Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023

Riva Del Sole Resort & Spa: Best Resort Restaurant and Bar Experience 2023 - Italy Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 Most Innovative Traditional Swiss Restaurant 2023 - Lucerne Located in one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Lucerne’s old town, Bündnerland Luzern offers space for up to 80 guests over three rustic, winding floors. The late Middle Ages seeps out of every slanted angle and gable of the restaurant’s old half-timbered building, which even features the original stable door, enabling it to blend in perfectly with the rest of the city’s stunning medieval architecture. The pride and joy of award-winning young chef and owner, Fabian Dumitrache, Bündnerland Luzern offers the perfect fusion of traditional and modern in a unique gastro dining experience to be savoured.

Sofi Parry, Senior Editor Phone: +44 (0) 203 970 0018 Website: About the Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 LUXlife is proud to announce the return of the Restaurant and Bar Awards for the seventh consecutive year! This annual awards programme showcases those who stand out within the hospitality industry. From the cocktail bar to the fine dining establishment, the Restaurant and Bar Awards 2023 are the perfect place to be recognised for your successes. The 2023 edition of the Restaurant and Bar Awards once again aims to shine a light on the best eateries around the world. We understand just how challenging recent years have been for this industry, and so we operate an open-voting policy whereby relevant businesses around the globe are welcome to participate and achieve well-deserved recognition. Winning an award is one of the best ways to demonstrate your success and attract new customers - who doesn’t want to be an award winner? The Restaurant and Bar sector is indeed a financial powerhouse and important component of many social lifestyles. Having adapted and overcome many difficulties during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown periods, this sector has embraced new innovative methods to manage and deliver those services customers sorely missed. From the small local eatery to the flourishing family-run restaurant chain, there is an abundance of industry excellence to celebrate. 4. Bündnerland Luzern: Most Innovative Traditional Swiss Restaurant 2023 - Lucerne 8. Unlimited Beverage: Craft Beverage Company of the Year 2023 – South East Asia 10. The Smokehouse: Most Family-Friendly Smokehouse Restaurant 2023 - Norfolk 12. Ice Cream Hut: Ice Cream Parlor Franchise of the Year 2023 - Southeast USA 14. The Church: Restaurant of the Year 2023 - Sandviken 16. Italo's Deli: Best Family-Run Restaurant 2023 - Cape Town 18. Chez Sónia: Best Private Chef (Portugal): Sónia Melo & Most Memorable Private Dining Experience: Sónia Melo 20. Sinbad Restaurant: Best Kofta Kebab 2023 22. La Villa Mahana: Most Romantic Restaurant 2023 - Bora Bora 24. La Paella de Su: Best Traditional Paella Restaurant 2023 - Barcelona 26. Riva del Sole Resort & Spa: Best Resort Restaurant and Bar Experience 2023 - Italy 28. Santo Wines: Best Wine Tourism Experience – Santorini 30. Barons Eden at Hoar Cross Hall: Best Contemporary Fine Dining Experience 2023 - Staffordshire 31. Noel’s Bar and Restaurant: Most Creative Mediterranean Inspired Restaurant 2023 - Birmingham 32. Maggie’s Restaurant Sliema: Most Authentic Mediterranean Restaurant 2023 - Malta 33. Premium Wagyu Mikuranomori: Best Premium Japanese Beef Yakiniku Restaurant - Kanagawa Contents

34. Cafe Du Tilleul: Best Upscale Contemporary Dining Experience 2023 - Vaud 35. Pho Aroi: Best Vietnamese Restaurant 2023 - Bangkok 36. Mafate Cafe: Best Homemade Focused Coffeeshop 2023 - Reunion Island 37. herBar: Best Healthy Food & Beverage Bar - Budapest 38. Veldon’s Seafarer: Best Traditional Irish Pub & Seafood Restaurant 2023 - County Galway 39. La Poissonnerie: Best French-Style Seafood Restaurant & Fishmongers 2023 - Vietnam 40. Mutt's Eastbluff: High-End Cocktail Bar of the Year 2023 - Southern California 41. Gelato Ladies: Dessert Restaurant of the Year 2023 – Estonia & Leading Specialists in Italian- Style Gelato 2023 - Estonia 42. Colonel Saab: Best Upscale Indian Restaurant 2023 – Central London 43. Da Steak Hoose: Steakhouse of the Year 2023 - Scotland 44. Sushi Take: Best Traditional Sushi Restaurant 2023 - Tokyo 45. Anstruther Fish Bar: Fish & Chips Shop of the Year 2023 - Fife 46. Cafe Piazza: Best Artisan Italian Café 2023 - St Louis 47. Pho 90: Best Family South East Asia Cuisine Restaurant 2023 - GTA 48. Hello Oriental: Best Newcomer in Asian Food & Drink Retail 2023 - North West England 49. Paprika Restaurant: Best Traditional Hungarian Restaurant 2023 - West Wales 51. Little Savanna: Most Authentic Steakhouse 2023 - North Island 52. Indiana Foodways Alliance: Best Food Promotion NPO 2023 - Midwest USA 53. Selva: Best Authentic Latin America Dining Experience - Iceland 54. Barons Eden: Best Luxury Spa & Hotels Collection 2023 – Midlands 55. The Hummingbird: Best Upscale Dining Venue 2023 - Hertfordshire 56. Matsu: Best Fine Contemporary Dining Experience 2023 – San Diego County 57. The Artist Patisserie: Best Luxury Dessert Shop 2023 - Scotland 58. Amano Family Farm: Best Japanese BBQ Restaurant 2023 - Hokkaido 59. Cake Snob: Best Occasion Dessert Bakery 2023 - St. Louis 60. The Indus Restaurant & Bar Conisbrough: Indian Restaurant of the Year 2023 – South Yorkshire 61. NQ64 Arcade Bar Soho: Best Experiential Cocktail Bar 2023 - West London 62. Dalchini Restaurant & Bar: Indian Restaurant of the Year 2023 - Doha 63. Le CollectiveM: Best Hospitality Communications Agency 2023 – USA 64. SOPHID RESTAURANT: Most Picturesque Dining Experience - Karpathos 65. WBO @ Rivertree Uno: Best Independent Modern European Bistro 2023 - Malaysia 66. Momiji LLC: Best Yakiniku Style Restaurant 2023 – Chiba 67. Mariposa Negra SL: Most Innovative Cocktail Bar 2023 - Spain 68. Omar Khayam Restaurant: Best Casual Indian Restaurant 2023 – West Midlands & LUX Lifetime Achievement Award 2023

