By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
Looking for hipster street food? You’ve got it. High-end dining in swish surroundings? Absolutely. A selection of cuisine from around the world? Most definitely. Whatever your foodie requests, it’s easy to meet them in cosmopolitan Cardiff.
Local dining and food markets in Cardiff
If you fancy meeting some of Wales’s best food producers in person, head to the Riverside Market, held every Sunday on the Taff Embankment, opposite the Principality Stadium. On a sunny morning, shoppers gather for coffee (Fairtrade, of course), homemade cakes and a chat, while buskers add to the lively atmosphere. They also have a night market on the last Wednesday of every month, from 5pm to 8pm, where you can eat everything from Malaysian rotis to Caribbean street food.
Mini farmers’ markets pop up throughout the city, including at Pontcanna’s King’s Road Yard every Saturday morning. Here you’ll find ethical meat alongside local honey and award-winning cheeses. King’s Road Yard also has a permanent collection of artists and small artisan businesses, including an organic coffee shop and a craft brewery.
Kemi’s Pontcanna on Kings Road is a simple, family-run café that serves up breakfasts (including homemade bread and granola), wonderful cakes and light lunches, with a daily changing salad selection.
Over in the city centre, The Potted Pig is hugely popular and has featured in the UK’s top 100 restaurants. Housed in the subterranean depths of a former bank vault on St Mary Street, this gem of a restaurant serves uncomplicated dishes that let the locally sourced ingredients sing. Think pork belly with apple and fennel purée or cod loin with cockles and samphire. For gin fans, there’s a selection of over 30 to choose from.
Chapel 1877 Bar & Restaurant is perhaps the most spectacular in Cardiff. It’s set in a restored Gothic chapel, complete with pews and gorgeous stained glass, and serves beautifully presented European cuisine. Dishes might include pumpkin tortellini or pan-fried salmon with asparagus.
Carnivores will love Pasture, a stylish eatery serving excellent mature beef sourced from farms in Wales and the South West, and dry-aged for a minimum of 35 days.
For even more meat, make a trip up to the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse. As well as prime cuts of beef served straight from the grill, you can try top-notch burgers, fish and chips and pies. You can wash it all down with fine wines or cocktails.
Chapel 1877 is set in a restored Gothic chapel, complete with pews and gorgeous stained glass, and serves beautifully presented European cuisine
Great British Menu chef Tommy Heaney opened his own place – Heaneys – in the smart suburb of Pontcanna. The restaurant specialises in seasonal, locally sourced food including herbs hand-picked from the chef’s garden. A new addition next door is Uisce, an oyster and wine bar owned by the same team.
Set in a former park keeper’s bungalow at the entrance of Sophia Gardens is Kindle, which specialises in organic, ingredient-led cooking. The owner’s aim is to be as sustainable as possible, using recycled materials in the restoration of the building, including glass and bricks, and supplying produce from their own kitchen garden and greenhouse. Seasonal food is cooked over fire and there’s a small, regularly changing menu featuring dishes such as jerk duck leg and bream with squid tempura.
The owners of Kindle, Phill and Deb Lewis, are also behind Dusty’s Pizza, which serves proper Neapolitan pizzas at The Boneyard on Papermill Road. They also run neighbourhood bistro Nook, which serves seasonal dishes and natural wines in a site next to Victoria Park.
Set in a former park keeper’s bungalow at the entrance of Sophia Gardens is Kindle, which specialises in organic, ingredient-led cooking
To support a social enterprise and eat some fine food at the same time, visit The Clink, adjacent to Cardiff prison on Knox Road. Prisoners cook the meals and run the restaurant, and the experience helps them secure employment opportunities once they’re released.
Y Dosbarth, or The Classroom is staffed by students from Cardiff and Vale College. The elegant European food has gained the approval of Observer food critic Jay Rayner, and features dishes such as pan-fried brill with roasted Jerusalem artichoke.
