Where to Eat
Groes Inn (Welsh) Dating to 1573, the Groes (rhymes with “ voice") Inn near Conwy was the first licensed public house in Wales. As an ancient wayfarer’s rest, its beamed ceilings, cozy nooks and rich light still spark an almost instinctive sense of warmth and comfort in the traveler. There’s a fine white-tablecloth restaurant here, but the pub food in the adjacent space is just as delicious. Be sure to order off the chalkboard of specials—such as hearty shepherd’s pies and rabbit stews—and wash the meal down with pints of local ale. Fourteen well-appointed bedrooms on the property might convince more than a few to extend their stay.
Route B5106, near Conwy, North Wales; groesinn.com. $$
Le Raj (Indian) At this point, one can contend that the United Kingdom’s national dish is not shepherd’s pie but chicken curry and not draw too much in the way of argument. Le Raj, its quiet dining room draped in colorful fabrics and soft light, serves delicious standards from the subcontinent. And it’s only five minutes from Royal Porthcawl.
Porthcawl Road, South Cornelly, Bridgend; le-raj.com. $$
Owens at Celtic Manor (Welsh contemporary) Dining at Celtic Manor’s award-winning flagship restaurant is one of the most enjoyable experiences in Wales. Superbly fresh ingredients, from salt cod to Brecon venison to diver scallops, receive spot-on preparation and luxurious presentation under the direction of Chef Nicholas Evans, and the restaurant’s knowledgeable sommeliers find the perfect wine.
Celtic Manor Resort, Newport; celtic-manor.com. $$$$
Penhelig Arms (Gastropub) Little towns such as Aberdovey that have been bequeathed a world-class links aren’t complete without a place like the Penhelig Arms. Even if you don’t choose to stay in this country inn with fifteen small but well-kept rooms (and there’s no reason not to), you’ll doubtless wind up here for the food. The menu, which changes daily, strikes a balance between comfort food and sophisticated cuisine, often in the same dish. Thanks to its wine list—three hundred bottles strong—the restaurant enjoys a rising reputation as one of the best wine pubs in the U.K.
Aberdovey, Gwynedd; penheligarms.com. $$$