Ireland Sponsored by La Rousse Foods
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud Best Wine Experience in Ireland Sponsored by Thomas Barton
The Exchequer Best Cocktail Experience Sponsored by Smirnoff Mojito
Sol Rio Restaurant Best Kids Size Me Menu in Ireland Sponsored by Heinz
Glenilen Farm Local Food Hero in Ireland Sponsored by LIFE Magazine
Ox Best Newcomer in Ireland Sponsored by Discover Diners Club
Idaho Café Best Café in Ireland Sponsored by United Coffee
The Happy Pear Best Digital Marketing in Ireland Sponsored by QT Comments
Declan Maxwell of Chapter One Best Restaurant Manager in Ireland Sponsored by Champagne Pannier and Classic Drinks

For a full list of winners, see below.

Pádraic Óg Gallagher, President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said;

“This year’s awards have been the biggest, brightest- and the best. They are the awards everyone wants to be associated with, and everyone wants to be a winner. As a testament to their success, 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. This year, it was great to see a variety of winners across the categories- with a Waterford restaurant winning Best Restaurant in Ireland, and an ethnic chef winning Best Chef.

Ireland has so much to offer to the culinary tourist, and these Awards remind everyone of the quality and class of Irish restaurants and Chefs. The Irish restaurant scene is vital to the economy, employing 64,000 people and generating revenue in excess of €2 billion per year, it’s great to celebrate the work that all of our restaurateurs around the country do to keep this aspect of our culture alive and kicking.”

Sally-Anne Cooney, General Manager of Gilbeys, distributors of Santa Rita wine in Ireland, sponsor of this year’s awards, said:

“Once again, Santa Rita, the leading Chilean wine in Ireland, is delighted to be associated with these prestigious awards. As the established hospitality industry Chilean wine, we are keen to acknowledge and recognise the achievement and excellence of the restaurant and hospitality industry throughout Ireland. Santa Rita is delighted to be in a position to reward this ongoing achievement of these nominated chefs and restaurants. We have so many restaurants and chefs in Ireland who are accomplishing wonderful things, and there is something special about these particular winners and finalists. Winning this award underscores their contribution to the hospitality industry, in that they have built and sustained something that is quite unique but delivers the right culinary experience for their customers. We wish this year’s winners and finalists a heartfelt congratulations!”

The Menu for the five-course Gala was created by five chefs who have previously Best Chef titles at the Irish Restaurant Awards. This year’s sumptuous menu was devised by the following Chefs;

Opening Course- Joery Castel, The Boathouse 
Carrot Textures with Crozier Blue Cheese, White Chocolate and Hemp Seed
Kindly sponsored by Pallas Foods

Soup Course- Billy Whitty, Aldridge Lodge 
Tomato, Pear and Gin Soup
accompanied by Bretzel Sour Dough and Bretzel Country Store breads
Kindly sponsored by Total Produce & Bretzel Bakery

Fish Course- Sunil Ghai, Ananda
Hand-picked Crab Meat Salad with Raw Mango Chutney, Crab & Corn Samosa with Squid Ink & Chilli Mayo
Kindly sponsored by Wrights of Howth & Total Produce

Main Course- Simon Regan, The Europe Hotel & Resort 
Braised Irish Hereford Prime Beef Cheek, Truffle Flavoured Potato Puree, Ox Tongue Salad, Mushroom and Foie Gras Crust
Kindly sponsored by Pallas Foods & Irish Hereford Prime Beef

Dessert Course- Philippe Farineau, Mount Falcon
Lemon Tart and Fresh Raspberry, Bergamot Marshmallow, Mandarin and Grand Marnier Purée
Kindly sponsored by La Rousse Foods


The 2013 Irish Restaurant Awards are brought to you by The Restaurants Association of Ireland and are kindly sponsored by Santa Rita/ LIFE Magazine. The awards are the largest and most coveted awards in the Irish Restaurant Industry.

The Awards recognise achievement and excellence in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry throughout the 32 counties of the Island of 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.

Nominations for the Awards are made by readers of the Sunday Independent LIFE Magazine and members of the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

The nomination & awards selection process is also independently audited by KPMG to ensure that best practices & standards have been adhered to throughout the process.

The 2013 Awards process ran from February 24th until 10th June 2013. It is a detailed and thorough process whereby nominated Restaurants face rigorous scrutiny from the Consumer, Regional Judges, a Mystery Guest Visitor and finally the National Awards Academy. The Irish Restaurant Awards are the only kind restaurant awards in the country that carry out mystery guest inspections.

County winners were announced at a number of Regional Awards during March and April and the All-Ireland Awards took place last night, Monday 10th June 2013 in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin.

There are two phases of voting. Phase one comprises of the public nomination, which went online on for the first time this year and garnered 30,000 votes across 10,000 nominations in the three weeks of the public voting- almost double the figure of the 2012 voting record.

There are 3 components to phase two of the process;
1. Mystery Guest Visit (55%) This component of the awards is conducted by Prism Consulting headed by Hugo Arnold, independent food writer and consultant. All County Winners receive a mystery guest visit throughout the month of April and May.

2. National Awards Academy (35%)
 Our National Awards Academy is made up representatives from each of the regional judging panels and meet in May to Judge the County Winners.

3. Menu Judging (10%)
 All County winners and the Dublin Shortlist in each category are asked to submit a copy of their food menu and wine list for judging.


