Luna wins best restaurant award less than a year after opening

Restaurants Association of Ireland awards gives top prize to Italian-American themed eatery

Dublin restaurant Luna, which has been open for less than a year, has been recognised as the best eatery in Ireland.

The Drury Street business opened in June 2015 and is based on the concept of a New York Italian restaurant.

It won the all-Ireland best restaurant award and best Dublin restaurant at the Restaurants Association of Ireland awards. Luna also won best customer service in Dublin and Declan Maxwell won for best restaurant manager.

The awards were presented on Monday night and some 70,000 online nominations were received in the various categories.


Luna community manager Leo Molloy said they were "over the moon" at the win which they attributed to hard work. "We are only open a year but we have a century of experience behind us," he said. The owner John Farrell, head chef Karl Whelan, sous chef Hugh Higgins and Mr Maxwell are long time veterans of the scene. The decor is meant to convey the sense of a 1950s style New York restaurant with leather modular seats and red velvet curtains. The food is modern Italian.

Irish Times restaurant critic Catherine Cleary gave it 8 out of 10 when she visited in December. She concluded it was "spendy but fun. Dinner for three with a bottle of wine came to €178".

She also described it as “shameless, from its gold leaf and caviar down to a menu postscript telling you the staff were ‘tailored by Louis Copeland’. It’s been a dambuster of a meal in which the first plates have outshone the heftier ones that followed. The food is good. For this kind of cash you could eat better elsewhere but I’m not sure you can have as much fun.”

The best chef in Ireland went to Michelin star winner Enda McEvoy of Loam restaurant in Fairgreen, Galway city. Co Cavan-born Mr McEvoy set up Loam in 2013 with his wife Sinead. He previously won a Michelin star at the Aniar restaurant in Lower Dominick Street, Galway.

The best hotel restaurant went to The Dining Room at Gregan's Castle Hotel in Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, the best casual dining went to ETTO in Dublin and the best gastropub in Ireland went to the Oarsman in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim which is owned by the Maher brothers, Ronan and Conor.

The best customer service went to the Kai Café and restaurant in Galway and best café went to Café Rua in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

The full list of regional and all-Ireland winners is as follows;

Best restaurant

All -Ireland -Luna, Dublin

Dublin - Luna, Dublin

Connacht - Loam, Galway

Leinster - The Pigeon House, Wicklow

Munster - 1826 Adare, Limerick

Ulster - Browns Restaurant & Champagne Lounge, Derry

Best chef

All-Ireland - Enda McEvoy of Loam, Galway

Dublin - John Wyer of Forest Avenue, Dublin

Connacht - Enda McEvoy of Loam, Galway

Leinster - Rob Krawczyk of Brabazon at Tankardstown House, Meath

Munster - David Hurley of The Dining Room at Gregan's Castle Hotel, Clare

Ulster - David Gillmore of James Street South, Antrim

Best restaurant manager

All-Ireland - Alain Kerloc’h of OX, Antrim

Dublin - Declan Maxwell of Luna, Dublin

Best hotel restaurant

All-Ireland - The Dining Room at Gregan’s Castle Hotel, Clare

Dublin - The Brasserie at The Marker, Dublin

Connacht - The Library Restaurant at Belleek Castle, Mayo

Leinster - The Lady Helen at Mount Juliet, Kilkenny

Munster - The Dining Room at Gregan’s Castle Hotel, Clare

Ulster - Harvey‘s Restaurant at Harvey‘s Point, Donegal

Best casual dining

All-Ireland - ETTO, Dublin

Dublin - ETTO, Dublin

Connacht - The Pantry and Corkscrew, Mayo

Leinster - Foodworks, Kilkenny

Munster - Elbow Lane Brew & Smokehouse, Cork

Ulster - The Ginger Bistro, Antrim

Best Gastro Pub

All-Ireland - The Oarsman, Leitrim

Dublin - Mulligan Grocer, Dublin

Connacht - The Oarsman, Leitrim

Leinster - Left Bank, Kilkenny

Munster - Merry’s Gastro Pub, Waterford

Ulster - Sweet Afton Bar & Kitchen, Antrim

Best café

All-Ireland - Rua, Mayo

Dublin - The Pepper Pot, Dublin

Connacht - Rua, Mayo

Leinster - Blackberry Café, Kilkenny

Munster - The Granary Café, Waterford

Ulster - Aroma Café, Donegal

Best world cuisine

All-Ireland - Chakra by Jaipur, Wicklow

Dublin - Boqueria, Dublin

Connacht -Miso Sushi, Sligo

Leinster - Chakra by Jaipur, Wicklow

Munster - Iyer’s, Cork

Ulster - DinaDina, Antrim

Best emerging Irish cuisine

All-Ireland - Locks 1 Windsor Terrace, Dublin

Dublin - Locks 1 Windsor Terrace, Dublin

Best customer service

All-Ireland - Kai Café & Restaurant, Galway

Dublin - Luna, Dublin

Connacht - Kai Café & Restaurant, Galway

Leinster - Chakra by Jaipur, Wicklow

Munster - Inch House Country House & Restaurant, Tipperary

Ulster - The Great Room Restaurant at The Merchant Hotel, Antrim

Best wine experience

All-Ireland - George V Dining Room at Ashford Castle, Mayo

Dublin - ETTO, Dublin

Connacht - George V Dining Room at Ashford Castle, Mayo

Leinster - Ristorante Rinuccini, Kilkenny

Munster - La Bohème Restaurant & Winebar, Waterford

Ulster - OX Cave, Antrim

Local food hero

All-Ireland - JP McMahon of Aniar, Galway

Dublin - Pádraic Óg Gallagher of Gallagher‘s Boxty House, Dublin

Best kids size menu

All-Ireland - Momo Restaurant, Waterford

Dublin - Jamie’s Italian, Dublin

Best newcomer

All-Ireland - The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford

Dublin - Craft, Dublin

Connacht - The Idle Wall, Mayo

Leinster - The Lighthouse Seafood Restaurant, Wicklow

Munster - The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford

Ulster - The Muddler‘s Club, Antrim

Best cocktail experience

All-Ireland - The Exchequer, Dublin

Best seafood experience

All-Ireland - O’Grady’s on the Pier, Galway

Best cookery school

All-Ireland - Tannery Cookery School, Waterford

Best digital marketing

All-Ireland - Coqbull, Cork

Best private dining & club restaurant

All-Ireland - Restaurant FortyOne at Residence, Dublin

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times