4 | LUXlife Magazine - Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 Most Innovative Traditional Swiss Restaurant 2023 - Lucerne

Fabian Dumitrache’s passions lie in the Graubünden mountains, the city of Lucerne, and, of course, cuisine. After several years of cooking in a grand hotel in Flims and being the youngest ‘smutje’ of all time on the MS Europa II cruise ship, as well as a former member of the Swiss national team of chefs, he soon decided that his true desire was to offer his favourite dishes to his favourite city. So, with a leap of faith, Fabian and his team were able to take over the empty, rural restaurant at Eisengasse 15 in Lucerne’s old town. Now, locals and tourists alike can experience alpine cosiness and the delicious flavours of Switzerland that are made a reality thanks to Fabian’s creative and specialist experimentation with the freshest of ingredients. This is done from the restaurant’s recently modernised kitchen which has been brought up-to-date with the latest technology, ensuring the team’s efficiency and giving the menu a real kick. This menu is graced by a variety of delicious traditionally Swiss dishes, which can be available vegetarian and vegan on request, including pizokel (a vegetarian dish made out of curd dough scraped into thick pieces with cream from Molki Stans, Bündner mountain cheese, and vegetables, with fried chicken breast strips), maluns (a vegetarian dish made out of potato dough dumplings with Bündner mountain cheese and homemade applesauce), and capuns (spaetzli dough filled with bacon, salsiz, and raw ham coated with chard in a hay sauce, cooked with Bündner mountain cheese and Bündnerfleisch strips). Notably, the restaurant also offers the ultimate Swiss dish, The Three Alliances, which – you guessed it – features all three: pizokel, maluns, and capuns. With courage and innovation, Fabian’s mouth-watering dishes come to life, with vegetarian and vegan options available as well as gluten-free, so everyone is welcome to experience the delightful tastes of Bündnerland Luzern. The team are able to freshly bake bread, including gluten-free bread, in 10 minutes, as well as serve a range of gluten-free meals such as the appetizer, Fabian’s Mici, which is baked beef sticks with raclette and a mild mustard dip, a favourite dish of Fabian from his childhood with Swiss influence. One guest couldn’t get enough of this dish, saying, “A fabulous way to start my culinary visit in Lucerne. Fabian’s Mici was a delightful appetizer and meal; the bread was so perfect to accompany the glass of lovely Zurich Weiss white wine. Ambiance was genuine.” These gloriously traditional dishes appear on the menu alongside a range of burgers, salads, cheese fondues, soups, flatbreads, and more. Then come the classics: beef tenderloin in the form of young Swiss premium Located in one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Lucerne’s old town, Bündnerland Luzern offers space for up to 80 guests over three rustic, winding floors. The late Middle Ages seeps out of every slanted angle and gable of the restaurant’s old half-timbered building, which even features the original stable door, enabling it to blend in perfectly with the rest of the city’s stunning medieval architecture. The pride and joy of award-winning young chef and owner, Fabian Dumitrache, Bündnerland Luzern offers the perfect fusion of traditional and modern in a unique gastro dining experience to be savoured.

