Bryn Williams Porth Eirias, Conwy, North Wales
Celebrity chef Bryn Williams has restaurants in London’s Primrose Hill and Somerset House, but his Porth Eiras outpost has the best location of all. It’s practically on the beach, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that maximise stunning panoramas over Colwyn Bay. Pause your admiration of the rolling waves to ogle the menu, which emphasises all things local, like freshly-caught fish and seafood, and fruit and vegetables grown in the kitchen’s garden. Beer from the local Great Orme Brewery is available, as are a range of mouth-watering cocktails. You can also book ‘Afternoon tea by the sea’. It holds a Michelin Big Gourmand for ‘exceptionally good food at moderate prices’.
Don’t miss: Roasted prawns with garlic, chilli and laverbread mayonnaise. Laverbread is a truly Welsh product – seaweed similar to Japanese ‘nori’ that’s boiled down do a flavoursome paste – and adds depth to seafood dishes.
Café Môr, Pembrokeshire, South West Wales
For the ultimate coastal eat, head to ‘beach shack’ Café Môr on Pembrokeshire’s beautiful Freshwater West beach. It’s run by the Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, which produces fabulous edible products from ‘sea herbs’ to ‘mermaid confetti’. ‘Môr’ means ‘sea’, reflected in the menu, which stars fresh lobster and crab, though you can also opt for a juicy burger (livened up with laverbread). The café is open from Easter to the end of September.
Don’t miss: Café Môr’s famous lobster roll: meat from half a Pembrokeshire lobster is served in a lightly toasted roll that’s slathered in Welsh Sea Black Butter (laverbread cooked in butter and lightly spiced); it’s on the menu from June onwards - a steal for £12.50.
The Beach House, Oxwich Bay, South Wales
Beach House is from the same team behind the acclaimed Coast in Saundersfoot, another seaside stunner, and the Grove Narberth, both of which are in Pembrokeshire. Beach House is on Oxwich Bay, one of the prettiest beaches of the Gower Peninsula and the restaurant boasts phenomenal views. It’s the food that tantalises people over though, thanks to the inventive dishes laid on by Head Chef Hywel Griffith and his team. It deservedly won AA Restaurant of the Year in Wales in 2018.
Don’t miss: Anything seasonal – the tasting menus are a showcase for whatever’s good on the day. In summer this means fresh fish (you can actually see the fishing boats bobbing in the bay); in winter there’s local game. From June to December go for Gower salt marsh lamb, raised on the mineral-rich marshes a few miles away, giving the meat a fantastic flavour.
Dylan’s, Criccieth, Menai Bridge & Llandudno, North Wales
If you were walking the Wales Coast Path around North Wales, you’d come into contact with the three fantastic branches of Dylan's, one on the Llŷn Peninsula at Criccieth, one on Anglesey at Menai Bridge, and the newest branch - in prime position in handsome Llandudno. Menus are equally ideal for romantic nights out for two, to a convivial family luncheon, with a wide range of dishes ‘from the sea’ as well as mouth-watering pizzas and burgers.
Don’t miss: The house speciality - the finest fresh Menai mussels, sourced sustainably and as locally as can be. Half the UK’s mussels come from Menai, but you won’t find them fresher anywhere else.
Pysgoty, Aberystwyth, Mid Wales
Located on the Aberystwyth harbour front, Pysgoty gives you that rewarding sense of discovery when you stumble along an unassuming shoebox of a venue (it was actually a former public toilet!) and find it to be a gastronome’s haven. The menu changes daily – ‘dictated by the seas and the seasons’ – and is firmly fish and seafood-based. Views are beautiful from both inside and the outdoor seating area and there’s nothing more romantic than timing your dinner to coincide with a spectacular Aberystwyth sunset…
Don’t miss: The local couple who own Pysgoty – he’s a fishmonger, she’s a chef – know exactly what’s best on the day, depending on what the fishermen bring to the door, whether it’s crab, lobster, bass or turbot. Trust them – they know what they’re doing, and do it brilliantly.
The Griffin Inn, Dale, Pembrokeshire, South West Wales
For fish and seafood as fresh as it gets, head to The Griffin Inn, which occupies a historic pub with a chic modern extension attached, overlooking a quaint harbour. Uniquely, the restaurant has its very own fisherman, Mark, who sets out in the Griffin Girl each day to catch everything from mackerel to dover sole, which appear on the menu with delicious Pembrokeshire new potatoes. Mark also has more than 100 lobster pots – the question you’ll be asking yourself is: half or whole?
Don’t miss: The Griffin has a pub menu, with Welsh classics like cawl and hearty pub stalwarts. But it’s the home-caught fish that really shines here: much of it is simply steamed, and not smothered in sauces. When the ingredients are this good, why mess about with them? It’s a great philosophy.
The River Café, Glasbury, Mid Wales
The clue is in the name – The River Café isn’t a seaside restaurant, but a riverside one, with tables overlooking the Wye and ideally situated for anyone strolling the Wye Valley Walk, cycling the Sustrans cycle network, or hiring a canoe from next door. Ingredients in the dishes are proudly local, from Caws Cenarth cheese to Monmouth ciders. The food quality is exceptional, the welcome is warm, and the setting serene: a real gem.
Don’t miss: Local ingredients feature heavily: Hay Charcuterie, bread by Alex Gooch, Caws Cenarth cheese, Tygwyn Cider from Monmouth, meat from the Welsh Venison Centre.
Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth, South Wales
James Sommerin won his first Michelin star as chef at the Crown in Whitebrook in 2007, and gained another under his own banner at this smart location on the esplanade at Penarth. There’s an à la carte menu, but we’d go for the six- or nine- course tasting menus – ideally at the chef’s table in the kitchen itself, where you sit at a bench overlooking the kitchen brigade. What James really excels at is flavour – extracting extraordinary depths of taste from everything he touches. The future looks bright, too: his teenage daughter Georgia has joined the kitchen team.
Don’t miss: The tasting menu. You’re in the chefs’ hands, so everything that comes out is a delicious surprise – although James lets you bend the rules, if there’s anything from the menu you’d really like to try.