Originally a fishing village, Abersoch is your oyster when it comes to savouring seafood. From post-beach hangouts to some of the area’s finest dining establishments, the village and its surroundings are renowned for their mouth-watering, hunger-inducing fish dishes. Sourced from the surrounding waters of the Llŷn Peninsula, the choice of fish is abundant in local restaurants. From flaky fillets to plump cheeks and shellfish, there is something to suit everyone’s palette. With so many restaurants to choose from, determining where to eat can be a stressful task. To make things a little easier, we have pooled together some of the area’s finest restaurants that have long championed the fruits of our coastline and allow us to enjoy some Great Fish Dishes in Abersoch!
A stately country house, Tremfan Hall is the crown of Llanbedrog village. The former home of minister and editor John Gwenogvryn Evans, the oak-panelled property is now a restaurant with prestige accommodation. Reclined in the seclusion of towering trees, the hilltop restaurant boasts spectacular views of Cardigan Bay. Directly facing this panoramic view is the paved terrace, sheltered by a gothic cast-iron canopy. Overlooking the landscaped grounds, it is a sought-after spot among guests that wish to sit back and relax with a glass of fizz ahead of a memorable meal. Following a seasonal lineage, the menu is carefully curated each week by Head Chef Nigel Skinner, whose talent is recognised far and wide. Often experimenting with different flavours and textures, Nigel is innovative and creates his dishes with immaculate detail. Here are three spectacular fish dishes that you can expect to see on the menu this summer.
1) The Mixed Fish Grill
If you love a bass or are partial to a prawn, you are in luck because making an appearance this summer is the Mixed Fish Grill with spiced, steamed vegetables and lobster cream. The dish features a barbecued king prawn, salmon delice and sea bass fillet; all of which are accompanied by spiced carrots and cauliflower, and the glorious green goodness of buttered kale, steamed broccoli and asparagus. A modern take on a British classic, the Mixed Fish Grill is a fish-lover’s delight, offering everything from fin to tail!
2) The Frutti di Mare
If you have a penchant for smoked fish, this fish dish is a strong contender. With poached prawns, steamed mussels, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel, the smoky seafood is balanced by the sweetness of the watermelon, blueberries and orange segments, and cooled by the Lebanese cucumber. A rainbow of colour and fusion of flavours, the Frutti di Mare is a sensory experience; whisking you away to the Italian coast, mouthful by mouthful.
3) The Baked Hake with Wasabi Panko Crumb
With an oriental twist, this delicious dish is sure to wake up those taste buds. Served with ginger and lime baby carrots and a roasted purple spring onion, the Baked Hake with Wasabi Panko Crumb is completed with a yellow curry coconut sauce. If, like me, you have a penchant for anything with a little coconut and spice, this fish dish should have already won you over.
Top Tip: in addition to one of these wonderful fish dishes, I highly recommend the Tremfan Old Smokey as a starter. A fragrant one-pot, smoked haddock and tiger prawns are combined with cubed potatoes, garden peas and saffron thermidor sauce, in addition to a cheese gratin and croutons. Having previously worked at Tremfan for several years, I can confirm that the The Old Smokey was a firm-favourite amongst myself and the majority of frequent customers.
Find out more about Tremfan Hall
The imposing 18th century manor house has been home to Chris and Gunna Chown’s award-winning restaurant for the last thirty-four years. Draped in wisteria throughout the summer months, the Grade II listed Georgian mansion stands majestically in the seclusion of the gardens. A hidden hideaway, Plas Bodegroes is an intimate restaurant with unrivalled flair. Honoured with a Michelin Star between 1991 and 2008, the restaurant is renowned for its culinary excellence. Recognised by the Good Food Guide, the Chown’s restaurant is highly commended and reputed for its modern interpretation of traditional dishes. Meticulously created by chef Hugh Bracegirdle, the dishes are nothing short of perfection on a plate – and the fish dishes are no exception.
The herb-roasted wild halibut with roast sweetcorn, chargrilled asparagus and smoked Cardigan Bay prawn sauce is a sea of fantastic flavours. The seared Pwllheli scallops with laver cakes, Carmarthen Ham, roasted leeks and lemon butter sauce are a taste of local produce.
However, the catch of the day is the monkfish ‘scampi’ with broccoli purée, wild garlic emulsion and tomato relish. Garnished with wild garlic flowers for aesthetic sublimity, the dish encapsulates the magic of this secret garden.
Find out more about Plas Bodegroes
One of the first post-war country house hotels, Porth Tocyn is steeped in history. Owned by the Fletcher-Brewer family for three generations, the hotel is perfectly poised on the headland, boasting beautiful views across Cardigan Bay and beyond. As well as offering superb accommodation, the hotel is a culinary hotspot. Boasting a continuous entry in the Good Food Guide and awarded two AA rosettes, it is one of Wales’ most respected establishments.
The compact menu features a host of perfectly formed fish dishes, all of which are fused with locally-sourced produce. With an ever-changing menu, Porth Tocyn offers its guests a varied choice of dishes.
Making an appearance on the menu this summer is the chargrilled sea bream with herb gnocchi, asparagus purée, buttered peas and asparagus with saffron foam and salmon roe. A staple is the Menai mussels in Penderyn Distillery’s Five Vodka Bloody Mary sauce, served with homemade black pepper and Halen Môn bread. However, the firm-favourite is the smoked and cured local mackerel fillets. Served with pickled vegetable ribbons, charred baby fennel and beetroot purée, the dish is a fusion of colour and flavour. Be sure to visit for a memorable dinner this summer.
Find out more about the Porth Tocyn
THE DINING ROOM
A small, family run Bistro in Abersoch, The Dining Room serves sophisticated, seasonal dishes using fantastic local produce, hence the great emphasis on fish. Owner and Head Chef Simon Toft is a one-man band, catering for one sitting only so that guests can have the table for the entire evening. This makes the Dining Room the ultimate destination for those seeking a relaxing dinner with family or friends in a deliciously intimate setting.
Awarded an AA rosette in 2015, the family-run bistro is humble yet absolutely exceptional. As part of the set-menu, you may be lucky enough to find the soused herring with pickled vegetables and buttermilk dressing, or the sea-cured mackerel with beetroot, horseradish and apple. Both options are delicious, colourful examples of what you may fish at The Dining Room this summer! Simon also makes his very own in-house gins – what better way to wash down the meal?
If you have been tempted by any of these wonderful fish dishes, I urge you to book in advance to avoid disappointment. I guarantee that you will be well and truly hooked!
‘Great Fish Dishes in Abersoch’ was written by Rhiannon Jenkins for the Summer issue of Abersoch Magazine. Subscribe Here to received future copies