A modern Japanese restaurant in the heart of the city has been named the best restaurant in the nation’s capital at the 2019 ACT Hospitality Awards on Monday night (22 July) as Canberra’s top bars and restaurants came together to celebrate the best in the industry.
Raku, located on Bunda Street, beat out Sage Dining Rooms and OTIS Dining Hall to be named the ACT’s best restaurant.
Thirty-three awards were presented for the top hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars and industry workers from across the territory with Buvette named best wine list, The Dock awarded the best sporting entertainment venue and Molly awarded the best cocktail, lounge or small bar.
Michael Nguyen from Molly won bartender of the year while Agostini’s Francesco Balestrieri won chef of the year.
Popular nightclub venue Mooseheads was voted Canberra’s Best traditional pub, inn or tavern – a new category this year – and also placed second behind Kokomo’s in the late-night entertainment category.
Australian Hotels Association ACT general manager Anthony Brierley said Raku and Mooseheads were well-deserved winners in their categories.
We had the largest attendance at the awards in the past 10 years so it was great to have so many people from Canberra’s hospitality industry in the room,” Mr Brierley said.
“We are really spoilt for choice in terms of best restaurants and that category featured Sage Dining Rooms and OTIS Dining Hall. Raku got the chocolates at the end of the day in one of the hardest categories to judge.
“When judging an award category like that we had to make sure the criteria that we give to independent judges is bang-on. Raku, Sage and OTIS were all extremely close but I think we absolutely got it right.
“People can look at the results and agree these are deserved award winners.”
Mr Brierley said Mooseheads being awarded Canberra’s Best traditional pub, inn or tavern should remind locals that it’s not just a nightclub.
“I think sometimes we forget that Mooseheads is a great pub,” he said. “You can walk in there at midday on a Monday, get a beer, watch the racing, play a game of pool and get a steak.
“It is a fantastic pub and sometimes we think that it’s just the place you go to at 2 am in the morning. It is a ripper all-round joint and that was recognised in that category.”
Meanwhile, Doma Group took home six awards from the accommodation division with Pat Lonergan from Doma Hotels recognised as member of the year.
2019 AHA ACT Hospitality & Tourism Award Winners
Best Food and Beverage Talent (General Division) – Patrick Vance from Badger & Co
Best Food and Beverage Talent (Accommodation Division) – Vincent Maulio from QT Canberra
Best Sales and Marketing Talent – Brooke Ivins from 88MPH
Best Finance Talent (Accommodation Division) – Anh Rutherford from QT Canberra
Best Revenue Talent (Accommodation Division) – Katie Smith from QT Canberra
AICR Receptionist of the Year (Accommodation Division) – Refat Bin Jahangir from Hyatt Hotel Realm
Best Environmental Practices – Little National Hotel
Best Traditional Pub, Inn or Tavern – Mooseheads Pub and Nightclub
Best Wine List – Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar
Best Late Night Entertainment Venue – Kokomo’s
Best TAB venue – Ducks Nuts Bar & Grill
Best Sporting Entertainment Venue – The Dock
Best Cocktail, Lounge or Small Bar – Molly
Best Conference and Events Venue – Hotel Realm
Best Beer Quality (Draught) – The Durham Castle Arms Pub and The Duxton
Best Beer Quality (Craft/Local) – BentSpoke Brewing Co.
Bartender of the Year – Michael Nguyen from Molly
Best New or Redeveloped Venue (Accommodation Division) – Hotel Realm
Best New or Redeveloped Venue (General Division) – Fenway Public House
Mid-range Hotel of the Year – Brassey Hotel
Superior Hotel of the Year – East Hotel
Apartment/Suite Hotel of the Year – East Hotel
Deluxe Hotel of the Year – Jamala Wildlife Lodge
Industry Rising Star (Accommodation Division – James Lightbody from Hotel Realm
Best Casual Dining Venue – The District
Best Italian Resturant – Molto Italian
Chef of the Year – Francesco Balestrieri from Agostini’s
Best Resturant – Raku
Best Burger – Young & Frisky
Best Steak – The Duxton
Pub Eatery – 1882 Bar & Grill
Member of the Year – Pat Lonergan from Doma Hotels
John Press Award – Lala Hospitality Group