Welcome to the Irish Restaurant Awards nomination page!

Nominations are now open.

So where would you like to nominate?

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  • Republic of IrelandNorthern Ireland
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Please enter the full name of the Chef you would like to nominate

Please enter the Best Hotel & Guesthouse Restaurant restaurant you would like to nominate

Please enter the full name of the Manager you would like to nominate

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  • Restaurant Association of Ireland
  • The Irish Times
  • The Irish Times Food and Drink Club

Having trouble submitting your vote?

Restaurants Association of Ireland

  • Tel: 01 677 9901
  • Email: awards@rai.ie
  • Address: Restaurants Association of Ireland, 11 Bridge Court, Citygate, St. Augustine Street, Dublin 8

Best Restaurant

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.

Best Chef

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. Nominate someone who has opened your mind to exciting new flavours and consistently produces top quality dishes.

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.

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. Table service is not a necessity – some gastropubs require food to be ordered at the bar. Customer service should still be of a high standard.

Best Casual Dining Restaurant

We are on the search for the best casual dining establishment offering top quality food, great customer service and genuine hospitality. Whether its 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.

Best Hotel & Guesthouse Restaurant

The best hotel 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 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 Newcomer

This award represents the best break-through establishment that has been in operation for less than 12 months (opened in/after January 2019) – 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 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 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.

Best Kids Size Me

Kids Size Me is an initiative on the provision of child size portions of adult meals in restaurants.  The Award recognises the restaurant that ensures children have access to healthier food options when dining out by making child size portions of adult meals available as an alternative to ordering from the standard children’s menu. A dedicated children’s menu or ‘Kids Size Meal’ option should be clearly available. A child is classed as 12 years of age or under. The restaurant should be family-friendly and provide all the necessary amenities such as high chairs

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 provide the finest quality ingredients. Nominate your hero and write a few words on why you would like them to win.

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 Cafe

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.

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 Cocktail Experience (National)

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 Digital Marketing (National)

This award goes to the restaurant whose social media design, communication and presentation is creative, innovative and on-trend. Nominate a restaurant that you actively follow across various online platforms, and that engages and delights their customers in novel ways.

Best Seafood Experience (National)

This award goes to the restaurant offering an mouth-watering selection of fresh Irish seafood and whose presentation highlights the unique qualities of the ingredients. Locally sourced seafood is important for both ensuring freshness, and supporting the local economy. Nominate your favourite restaurant for a seafood experience.

Best Private Dining and Club Restaurant (National)

This award goes to the restaurant offering an mouth-watering selection of fresh Irish seafood and whose presentation highlights the unique qualities of the ingredients. Locally sourced seafood is important for both ensuring freshness, and supporting the local economy. Nominate your favourite restaurant for a seafood experience.

Best Cookery School (National)

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.

Best Free Form

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’.

Nomination closes in

Nominations are open from the 8th of January to the 22nd of January 2020 at 12 noon

Nominate to win

Submit your nomination and be automatically entered into a draw for one of two fantastic Foodie Getaways! See details of prizes below, kindly sponsored by Ireland’s Blue Book

Week 1
Two night stay bed and breakfast, with dinner on one night for two people sharing at Viewmount House, Co. Longford.

Week 2
Two night stay bed and breakfast, with dinner on one night for two people sharing at the Mustard Seed, Co. Limerick.

Nominations are open from the 8th of January to the 22nd of January 2020 at 12 noon