Dublin restaurant Etto takes top spot at Irish Restaurant awards

Dublin’s Etto has been crowned Ireland’s Restaurant of the Year 2018.

The winning restaurant, located on Merrion Row, has taken home the award for Best Casual Dining Experience for the past four years. The restaurant also took home Best Customer Service award while head chef Barry Sun Jian took home the award for Best Chef in Dublin at the awards run by the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) earlier this week. Etto was opened in 2013 by Simon Barrett and Liz Matthews. Announcing the award, the RAI said: “Etto offers a daily changing, seasonal menu, served in a relaxed and informal environment and describe its dishes as honest and simple, using ingredients from local producers and suppliers where possible.” The prestigious award for All Ireland Best Chef went to Jess Murphy, head chef and co-owner of Kai Café Restaurant in Galway. Kai was also singled out for Best Digital Marketing.

The awards are now in their 10th year, received more than 90,000 online nominations were received for Irish restaurants and other hospitality businesses. Along with the public vote and votes from industry experts, winners were decided by judging panel assessment at regional level and by mystery inspections at National level. More than 1,000 restaurateurs, chefs and industry figures attended the All Ireland finals of the awards in Dublin on Monday night. A team of chefs, including several previous winners of the Best Chef title, cooked a six-course dinner for the finale at the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road. The kitchen team included well known chefs included Gary O’Hanlon, of ‘The Restaurant’ fame and Danni Barry, whose restaurant, Clenaghans, took the Best Newcomer national title. Bistro in Waterford, and Elena Martinez of Crover House Hotel.

Liam Edwards, president of the RAI, said: “As an industry, the restaurateurs, pub-owners and entrepreneurs of Ireland continue to defy the odds. You strive to create jobs, expand upon Ireland’s understanding of food standards and world cuisine, all while maintaining exemplary customer service. Your support of Irish produce has never been greater and for this you should be wholeheartedly applauded.”


Best Gastro Pub:

Dublin – The Legal Eagle

Connaught – Cronin’s Sheebeen

Leinster – Lennons Gastro Pub

Munster – Moorings

Ulster – The Brewer’s House

All-Ireland – The Legal Eagle

Best Hotel & Guesthouse Restaurant:

Dublin – The Marker Hotel

Connaught – Wilde’s at The Lodge

Leinster – Ballyfin Demesne

Munster – Park Hotel Kenmare

Ulster – Newforge House

All-Ireland – Park Hotel Kenmare

Best Newcomer winners:

Dublin – Michael’s Mount Merrion

Connaught – Hooked

Leinster – Barrows Keep

Munster – Dooks Fine Foods Fethard

Ulster – Clenaghans

All-Ireland – Clenaghans

Best Cafe winners:

Dublin – Honey Truffle

Connaught – Pudding Row

Leinster – Strandfield Café

Munster – Maison Gourmet

Ulster – The Jolly Sandwich Bar

All-Ireland – Pudding Row

Best Wine Experience winners:

Dublin – Piglet Wine Bar

Connaught – Aniar Restaurant and Boutique Cookery School

Leinster – La Touche Wines 4 U

Munster – The Black Pig

Ulster – Ox Cave

All-Ireland – Piglet Wine Bar

Best World Cuisine winners:

Dublin – Nightmarket

Connaught – MoMA Restaurant

Leinster – Pink Salt Indian Restaurant

Munster – Palmento

Ulster – Tuk Tuk Asian Bistro

All-Ireland – Nightmarket

Best Kids Size Me winners:

Dublin – Michael’s Mount Merrion

Connaught – Gather Restaurant

Leinster – Platform Pizza Bar

Munster – GROW HQ Café and Food Education Centre

Ulster – Amici

All-Ireland – Michaels Mount Merrion

Best Local Food Hero winners:

Dublin – Jenny & Patrick McNally of McNally Family Farm

All-Ireland – Mark Murphy & Mark Doe of The Apprentice Chef Programme

Best Casual Dining winners:

