Nestled just off the main square, on Ffos-y-Felin, in the lovely North Walian town of Dolgellau in Snowdonia National Park lies Dylanwad Da Restaurant. Dylan and Llinos, who own the place, offer an upscale dining experience set in a gorgeous stone building with a modern glass conservatory off to the side and makes a perfect spot for relaxing. After receiving a text at work from a friend who was in town a few days ago, asking if I fancied meeting up for lunch, it took me all of half a second to respond before hot-footing it from my office and into the warmth of the restaurant.
Dylanwad Da manages to strike a great balance between quality dining while still retaining a real local charm. The staff are mostly Welsh and speak the language fluently. They also speak English, so don't panic if you can't understand when them when you're welcomed in! It's always good if you can say good morning or good afternoon, though (bore da/prynhawn da) as, as with travelling to Spain or Italy (or anywhere else) it's always appreciated if you make a little effort.
Anyway, Welsh language lessons aside, the restaurant has a fantastic menu, as well as daily specials and a great range of teas and coffees. After getting our caffeine fix, we ordered the daily soup specials, which were a leek and tarragon and a Spanish sopa with chorizo. The soups were served with a bowl of brown seeded and white crusty bread and butter and nothing that was delivered to the table lasted very long. The soups were fabulous and the I'm convinced the seeded bread was laced with something that made completely addictive. Other items on the menu that we poured over were the bread and olives and tapas, which I could happily subsist on forever. And often have for periods of time.
If you're not hungry when you pass by (what's wrong with you?) you can always stop for coffee in the Café area or something a little stronger in the wine bar (my preferred option…). Dylanwad also has a wine cellar beneath its main floor, which is filled with individually labelled bottles imported from all over the world and really does have something to suit every taste and budget. It's also just a really cool space and is a must see for any wine enthusiast. The alcoholic offerings are not just restricted to wine, however, as there's a gorgeous selection of botanicals and other small batch local gins, Welsh ciders, and other tempting beverages. They also have the cutest gift baskets, which I know will go down very well when I go home to Scotland.
As well as being open for regular business, Dylanwad also hosts monthly tutored wine tastings (sign me up, please) and has a pod bar sampling system where customers can sample from 12 wines. What's not to love? Nothing; that's what.
If you're looking for a relaxed atmosphere, quality food and drinks and excellent customer service, this should really be your first stop. Also, did I mention you can buy wine? My friend and I are already planning our next visit during a time when it's far more acceptable for us to drink. Going back to work after a few glasses of wine is frowned upon in Wales, apparently. Who knew?