Because Wales is a small country with lots of farms and coastline, the country's restaurants often focus on local produce, meat and fish, with lots of the catch pulled right out of the nearby water. Wales has some great restaurants, from Michelin-starred, high-end dining rooms to more casual country pubs, and all of them look to the regional and seasonal offering when making their menus. Whether you're looking for unique experience at Gareth Ward's iconic restaurant Ynyshir or you want to try seafood along the coast at Hywel Griffith's seaside eatery The Beach House, Wales has a restaurant for every taste.
Ynyshir is Wales' most notable and award-winning restaurant (which also boasts rooms for discerning travelers). The Michelin-starred restaurant, located in the scenic countryside near Snowdonia National Park, is led by chef and owner Gareth Ward, who pairs Japanese techniques with Welsh ingredients. A meal at Ynyshir is an experience with guests enjoying a 20-course set menu surrounded by stunning scenery. The restaurant only has two seatings per day and five tables so reservations are a must.
Henry Robertson Dining Room
Nestled within Palé Hall, a Relais & Chateaux country house hotel near Snowdonia, visitors will find an upscale restaurant run by chef Gareth Stevenson. Known as the Henry Robertson Dining Room, the restaurant specializes in seasonal and local ingredients, with an emphasis on organic and humanely produced dishes. Guests can select from a five- or eight-course tasting menu or visit for afternoon tea. For the full experience, go for the eight-course menu which features Welsh mountain lamb, scallops, and quail. Booking ahead is absolutely essential.
Penally Abbey is a coastal hotel set in an ornate country manor with a noteworthy restaurant, Rhosyn, on the property. It features homegrown vegetables and local products on its menu, including fish caught right out of Tenby's harbor. The menu changes frequently to reflect the season and the restaurant also serves up a delicious afternoon tea. Consider staying overnight in one of the 12 bedrooms, breakfast in Rhosyn is included is included.
The Beach House
The Beach House is a one-Michelin star restaurant helmed by chef Hywel Griffith. It's set right on the beach, so ask for one of the outdoor tables of the best views. There are a variety of menus including multi-course tasting menus and one dedicated to vegetarians. While the food itself is high-end, the vibe inside is casual and guests are welcome to wear whatever makes them comfortable (with the exception of swimwear).
The Walnut Tree
The Walnut Tree is a Michelin-starred restaurant with a rustic-chic vibe and a focus on contemporary dishes and wines. It's been around since the '60s and is now run by chef Shaun Hill, who has worked at eateries around Britain for decades. The menu changes daily and includes fish and meat dishes with an emphasis on ingredients sourced from around the U.K. Be sure to reserve a table well in advance as the restaurant's calendar can fill up quickly.
Sosban and the Old Butchers
Travelers visiting the Isle of Anglesey should be sure to make a stop at Sosban and the Old Butchers, a restaurant serving elevated British dishes in an old butcher shop. It's owned and operated by Stephen and Bethan Stevens and the restaurant has an intimate, friendly atmosphere that's almost like visiting someone's (very cool) home. Most of the ingredients come from Anglesey and North Wales and the presentation of the dishes is whimsical. It's small and in demand, with only a few guests per seating, so it's essential to make a reservation in advance.
Restaurant James Sommerin
Penarth's Restaurant James Sommerin is a destination restaurant known for its Michelin star and extensive tasing menus. Chef James Sommerin has earned a lot of accolades in his career, and for good reason. The short a la carte menu is served Sunday through Thursday and on Friday and Saturday evenings the focus in of the six- and nine-course tasting menus. Each table gets a bespoke menu crafted for that table alone. Guests can also opt to book the chef's table, which is located right in the heart of the kitchen, and see their meal being prepared before eating. The restaurant also features nine hotel rooms, with bed, breakfast and dinner package deals available on certain weekdays for those who don't want to commute after the meal. Reservations are highly recommended, especially on weekends.
The scenic Wye Valley has a lot to offer travelers, including a stay and a meal at The Whitebrook, a restaurant with rooms in Monmouth. Run by chef Chris Harrod, the Michelin-starred spot is all about locally-foraged ingredients and partnerships with nearby farmers. The restaurant offers lunch and dinner with a set menu that changes daily. There's also a vegetarian menu available. Herbs are key to all of Harrod's cooking, so expect fresh offerings that reflect the surrounding area. There are eight hotel rooms as well, and The Whitebrook offers eat and sleep packages that include breakfast, dinner, and an overnight stay for two.
The Grand Sultan
Head to the outskirts of Port Talbot to discover The Grand Sultan, one of Wales' most popular Indian restaurants. The restaurant has won a slew of awards and its massive menu has something for every diner. It's great for families and for groups, in particular, as the atmosphere is welcoming and the portions are large. Vegetarian and vegan diners will also find plenty of meat and dairy-free options.
Llys Meddyg, found in Pembrokeshire, is part-hotel and part-restaurant. The dining room, run by Ed and Louise Sykes, focuses on smoking and curing locally-caught fish in the on-site smoke shed. The produce is also sourced locally, with many ingredients foraged nearby, and everything is notably affordable. It's a great stop when traveling along the Pembrokeshire Coast especially for those interested in Welsh cuisine.
The focus is on simple, honest food at The Warren but that doesn't mean the dishes are boring. With a focus on organic, sustainable ingredients and an ever-changing menu, this casual and affordable restaurant is a good pick for those who want delicious Welsh food on a budget. Chef Deri Reed opened The Warren after a crowd-funding campaign and the connection to the community is apparent throughout the restaurant's intimate and cozy rooms.
Those visiting the Pembrokeshire Coast should include Grove of Narbeth on their itinerary. The award-winning country house hotel has a great restaurant called Artisan Rooms that serves up Welsh cuisine using ingredients straight from the kitchen garden. It's the more relaxed of the property's two restaurants and as such is dog-friendly and family-friendly. Don't miss the grazing boards, which feature local charcuterie and artisanal cheeses, while enjoying views over the garden terrace.
Opened in 2018 by Chef Tommy Heaney, Heaneys has a chic, contemporary vibe with lots of communal and bar seating to keep things casual. The menu changes frequently based on what's available and in season, and there's a weekly Sunday lunch menu for those who want to indulge in a traditional roast. Don't miss the oysters when they're available, and be sure to order some of the smaller snacks, like the salmon pastrami and the buttermilk chicken. Note that the menu doesn't cater to vegans and those with shellfish allergies should be extra cautious.
The Fox and Hounds
The Fox and Hounds is a country pub run by husband and wife team Jim and Rhiannon Dobson. It's a warm, family-friendly establishment, with rooms available for those who want to stay over after dinner. The menu changes regularly, with specials offered daily. There are classics, like fish and chips, along with more imaginative bistro pub fare (as well as a separate children's menu). Be sure to come for Sunday lunch to try one of the decadent roasts, which are a must for any visitor to the U.K.