Here they are, the finalists in each category for this year’s awards, Now it is up to the judges with their mystery shopping to get to the winners.

Best Local Producer – A business based in St Albans District that produces raw ingredients, or uses raw ingredients to create a fresh or ambient food or drink product which is sold in a variety of local (or national) outlets. Previous winners have included brewers, bakers, cider-makers, cheese producers, farmers etc.

Carpenter’s Nursery
Farr Brew
Redbournbury Mill

Best takeaway or street food — A bricks-and-mortar establishment, a stall, trailer or food truck selling hot and cold prepared food for immediate consumption, but which provides only minimal seating for customers.

Kat’s Cuisine
Peru Sabor
Peddling Pizza

Best Food and Drink shop or Market Stall – A shop or stall selling groceries, fresh produce, ingredients or food mostly in an unprocessed or minimally processed state for use and consumption at home

Buongiorno Italia
Fleetville Larder
Pudding Stop

Best Café – A less formal eating establishment open for much of the day, though not necessarily in the evenings, serving hot drinks and snacks, as well as meals, sometimes from a counter.

The Potting Shed at Carpenters Nursery
Hatch, St Albans
George St Canteen

Best pub or bar – A place where you can drink without also eating (though they may also serve food). Judges will be looking for a great selection of drink including well-kept and properly served beers, wines and cocktails, with consideration also given to those providing an interesting range of non-alcoholic options.

The Elephant and Castle, Amwell
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, Abbey Mill Lane St Albans
The Engineer, Southdown

Restaurant of the Year – An establishment that is open most evenings serving multi-course meals to patrons dining on the premises. Will usually provide table service

DavVero, Marshalswick
Dylan’s, George St
Craft + Cleaver, Catherine St

Best newcomer– Any business in any of any of the above categories which has only been in operation since September 2019.

Boot Taqueria
Brad + Dills
Punchin’ Palooka, Verulam Road

Kate D’Arcy Award for Customer Service – A special award in memory of Kate D’Arcy, a much loved restaurateur who died in June 2010. This award is for a person who has provided outstanding service and delivered a faultless experience. Previous winners include waiting staff, restaurant owners and local campaigners. Any individual can be nominated, whether or not a business with which they are associated is nominated in any of the above categories.