If not Portmeirion then...?
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
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...
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.
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!