The Castle Inn, Criccieth

The Castle Inn, Criccieth

The Castle Inn can be found nestled between the High Street and railway station in Criccieth on North Wales’ Llŷn Peninsula. It might look like a pub, but The Castle Inn is a family-run restaurant offering delicious home-cooked meals. A quick glance at their website told me vegan and gluten-free options were available, so it seemed like the perfect place to try on our first evening of a weekend away in Criccieth.

The Castle Inn was already fairly busy when we arrived around 6pm on Friday evening, but we were greeted as we walked in and offered a choice of tables for two. Our drinks order was taken and we were left to decide what to eat.

Drinks-wise, there was a nice selection of wines, ales and soft drinks. It was a refreshing change to see a couple of gluten-free ales on the drinks menu, as well as a couple of alcohol-free ales. Mum decided on the Heartsease Farm Sparkling Elderflower Presse whilst I had a Frobishers Apple & Raspberry Fusion.

As someone who is on a dairy-free and gluten-free diet, I have to say that The Castle Inn menu is amazing and other restaurants should take note! Rather than just one or two items being marked up as dairy-free or gluten-free, or even just a note at the bottom of the menu saying to ask about allergens (I don’t want to ask, I want to look at a menu like everyone else!), The Castle Inn’s menu clearly states which items are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan or vegetarian. There wasn’t just one or two suitable items either, the vast majority of the menu could be made gluten-free and/or dairy-free. I was in my element! I had so much choice!

Haddock, chips and mushy peas.
Haddock, chips and mushy peas.

I was very tempted by the minted welsh lamb steak (I love lamb!), but in the end, I decided on the fresh jumbo fillet of haddock in a crisp, golden batter served with chips and mushy peas, after all, fish & chips is a must when at the seaside. Mum chose the falafel salad bowl (baked falafel with salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, beetroot and red onion with crispy diced garlic and herb potatoes, guacamole and vegan slaw).

Falafel Salad Bowl at The Castle Inn, Criccieth.
Falafel Salad Bowl at The Castle Inn, Criccieth.

Upon seeing the couple being served on the next table, my eyes were like saucers… the fish was huge! It’s a good thing I was hungry! Everyone’s food looked so delicious and I couldn’t wait for ours to arrive so I could tuck in. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long for our own food.

Drinks at The Castle Inn, Criccieth.
Drinks at The Castle Inn, Criccieth.

I tucked into my meal straight away and it was delicious. It’s such a joy to be able to enjoy tasty “free-from” food without any worries. The batter was crispy and light, and the haddock was perfect – tasty and not one bone to be found. The chips were lovely and even the mushy peas were faultless. I did, however, struggle to eat it all. Some of the batter and mushy peas were left on the plate, but I just couldn’t fit in anymore! Mum faired better with her salad, but the pair of us were far too stuffed to order dessert (a shame, as they sounded wonderful!).

The staff were friendly and attentive, and the service was quick and efficient. It was also reassuring to see “gluten-free” and “dairy allergy” noted alongside my meal on the receipt. Before we left, we were asked to put a pin in their map to show where we’ve visited from (we were the first from the Mid Wales border), which I thought was a nice touch. We were wished well and told they hoped to see us again soon… and they would for they couldn’t keep us away!

Southern fried chicken goujons and chips (after I'd started tucking in!).
Southern fried chicken goujons and chips (after I’d started tucking in!).

The following day we were back. This time we both chose the southern fried chicken goujons (strips of southern fried chicken breast with a garlic mayonnaise dip served with chips, salad and homemade coleslaw) – gluten-free & dairy-free for me. The chicken was tender and the batter had just the right about of spice in it. Another fantastic meal!

We’re back home in Mid Wales now, but I can’t wait to go back up to Criccieth and try yet another dish from The Castle Inn’s menu.

17 comments

  1. Kelly says:

    I’ve just had a look at their menu and I’m quite impressed with all the plant-based options! I think my first choice would be that falafel salad bowl. It looks delicious!

  2. We have been to Criccieth several times, however, as our friends live in Deganwy, up near Llandudno, we generally stay in or around Conwy, so have never actually tried ‘Castle Inn’. However it is always good to have an alternative which has been recommended, should any of our regular places be completely booked out.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Yvonne
    xx

  3. Jo says:

    That food looks delicious. It’s good to have so much choice when you’re looking to order free from food. It sounds like the whole dining experience was very good. By the way, after your last post about Elrohir Leather, I’ve been thinking about getting a traveller’s notebook to try out. I’ve never fancied one before, being a big Filofax fan, but something in your post must have appealed to me. I’m wondering now whether to go for a Midori or another brand. Any thoughts?

  4. Tracy Terry says:

    Oh my goodness, with sparkling elderflower presse and an apple & raspberry fusion on offer I’d be spoilt for choice.

    It also sounds like an amazing menu. You’d be surprised (well, maybe not) how many places have such a limited non-meat option let alone such a varied gluten-free option.

  5. Jeanna says:

    I’d be there in a flash if I saw a place that looked like that, that is a very inviting photo.I love both lamb and fish although I rarely find fish I’d want to order again, that looks irresistible as does the falafel dish. You made me so hungry for potatoes, that was all I thought about when I worked out today, defeating the purpose and all.

  6. Merkitty says:

    The food looks really yummy. That’s amazing that the food worked for your dietary needs too.. you’d never guess that they were gluten or dairy free just by looking at them.

  7. Debbie says:

    Hi Nikki, how nice for people who have to eat dairy and gluten free to be able to have a nice selection on the menu. Part of the experience of eating out is browsing the menu and making that all-important decision of what to eat.

    xx

  8. jeanie says:

    Oh Nikki, even though I don’t think we’ll get that far north while we are in Wales, I am so wishing we would! That looks totally fabulous — and a real experience too. How I adore fish!

  9. rashbre says:

    It looks delicious.

    I’ve stayed around Criccieth a couple of times. I remember the castle, esplanade and the little station from where to catch a small train along the pretty coastline.

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