Michelin-starred restaurant Aniar named best in country
IT'S been a great year for Galway restaurant Aniar.
Having secured its first Michelin star last month, now it has now been bestowed with the title of Ireland's best restaurant.
Aniar, located on Lower Dominick Street, in Galway city, defeated stiff competition to win the accolade at the seventh annual National Hospitality Awards.
The result was another coup for owners JP McMahon and Drigin Gaffey, who have seen the restaurant go from strength to strength since it opened 14 months ago.
"It's absolutely fantastic to be able to bring these awards to the west," Mr McMahon told the Irish Independent.
The key to the restaurant's success was "perseverance" despite the difficult economic climate, according to the restaurateur.
"When we first opened Aniar, we wondered if we were going to be able to do this," said Mr McMahon.
All the food on the menu is sourced locally and diners enjoy being treated to the experience as well as the meal, he added.
The other big winner was one of Dublin's top eateries, Rasam in Glasthule, which was awarded best ethnic restaurant.
It's the choice of the likes of Pat Kenny and Miriam O'Callaghan and was also where the IMF went to dine when they first arrived in Dublin.
It is operated by Nisheeth Tak. "We have had the same chef for eight years, a happy staff and a cosy atmosphere," Mr Tak said of his success.
The title of best hotel went to Ballyfin Demesne in Co Laois while publican Charlie Chawke's Goat Grill in Dublin won best sporting pub.
Cafe en Seine took home the prize of best pub ahead of other Dublin locations The Bank and Gilbert & Wright's of Dun Laoghaire.
Emily Hourican, editor of 'Hospitality Ireland' magazine which runs the awards, said that the standard was "excellent".