HONOURED: Skal Whitsundays president Carolyn Upton (left), presents La Tabella owner Leni Fries with the Skal Whitsunday 2018 Restaurant of the Year award.
HONOURED: Skal Whitsundays president Carolyn Upton (left), presents La Tabella owner Leni Fries with the Skal Whitsunday 2018 Restaurant of the Year award. Contributed

Restaurant of the Year dishes up goods to foodie networkers

NESTLED along Airlie Esplanade sits La Tabella Trattoria, a local Italian restaurant renowned for its ever-changing daily specials.

And now the restaurant has been named by Skal Whitsundays as the 2018 Restaurant of Year.

Owner Leni Fries said she was proud to provide her customers with fresh, quality produce.

"It was fantastic, we were very honoured and it's wonderful to be recognised in the community,” she said.

Mrs Fries said there was a strong emphasis on buying Australian produce and, where possible, buying locally.

"We make all our beautiful pastas and gnocchi. We make everything,” she said.

If you really want to give your tastebuds something to talk about, Mrs Fries said the seafood spaghetti was one of her favourites - fresh, house-made spaghetti, strewn with Australian tiger prawns, scallops, calamari and mussels tossed through a light and fresh white wine sauce.

Skal club president, Carylon Upton said every third Wednesday, members would meet at different restaurants to discuss topics of interest and brainstorm any localised tourism issues.

It's networking with a foodie twist.

Members were asked to score their dining experience at the end of each meeting and the restaurant with the most points was awarded the Skal Whitsundays Restaurant of the Year.

"It doesn't matter what we threw at her, she just rolled with the punches,” Mrs Upton said of Mrs Fries.

Skal International is the world's largest tourism organisation and Skal Whitsundays is one of the 358 clubs around the globe.

The club is the brains behind the Heart of the Reef campaign, which began eight years ago as a way to target the drive market.

Mrs Upton said the members of the club were in senior management roles or business owners and that it was a fantastic way to connect with industry members.

As well as brainstorming and networking, they also offer support to one another and solutions to problems individuals or the group may be facing.

For more information on becoming a member of Skal Whitsundays, contact president whitsundays@skal.org.au.


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