‘Wonderful’ Skibbereen eatery named Restaurant of the Year 2017

Discerning diners are in safe hands in West Cork as a Skibbereen eatery has been named Restaurant of the Year 2017.

Photo credit: From left: Deirdre McGlone, Harveys Point; James and Beryl Kearney, Viewmount House; Chef of the Year Sebastien Masi; Wade Murphy, 1826 Adare ; Ellen Somers, Good Things Café; Marc Gysling, Harveys Point; and Ann Marie Cohan, Country Choice. Picture: Paul Sherwood

Good Things @ Dillon’s Corner was presented with a top prize when the winners of the annual Georgina Campbell Awards for food and hospitality were announced yesterday.

“It’s the kind of place where even the most demanding know they are in safe hands. A wonderful destination,” the team of independent assessors said about the restaurant.

Chef Carmel Somers was praised for her selection of local produce and for the atmosphere in both her cafe and restaurant that doubles as a cookery school.

Top prizes were awarded to restaurants and eateries in Tipperary, Donegal, Cork, Dublin, and Galway.

Jack’s Coastguard Restaurant in Cromane, Co Kerry was awarded ‘Seafood Restaurant of the Year 2017’, with its “outstanding” service and location on the Ring of Kerry receiving a special mention by the judges.

“The cooking is excellent and everything is beautifully presented, with generous servings of lovely fresh local vegetables too.” The award for services to Irish food and hospitality was presented to Peter and Mary Ward of Country Choice, Nenagh, Co Tipperary for their contribution to Irish hospitality.

“Both have been instrumental, directly and indirectly, in educating people in Ireland about the value and importance of locally produced food,” the panel said.

The prize for Chef of the Year was awarded to Sebastien Masi at Pearl Brasserie in Dublin.

Speaking about the awards, Ms Campbell said the team of assessors experienced far too many disappointments at restaurants during the year.

“As anyone who spends time on the road knows, bad experiences are inevitable, even when things are getting better overall,” she said.

The judging panel found their least satisfactory experiences tended to happen when they dined at 4 and 5 star restaurants, a trend that has continued over the last few years, Ms Campbell said.

“Higher prices mean higher expectations of course, but the high level of dissatisfaction is often down to simple things that could easily be fixed at any level, plus a lack of hospitality which often means lack of a host and poor staff training.”

But despite “the dreary weather” throughout 2016, Ms Campbell said the panel found lots of restaurants serving up excellent food.

Overall food in Irish restaurants is improving, she said, “thanks to dedication at grassroots level and the ever-increasing availability of diverse small production foods throughout the country.”

Instead of using an online booking agency, Irish customers can get the best value by reserving directly with hotels, the panel found, but it urged hotels to work on providing customers with a booking system that is as easy to use as these websites.

The best of the best: Georgina Campbell Awards 2017

  • Pub of the Year:

    O’Dowds, Co Galway.

  • Hotel of the Year:

    Harvey’s Point, Co Donegal.

  • Outstanding Guest Experience:

    Ballyvolane House, Co Cork.

  • Host of the Year:

    Kathleen O’Sullivan, Seaview House Hotel, Co Cork.

  • Newcomer of the Year:

    Nook Café and Restaurant, Sligo.

  • Family Friendly Destination:

    Brigit’s Garden, Co Galway.

  • Pet Friendly Hotel of the Year:

    The Salty Dog, Co Down.

  • Ethnic Restaurant of the Year:

    Pickle, Dublin 2.

  • Café of the Year:

    An Fear Gorta/The Tea & Garden Rooms, Co Clare.

  • Natural Food Award:

    Burren Glamping, Co Clare.

  • B&B of the Year:

    Carbery Cottage Guest Lodge, Co Cork.

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