Public can have its tasty say in inaugural Great Places to Eat Awards
LET'S face it, when it comes to eating out, we're all experts these days - and arguably we're all food critics too.
We eat out much more than we once did, and we like to share our experiences, not just by word of mouth, but usually via social media (who hasn't taken a picture in the last week of a dish set in front of them?).
And we all like to think we know the difference between good food and great food - whether we're out for a humble pizza, stopping off for an old fashioned fish 'n chips, or out with a corporate guest or loved-one at a high-end restaurant.
So you've been there, right? Now it's time to tell a wider audience just how good those last eating experiences were.
The eating-out industry in Northern Ireland sustains 60,000 jobs and also helps support the region's agriculture industry by sourcing as many of their ingredients as possible from the farming sector.
And to celebrate this, the Irish News today launches its Great Places to Eat Awards in association with Food NI and Henderson Foodservice.
It's a very simple premise, because YOU decide what your favourite eatery is.
Between now and the closing date of noon on Monday October 28, we're inviting readers to vote for their favourite places in these categories:
:: Casual dining restaurant
:: Fine dining restaurant
:: ‘Free from' restaurant
:: Café/coffee shop
:: Pub/gastro pub
:: Hotel restaurant
:: Sunday lunch restaurant
:: Brunch restaurant
:: Family friendly restaurant
:: World cuisine restaurant
:: Social enterprise café
:: Visitor attraction café
:: Best place to eat local produce
Michel Shirlow of FoodNI/ Taste of Ulster said: "Food in Northern Ireland has evolved dramatically over the past decade, and we have earned the enviable award of World's Best Food Destination for 2018/19.
"We have always had world class ingredients, and now these have been brought to the fore by talented chefs.
"We're excited about this opportunity for people to vote in these inaugural Irish News Great Places to Eat Awards, and I hope people get out dining - and then get nominating for their favourites across any of the categories."
Cathal Geoghegan, managing director of Henderson Foodservice, said: “The hospitality sector in Northern Ireland is booming. With so many great flavours, cuisines, cooking techniques and innovation coming into play in the eating out market, it's an exciting time for the public to highlight the best we've got.
"It's a competitive market with so many places to choose from to eat out; the true value has to come from delivering the overall experience through ambience, friendly service as well as great, tasty food.
Irish News marketing manager John Brolly added: "We're urging the public to show their passion for food and vote for their favourite places to eat.
"Everyone has an extensive food knowledge, so here is a fantastic opportunity to show your support for the places you love.
"Places to eat are always a key topic of conservation. We love to tell others when we discover somewhere which combines great food, service and atmosphere.
"So now it's time to celebrate and recognise the great range of outlets that we have across the country, from Belfast pubs to coffee shops in Enniskillen, to the eateries on the North Coast and everything in between."
From today readers have the chance to tell us where is GREAT to eat. Simply VOTE on irishnews.com/restaurant
You can now vote up to noon on Monday October 28, and the winners will be revealed exclusively revealed in the Irish News on Tuesday October 29.