Dublin – Hey Donna

Connaught – Gather Restaurant

Leinster – Truffles Restaurant & Wine Bar

Munster – Pilgrim’s

Ulster – Shu Restaurant Belfast

All-Ireland – Pilgrim’s

Best Emerging Irish Cuisine winners:

Dublin – Craft Restaurant

Connaught – Tartare Café + Wine Bar

Leinster – Kernel Bar & Kitchen

Munster – Sage Restaurant

Ulster – 28 Darling St

All-Ireland – Craft Restaurant

Best Restaurant Manager winners:

Dublin – Talha Pasha of Michael’s Mount Merrion

Connaught – Lee Hanifa of The Cottage Restaurant

Leinster – Joanne Harding of the Aldridge Lodge

Munster – Sally O’Brien of Farmgate Restaurant and Country Store

Ulster – Saul McConnell of NOBLE. Holywood

All-Ireland – Sally O’Brien of Farmgate Restaurant and Country Store

Best ‘Free From’ winners:

Dublin – I Monelli

Connaught – Sweet Beat Café

Leinster – Zucchini’s Restaurant

Munster – Nutrilicious Food Co

Ulster – The Dirty Duck

All-Ireland – Sweet Beat Café

Best Customer Service winners:

Dublin – Etto

Connaught – House of Plates

Leinster – Roundwood House

Munster – The Mustard Seed at Echo Lodge

Ulster – Harvey’s Point

All-Ireland – Harvey’s Point

Pub of the Year winners:

Dublin – Walshs Stoneybatter

Connaught – Flynns Bar

Leinster – Morrisseys

Munster – Murphy’s Bar Brandon

Ulster – Tomneys Bar

All-Ireland – Walshs Stoneybatter

Best Chef winners:

Dublin – Barry Sun Jian of Etto

Connaught – Jess Murphy of Kai Restaurant

Leinster – Sam Moody at Ballyfin Demesne

Munster – Aidan McGrath of Wild Honey Inn

Ulster – Chris McGowan of Wine & Brine

All-Ireland – Jess Murphy of Kai Restaurant

Best Restaurant winners:

Dublin – Etto

Connaught – Cian’s on Bridge Street

Leinster – TwoCooks Restaurant & Wine Bar

Munster – Mews Restaurant

Ulster – The Muddlers Club

All-Ireland – Etto

National winners:

Best Private Dining & Club Restaurant – Locks Windsor Terrace

Best Cocktail Experience – The Sidecar at The Westbury

Best Cookery School – MacNean House & Restaurant

Best Seafood Experience – Klaw Seafood Restaurant

Best Digital Marketing – Kai Restaurant



Restaurants being urged to charge ‘no-shows’

The Restaurants Association of Ireland is urging restaurants to take a non-refundable deposit when customers are making a booking to guard against ‘no-shows’.

The Association is calling on its members to take the deposits as a way to discourage the practice of people booking tables and then not turning up. According to Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the association, the problem was “rampant across the country” during the Christmas period, with a marked increase in no-shows. In an attempt to curb the issue, the association is encouraging members to take non-refundable deposits which would then be deducted from the table’s final bill or forfeited if the party doesn’t turn up.

The association has proposed a €20 deposit on tables of more than four but according to Mr Cummins, the Competition Authority will not allow the association to set the rate and they are encouraging members to define their own policy in terms of both the price and the sizes of parties charged based on the size of their own operation.

Mr Cummins pointed out that bookings for tickets for concerts and the cinema are forfeited if people do not turn up. “The industry needs to do something about this. We need to stamp out ‘no-shows’. People will have to give advance notice of 24 to 48 hours if they are going to cancel.” Mr Cummins pointed out that bookings for tickets for concerts and the cinema are forfeited if people do not turn up. “The industry needs to do something about this. We need to stamp out ‘no-shows’. People will have to give advance notice of 24 to 48 hours if they are going to cancel.

‘No-shows’ can be extremely costly for restaurants, in terms of both staff and produce bought in. Mr Cummins used one example when speaking to Newstalk this morning of one restaurant which had experienced the ‘no show’ of a party of 20 which was one-third of the restaurant’s capacity and had been very costly for them.