2023 Georgina Campbell Irish Food & Hospitality Awards

Ireland’s Restaurant, Chef, Pub and Newcomer of the Year announced in celebration of Irish food and hospitality


From Ireland’s hospitality leaders, best hotels, fine dining and seafood to casual dining favourites and the most pet-friendly destination, winners of Georgina Campbell Irish Food & Hospitality Awards 2023 are annouced

Francis and John Brennan of Park Hotel Kenmare are joint recipients of Ireland’s ‘Hospitality Hero’ Award
Darina Allen & Rory O’Connell, Ballymaloe Cookery School, receive the ‘Movers & Shakers’ Award
Neighbourhood Naas is Restaurant of the Year
• Chef of the Year awarded to Angel Pirev, The Mustard Seed, Ballingarry, Co Limerick
The Parson’s Nose, Hillsborough, Co Down, announced Pub of the Year
Cashel House Hotel, Connemara, Co Galway is Ireland’s Pet Friendly Destination
• Family Friendly Hotel of the Year is Ocean Sands Hotel, Enniscrone, Co Sligo
• Newcomer of the Year title goes to Bramley Restaurant, Abbeyleix, Co Laois
• ‘Happy Place‘ Award for Vintage Tea Trips, Dublin
• Five selected for this year’s special Casual Dining awards group

10th October 2023: Representing the four corners of Ireland, the winners of the 2023 Georgina Campbell Irish Food & Hospitality Awards were announced at an event hosted by Bord Bia at their new Global Hub in Dublin

Celebrating 25 years in their current incarnation, the independent Georgina Campbell Awards are Ireland’s longest running food and hospitality awards. They recognise and honour Ireland’s standard-bearers in food and hospitality in Ireland with particular focus, this year, on genuine hospitality, consistency, innovation and good value. Also special tributes to some of the giants of Irish food and hospitality – and the brave newcomers who, against the odds, continue to delight with inspiring new businesses.

Seeking out the best
It’s been a joy to travel freely again this year but accommodation shortfalls (partly due to the continuing negative effects of short-term lets), short weeks, reduced hours, early kitchen closures, minimum 2-night stays and other restrictions related to staff shortages and high costs, notably energy costs, have been challenging to work around. As always, we have been seeking out genuine hospitality and those striving to give the best possible guest experience, ahead of convenience to the host business. Each year a theme emerges in the awards, reflecting the weight of nominations proposed by the assessment team. This year suggests a bit of a swing away from cities towards rural destinations and smaller towns, possibly reflecting post-pandemic preferences and/or a levelling up of standards. And words like unshowy, consistent, genuinely hospitable, customer-focused, and kind are typical of our nominations.

Closures and VAT
Despite everything we have gone through in recent years, Ireland’s food, tourism and hospitality continues to be an exciting and ever-developing story. Widespread closures were predicted as we came out of the pandemic, but the sheer resilience of the industry in the face of massive challenges is extraordinary. However, although new businesses continue to open at an astonishing rate, the losses are mounting and there is no doubt that raising the VAT rate will be the final nail in the coffin for many, especially for smaller businesses. The Guide supports a return to the 9% VAT rate, and that it should be permanent.

With sustainability a growing focus year on year, examples of good practice are increasing and becoming more diverse, and some especially interesting examples are included in our awards, including some especially impressive productive hotel gardens. Yet sometimes there’s a sense that small but effective meaures are being overlooked. Offering smaller portions or a choice of portion sizes, for example, could prevent a lot of waste - and have health benefits too.

Value for Money
Mixed experiences this year have included some surprising highlights (often including small details that make an experience memorable) and some unexpected disappointments - including high profile experiences where exorbitant prices (eg menus at €150+ with no alternative choices) indicate that respect for customers who are coping with the cost of living crisis appears to be missing. Menus at that level seem to say more about ego and personal ambition than hospitality – yet there are those, including several of our award-winners, who manage to combine top level fine dining with more community-friendly and family-friendly options and that is a very welcome development. The cost versus value debate continues and our 5-star hotel winner, in particular, is an example of high prices adding up to good value.

Fine Dining meets Casual Dining
With the line between fine dining and top level casual dining becoming increasingly blurred, our Casual Dining collection in particular is a good indication of the way trends are going. The smaller, owner-run restaurants, cafés and bakeries are our greatest strength at the moment – sometimes offering fine dining on one or two evenings a week - and this is where real quality and local character are to be found.

Sourcing and Provenance
Ongoing improvements in sourcing policies continue to be noted all around the country this year and it’s pleasing to see the Eat Local aspirations become more of a reality. The pandemic and the need to support our local communities has made provenance even more important to us all and - although cost cutting is also evident - it is good to see more establishments highlighting the origin of produce on their menus, thereby speeding up the move towards greater sustainability as well as supporting Irish suppliers and growing the future of Ireland as a food tourism destination. A national strategy seems to be lacking currently however, and leadership is needed.

The Irish Breakfast
The traditional Irish Breakfast as we know it virtually disappeared during the pandemic. But it is making a comeback and our popular Irish Breakfast Awards will be announced separately.

Georgina Campbell’s Ireland’s rigorous programme of anonymous assessment visits is a year-round process and winners are nominated solely by an independent assessment team.

Media inquiries: Georgina Campbell, Editor, Georgina Campbell’s Guides
E: info@ireland-guide.com
T: +353 (0)1 839 5972 / 086 2269727

Click here for full awards list

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