When it comes to outstanding restaurants, Leonardo's Pure Italian takes the cake, or in this case, the tiramisu.

The restaurant, which opened about a year ago, has taken out the Outstanding Restaurant Award at the Rotorua Hospitality Awards, which recognise excellence in the hospitality sector.

It was one of a number of category winners at the awards, held at the Rotorua Convention Centre last night.

More than 400 people were greeted by a red carpet, sequin-clad showgirls and plenty of champagne.

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Leonardo's Pure Italian co-owner Leonardo Baldi said he was thrilled to win.

"It's an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe, to come so far within a year, it just leaves you speechless," he said.

Mr Baldi owns the restaurant with partner Yuka Nakamori and said it was their passion that set the restaurant apart.

"We just love what we do."

Indian Star Tandoori Restaurant owner Ray Singh said he was taken aback by the atmosphere of the event.

"It's a wonderful event. For everyone in the hospitality sector, this is our night and our night to be recognised."

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ROTORUA DAILY POST
6 Jul, 2014 2:00pm
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His restaurant took out the People's Choice Award and he said he owed the win to his customers, whose feedback motivated him to regularly improve the business.

Last year's outstanding bar, Brew Craft Beer Pub, took out the title once again.

Peppers on the Point chef Craig Martin was also on a winning streak, taking out the top chef award for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile Thomas George won the acclaimed Restaurant Association of New Zealand Icon of Hospitality Award.

Hospitality Awards 2014 winners:

Restaurant Association of NZ Icon of Hospitality: Thomas George, Destination Rotorua People's Choice: Indian Star Tandoori Restaurant. More FM Outstanding Bar: Brew Craft Beer Pub. Blue Baths Outstanding Barista: Cherrise Karaitiana (Abracadabra Cafe). Beam Global Outstanding Bartender: Mala Waqanimaravu (Cobb and Co). Bidvest Outstanding Cafe: Capers Epicurean. Skyline Outstanding Caterer: Blue Baths, Unilever Food Solutions Emerging Chef: Digraj Baghela (Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort). Menumate Outstanding Chef: Craig Martin (Peppers on the Point). Inghams Outstanding Hotel Restaurant: Chapman's Restaurant (Holiday Inn). Service IQ Outstanding Maori Cultural Dining Experience: Mitai Maori Village. Tohu Wines Outstanding Supplier: Gilmours. OneMusic Outstanding Restaurant: Leonardo's Pure Italian. Rotorua Daily Post Outstanding Takeaway: Oppies Fish & Chips. Waiariki Institute of Technology Outstanding Waiter: Jasdeep Singh (Indian Star Tandoori Restaurant).