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If not Portmeirion then...?

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Am staying near Tremadog this weekend and am looking for recs for somehwere to eat on Friday night. Have stayed and eaten at Portmeirion many times but on last visit ( about 12 months ago ) was dismayed to see that the Castell menu had crept into the main hotel dining room, a la carte had been slashed ( in choice not price !) and I had to send a steak back because they couldnt cook it medium properly. In the past I had put up with mildly snotty service because the food was awlways spot on , but have not been back since...

Have always thought the service at the Castell was a bit amateurish and the food expensive for what it is so am not instantly keen on going there either..


Have things improved either at Portmerion hotel itself or the Castell ? - if anyone has eaten at either recently , and

If not is there anywhere else taxi able away which is worth checking out? Doesnt have to be Portmeirion posh - a pub with decent food or local bistro/resto will do just fine. Equally if that is not an option - any recs for great local places to eat whatever the price , would be very welcome


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  1. I ate at the portmeirion in august - once was enough. The nearest I can recommend is the Bulls Head in angelsey which is maybe a bit far for you. Went there twice last week for lunch at the brasserie and it was excellent - a tip from fellow chowhounders on the north wales recommendations site. Check it out and good luck. If you find anywhere new, let us know!

    1. Well, I have to admit that I've never eaten at this place, but for many years the Hotel Maes-y-Neuadd in Talsarnau has had good reports. It's a very small village the other side of the estuary from Portmerion, so a taxi should be feasible - you have to go through one of the tolls crossing the marshy bits, where they charge you about 5 pence...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Theresa

        We did eat at Hotel Maes-y-Neuadd at Christmas last year. When the food was good it was good, but the overall meal was a bit patchy. It is one of those places you wish would work but lacks the professional edge.

        Good starter, with superb cheese tart, but with a hollandaise sauce that had to much vinegar (not reduced correctly?). A really good fish course with fantastic sauce. Then a main course of welsh lambs liver - bitter and a friable texture. I had to send it back because it was inedible. Whilst they handled that very well (always a good sign) I was disapointed that he dish had left the kitchen. Cheese course looked promising with a good looking cheese basket paraded around the room, but when it arrived it had obviously been pre-plated and the bread had dried out around the edges. Deserts were OK - although one of the ice creams had ice crystals in it and the sauce with the pinapple tasted burnt.

        Service was enthusiastic, a little pretentious in places and hit and miss in others. For example they have a weird wine ordering system that means you order the wine in the bar and it is waiting open at the table - no opportunity to check the bottle or taste to see if it is OK. The bar area seemed neglected with the fire unlit (it was late December) and a very poor bartender.

        As a reference point the next day we left Wales and ate at Pen-y-Dyffryn (near Oswestry) this is a first class country hotel restaurant. All the elements come together, great food, good wine and good service a 9/10 compared to a 5/10 at Maes-y-Neuadd.

        1. re: PhilD

          I'm so happy to see your glowing review of Pen-y-Dyffryn. We stayed there for a few days last April and the food was amazing, meal after meal. A great Chow destination!