Cork vegetarian eatery is Ireland’s top restaurant

Café Paradiso in Cork has been named the best-rated fine dining establishment in Ireland by theTravellers’ Choice Restaurants awards.

It is the only vegetarian restaurant to win a top country prize in the 2015 worldwide awards announced yesterday by the travel site Tripadvisor.

The awards honour travellers’ favourite fine dining establishments worldwide, based on millions of reviews and opinions on TripAdvisor.

This year, Café Paradiso claims the top spot in Ireland for the first time, ahead of two restaurants in Dublin — Chapter One and Sabor Brazil — in second and third place respectively.

Geraldine O’Toole, the co-owner of Café Paradiso said: “This is a unique accolade in that it is based solely on diners’ feedback, and for that reason all of us in Paradiso are honoured and chuffed to be considered the number-one-rated restaurant in Ireland by local and visiting diners.”

Chef Denis Cotter was equally excited at winning Ireland’s top award: “The thing about Tripadvisor is that it is based on reviews on the people who eat in restaurants and not on what the critics are saying. That is what makes this award so special.”

Mr Cotter is on record as being quite critical of some aspects of Tripadvisor’s feedback but adds: “This does not alter the fact that this is based on a very high percentage of positive reviews from our customers.”

He was surprised but equally pleased to learn that Café Paradiso, which celebrates its 22nd anniversary this month, is the first vegetarian restaurant to win a top country award.

“We sometimes forget we are a vegetarian restaurant,” he said. “It was always my ambition that it would be successful in the mainstream, despite being vegetable based.”

Tripadvisor spokesman James Kay said: “Given how competitive the restaurant industry is, it is a fantastic achievement for Café Paradiso to have claimed the number-one spot in Ireland for the first time. Our awards are based on the reviews given by travellers on Tripadvisor which demonstrates the high standard of consistency the team there have been able to deliver day in, day out for customers.”

The coveted title of number-one restaurant in the world goes to Spain’s Martín Berasategui in Lasarte, near San Sebastián.

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