By Paul O’Malley
Restaurants from Ballina enjoyed a feast of success last week when the Irish Restaurant Awards 2022 were announced for Mayo.
Out of 16 categories, six winners are based in the Ballina area.
The overall results put Ballina at the top of the food chain in terms of Mayo cuisine, with four winners from the Westport area, two from Castlebar, and one each from Achill, Louisburgh, Lecanvey and Ballinrobe.
The Best Restaurant Manager award, sponsored by AIB Merchant Services, went to Eva Casey who is the restaurant manager of Belleek Castle And Jack Fenns Cafe And Bistro. The Best Wine Experience, sponsored by Bibendum Ireland, went to Mount Falcon Estate.
The Best World Cuisine, sponsored by San Pellegrino, went to The Everest Nepalese and Indian restaurant at Dillon Terrace in Ballina, while the Best Casual Dining award, sponsored by Musgrave Marketplace, went to Poacher Restaurant located on Market Square in the North Mayo capital.
There was further good news for Ballina when the Ice House won the Best Hotel and Guesthouse Restaurant award, sponsored by Frylite, while the Best Customer Service award, sponsored by Restaurant-Insurance.ie provided by Dolmen, went to the Cot & Cobble on Clare Street, completing a fantastic half-dozen for Ballina.
Savoir Fare from Westport won the Best Sustainable Practices award while Friends Bistro in the town won the Free From award. This Must Be The Place was named Best Café and An Port Mor was named Mayo’s Best Restaurant.
The Dining Room and Barry Ralph of House of Plates in Castlebar won Best Emerging Irish Cuisine and Best Chef respectively.
The O’Malley family from Achill Island won Local Food Hero for their Achill Sea Salt product, Seven Wanders from Louisburgh were named the Best Newcomer, Staunton’s in Lecanvey was named Pub of the Year and Flannery’s Bar And Restaurant, Ballinrobe was named Best Gastro Pub.
Each of the county winners now competes for the regional finals (Connacht). The Irish Restaurant Awards All-Ireland Final will be held on Monday, September 19, in the Convention Centre in Dublin. It is the first in-person final in three years.