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The Ulster Regional Awards for the 2019 Irish Restaurant Awards took place in the Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan, on Tuesday the 12th of March, where the country’s leading chefs, restaurants and pubs were recognised for their hard work and dedication.


Over 450 restaurant owners and staff attended the second of four regional events on Tuesday evening where the top establishments in each county were named.


The awards covered a wide range of venues and the winners from each of Ulster’s nine counties were selected from the following categories: Best Casual Dining, Best Emerging Irish Cuisine, Best Kids Size Me, Best ‘Free From’, Best World Cuisine, Best Restaurant Manager, Best Wine Experience, Pub of the Year, Best Café, Best Customer Service, Best Gastro Pub, Best Hotel & Guesthouse Restaurant, Best Newcomer, Best Chef and Best Restaurant. There was also a special Regional award for Ulster’s Local Food Hero.

Speaking at the awards, Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) said: “Now in their 11th year, the Irish Restaurant Awards continue to showcase the incredible food that is on offer in the cafes, pubs and restaurants of Ireland, as well as recognising the teams behind these establishments and the hard work and dedication that they put in. With well over 80,000 nominations received from the public this year, the standard for the judging process was higher than ever.


Ireland may be a small country, but it boasts everything from fine dining to high quality gastropubs, from the comfort of traditional Irish food to exploring the world though exotic world cuisine, the Irish restaurant industry has much to offer. We have an appreciation for what we eat and where our food comes from, as well as the dedication of those working in the food industry”.


Sean Redmond Chairperson of the Monaghan Food Network noted “It is the first time that the Ulster Event was held outside of Northern Ireland and we were privileged to host the event in Monaghan. Monaghan is now well regarded as a Top 5 Food Destination in the country and this was another opportunity to showcase the strength and talent in the local area. We look forward to continuing to strive for excellence in all our local cafes, bars, hotels and restaurants and congratulations to all the winners and participants on the night. A special mention to our Regional Food Hero Trevor Connolly who was selected due to his ongoing work in promoting Monaghan as a Food Destination and working with the service industry to help bring new projects onboard each year”.


Those who won at county level will progress to the All-Ireland event on the 13th May, where they will compete for the Regional and All-Ireland titles.


Best Restaurant – Sponsored by Tindall’s Wine Merchant

  • Monaghan: Courthouse Restaurant

Best Chef – Sponsored by Nisbets

  • Monaghan: Conor Mee of Courthouse Restaurant

Best Restaurant Manager – Sponsored by AIB MS

  • Monaghan: Shane Treanor of Porky’s Restaurant at The Squealing Pig

Best Customer Service – Sponsored by Lockton

  • Monaghan: Snaffles Restaurant at Castle Leslie

Best Hotel and Guesthouse Restaurant – Sponsored by BWG Food Service

  • Monaghan: Snaffles Restaurant at Castle Leslie

Best Gastro Pub – Sponsored by Elavon

  • Monaghan: Andy’s Bar & Restaurant

Best Café – Sponsored by Illy

  • Monaghan: Dinkin’s Home Bakery & Cafe

Pub of the Year – Sponsored by Jameson Caskmates

  • Monaghan: Coach House & Olde Bar

Best Wine Experience – Sponsored by Gilbeys

  • Monaghan: The Fiddlers Elbow

Best Newcomer

  • Monaghan: Kinga’s Café

Best World Cuisine

  • Monaghan: Eastern Balti

Best “Free From” – Sponsored by Peroni Gluten Free

  • Monaghan: Neighbourhood

Best Kids Size Me

  • Monaghan: Meeting House

Best Local Food Hero – Sponsored by Rewarding Times

  • Monaghan: Trevor Connolly

Best Local Food Hero – Ulster

  • Trevor Connolly

Best Emerging Irish Cuisine – Sponsored by Odaios

  • Monaghan: Andy’s Bar and Restaurant

Best Casual Dining – Sponsored by Just Eat

  • Monaghan: The Batch Loaf