Best places to eat in Cardiff

Not to be missed for a weekend away this year, the Welsh capital of Cardiff is becoming a major foodie destination with a host of new restaurants and cafés

Cardiff's food scene is seriously raising its game, with a variety of new restaurants and must-visit venues. Be sure to visit these local hotspots for a gourmet experience.

The Potted Pig

The potted pig

Best for: Casual dining, child friendly
Housed in an old bank vault in the heart of the city centre; the clue’s in the restaurant’s name as far as the menu is concerned. There’s pig’s head croquette with sauce gribiche; crispy pig’s ear salad with bacon & boudin noir (black pudding). But you’ll also find ballotine of veal, skate wing with caper butter, plus vegetarian options. Their success has led to the opening of a sister restaurant, Porro, with two sites in Llanda and Roath. Mains from £13.

The Potted Pig website 

Restaurant James Sommerin

Restaurant James Sommerin

Best for: Special occasions
The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in October last year. Four miles outside Cardiff in Penarth, its glass frontage allows you to dine with a glorious view of the Severn Estuary and beyond. Sommerin’s dishes are famously elegant and inventive, and the impressive wine list is top-heavy with biodynamic and organic options. Starters from £8, mains from £17. Six-course surprise tasting menu, £70.

Restaurant James Sommerin website

Anna Loka

Best for: Child friendly, casual dining, cheap eats
This is the brainchild of Adam El Tagoury, formerly a Hare Krishna monk, who successfully crowd-funded his 100% vegan enterprise into existence last year. Try the spinach & tofu gnudi balls in a marinara sauce, or the speciality burgers made from seitian (wheat gluten). Guilt-free vegan comfort food. Mains from £9.50.

Anna Loka website 

Got Beef

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child friendly
After spending four years in a catering bus providing grateful festival-goers with an alternative to cheap hot dogs, Cai Pritchard honed the art of burger-craft and is now established in Cardiff’s foodie-central zone, Whitchurch Road. The Breaking Bad-saluting ‘Heisen Burger’ is the headline act (Welsh Black beefburger with blue cheese, crispy bacon & blue drunken onions), £7.95.

Got Beef website 

The Clink

The Clink

Best for: Casual dining, special occasions
This has the most decidedly unglamorous address – Her Majesty’s Prison, Knox Road, Cardiff – and is staffed by serving ‘guests’ of said establishment. It has been lauded as one of the best fine dining restaurants in Wales, with a bright, buzzy and welcoming interior. The menu offers riffs on classic dishes made with seasonally appropriate ingredients, many grown on the Prescoed prison farm. Try the burnt white chocolate panna cotta with ginger sorbet & honeycomb.

The Clink website  

Fish at 85

Best for: Casual dining, child friendly
In a thriving high-street fishmongers, in Pontcanna, you can either take your fish home wrapped in the South Wales Echo or elect to have the chef prepare it for you however you would like it, in their light, stripped-back restaurant. The Scandi, no-frills feel to the room mirrors the lack of needless over-production when fish this fresh is on the menu.

Fish at 85 website 

The Deck

The Deck

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child friendly
This restaurant, in Cardiff Bay, proves that anything – from the humble omelette to the cherry Bakewell – can become a thing of beauty in the hands of a genuine artisan, and that no big chain can compete with a family of dedicated caterers. The hog & hen (sausage, egg & bacon baguette) followed by a chocolate & Malteser cupcake are sheer bliss.

The Deck website 

Milgi

Best for: Casual dining
Ten years at the heart of Cardiff’s student hub in Roath have allowed Milgi to build up a devoted and ever-expanding client base, won over by its eclectic decoration, well-proportioned cocktails and flavour-stacked, internationally-inspired, vegetarian plant-based street food. Try the pumpkin fritters with tahini & red quinoa salad, and a berry Collins cocktail. Starters £7.25, mains £11.25.