6 | LUXlife Magazine - Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 cattle served on a hot stone for self-cooking with three different dips, hashbrowns, and lettuce; pork entrecôte aged on the bone, also served on a hot stone, with three different dips, market vegetables, and fried pizokel; bratwurst pork sausage aged on the bone with onion sauce, fried potatoes, and lettuce; and breaded pork schnitzel gratinated with tomatoes and Bündner mountain cheese with a leaf salad and hashbrowns. Then for those who like to end their meal with something sweet, Bündnerland Luzern offers a variety of decadent Swiss desserts to leave one feeling satisfied. All of these desserts feature quality fresh cream provided by small Swiss dairy company, Molki Stans, as well as ice cream. First on the list is the Kaiserschmarrn from Graubünden, without sultanas but with cinnamon, almonds, and homemade applesauce. Also available are caramel patties, and warm white and dark chocolate cake, baked fresh in about eight minutes. Last but certainly not least, guests can opt for just ice cream, whether vanilla, chocolate, marzipan sour cherry, café crème, chocolat blanc croquant, strawberry, lemon, raspberry, or plum. Just the sound of these dishes may have your mouth watering, and this highly appetising offering of Bündnerland Luzern is in fact awardwinning. No stranger to an accolade, Bündnerland Luzern was named Best of Swiss Gastro 2022 (https://, being the only restaurant to achieve this title in that year, as well as only the third restaurant ever to bring this coveted first prize to Lucerne. Now, the restaurant celebrates more success with its recognition within LUXlife’s Restaurant and Bar Awards 2023, another highly deserved accomplishment that reflects the level of passion and expertise that goes into each and every course served by the team. Alongside this recognition comes rave reviews from those who have experienced Bündnerland Luzern first-hand, the guests, who have rated it 5.9 stars overall for ambience, food and drinks, and service. One person shared their pleasure by saying, “Anyone who wants to enjoy surprisingly good Bündner specialties in Lucerne have come to the right place. The dessert menu also leaves nothing to be desired.” Equally elated, another shares, “When I was looking for a small and cosy restaurant for a cheese fondue, I came across the Bündnerland restaurant. There are four fondues to choose from and it tasted excellent. The other dishes on the menu, such as capuns and pizokel, also very tasty. I can fully recommend this small and fine restaurant.” Also overjoyed, someone else comments, “The host was very friendly, courteous, and served with a good sense of humour. Two tables were set up in the small “Stübli” for our group of six people. I really enjoyed the food and you could tell that it was fresh, and above all, did justice to the Graubünden style.” A couple found it to be the perfect eatery for an evening out, too, saying, “We spent a very nice, romantic evening as a couple: excellent food, fantastic wine recommendations, a modern yet cosy ambience – and the best, friendliest service imaginable! Thank you for a lovely evening!” Indeed, not only can guests not get enough of the food, but also the exceptional service delivered by the team. And it doesn’t end there. Bündnerland Luzern also offers Graubünden-style events, inviting the hosting of up to 80 guests at the venue, whether wedding, christening, birthday party, staff party – whatever the occasion, Fabian and the team believe there is always a reason to celebrate. They are happy to advise

personally according to the client’s unique requirements, offering food and drinks according to their wishes, and always to meet their budget. And thanks to the restaurant’s central location, all guests will be able to easily find their way to the celebration and back home again. For those guests who don’t live local, Bündnerland Luzern has five cosy rooms available in its old town house for overnight stays with space for up to 12 guests. At a fair price, its modern rooms invite guests for a comfortable stay in the middle of Lucerne’s old town. However, the restaurant is currently unable to offer breakfast inhouse, but can recommend the Heini bakery and confectionery, which is only a twominute walk away. When Bündnerland Luzern’s guests aren’t enjoying the comforts of their room or tucking into a delicious meal, they can venture out to explore the must-see landmarks and nature of Lucerne, featuring charming medieval architecture sitting on the edge of the clear blue Lake Lucerne, amid snow-capped mountains. Visitors can get lost in the rich history and culture, with a few places worth visiting including The Lion Monument and the nearby Glacier Garden, Musegg Wall, the Chapel Bridge, Hofkirche, and many more. There is also a variety of exciting activities to take part in, whether a scenic Lake Lucerne boat ride; a stroll along the lakeside promenade lined with trees, cafes, and playgrounds; hiking, skiing, or taking a cogwheel train ride with panoramic mountain views; or pottering around the brightly coloured cobblestone shopping streets. After a fun, and perhaps exhausting day of discovering Lucerne, guests can retreat to their room at Bündnerland Luzern, or having worked up an appetite, indulge in a hearty Swiss meal at the restaurant. Ultimately, there’s no denying the all-round extraordinary experience provided by Fabian Dumitrache and the team at Bündnerland Luzern, whether it’s through food, service, events, or accommodation. And Fabian is certainly showing no signs of stopping any time soon, his ambition shining through in everything he does. Looking ahead, the future is no doubt bright for Fabian and his restaurant, and we are rooting for his continued success. Company: Bündnerland Luzern Email: [email protected] Website:

8 | LUXlife Magazine - Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 nlimited beverage is a supplier of eco-friendly canned water with beWater™, exquisite hard seltzers with Sundowners™, and famous craft beer from Winking Seal Beer Co™. Its brands were created to unite people all around the world as they come together to celebrate any occasion – or simply have a delicious drink just because. The Vietnam based company has built an admirable product range featuring a plethora of well-known beverages. It boasts a market leading supply chain, production and distribution service platform which is helping brands expand not just in Vietnam but regionally. Some of the delicious brands the Winking Seal Beer Co.™ works with are the Lagerlicious Craft Lager and the Nam Nam Nam Cream Ale. There are also new craft beer beverages such as the One Eye Imperial IPA and Love More Lemongrass Blonde Ale. Friends Brian Kekich and Mark Nerney were enjoying a couple of brews when the idea of forming a craft beer company first dawned on them. The unusual company name was inspired by a childhood toy of Mark’s, a much-loved teddy called Sealy, who over the years had come to lose one of its beady eyes. The desire to create the actual product, the craft beers, came from an altogether more grown-up love; that of the amber nectar. They went on to come up with other ways that people can enjoy a variety of drinks – that’s when the regional distribution company, Unlimited Beverage, was born. Craft Beverage Company of the Year 2023 – South East Asia Co-Founders Brian Kekich and Mark Nerney created the Unlimited Beverage distribution company in March 2020, after building various drink brands. The company has gone on to own and distribute four much loved beverage brands – beWater™, Sundowners™, Winking Seal Beer Co.™, and Three On A Bike Brewing Co.™ – to promote delicious drinks for customers to enjoy. Its vision in the world of beverages is to create communities and incite countrywide innovation. U Unlimited Beverage also distributes Three On A Bike Brewing Co.™ alcoholic beers such as Kosmonvt IPA and Bohemian Bastard IPA. It describes these drinks as serious craft beers ranging from hop infused IPAs to experimental sour, and barrel aged brews. The Winking Seal believes these will be perfect for its clientele of savvy craft lovers, who enjoy the taste of a beer with a traditional West Coast punch. Unlimited Beverage also distributes wine and bubbly. They sell reds such as the Moody Press Cellars Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignons. The white, Ironstone Sauvignon Blanc from Casawines Trading Co. Ltd., and the rosé, Beringer Sparkling Rosé White Zinfandel. It has a couple of bubblies coming soon, also from Casawines. These are the Ca’ Momi Heartcraft Sparkling Rose, and the Ca’ Momi Heartcraft Sparkling White. Alongside its commendable range of alcoholic drinks, Unlimited Beverage is also a major supplier of beWater™. This is an eco-friendly water available in both still and sparkling varieties. BeWater describes its mission as seeking to eliminate single-use plastic bottles. It does this by supplying a socially sustainable and convenient-to-consume alternative. This chimes with Winking Seal who despair at witnessing the large amounts of plastic waste piling up everywhere. With beWater™, Unlimited Beverage has helped to create South East Asia’s first canned water with regional collection and recycling facilities in mind.

