I feel very fortunate to live on the bank of the Menai Straits in Felinheli. This idyllic village is nestled between Bangor and Caernarfon in North Wales – two very different places, each offering unique experiences. We’re also within easy reach of Dinas Dinlle beach and its beautiful views of the Llŷn Peninsula, the former quarry village of Bethesda and the village of Llanberis on the shores of Llyn Padarn – so all in all we’re pretty lucky, location-wise! As a result we try to make the most of our vicinity, and have fallen in love with the life and food of our local area. One of our favourite pastimes is to support (and eat!) local produce. Here is a selection of our top choices of places that serve or sell Welsh products at their finest.
The Swellies, Y Felinheli
This excellent café is in the centre of Felinheli, and The Swellies' location in itself is enough to tempt you. On a nice summer's day it could easily be mistaken for a marina in the South of France. Small tables set up on the marina's bank offer the perfect place to eat while watching the ducks and boats come and go. The Swellies' secret is well-prepared Welsh local produce. Fresh bread from Becws Alun, eggs from Pen Llŷn, meat from local butcher Tom Hughes, cakes from Bangor’s Amy's Kitchen, beer from Bragdy Lleu and even loose leaf tea from Wales! I think Ed, the owner, is sick of the sight of us by now!
Llofft, Y Felinheli
A local enterprising group has recently bought a former sails loft on the sea front, and are currently working on restoring the building to its former glory, when it will eventually open as a restaurant. In the meantime, while the building is being transformed, Llofft Bach - a pop-up trailer - serves coffee, cakes and ice cream every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There's no better place to enjoy a cuppa while the children play in the park next door, or while sitting on the wall watching the boats cruise by.
Tyddyn Teg, Bethel
Tyddyn Teg is a fruit and veg farm situated between the villages of Bethel and Llanrug, on the edge of the famous North West Wales slate quarry heartland. The narrow bend down a rough lane offers a glimpse between the leafy trees of the dozens of polythene tunnels. All farming and harvesting is carried out by volunteers, and all products are available to buy in an honesty shop. The process of weighing and working out the sums is as much fun as the fruit and veg picking itself!
Braf, Dinas Dinlle
Braf is a café on the seaside in Dinas Dinlle, a popular beach outside Caernarfon with panoramic views stretching from the Snowdonia mountain range all the way to the Llŷn Peninsula, and with a fascinating archaeological footprint dating back 2,500 years.
Braf sells seasonal food, homemade cakes and Poblado coffee, but it’s also more than a café - it's a warm and welcoming community space where a host of events are held, ranging from dance sessions to yoga and baby sensory groups. Owned by two friends from Dyffryn Nantlle, Cadi and Anwen, supper clubs serving tapas-style small plates using local fish and seasonal vegetables are also held regularly – make sure you book ahead as they sell-out quickly!
Previously a popular Greek taverna situated in the popular student area of Upper Bangor, Clena has certainly retained the unique tone of its predecessor. The café serves a good variety of breakfast, including vegan options, and brunch is available until mid-afternoon. The lunch menu includes smaller dishes, and the night menu switches to a Mexican feast with tacos, burritos and nachos. There is also a good selection of cocktails and evening music events attracting locals, visitors and students in their droves.
Bonta Deli, Caernarfon
The Lôn Las bike trail takes you directly from Felinheli to Caernarfon, and forms part of the Wales Coast Path. If we have enough time we'll hop on our bikes or walk to our local town to shop or visit family, rather than jump in the car or bus. Bonta Deli, located in the quirky Hole in the Wall Street in Caernarfon, is an essential pit-stop whichever way we get there! This deli is like an Aladdin's cave, full of lovely treats. On sale is a mixture of the best of Italy and Wales, a winning partnership in my opinion! The coffee is amazing, and indulging in a cake or pastry is of course a matter of duty in order to support a local business, and in fact it, it would be rude not to. The cannoli, pasta de nata, cheesecake, meringue, chocolate cake and cookies are some of our favourites.
Poblado, a now familiar name across Wales, started offering yoga and running sessions to locals over lockdown – and of course, coffee and a catch-up to follow. Since then we’ve been going regularly. It’s a must visit for coffee-lovers to see the process of making different blends, buy a bag of beans and enjoy a ready-prepared coffee. Staff are on hand to tell the story of the organic beans that have been ethically bought from Rwanda, Uganda, Sumatra, China, Guatemala and Colombia, as well as educate visitors about the best things to see and do in the area.
Turn left out of Poblado and up towards Nantlle Quarry with a coffee in your hand – and be prepared to have all your senses awakened whilst enjoying the views across the newly-designated UNESCO World Heritage Site Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales.
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