Milgi website  

La Cuina

La Cuina

Best for: Casual dining, special occasions
In just four years, Monserrat Prat and her crew of Catalan chefs have seen their marriage of ancient cooking traditions and locally sourced food take La Cuina right to the top of the Cardiff restaurant league table. Welsh ingredients are given the Catalan treatment, such as rabbit in a Moscatel vinaigrette. Mains from £14.50.

La Cuina website 

Chai St

Chai St

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child friendly
Cardiff is known for its superb Indian restaurants, a reputation that has a lot to do with Ajit Kandoran and Latheesh Kottilil, whose restaurant Mint & Mustard has been the high watermark for Asian cookery in south Wales for 10 years. Their punky off-shoot in Canton is the ultimate street food destination. Mixed thalis from £8.95.

Chai St website 

Bully's

Bully's

Best for: Casual dining, child friendly
Twenty years ago, Russell Bullimore (no prizes for guessing his nickname) opened a classic French-style bistro to showcase the kind of food that he loved, and no one has grown tired of it since. A meticulously sourced list of wines hand-picked from appellations all over France helps to complete the authentic Gallic mood, aided no end by a randomly assembled, themeless art collection that calls to mind semi-fictional Parisian brasseries where penniless artists paid for food with their canvasses. Express two-course dinner, £15. Starters from £5, mains from £14.

Bully's website

Shaam Nights

Shaam Nights

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child friendly
This Syrian restaurant pulls out all the stops in its drive for an immersive Arabian experience, including a swirling Byzantine mosaic of bright tiles and Damascene bronze and glass lanterns. Specialities such as lamb Kubba Labania and chicken freekeh have legions of admirers. The alcohol-free policy means the napalm-hot biryani will need to be cooled with a yogurt smoothie or a strong Syrian coffee rather than a chilled beer but you can expect wonderful food by warm-hearted hosts. Mixed meze £8.00, mains from £7.50.

Shaam Nights website

Park House

Best for: Special occasions
Park House has become Cardiff’s restaurant yardstick since opening in 2005, not least for its afternoon teas, which are the precise, contemporary creation of head chef Ian Inman. Inham brings a modern vitality to a variety of menus found in Park House’s celebrated, oak-panelled, Bruge dining room. This antique/modish marriage is echoed in its Vanilla Rooms cocktail bar, which couldn’t be more ‘now’ if they’d hired Cara Delevingne to mix the mojitos with a Little Book of Hygge under her arm. Afternoon tea from £25pp, seven-course tasting menu, £69.

Park House website

Nant

Nant

Best for: Casual dining, child friendly
The Nantgarw campus of the recently merged Coleg y Cymoedd (College of The Valleys) might seem an unlikely spot to hunt out grade-A cuisine, but that is the experience being enjoyed by thousands of diners who’ve given this old college a try. The in-house restaurant, Nant is staffed from kitchen porter to pastry chef by degree course catering students. While the menu is concise, the quality has been gobsmacking guests (Nant is currently rated first on TripAdvisor’s Cardiff restaurant chart). Three-course menu, £9.95

Nant website

Society Standard

Society Standard

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child friendly 
An expansive, industrial-look interior gives this new address on increasingly gourmand Whitchurch Street the retro-fit vibe of a New York art gallery circa 1989. There’s influence too from Bristol just across the River Severn where the proprietors Tim Moores and Dom Wood also own Urban Standard and North Street Standard. The menu is designed to be enjoyed by friends huddled around a table, sharing pork or seafood platters washed down with a pint or two of locally brewed Pipes Beer. Extra points for the “Mactorious P.I.G.” sandwich. Starters from £4.20, sharing platters, £17.95.

Society Standard website

Arbennig

Arbenning

Best for: Special occasions, casual dining, child friendly 
It takes chutzpah to call your restaurant ‘Special,’ (arbennig’s meaning in Welsh), but such confidence is well placed. Immediately after opening in 2014, it pole-vaulted to the top of The Good Food Guide’s list of Cardiff restaurants. Its menus defy categorisation but a commitment to freshness is evident in John Cook and his wife Ceri’s weekly changing menus. The recent arrival of their Arbennig Emporium (deli) also sees humble sandwiches, paninis and scotch eggs given the fresh ‘Cook treatment.’ Starters from £5.50, mains from £12.95.

