In case you took a hiatus from social media last night, you missed a lot of buzz from this year's Irish Restaurant Awards. Organised by the Restaurants Association of Ireland, it's a fairly drawn out process, involving provincial awards ceremonies in the months beforehand, with Dublin and overall national winners (out of each of the provincial winners) announced on the main night.
The big winner last night was Etto, who took home Restaurant of the Year for both Dublin and Ireland, Dublin Chef of the Year for Barry Sun Jian, and Best Customer Service in Dublin. All completely deserved if you ask us (you can read our Etto Once Over here). We're eagerly awaiting their new restaurant Uno Mas, due to open later this year, and would put a sizeable sum of money on that bagging next year's "Best Newcomer" award.
The other big winners were Michael's in Mount Merrion, who took home Best Newcomer, Best Kids Size Me, and Best Restaurant Manager for Talha Pasha. Chef Gareth Smith took over neighbourhood Italian Michael's just over a year ago and quickly turned it into a seafood destination, with diners travelling from near and far to eat fish that's often been caught just hours before. They've also been gaining press for their efforts to get children eating more fish.
We were very happy to see Piglet Wine Bar take home Best Wine Experience, after being overlooked in other awards this year, and the brilliant Jenny & Patrick McNally of McNally Organic Farm won Best Local Food Hero. You can find their organic vegetables on restaurant and café menus across the city, or buy direct from the farm or at their market stalls in Leopardstown, Temple Bar and Dún Laoghaire.
The other Dublin winners were Hey Donna (Best Casual Dining), The Marker Hotel (Best Hotel Restaurant, Honey Truffle (Best Café), Walsh's Stoneybatter (Pub of the Year), I Monelli (Best 'Free From') and Locks Windsor Terrace (Best Private Dining & Club).
Loads of sore heads in kitchens all over the country this morning, and loads to add to your restaurant bucket list.