THE 11th annual all-Ireland Irish Restaurant Awards will take place on Monday 13 May in the Clayton Hotel on Burlington Road, Dublin, when more than 1,000 guests will sit down to a five-course gala dinner prepared by previous award-winners.
The awards are the largest and most prestigious event in the hospitality industry, for which 16 of Carlow’s finest eateries have qualified. They include Clonegal’s Sha-Roe Bistro for best restaurant, while its owner/chef Henry Stone is up for the best chef award. Henry and his wife are no strangers to awards, as they’ve scooped best restaurant accolades in the county on numerous occasions.
Among the other winners in this year’s list of gong recipients are Alan Foley’s The Cellar Restaurant at the Step House Hotel, Borris in the Best Hotel and Guesthouse Restaurant category.
Lennons@Visual in Carlow town is up for best customer service, while Teach Dolmain, also in Carlow town, has scooped the title of best gastro pub. The Woodford Dolmen Hotel has won two awards: the best casual dining for its Plum Tree Bistro, while Alma Sheehan is shortlisted for the best restaurant manager.
More than 90,000 nominations were received in January during the first stage of the awards, where members of the public nominated their favourite establishments. Throughout March, the regional finals were held in Kildare, Monaghan, Limerick and Sligo, where the best restaurants, chefs and staff in each county were recognised for their hard work and dedication.
In addition to the regional awards, restaurants from each county will also compete in the national awards, which will be presented at next week’s ceremony. The national categories include Best Cocktail Experience, Best Private Dining and Club Restaurant, Best Cookery School, Best Seafood Experience and Best Digital Marketing
Best restaurant: Sha-Roe Bistro. Best chef: Henry Stone of Sha-Roe Bistro. Newcomer: Walter’s Bar & Grill. Restaurant manager: Alma Sheehan of Plum Tree Bistro. Hotel and guesthouse restaurant: The Cellar Restaurant at the Step House Hotel. Customer service: Lennons@Visual. Gastro pub: Teach Dolmain. Café: Birdcage Café, Bagenalstown. Pub of the year: Osbourne’s Bar, Clonegal. Best wine experience: Lord Bagenal Inn. World cuisine: New Moon Tandoori, Tullow. Best ‘Free From’: Basil Asian Street Food, Carlow. Best for kids: Tea Rooms at Duckett’s Grove. Local food hero: Eva Milka of Gaelic Escargot, Garryhill. Local food hero, Leinster: Fiona Falconer of Wild About, Fenagh. Best emerging Irish cuisine: Riverbank Restaurant, Tullow. Casual dining: Plum Tree Bistro.