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It’s quite rare that Dan and I stumble across a restaurant that really lives up to its hype. It’s also rare that a visit somewhere and find myself itching to write up a review… Whenever we go somewhere new, I do spend a fair bit of time scouting out the best places to eat and what the online reviews say. I ignore what TripAdvisor says, and usually use Google review or social media as I find these more representative of what the restaurant is like. On our recent trip to Wales, we visited Pysgoty in Aberystwyth. After Googling ‘best places to eat in Aberystwyth,’ this place continued to come up again and again. So of course, we booked a table. And I have absolutely no regrets when it comes to that decision. This is one of the best meals we have had in a long time.

Pronounced ‘pes-got-ee’, Pysgoty means ‘fish’ in Welsh and – you guessed it – it is a seafood restaurant. It couldn’t be closer to the seafront – you can literally hear the waves crashing up the beach as you pull into the car park. Pysgoty’s menu changes daily, depending on what the catch of the day is. It’s a locally owned business, run by Craig and Rhiannon Edwards who own Jonah’s Fish Market. Passionate about fish, they work in tandem with their chef, Pawel Banaszynski who has lived in Ceredigion for several years. This really appealed to me; a local, independent business making use of very local produce!

I fell in love with Pysgoty because of petite it is. It is cosy, intimate, slightly too warm when the oven is on, but it has a real appeal that is like nowhere I have visited before. So I warn you now, if you’re thinking about going, you must book a table. Do it now. It probably seats around 20 covers, unless you head down in the summer and they have the decking open. In late-January, sitting outside facing the north wind and Atlantic ocean is probably the last thing you’d want to do! We left it slightly too late to book, so missed out on a table, but managed to get a seat at the bar which was absolutely fine in the end. Oh, and you want to know why it’s so small? Well, it’s the old public toilet building…

As I mentioned, the menus do change daily and with the seasons, so I can’t vouch for all of these dishes being on the menu if you decide to visit. To start, Dan and I shared baby braised octopus (£8) cooked in a stew of peppers, butterbeans and chorizo. Thanks to the chorizo, it had plenty of rich, Spanish flavours. The baby octopus was so tender, testament to its freshness and time taken to prepare it. I’ve has octopus before and it’s been really tough to chew! This could have been eaten as a main on it’s own, so I’m glad we shared this.

Our main courses did not disappoint either. Dan had bream (£17) which was served with curried lentils and kale. It was a stunning piece of fish, perfectly cooked to maintain all the flavour and flakiness of the white fish. The curried lentils added a nice gentle heat to the dish with the kale adding a bit of texture. This was a real winner and the plate was just about licked clean!

I decided to try the crab pappardelle (£17). I love fish and I was a bit worried the crab would be lost, but it was amazing and absolutely packed with flavour. The sauce was made up of the white and brown meat from the crab, so the flavour wasn’t impacted at all. There were so many veggies in the sauce too and it was seasoned with fresh tarragon which brought all the flavours together. The pappardelle was really tender, and definitely freshly made. 10/10 would eat again. And again.

For a restaurant that focusses on fish, we were intrigued by the desserts, however, we needn’t have been apprehensive. Dan had an Amaretto baked cheesecake (£7) which went down a treat. Smooth, dense cheesecake laced with amaretto and served with a toffee sauce. I chose the lemon and chocolate posset served with a little shortbread shell. This was delicious. Despite the thick creamy texture, the flavour was lemony and light. The pot had a generous helping of chocolate at the bottom too. The shortbread was short and light, with a lovely crumbly texture.

We had such a wonderful meal at Pysgoty. I couldn’t fault the service or the food, and we were left feeling very satisfied. As I said – very rare for us to have a faultless meal, but we literally couldn’t even think of something we didn’t like which is why it gets five stars from me. The only downside, was that I couldn’t eat more…

Definitely worth a visit if you are in Aberystwyth – it’s easy to see why these guys have now made the final twelve for the UK’s best fish restaurant!

To find out more about Pysgoty and view sample menus, visit pysgoty.co.uk. To book, call 01970 624611.

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Milton Keynes based blogger who likes to eat and explore.