Best Casual Dining Kindly Sponsored by Joseph Drouhin


  • Connaught- Café Rua, Mayo
  • Munster- Sol y Sombra Tapas Bar, Kerry
  • Leinster- An Tintáin Restaurant, Westmeath
  • Ulster- Coast, Down
  • Dublin- Saba
  • All-Ireland- Saba


Best Customer Service Kindly Sponsored by La Rousse Foods


  • Connaught- Renvyle House Hotel, Galway
  • Munster- Ballygarry House Hotel, Kerry
  • Leinster- Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill, Louth
  • Ulster- The Olde Post Inn, Cavan
  • Dublin- Saba
  • All-Ireland- Renvyle House Hotel


Best Gastro Pub Kindly Sponsored by Faustino


  • Connaught- Eat @ Massimo, Galway
  • Munster- The Derg Inn, Tippery
  • Leinster- Harte’s Bar & Grill, Kildare
  • Ulster- The Brewer’s House, Tyrone
  • Dublin- The Purty Kitchen
  • All-Ireland- The Brewer’s House


Best Hotel Restaurant Kindly Sponsored by Pallas Foods


  • Connaught- The Kitchen Restaurant @ Mount Falcon, Mayo
  • Munster- The Munster Room @ Waterford Castle, Waterford
  • Leinster- The Lady Helen @ Mount Juliet, Kilkenny
  • Ulster- Catalina Restaurant @ Lough Erne Resort, Fermanagh
  • Dublin- The Saddle Room @ The Shelbourne Hotel
  • All-Ireland- The Lady Helen @ Mount Juliet


Best Chef Kindly Sponsored by Tipperary Water


  • Connaught- Philippe Farineau of Mount Falcon, Mayo
  • Munster- Paul Flynn of The Tannery, Waterford
  • Leinster- Gary O’Hanlon of Viewmount House, Longford
  • Ulster- Neven Maguire of Macnean House, Cavan
  • Dublin- Sunil Ghai of Ananda
  • All-Ireland- Sunil Ghai of Ananda

Best Restaurant Kindly Sponsored by Santa Rita

  • Connaught- Aniar Restaurant, Galway
  • Munster- The Tannery, Waterford
  • Leinster- Thyme Restaurant, Westmeath
  • Ulster- Browns Restaurant & Champagne Lounge, Derry
  • Dublin- Ananda
  • All-Ireland- The Tannery

Best Kids Size Me Kindly Sponsored by HeinzBest Kids Size Me Kindly Sponsored by Heinz


  • Connaught- Sol Rio, Mayo
  • Munster- Cornstore Restaurant, Cork
  • Leinster- The Olive Grove, Westmeath
  • Ulster- The Lemon Tree, Donegal
  • Dublin- La Banca
  • All-Ireland- Sol Rio


Best Wine Experience Kindly Sponsored by Thomas Barton


  • Connaught- The Twelve Hotel, Galway
  • Munster- Hayfield Manor, Cork
  • Leinster- The K Club, Kildare
  • Ulster- Nicks Warehouse, Antrim
  • Dublin- Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
  • All-Ireland- Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud


Best Just Ask! Award Kindly Sponsored by Bord Bia


  • Connaught- Oscar’s Seafood Bistro, Galway
  • Leinster- Sqigl Restaurant @ Roches Bar, Wexford
  • Ulster- Sargasso, Donegal
  • Dublin- Essence Bistro
  • All-Ireland- Sargasso


Engaging With The Gathering Award Kindly Sponsored by Tourism Ireland


  • Connaught- Wilde’s @ Lisloughrey Lodge, Mayo
  • Munster- Paddys Bar & Restaurant, Tipperary
  • Leinster- Sheraton Athlone Hotel, Westmeath
  • Ulster- Harveys Point Hotel, Donegal
  • Dublin- The Exchequer
  • All-Ireland- Sheraton Athlone Hotel


Idaho Café Best Café in Ireland 2013 Sponsored by United Coffee

The Exchequer Best Cocktail Experience 2013 Sponsored by Smirnoff Mojito

Ox Best Newcomer in Ireland 2013 Sponsored by Discover Diners Club

Restaurant FortyOne @ Residence Best Private Dining and Club Restaurant in Ireland 2013 Sponsored by Total Produce

Kai Café & Restaurant Best Restaurant Design in Ireland 2013 Sponsored by Bunzl

Declan Maxwell of Chapter One Best Restaurant Manager in Ireland 2013 Sponsored by Champagne Pannier and Classic Drinks

Fishy Fishy Café Best Seafood Experience in Ireland 2013 Sponsored by Wrights of Howth

Dublin Cookery School Best Cookery School in Ireland 2013 Sponsored by Avonmore

Chameleon Best World Cuisine Sponsored by Tiger Beer

The Brasserie @ Bewley’s Hotel, Leopardstown Best Practice in Energy Management Sponsored by Calor

Aniar Restaurant Best Emerging Irish Cuisine in Ireland 2013 Sponsored by Fáilte Ireland

Glenilen Farm Local Food Hero in Ireland 2013 Sponsored by LIFE Magazine

The Happy Pear Best Digital Marketing in Ireland 2013 Sponsored by QT Comments

Castlemurray House Hotel Best Sustainable Restaurant of the Year Sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions


For further information contact:

Adrian Cummins,
Chief Executive Officer
Mobile: +353 86 8263311
Telephone: +353 1 6779901
Twitter: @restawards


Our thanks to

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