There are lots of things to love about Christmas: the gentle harmonies of carol singers awakening a sense of nostalgia; the selfless spirit of charity thawing even the coldest heart; time spent with the important people in life spreading a loving glow over the Earth… There’s no denying that these are wonderful things. But let’s face it – what we all love most about Christmas is the food. Turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, rum truffles, mince pies, brandy cream… and of course, the wine to go with it. The more of the stuff, the better. We eat until we’re pot-bellied and drink until we’re pie-eyed, finally waddling back into the office in January feeling vaguely ashamed and relieved that it’s all over for another year. And we wouldn’t have it any other way! Here are our picks of the best pubs and restaurants in North Wales, where you can wine and dine in style this Christmas.
With a rich history dating back to the fifteenth century, this traditional inn is chock-full of character. In recent years it’s been named Britain’s Inn of the Year and Wales’ National Dining Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide, so you can rely on delicious food being served up when you go.
Dish we’d most love to try: Anglesey sea bass, pan roasted with Menai mussels, lemon, garlic and watercress
Most unexpected dish on the Christmas menu: Chicken curry, medium hot, mango chutney and cardamom oninons
Ran as a joint venture between four North Wales independent breweries (Conwy, Great Orme, Nant & Purple Moose), this pub serves up some of the best real ale in the country. With the breweries regularly receiving prestigious awards from CAMRA and the pub this year named as Wales Pub of the Year, you can expect to be served a pretty mean pint.
Pint we’d most love to try: Great Orme Brewery’s Welsh Black, awarded ‘Champion Mild of Britain’ by CAMRA
Most unexpected drink on the Christmas menu: Purple Moose’s Merry X-Moose, a festive ale brewed using a careful selection of darker malts and aromatic hops
A heady mix of farm shop, tea room, restaurant and cookery school, Bodnant Welsh Food is a haven for foodies on the lookout for the best, locally sourced produce. Their beautifully converted Hayloft Restaurant includes the choicest picks from their impressive Welsh larder in its carefully crafted dishes.
Dish we’d most love to try: 8oz, 28 day hung Welsh Black rib eye steak cooked to your liking served with potato, laverbread and Aberwen pie and creamed leeks
Most unexpected dish on the Christmas menu: Slow cooked venison in a chocolate and port sauce served with chunky parsnip chips and braised Brussels sprouts
Step into the cosy and intimate setting of this restaurant and you’ll receive a warm welcome from Liam and Ellis, the two brothers behind the scrumptious concoctions on offer. Food with a modern twist, a range of hand-baked desserts and a beautiful beach nearby. What more could you ask for?
Dish we’d most love to try: Créme caramel with chococlate orange mousse and caramel sauce
Most unexpected dish on the Christmas menu: Ginger pork Wellington, spinach, puy lentils and apple
This pub is all about location, location, location. Voted 3rd best beach bar in the WORLD in an opinion poll earlier this year, this pub has helped put the Lleyn Peninsula’s stunning coastline on the map. Perched on the edge of the most beautiful beach, it’s only accessible by foot. Trot on over there before the secret gets out!
Pint we’d most love to try: Ty Gwyn cider pressed from Monmouthshire apples
Most unexpected drink on the Christmas menu: Cochyn brewed by local Cwrw Llyn, the ruby ale bearing a Jolly Roger on the bottle
If you’re looking for the ideal country pub, then this is it. Exposed wooden beams, crackling log fires, a friendly welcome and award-winning food. You can’t really ask for much more than that of your Sunday lunch! Perfect for nipping over to after a day in the seaside town of Llandudno.
Dish we’d most love to try: Wild boar, rabbit and pistachio terrine, roasted figs, port wine syrup, toasted ciabatta
Most unexpected dish on the Christmas menu: Seared fillet of salmon, prawns and almond butter, roasted fennel, spinach, new potatoes
And here’s where you can find them all:[bgmp-map]
Don’t forget to check out our 8 best beauty spots in North Wales.
by Ben Griffin