Mari Martin-Matthews' flavour of Snowdonia

Image of Mari Martin-Matthews

Mari Martin-Mathews, Olif restaurant, Snowdonia Mountains and Coast

When I was two years old my family moved from North Wales to Manchester, so I’ve spent most of life away from home. We moved here to open a restaurant because I fell in love with Betws-y-Coed.

I like living somewhere that’s busy all the time. That’s the thing about Betws-y-Coed. People visit here every day, throughout the year. It’s always been popular with walkers and climbers; now it’s got a whole new buzz to the whole area because of places like Zip WorldBounce Below and Surf Snowdonia.

Dramatic views across Betws-y-Coed

Betws-y-Coed, Snowdonia Mountains and Coast

We’re getting new kind of visitors to the area with new tastes. It’s a very exciting time. We really wanted to create a place that you might see in an urban area like the Northern Quarter in Manchester, using local Welsh produce of all kinds, from rapeseed oil to beer and cider. The chef even makes balsamic vinegar using local raspberries. 

Two couples sat at a table in the Olif restaurant enjoying drinks and food

Olif restaurant, Snowdonia Mountains and Coast

It’s good to be part of a community that’s building for the future, alongside local businesses like Hangin’ Pizzeria, which creates in a great atmosphere in a canteen-style space. Bistro Betws is full of imaginative ideas too. Plus it sources most of its food and drink locally.

There’s a real melting pot of people here, but everyone works together. Betws-y-Coed is one of those places where if a visitor stops off on the off-chance and a bed and breakfast is full, they’ll phone another place to try and find you a room for the night.

There’s something unusual about the people who visit here, too. It might rain all day, but it doesn’t stop anyone from enjoying themselves. When it rains you’ll see people heading off with their kayaks – we can practically set our watches for when they’ll be off the water and heading our way to warm up.

Image of tracks and distant mist and mountain

Betws-y-Coed, Snowdonia Mountains and Coast

The provenance of the ingredients we use is really important to us. We get meat from Marilyn at TJ Parry-Jones and Daughters butchers in Trefriw. She gets her pork from Corwen, her lamb from Llanrwst, and we even get Welsh chorizo from Howatson in Denbigh.

A bottle of Glyn Farm Cider sat on the table at Olif Restaurant

Glyn Farm Cider, Conwy Valley, Snowdonia Mountains and Coast

We use local cheese, milk, cream and butter and we sell all kinds of Welsh beers, cider and spirits. We get fresh fish and mussels from the Menai Strait. The quality of the produce is really high. We also get local farmers who enjoy eating here. They’ll say: ‘Would you like us to bring down half a lamb?’ 

The great thing is that the customers are really enthusiastic about trying out local produce. I’d say it’s the most important thing we do.