Unlimited Beverage's ethics are to be much admired. It knows it is trusted by so many clients and customers and will work hard to overcome obstacles and find solutions. It wants to see its visions and dreams realised, but always done in the right way. The laudable beverage ecosystem Unlimited Beverage has developed is home to a diverse collection of brands. It has a market-leading supply chain, production and distribution platform which is helping its client beers to expand in Vietnam and elsewhere. Its distinct combination of creativity, community, and collaboration is what makes it the perfect partner. Unlimited Beverage has poured time and energy into creating the perfect eco-friendly, non-alcoholic drinks that are changing the way we see get togethers. Ensuring everyone has something to drink, Unlimited Beverage continues to bring people together to celebrate, and simply enjoy their time together. This all makes it clear to see why Unlimited Beverage has been awarded the Craft Beverage Company of the Year 2023 – South East Asia. Its determination to consistently up the ante and make things better is invigorating the craft beer and non-alcoholic beverage industry – and winning fans near and far. Contact: Mark Nerney Company: Unlimited Beverage Web Address: Running adjacent to beWater™’s ’s eco-water is the popular Sundowners™ hard seltzer range. These seltzers are described as super-sessionable and low in calories and ABV. Sundowners™ has launched two new flavours of blueberry lime and kumquat sugarcane. Unlimited Beverage loves that these beverages can be enjoyed equally as much at home as on the rooftop bars of Saigon or the sun-loungers of Saint-Tropez. Sundowners™ drinks are refreshing, relaxing, and look amazingly good. They are Vietnam’s first real hard seltzer, and are 100% organic, GMO, and gluten free. Unlimited Beverage is building an excellent reputation for itself. This is emphasized by the many rave reviews it gets on Tripadvisor. As a proud home to Winking Seal Beer Co.™, Unlimited Beverage is pleased with Winking Seal Beer Co.™’s respectable 4.5 out of 5 rating on the site and can feel delighted with the lovely comments people are leaving such as ‘great craft beer’ and ‘he beer is exceptional and different from the craft beers available’. It's not only drinks that the Unlimited Beverage offers though. With its iconic logo, the company was primed and ready to launch lifestyle and apparel for its customers to buy and enjoy. It offers a range of t-shirts and hats, as well as branded coasters and phone covers. It is even possible to buy canvas high tops, leggings, and flip flops. Unlimited Beverage has a mission to build amazing drink brands that bring people together, are globally accessible, and deliver the highest of service standards. Ultimately, it wants to enable participation in what it sees as the circular economy. It wants to create sustainable value for all its stakeholders. Unlimited Beverage wants to revolutionise the way companies, consumers, and collaborators come together and change things. It has a number of values it stands by. For instance, it believes in things such as embracing change, enjoying the journey, and doing the right thing. “We are comfortable getting uncomfortable and knowing that if we’re not continuously changing, evolving, and improving, we’re not fulfilling our potential, and there’s so much of that here!” – Mark Nerney, CEO.