Arbennig website

Ffresh

Best for: Special occasions, casual dining, child friendly 
The highly vaunted Wales Millennium Centre demanded something several cuts above the norm for dining spots at UK cultural centres. And it delivers in spades. Under the stewardship of Walnut Tree alumni Head Chef Marc Corfield, Ffresh has become one of Cardiff’s most sought-after dining destinations. Corfield’s sleek, contemporary menu featuring rump of Welsh lamb with braised faggot, Perl Las and leek brioche pudding, is appropriately Celtic in its outlook, as is the panoramic vista of Cardiff Bay. Three-course supper £23.00.

Ffresh website

The Pot Bistro

The Pot Bistro

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child friendly
The result of several years of evolution and development by husband and wife team, Rhys and Laura Keogh who took over ‘The Pot’ when it was an unassuming café. Word quickly spread about their new, hearty cassoulets and bouillabaisse - and suddenly, 25 covers wasn’t enough. They’re now packing them in at their new location on Whitchurch Road, while the original venue has been re-reimagined as an upmarket café named, rather sweetly, Arty’s Kitchen, after their son. Breakfast from £6.50, main Courses from £14.50.

The Pot Bistro website

Purple Poppadom

Purple Poppadom

Best for: Casual dining, special occasions
The name Anand George is whispered with sacred reverence in Cardiff. Learning his craft over many gruelling hours back home in Kochi, Kerala (and in some of the best kitchens in London), George set up the Purple Poppadom in Cardiff’s vibrant Canton district in 2007. His mission: to change the way Indian food is viewed. The clean, bright, modern presentation - the room as well as the plate - allows many, varied flavours to breath and bedazzle. Read all about it in George’s first cookbook, ‘The 5,000 Mile Journey’. Mains from £12.95, seven-course tasting menu, £45.

Purple poppadom website

The Urban Tap House

The Urban Tap House

Best for: Casual dining, child friendly 
The brewing company that emerged from Brad Cummings and Gazz Williams’ garage endevour, Tiny Rebel has become a huge success. One of their most recent creations, Cwtch won CAMRA’s coveted Champion Beer of Britain Award in 2015. The Urban Tap House in Cardiff city centre shares a similar enthusiasm-based genesis: they’ve basically built the kind of pub that they would want to spend every night in, from the simple but effective menu of burgers, pizzas and all-American dude food, to the arcade machine in the corner where you can put your Donkey Kong skills to the test. Burgers from £5.95.

The Urban Tap House website

5 foodie places to try

Madame Fromage

Source of over 150 international cheeses at two delis in Cardiff’s Castle Arcade, the Friday night cheese tastings sell out on a weekly basis. Great name too. 

Victoria Park Pie Company

Victoria park pie company

Born of the same pie-making family that created the legendary ‘Clarpie’, the Clarks’ pie shop in Canton is an essential pre-rugby match destination. 

Bunkhouse

This lively backpackers’ hostel is currently ground zero for craft ale connoisseurs. Try their own-brand pale lager, Nighty Noops! 

The Welsh Food Box Company

If you don’t want to go to the food, let the food come to you. This Pontprennau operation specialises in getting the best locally sourced organic fruit and vegetables to your door. 

Lab 22

Lab 22

The chemistry of cocktail creation is performed to legions of admirers in this smart bar on Caroline Street. 

Is there anywhere we've missed? Let us know in the comments below...

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of the 01 January 2017 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there is any incorrect or out-of-date information in this guide please email us at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com.

 

Comments, questions and tips

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Miley
29th Jan, 2017
Many lovely places detailed above but personally I recommend "I Giardini di Sorrento" 12 City Road Cardiff as its homemade pastas and desserts are unbelievable. Another really great addition to cardiffs restaurants
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