Rozzers Restaurant, a hotel dining room in Co Kerry, has replaced the Michelin-starred Dublin restaurant Chapter One as Ireland’s best fine dining restaurant, as voted for by contributors to Tripadvisor. The travel-review website announced the winners of its annual Travellers’ Choice awards in London on Wednesday.
Rozzers, which finished in fifth place last year, is part of the family-run Killeen House Hotel, a 23-bedroom country house hotel in Aghadoe. "Wow, that's fantastic. Number one? Great stuff, we've been hovering in the top five," says its proprietor Geraldine Rosney, on hearing the result. Rosney opened the hotel with her husband, Michael, in 1992, and since her husband's retirement has been running the business with their daughter Michelle.
Mulcahy's Bar and Restaurant in Kenmare was voted into second place in the 2021 awards, with the vegetarian restaurant Paradiso, in Cork, in third, and the Chart House in Dingle bringing Kerry back into the reckoning in fourth position. The Dublin restaurants Dax, Sole Seafood and Grill, Mulberry Garden and Chapter One filled the fifth to eighth spots. An Port Mór in Westport and Campagne in Kilkenny complete the Irish top 10.
According to the organisers, the Travellers’ Choice awards are based mainly on “the quality and quantity of traveller reviews and ratings for restaurants on Tripadvisor”, as well as what they describe as “an additional editorial process”. The time frame used for the 2021 awards was January 1st, 2020, to April 30th of this year.
Due to Covid restrictions, the winning restaurant, which has a total of 819 reviews on the travel site, 743 of them rated as excellent, was open only between July 2nd and October 13th of last year, during the qualifying period. It reopened last month, serving dinner to residents only.
“I’m one of those owners who is here morning, noon and night. I meet and greet all our guests and I take every dinner order, working in the dining room seven nights a week when we’re open,” says Geraldine Rosney, who is described on the hotel’s website as “The Lady G”.
The restaurant’s head chef, Paul O’Gorman, is a Dubliner who has worked at the hotel for 25 years. His menu makes use of local fish, shellfish and meat, including open ravioli of seared scallops and prawns, and roast rack of Kerry lamb. Dinner is priced at €39.50 for two courses, €49.50 for three and €55.50 for four.
Geraldine Rosney says the hotel has cut back both its room occupancy and its dining-room covers to comply with pandemic regulations. But a “come for dinner, stay for breakfast” offer launched when the hotel reopened last month has proved popular with locals, she says.
Asked about the effects of pandemic-related closures on the 2021 awards, a Tripadvisor spokesperson says: “Although dining out was significantly down in 2020, people still ventured out and also enjoyed takeaway from their favourite restaurants and continued to leave feedback for the restaurants they loved (and the ones they didn’t) on Tripadvisor.
“There were, of course, fewer reviews in 2020 than in 2019, but Tripadvisor still received millions of reviews for restaurants in 2020, so it’s important to recognise the ones that travellers loved the most during that time.”
Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s Choice 2021 best fine dining restaurants in Ireland
1. Rozzers Restaurant, Aghadoe
2. Mulcahy's Bar and Restaurant, Kenmare
3. Paradiso, Cork
4. The Chart House, Dingle
5. Dax Restaurant, Dublin
6. Sole Seafood and Grill, Dublin
7. Mulberry Garden, Dublin
8. Chapter One, Dublin
9. An Port Mor Restaurant, Westport
10. Campagne, Kilkenny