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“Good but not quite perfect”

The Dining Room at Royal Sportsman Hotel
Ranked #11 of 56 Restaurants in Porthmadog
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$16 - US$48
Cuisines: British, Welsh, Bar, European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Business meetings, Child-friendly, Special Occasion Dining, Groups
Dining options: Lunch, After-hours, Dinner, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Description: The style of cooking is seasonal Modern British with a contemporary look for the adventurous along with classic British Fayre, for those who enjoy traditional meals at lunch or in the evening, served in the restaurant, bar, lounge or garden from 12.00pm till 3pm and 6pm till 9.00pm.
Bala, North Wales
Level Contributor
104 reviews
56 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Good but not quite perfect”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 June 2014

Having not found anywhere interesting in Porthmadog to dine, we came across the Sporstmans. The restaurant was closed but we could have a meal in the bar. The Rosette Menu was expensive but enough choice on the Classic Menu. My wife's fish & chips was good, excellent fish but too much batter and the best chips (triple cooked) I've tasted. I had goat's cheese & leek tart, salad and potatoes. All good but the tart was on the meagre side.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank walker-paddler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aby Q, Owner at The Dining Room at Royal Sportsman Hotel, responded to this review, 10 June 2014
We are the only gastro bar guaranteed to be serving the best quality fresh food - breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner - at reasonable prices, every day of the year.

Fish batter, we find, is very much a matter of personal taste, but we are delighted to hear the home-made triple-cooked chips were the best they have ever had! Our vegetarian dishes, such as the Welsh goats cheese tart, really do emphasize fantastic taste over portion size - unlike some eateries who often pile up the plate/vegetables as if to make up for a perceived lack of meat.

We hope this reviewer will return again, perhaps to try the 2 AA Rosette a la carte menu in our restaurant this summer. It includes two delicious and filling vegetarian courses - cream of watercress soup starter and fresh spinach tagliatelle main course - from just £21 per person.
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220 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
wales
Level Contributor
74 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“gorgeous food, not very exciting wine list and a few disappointments during our meal”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2014

We arrived without booking, but were greeted with a cheerful smile by the host. He apologised in advance, as they had a family party of 30 in who came back every year, so there would be a bit of a wait. No problem and it was a good sign the family returned every year. The bar serves excellent ales and the menu is difficult to choose from, as it all looked delicious. We were disappointed with the limited wine list though and felt it let the food down- wine should complement the food and also have the wow factor in a place like this.
We weren't disappointed with our starters and mains. We both opted for the scallops and had 3 queen scallops, artfully presented with a mint and pea puree. The scallops were lovely and fluffy, melting in the mouth, complemented by the mint and pea flavours.
As my main of beef arrived, I asked if I could have some chips. They never arrived though- another disappointment, but they were very busy, so I didn't enquire further. An apology or explanation from the kitchen would have been in order though. My steak was rare in the middle and absolutely spot on- delicious. I wasn't keen on the shin beef ravioli as shin beef is sticky and pasta was a bit chewy and glutinous, so the texture didn't agree with me. The taste was good and the sauces were gorgeous. My partner opted for the fish. I tried some and it was gorgeous too.
We aren't dessert people and as there was nothing on the dessert menu to tempt us, we opted to share the cheese board, as there was the promise of bara brith with local cheeses- I was so looking forward to this, along with a glass of Madeira to wash it down with. More disappointment, as the bar did not stock Madeira (???!!!???) Had to make do with a glass of port, which was ok, I suppose. My hope of finishing the meal with lovely local cheeses and gorgeous bara brith was dashed as we were presented with a platter of cheeses and five wafer thin crackers. We attracted the attention of the busy waiter who just pointed out the restaurant menu to me. I pointed out the other part of the menu that stated the bara brith came with the cheeses. He just shrugged and walked off- not what you expect, when you are initially told that this is the best restaurant for 30 miles. He never came back with bara brith, or to replenish the crackers. As a former waitress, I would never have treated a diner like that, no matter how busy we were. The cheeses were lovely, but we expected more than just 5 crackers. I was really looking forward to some gorgeous bara brith, Madeira and cheese. We're sorry to give you a lower overall rating. would love to give you 'excellent', but we were disappointed several times during the meal, due to issues previously mentioned, even though the food was lovely. Due to this, we don't have any incentive to return I'm afraid. Incidentally, the female waitress was cheerful, friendly and chatty.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank weekender051
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aby Q, Owner at The Dining Room at Royal Sportsman Hotel, responded to this review, 2 June 2014
Thanks very much for a fulsome and detailed review of our food, drink and service. We are obviously delighted with the praise you offer - especially about the gorgeous food - but disappointed if you too occasionally felt so with some aspects, such as the waiter's service. We hope you can find a reason to return in future?
We believe our wine list is reasonably extensive - without being too expensive - for this area, and will look into if it can better complement our 2 AA Rosette a la carte menu to make more diners like yourselves go "wow!"
We are sorry if the bar had no Madeira - we will look into this as an option - to go with your cheese course, if part of our menu needs updating to make it consistent, and if the kitchen and/or waiter failed to deliver chips and bara brith with the relevant courses. We apologise especially if, as a former waitress, you felt in any way re-buffed or ignored when requesting food service.
We pride ourselves on excellent service - no matter how busy we may or may not have been - for discerning diners, and I will ensure both your positive feedback and issues are passed on to our waiting staff.
We will continue to be the best food restaurant and dining experience for 30 miles around. . and reviews like yours can only help us maintain and improve our standards. Thanks again.
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Basingstoke, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“north wales 14”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 May 2014