Jun22596 10 | LUXlife Magazine - Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 Food is at the heart of The Smokehouse. This is why, first and foremost, it strives to serve excellent food both in flavour and in freshness. Using smokers imported from the USA, the kitchen smokes through the night, ensuring meat is fresh and ready each morning for the day’s service. Furthermore, all burgers are prepared based on The Smokehouse’s own unique recipe, freshly pressed by the local family-run butchers and delivered every day. All the restaurant’s succulent meats are cooked with signature recipe rubs, meaning they’re guaranteed to be packed full of flavour. The kitchen staff are continuously learning and frequently come up with new recipes to try out. With an extensive menu featuring a range of meaty feasts as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, The Smokehouse aims to cater to all ages, tastes, and dietary requirements. The restaurant has also recently introduced a cocktail menu, featuring lots of fun and unique concoctions, alongside its impressive selection of lagers, ales, ciders, gins, wines, rums, and soft drinks. To ensure all drinks are of the best quality possible, the management team works hard to maintain an excellent standard in the cellar. Customers often say The Smokehouse’s Guinness is the best in town. Throughout the summer, The Smokehouse invites customers to relax in its outdoor smoke yard, with live bands performing on Friday and Saturday nights and an acoustic singer on Sunday afternoons. With a great atmosphere created by live music, the smoke yard is the perfect place to spend your summer evenings. The restaurant also boasts plenty of on-site parking, a children’s play area, and a variety of old American cars, making it a great location for parents to bring their children for a fun evening in the school holidays. It even has a monster truck, which is great for photos with the kids. On Thursdays, The Smokehouse also hosts its renowned bike meet between 5pm and 9pm. This family friendly event includes a barbeque, an outside bar, a live band, and plenty of beautiful bikes to look at. Anyone is welcome to join the fun! All scheduled live events can be found on The Smokehouse website, with something to do every week between May and September. As well as high-quality, fresh, and delicious food, The Smokehouse is dedicated to delivering the best customer service possible. To Jan23736 Most Family-Friendly Smokehouse Restaurant 2023 - Norfolk Since 2018, The Smokehouse has worked hard to establish itself as the region’s go-to family smokehouse restaurant, offering a range of home-cooked and in-house smoked meals. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a family dinner with the kids, a fun outing with your significant other, or an evening out with all your friends, The Smokehouse is the perfect place to go. Customers can relax in the vibrant, lively atmosphere and indulge in a hearty, flavourful meal. ensure staff are equipped to deliver excellence in their interactions with customers, the restaurant provides a comprehensive training programme to new hires. As well as this, The Smokehouse strives to create a fun, positive, and energetic work environment for all employees. If staff feel good at work and love their job, this will be reflected in the quality of service they provide. The team love to make customers happy and are always delighted to receive good feedback, but they also appreciate suggestions for how they could improve their service. In the hiring process, The Smokehouse believes that everyone deserves a chance. The restaurant offers opportunity to anyone willing to work, no matter their background. For example, it has hired people who have dropped out of school and are now completing a widely recognised apprenticeship programme. Additionally, it has employed people in the past who have had nowhere to live, allowing them to live on the premises, work, and obtain qualifications. Many of these people have grown into outstanding members of staff. This is a testament to the fact that people should not be judged based on their background. Some people just need a bit of support, understanding, and education to excel. While they may not always be suited for the role in the end, it is important that everyone is given a fair chance. People and community are both incredibly important to The Smokehouse. Based in the beautiful village of Ormesby Saint Margaret, the restaurant is committed to giving back to its local community. Currently, the team is organising charity fundraisers to support Caister Lifeboat, an independent organisation dedicated to saving lives at sea, in particular the Annette Thurlow appeal. Annette was a wonderful, caring lady who sadly passed away in 2018 at the young age of 58 years old. After a 30-year long career in nursing, Annette wished to be an organ donor in the event of her death. Unfortunately, this was not possible due to difficulty identifying her cause of death. Between 1991 and 2004, Annette played a big role in supported her husband, Dick Thurlow, through his 13 years as Coxswain of Caister Lifeboat, and even encouraged her sons to join the crew. In 2023, Caister Lifeboat are getting a new state-of-the-art lifeboat, and Annette’s family aim to raise enough money for the cause to request that the new lifeboat is named ‘Annette Thurlow’. Her family believe this is a fitting

tribute, allowing her to continue to save lives as she did as a nurse, even though her organs couldn’t be donated. The appeal is particularly close to The Smokehouse’s heart because its General Manager, Heidi Thurlow, is Annette’s daughter. For this reason, the restaurant and its team have been working hard to honour Annette’s memory by helping her family raise the funds they need. Consistently delivering delicious food with outstanding service, The Smokehouse is the perfect place to indulge in a hearty meal. With lively events running throughout the summer, including plenty of things to entertain children as well as adults, the restaurant has won Most FamilyFriendly Smokehouse Restaurant, Norfolk, in the Restaurant and Bar Awards 2023. Moving forwards, the company works hard to continue to develop, improve, and grow, serving as a fun place for the community to socialise and enjoy good food. Contact: Kaeti Newport Company: The Smokehouse Web Address:

Jun22596 12 | LUXlife Magazine - Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 Ice Cream Parlor Franchise of the Year 2023 - Southeast USA Ice Cream Hut was established in 2017, selling delicious treats in a small hut in Rockledge FL, and the demand grew fast as loyal customers spread the word about its unique sundaes and flavours. Today it has three corporate stores and one franchise, and is showing no sign of slowing down any time soon. When it comes to dessert, Ice Cream Hut is not messing around; even though messy at times its products are irresistible and worth every cent. It of course sells soft ice cream, which is available in a over 30 different flavours, including birthday cake, chocolate, red velvet cake, and Christmas cookie . It also has five different flavours of no added sugar ice cream which include chocolate, vanilla, butter, and others. In addition, the company believes that those who can’t have milk should not miss out when visiting its stores with loved ones or friends. Therefore, it has made available dairy-free options, which feature flavours such as chocolate and mocha almond chip. Customers can choose a cone or a cup, but if feeling extra hungry and adventurous it also offers waffle cones! Ice Cream Hut has stores in Cocoa Beach, Vienna, and Rockledge, so the flavours that are available may vary depending on the store’s location. However, there is a section in the company’s website that tells you which flavours are in stock. To avoid disappointment, be sure to check it out! The sundaes that Ice Cream Hut sells are unique and mouth-watering, so much so that customer can’t resist, and they have to come back for more. The combinations created by the team are loved by those who try them, coming in the form of banana fosters cheesecake, brownie bomb, and waffles and blueberries. However, if customers would rather create their own, they have eight flavours to choose from such as marshmallow, hot fudge, caramel, and peanut butter. Ice Cream Hut also offers banana split, to which customers can add any extra toppings to enhance the taste.

