27 May 2022

Nominations for the Food Oscars are now open to the public

Nominations for the Food Oscars are now open to the public

The Restaurant Association of Ireland's launch of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2020 at Dax. Picture: Paul Sherwood.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland are delighted to announce that the nominations for the 12th annual Irish Restaurant Awards 2020 are now open.

The public can choose their favourites across 21 categories including Best Restaurant, Best Casual Dining, Best Chef, Best Seafood Experience, Best World Cuisine and more.

Head over to the Restaurant Association of Ireland’s Instagram page now to enter our Competition, where you could win dinner for two in 2020’s Best Restaurant, as well as an overnight stay in a hotel.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland celebrated the launch on Wednesday, January 8 in Dax Restaurant, Dublin.

Nominations can now be made via until 12 noon on Wednesday, January 22.

The Irish Restaurant Awards showcase the true talent that Ireland’s hospitality industry has to offer by acknowledging outstanding performers in the sector.

Growing steadily from its humble beginnings back in 2009, the awards are now a five-month long process consisting of online public nominations, judging panels, mystery guest inspections and regional and national events.

In 2019, the awards received 90,000+ online public nominations. This number is expected to grow exponentially with the continued support of our media partner, The Irish Times. 

Last year, the Irish Restaurant Awards consisted of a roadshow of four regional events – Kildare, Monaghan, Limerick and Sligo – with over 2000 guests in total. The final event was held in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road and saw 1000+ guests sit down for a six-course gala dinner cooked by 5 renowned chefs (previous award winners).  

Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association commented; “The aim of the Irish Restaurant Awards is to recognize excellence within the Irish hospitality industry. The restaurant industry is the biggest employer within the Irish tourism sector, employing over 74,000 people and these awards are a celebration and acknowledgement of the hard work put in by restaurateurs year round.”

This year, there are 21 categories in which the general public can nominate. These categories are made up of 16 Main award categories and five National award categories.

Main categories:

Best Restaurant – Sponsored by Tindal Wine Merchants
Best Chef – Sponsored by BWG Foodservice
Best Restaurant Manager – Sponsored by AIB MS
Best Hotel & Guesthouse Restaurant – Sponsored by Frylite
Best Casual Dining – Sponsored by Just Eat
Best Gastro Pub – Sponsored by Elavon
Best Newcomer – Sponsored by Monin
Best Customer Service – Sponsored by Dolmen Insurance Brokers
Best Wine Experience – Sponsored by Gilbeys with Bibendum
Best Emerging Irish Cuisine –
Best World Cuisine – Sponsored by Stafford Lynch with San Pellegrino
Best Café – Sponsored by Illy
Best Kids Size Me -
Best ‘Free From’ – Sponsored by Peroni Libera
Local Food Hero – Sponsored by The Irish Times
Pub of the Year – Sponsored by Jameson

National Categories

Best Cocktail Experience – Sponsored by Coca Cola HBC
Best Private Dining & Club Restaurant – Sponsored by Wild Irish Game
Best Cookery School – Sponsored by Avonmore
Best Seafood Experience – Sponsored by Musgrave
Best Digital Marketing –

In the first stage of the judging process, online nominations are given a weighting of 20%, while the remaining 80% is made up from a regional judging panel assessment. Both of these results are combined and reviewed by an independent auditor (BDO) to give an overall county winner per category. These winners will be announced at a number of regional events held in March.

Each county winner then goes forward to the Regional and All-Ireland stage whereby they will then each receive a mystery guest inspection.  They will be assessed on their menu, customer service, and the overall dining experience from the moment the booking is made until the customer receives the bill. Full details on the judging process can be found on the official Awards website

National Categories will not receive a mystery guest inspection. They will be judged by the National Academy with the exception of Best Cocktail Experience which will be judged by the Bartenders Association of Ireland at a live competition.

The All-Ireland final of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2020 takes place on Monday, May 18 in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road.

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