during our recent stay in north wales we had a very nice meal in the royal sportsman, the lamb and vegetable pie was massive and very filling, well worth a visit.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank trueblue10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aby Q, Owner at The Dining Room at Royal Sportsman Hotel, responded to this review, 2 June 2014
Thanks for this brief and very positive feedback! Our 'Home-Made Shortcrust Pie of the Day' - whether it be the lamb and vegetable, chicken and mushroom, beef and ale, ham and leek or. . .whichever filling - is a firm favourite on our Traditional Classics menu with many diners. We hope if you are ever visiting the area again you will return to enjoy our food. . .accompanied by a pint of real ale, top-brand lager or bottle of wine?!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
555 reviews
311 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 214 helpful votes
“Excellent (in parts)”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2014

We found Peppino’s to be both pleasant and a little disappointing.

There are 2 menus, the ‘Rosette’ and the traditional, both with a decent choice of dishes AND you’re allowed to ‘mix and match’ between the two. The wine list is a little limited, but not expensive and the wines we drank were more than OK. It’s a shame that there’s no dessert wine or champagne available by the glass.

Our meal were chosen from the Rosette menu: Large lumps of bread were served and the starters were excellent, I had a wood-pigeon salad with blue cheese beignets and my partner had scallops and ‘mutton bacon’. The scallops were small, but tasty; she wasn’t so sure about the bacon, which tasted like well-salted breast of lamb.

Mains were pretty good too: I had fillet of beef with oxtail ravioli which was fine: the fillet was very good, the pasta of the ravioli was a little firm, I thought. Partner had venison (maybe fallow deer?) which was beautifully cooked: the ‘charlotte’ that accompanied it was very greasy, though.

Desserts were a disappointment: we both chose a trio of puddings, golden syrup, sticky toffee and spotted dick. They were not very good and there certainly wasn’t enough custard. My partner thought that the sticky toffee thing was chocolate, I just thought it was dry.

So, 2 out of 3 I guess. If we went again, we’d avoid dessert.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Dr_Bob1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aby Q, Owner at The Dining Room at Royal Sportsman Hotel, responded to this review, 2 June 2014
Wonderful to receive such a detailed review of our food and drink - even it it's a little mixed - from someone who obviously appreciates both.
We believe our wine list to be quite extensive for this area and will consider the suggestion about dessert wines and champagne by the glass - though to be fair we have hardly any requests for them - for future.
As to the food, the opinions on aspects of the starters and mains are very subjective, so the best we can do is acknowledge them as honestly held.
Regarding the dessert, our head chef has noted the comments as it is the first time any diner has said such.
While a rating of 2 out of 3 is OK, we would obviously like it to be almost 100% or full marks! Please, if you do dine with us again, raise any issues at the time so we can try to make any amends there and then.
We now have a superb new summer a la carte menu - see a photo-album of all the dishes on our TripAdvidor and/or Facebook pages - and please apply to the hotel for our free-and-forever Privilege Loyalty Card which gives a 10% discount on all our food!
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Devon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
87 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Surprising”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 May 2014

This was the only proper restaurant we could find open in the evening in Porthmadoc at the beginning of May. The outside and interior decoration was very dated and left a bit to be desired, BUT don't be put off. The food is excellent. They deserve the awards they have received. The staff were very pleasant as well, so give it a go. It's well worth it.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank happystaying
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aby Q, Owner at The Dining Room at Royal Sportsman Hotel, responded to this review, 15 May 2014
Thanks for this glowing tribute to our excellent food. It is true, we are the "only proper restaurant" serving fresh, locally-sourced, cooked-to-order, modern British cuisine in Porthmadog - period! No other 1 or 2 AA Rosette restaurants suddenly open in the town in any month! Our awards include a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for our food, based on many such reviews. Yes please give us a try. . .because you're worth it!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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