quite seriously and end up becoming memories that they cherish and look back to. This is why Ice Cream Hut believes that buying ice cream or a sweet treat from its menu should be a fun experience for customers to look forward to, so the team at every single store prioritises customer service. They welcome customers in with a friendly attitude to ensure their experience is pleasant and fun. Recently, Ice Cream Hut was awarded with the title of Ice Cream Parlor Franchise of the Year 2023 – Southeast USA. As its growth continues, it aims to have five additional franchises operating by the end of 2023. Growth doesn’t mean that its quality services will decrease, instead it ensures that each store is run as a homegrown store. Customers don’t hold back in praising the company and its desserts, with one sharing, “Wow this place is legendary with special desserts you would never imagine before. The creative genius of ice cream and flavours. After hearing all the cool stuff on the menu, eager to visit again.” On top of that great review, another one says, “Ice cream was delicious! Stopped by right before closing and they were busy. Worked through the line of about 10 customers in front of us in 15 minutes or so. Staff were very helpful and friendly despite being slammed. Will definitely be back.” Contact: Ron Ramsey Company: Ice Cream Hut Web Address: There are endless combinations that customers can create at Ice Cream Hut as it has over 30 extra toppings available. They can be added into any of the desserts with no limit in how many one can have, offering some very interesting combinations including cotton candy crunch, cookie dough, Oreos, and chocolate sprinkles. It doesn’t quite end there, though. Customers have the choice to add even more texture and taste to their desserts with its hard ice cream and hardshell. These come in a variety of flavours including cotton candy, cherry, and chocolate. If you often get bored of eating the same thing over and over again this is indeed the place for you to come and explore what works and what doesn’t! Creating your dessert at Ice Cream Hut is truly an experience in itself. The company invests time and effort into staying on top of new products to enhance its customer experience. It keeps an eye out for delicious extras or new flavours that have never been heard of before. The team may have the best job of them all, as they get to trial taste them before bringing them in, to provide customers with only the best of the best. Currently, it offers Krispy Kreme donut flavours, which not only sound delicious but also look it – Head over to its website to find out more! Ice cream brings joy to children, and for adults it often takes them back to their childhood when they too experienced the same joy, which is why a trip to the Ice Cream Hut often becomes a tradition for many families. Whether it is to try new flavours of their favourite treat or to combine new ones to find the next best thing, it is something that people take

14 | LUXlife Magazine - Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 riginally a Baptist church built in 1902, The Church is the oldest building in Sandviken which today serves as an up-scale establishment for dining and drinking. It has been beautifully restored and decorated, with a modern bar and stunning chandelier piece. The building has a wealth of unique charm and character, with certain distinctive features serving as a reminder of the church it was, including the eye-catching organ left intact on the balcony. The restaurant’s menu consists of an enticing selection of fine starters, hearty main courses, and delectable desserts. Foodies will be delighted by the ever-changing options, with new dishes available each season to choose from. From inventive burgers to succulent steaks to vegetarian feasts, guests are guaranteed to find something they will love. Those partial to a cocktail will be inspired by the selection of classic and inventive concoctions available to try, crafted by seasoned bartenders. The Church is an obvious choice for visitors of Sandviken, offering an experience they will not find elsewhere. Guests leave the establishment satisfied, having indulged in a delicious meal and all the beverages they could ever wish for. In the evenings, the restaurant’s atmosphere becomes lively, with music bringing a sense of fun and excitement to guests as they enjoy their drinks and socialise with friends and loved ones. The Church hosts various events, including shows by Swedish musicians. For example, it looks forward to hosting performances by rock-pop bands Drängarna and Rivstart in the coming month. This demonstrates the versatility of the restaurant, providing a relaxed fine dining experienced during the day as well as a fun, social bar atmosphere in the evenings. The restaurant has received a plethora of glowing reviews on online platforms, frequently praising its unique décor and majestic ambience. Guests often leave reviews describing their satisfaction with the dining experience at The Church, acknowledging the great selection of food and beverages as well as the attentive, friendly, and informative service from staff. Many customers comment that they would definitely return to the restaurant in the future, recommending it to anyone visiting or passing through Sandviken. These positive reviews are a testament to the outstanding experience guests can expect when they visit The Church, contributing towards the restaurant’s great reputation. In 2016, The Church made its debut as Sandviken’s unique gastropub, serving as an important meeting point for people to gather and socialise. However, before this, the building was an unused church that Shawn Afshari was inspired to renovate and transform into the restaurant and bar it is today. After 6 months of development with an architect and an additional 3.5 years of construction, The Church was finally ready to open its doors. The business was a huge success in its early years, achieving consistent growth and breaking records with its turnover and the number of guests it welcomed and served. Restaurant of the Year 2023 - Sandviken Based in a converted church in Sandviken, The Church is a unique gastropub dedicated to providing the perfect balance between the pub environment and the gastronomic experience. Guests are invited to enjoy the relaxed culture of a pub and experience the luxuries of fantastic fine dining. Whether customers want to indulge in a delicious meal or simply have a drink with friends, The Church is an ideal place to gather and socialise. O

However, when the pandemic hit, The Church was forced to close its doors in its fourth year of service, halting this increasing expansion. This was a devastating turn of events for the restaurant, as it was for many businesses across the world. Despite the unfavourable circumstances, The Church was able to make it through to the other side of the pandemic. Since then, fine dining establishments in Sweden have decreased in popularity, which is why The Church has rebranded itself to serve as a gastropub offering high-quality food. As the world begins to move on from Covid-19, it is important now more than ever that people are able to socialise with friends and loved ones. The Church has dedicated itself to serving as a place for them to gather and spend some much-needed time together. In the hospitality industry today, the competition is fierce. The Church works to keep up with trends at all times, ensuring that its menu is changed with every season. Furthermore, the company maintains dialogue with the head chef and all staff to make sure that the quality of food and service is consistent. Staff play an important role in delivering the excellent experience that customers expect when they visit The Church, making it important that employees are well-equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to achieve the restaurant’s goals. This enables staff to properly take care of guests, improving the standard of service it can offer. As a result of its incredible atmosphere, high-quality food, and the unparalleled experience it provides its guests, The Church has won Restaurant of the Year, Sandviken, in the Restaurant and Bar Awards 2023. In the hospitality industry, The Church believes it is important to strive for continuous development and improvement. The restaurant has many ideas it would like to implement, aiming to expand its offering and enhance the experience it offers guests. The future is bright for The Church as it looks forward to some exciting developments in the years to come. Contact: Shawn Afshari Company: The Church Web Address:

Jun22596 16 | LUXlife Magazine - Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 The Italian culture goes by the saying “casa mia è casa tua”, which means “my home is your home”. It embraces friends becoming family by creating a sense of community that goes beyond blood, where trust is built, and love and respect are always present. Italo’s Deli works hard in implementing such a beautiful virtue into its business. The owners welcome customers with open arms to provide them with food that is made with love and service that makes them feel at home. The family who own Italo’s is hands-on and present every day; this helps in staying in touch with customers and makes it possible to run quality checks in all areas of the restaurant. When it comes to the team, communication is encouraged, and their feedback is taken on board. There is always room for improvement, and their thoughts and ideas are a valuable part of the business. The team go through training constantly to stay up-to-date with any changes, ensuring that the service customers are met with is always the best it can possibly be. In addition, Italo’s encourages its customers to share their thoughts on the restaurant and its services so it can better meet their needs and requirements. Running a restaurant comes with many challenges, especially since Italo’s opened while facing covid-19 restrictions. However, it is the team’s dedication to improve and excel in all they do that has landed Italo’s with the award for Best Family Run Restaurant 2023 – Cape Town. Italo’s has a variety of dishes that are rich in flavour, no matter the occasion. Breakfast is served all day and it includes eggs benedict and scrambled eggs, featuring Italo’s full house, free range eggs, among other offerings. For lunch and dinner, customers have a great deal of options, from pasta to wood fired pizza, wraps, salads, toasties, soups, and much more. It also has special offers that run uniquely two days a week. On Mondays, customers can buy all large pizzas on the Italo’s menu for R100, while on Wednesdays, quite literally wine is on the house, as with two mains, they get two glasses of wine for free! Both offers are available to sit in from 5pm. When customers are not in the mood for a full meal but still want to merge into Italo’s homely environment, there is freshly baked good to be enjoyed, that can be accompanied by the best coffee in Cape Town. Customers more often than not come back, and not just once but too many times to even count. This means Italo’s quickly becomes their Feb23650 Best Family-Run Restaurant 2023 - Cape Town Italo’s Deli (Italo’s) was founded in 2020 in honour of Italo Bruni, who was a family man with a passion for anything Italian. The restaurant brings those in Cape Town the opportunity to enjoy Italian cuisine without having to travel to Italy. It opens bright and early from 7:30am until 9pm and it is dog friendly so no need to leave your furry best friend behind. second home. The restaurant is the perfect place to create wonderful memories, while savouring delicious Italian cuisine. Italo’s has become a place that its owners are proud of, and something they know Italo Bruni would have loved. Contact: Angelo Stipinovich Company: Italo's Deli Website:

Jun22596 18 | LUXlife Magazine - Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 Best Private Chef (Portugal): Sónia Melo & Most Memorable Private Dining Experience: Sónia Melo “Our kitchen in the comfort of your home” is the motto behind the team at Chez Sónia. Working as a private chef, Sónia and her team are proud to bring the highest standards of culinary excellence out of the restaurant mileau and into the environment where you feel most welcome. With success in the Restaurant and Bar Awards 2023, we take a closer look to find out more. Established in 2006, but only operating with the private chef service since 2017, Chez Sónia has made its name through the preparation of unique meals which stand out from the crowd for their quality and freshness of ingredients. At the heart of every mouthful is traditional Portuguese cuisine, carefully crafted and given the personal touch to ensure the ultimate fusion for the customer. Based in São Miguel Island, Azores, the Chez Sónia team are proud to explore the ideas of location and identity through their meals. Working throughout São Miguel Island has allowed the team to really benefit from access to the very freshest local and seasonal products. This gem in the Atlantic Ocean is truly a haven of culinary delights. What sets Chez Sónia apart is the team’s ability to leverage these delights in the development of menus which are all unique, carefully crafted to suit the specific needs of any customer who might ask for their services. When we asked Sónia what sets Chez Sónia apart from the crowd, she was keen to explain. “It's a service that aims to offer a unique gastronomic experience to our customers, in a welcoming, relaxing and inviting environment.” When you’re looking to enjoy an evening with others, there’s nowhere that should be more attuned to your needs than your own home. With all the comforts that you might need around you, a meal from Chez Sónia is something that can be savoured in its entirety. Chez Sónia

