The Cottage takes top award

Restaurant awards

The Connaught Regional Final of the Irish Restaurant Awards took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Sligo on March 22 and named the top restaurants in the five counties for 2016.

It proved to be a successful night for the Leitrim food industry, The Cottage Restaurant in Jamestown in particular. The restaurant kept it's winning streak of recent years going by winning both the Best Restaurant and Best Chef (awarded to Shamzuri Hanifa) categories.

On the night, Leitrim restaurants took home a total of ten awards - three of which went to St. George's Terrace (Carrick-on-Shannon) in the categories of Best Newcomer, Best Wine Experience and Best Cusomer Service.

The Sandstone Restaurant at Lough Rynn Castle took away the Best Hotel Restaurant award; while Vittos, The Oarsman, Victoria Hall and Lena's Tea Room (all of which are located in Carrick-on-Shannon) were successful, winning the Best Casual Dining, Best Gastro Pub, Best World Cuisine and Best Cafe categories respectively.

The awards were based on nominations made online through The Irish Times website, which were then judged by a regional panel involving a mystery guest inspection and menu judging.

Over 500 restaurant owners and staff celebrated their hard work and achievements at the awards, with many well-known restaurateurs of Connaught in attendance.

All county winners now compete for the Regional and All Ireland Title which will be announced at the Irish Restaurant Awards in the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, Dublin on May 16.