The Bord Bia Just Ask Restaurant of the Year 2016 has been named, beating off tough competition from many top establishments across the country.
Rua Deli, Bakery & Café in Castlebar, Co Mayo won the accolade, which encourages chefs and restaurants across the country to engage with local suppliers and promote them to customers.
With their menu and deli consistently featuring local meats, cheeses, jams, chutneys and vegetables, they were selected as national winners.
The original Café Rua and family business was established 1995 by Ann McMahon on Castlebar’s New Antrim street.
The popular café is now run by Ann’s children Aran and Colleen, and in 2007 they opened ‘Rua’, a second location on Spencer Street, which also includes a delicatessen and bakery.
A Restaurant of the Month is also selected every year by Bord Bia and renowned food writer Georgina Campbell, with Rua claiming the 2016 overall top spot.
Commenting on the restaurant’s sourcing, Aran McMahon from Rua said: “We use numerous blackboards to announce various dishes of the day and afford respect to proudly named suppliers.
“Local Mayo farmers supply our beef, lamb and free range pork, and we source our fish from six different seafood providers on the west coast.
“Local herbs and vegetables are supplied by our local rural training scheme, our own polytunnel, and other local suppliers.”
To coincide with the announcement, Bord Bia also revealed new research which indicated that Irish people are supportive of local foods.
More than three quarters (76%) of respondents said that they would be more inclined to visit a restaurant which actively promotes and serves local produce, with 67% citing that they would choose a dish containing local produce over imported food when dining out.
Some 88% would like to see local suppliers listed on a menu when dining out.
Commenting on the research, Maureen Gahan, Bord Bia said: “We’re delighted to see that consumers are increasingly proactive about selecting local restaurants and seeking information about where the produce on the menu originates from.
“It shows an appreciation of our wonderful produce and culinary expertise.
“The strong research results show it’s a win-win for restaurants to promote their suppliers, as customers are now actively choosing local foods when they can.
“We would encourage all other restaurants interested in taking part to get in touch as we are happy to help provide guidance on promoting local foods.’”