Creating a space where new ideas can run wild and adaptation is the order of the day is no easy task, particularly in the restaurant and bar space where specialities are often the order of the day. “We are a young and dynamic team, which our focus is to serve unique meals that stands out for the quality and freshness of the ingredients chosen and prepared,” Sónia explains. “Thanks to our customers and their requirements, we were happy to grow and develop more and refine menus, always to meet their tastes. Our fundamental values have become more deeply rooted, but always keeping our core: never compromising on taste.” This uncompromising attitude does not mean that Sónia and her team are stick-in-the-muds when it comes to new ideas, but it does mean that every decision made is carefully calculated to generate the best possible results. As mentioned before, the team’s background in Portuguese cuisine means that these meals are never far from the team’s aspirations and are certainly a driving force when it comes to exploring new taste sensations. The world of private chefs is one which is slightly removed from the more formal environment of a restaurant and bar. For these clients, luxury is the watchword, with the need to develop ideas that satisfy their individual needs. “The customers who contact us are people who want creativity and differentiating service,” Sónia explains. “They want exclusivity which is something that most of our restaurants are no longer able to offer.” The commitment to providing meals which stand apart is something that any restaurant will aspire to, but only private chefs are able to commit fully to offering a thoroughly personalised service. “We are a small island and most of those who contact us have adapted well to our service due to the high quality that we are able to offer,” Sónia goes on to say. “The quality of most of our restaurants has declined a little, and with our service we are able to offer everything the customer is looking for and especially in the comfort of their home.” Such convenience underlies the importance of being able to provide something special in this particular space. For Sónia and her team, it’s impossible to overstate the value of this connection with each individual client. Beyond the desire to ensure that each customer is able to sample something different from the one before, Sónia was keen to explain the principles that go into achieving such excellent standards of culinary delights. “Professionalism, rigor and motivation are three words that go side by side in my service and in my team,” she says. “And we are just one, working as a team and never individually. We all know the purpose of our service and the demands of our customers: perfection is a word that is part of us.” Beyond the world of LUXlife, Chez Sónia has been proud to celebrate achievements in other areas too. Their stunning gastronomic delights have won them recognition from the Confraria dos Gastrónomos dos Açores. “This has given us an added weight in terms of gastronomic culture,” Sónia was proud to tell us, “and which is undoubtedly a lever for us to explore our regional food that is so rich but risks getting lost in history.” With incredible triumphs of culinary delights behind them, it’s clear that Chez Sónia is a food provider that is on the up. “I hope 2023 will be as good, or maybe even better than 2022,” Sónia enthuses. “We will continue to guarantee quality, exclusivity and creativity to those who seek us out and we will always innovate.” Are there any plans in the offing to further develop the amazing standards of service which the Chez Sónia team have already set? “Yes, we have some things planned but they are still a secret,” she says with a smile. When looking at the astonishing track record of Chez Sónia, it’s easy to see how the team has been able to achieve such success. Although the team’s plans for the future are shrouded in mystery, we cannot wait to see how they come to fruition in the weeks and months to come. Company: Chez Sónia Name: Sónia Melo Email: [email protected] Web Address:

Jun22596 20 | LUXlife Magazine - Restaurant & Bar Awards 2023 You might not expect one of New York’s leading restaurants to have been forged in the heart of war, yet Assad Almajid has managed to transform an experience of immense challenge into one where he feeds the nation that took him in. Having come to the USA as a result of the Syrian War, he started Sinbad Restaurant. This living embodiment of the American dream has seen him achieve tremendous success, beyond the awards given by LUXlife Magazine. Assad’s dream first came to him when he worked in his father’s ice cream and sweets shop in Damascus, Syria. His brothers also had their own restaurants in Dubai where he was able to learn and develop the tools which would define his trade moving forward. New York has provided Assad with the fresh start he has needed since the Syrian Civil War began. Just two years after moving to Syracuse, a city in the state, he founded Sinbad Restaurant in order to carry on what is very clearly a family affair. Sinbad Restaurant has gone from strength to strength since opening its doors, providing a wide range of cuisine that showcases the very best that the Middle East has to offer in the thriving cultural hub that is New York. To stand out on those crowded streets demands an approach which not only commits to the highest possible quality, but offers an authenticity that is second to none at all times. Assad has made sure that Sinbad Restaurant always pushes the boundaries when it comes to providing meals that can be remembered. When we caught up with Assad, he was keen to tell us precisely what factors into the standards of excellence his team have managed to produce. “We keep the restaurant super clean,” he says. “As well as that, we are always looking for the best and finest ingredients. Every meal is prepared fresh upon request.” Having to make delicious dishes in good time to a high standard would challenge anyone in the hospitality sector. In a world where frozen goods and microwaved meals are more common than ever, this care and attention to detail really does stand out. The challenges of running a restaurant have never been clearer than since Assad opened its doors in 2019. Since then, he has faced a pandemic, cost-of-living crisis and a major labour shortage. The three employees he had been able to train were unable to return, and he was the only one able to prepare the delights that many in the area had come to expect from his business. Mar23127 Best Kofta Kebab 2023 When looking for a place to eat, it pays to find somewhere that you can clearly see a passion for cookery. Since opening the doors of Sinbad Restaurant, Assad Almajid has built a reputation for food which comes with a difference. Using old family recipes and a lifetime of expertise, he has managed to bring Syrian hospitality to the heart of New York. We take a closer look to find out more. The solution was one which has allowed Sinbad Restaurant to continue operating and return once again to its former glory. A new sort of rotary grill, made using high-quality chrome steel, was custom-designed to meet the unique needs of Assad’s restaurant requirements. With nothing like it anywhere else in the world, Assad has been able to offer char-grilled delights for customers with no need for anyone to man the grill constantly. Production of the restaurant’s renowned and awardwinning Kofta Kebabs has doubled! Moving forward, Assad has been able to revitalise his business, with the restaurant drawing in not only many new customers but staff who are as committed to serving them as he is. “The restaurant selects university graduates as much as possible, in order to understand the needs of customers and serve them in the best way,” Assad tells us. “For example, the current waitress has a master's degree in arts.” To know that when you are being served, you’re being served by people