If it’s a treat you’re after, make your way to the Castle Arcade and Coffee Barker, where you can get a caffeine fix and some excellent homemade cakes. Set in the High Street Arcade, its sister operation, Barker Tea Rooms, serves fancy afternoon tea. For cake and conversation, head to the leafy surroundings of Waterloo Gardens and grab a seat at Waterloo Tea, which has an in-house bakery and a fantastic collection of baked goods.
Cardiff’s food scene grows more and more diverse and that’s a great thing for vegans. There’s a clutch of excellent plant-based restaurants in the city, including Anna Loka, a laid-back café serving all-day breakfasts and burgers on Albany Road; Wild Thing, a hipster coffee shop on Cathays Terrace; and The Lazy Leek, a family-run business on Kings Road Yard, specialising in vegan burgers.
If it’s fuel for a night out you’re looking for, don’t miss Pieminster, the increasingly popular pie joint that started life in Bristol. Or, for a home-grown gourmet-burger experience, head for Cardiff’s own The Grazing Shed on Barrack Lane. The burgers come with a range of wild and wonderful toppings such as mozzarella and pineapple or chorizo and avocado mash. There are vegetarian and vegan options, too.
The Lazy Leek, is a family-run business that can be found on Kings Road Yard, they specialise in making vegan burgers
Should you have tickets for a performance at the Wales Millennium Centre, the city’s leading arts venue and home to the world-renowned Welsh National Opera, then try out Côte Brasserie – a chain it might be, but the standard is great. Another quality chain in the Bay is Bill’s, located in the lovely, listed Pilotage Building.
In tune with the multicultural flavour of the city, Cardiff is home to a host of curry houses, from simple takeaways to stylish eateries to authentic Indian veggie diners with Formica tables and oodles of atmosphere.
Vegetarian Food Studio on Penarth Road serves Gujarati and other Asian-inspired specialities. It has featured in The Guardian’s UK Top 10 Veggie Eats, and has won a Veggie Heaven award, as well as gaining recognition in the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times. Most of their dishes are suitable for vegans too.
The nearest Cardiff has to a ‘curry mile’ is Cowbridge Road East. The star of the bunch is the Purple Poppadom, where the menu is far from standard Indian fare – think slow-braised lamb shanks, crispy soft-shell crab with curry leaves and duck poached in coconut sauce. Nearby Mattancherry serves fabulous Keralan food, including dosas, thalis and a special kid’s menu.
Cowbridge Road East is also home to Bangkok Cafe, a vibrant spot serving fragrant dishes from across Thailand, and Osaka, which specialises in sushi and noodles.
Purple Poppadom, where the menu is far from standard Indian fare – think slow-braised lamb shanks, crispy soft-shell crab with curry leaves
A little further out from the centre, Sushi Life, on Wellfield Road, has taken Cardiff by storm with its fresh authentic sushi and excellent service. For more Japanese treats, take a seat at one of the scrubbed pine refectory tables at Tenkaichi, on City Road. They serve up an array of sushi and noodle dishes, plus specialist Bento boxes. There are even more international eats to be had on City Road, including Italian at Giardini di Sorrento, Syrian at Shaam Nights and South Indian at Ponnuswamy Restaurant.
For a sunlit taste of Portugal, visit Nata & Co, which has branches in the Castle Quarter Arcades and Clifton Street and offers pastries (including pastel de nata of course), bread and snacks. Cheap, cheerful and delicious!
The fabulous Curado Bar gives you an authentic taste of Spain with its excellent tapas, small plates and ruby-red Riojas. The casual, buzzy atmosphere makes you want to linger for hours, shooting the breeze with friends. And, if you want to take a taste of Spain home with you, there’s a deli counter crammed with goodies.
There’s also Bar 44, on Westgate Street, which serves top-notch tapas – perfect accompanied with one of their excellent wines or sherries.
If you’re after an authentic taste of Italy, head for Casanova, a small restaurant tucked away in a side street opposite the Principality Stadium. It serves hearty classics just like mama used to make. There’s also the delightful Café Citta, with its luscious daily specials and wood-fired pizza oven.
For some of the best Danish pastries you’ll ever sink your teeth into, get down to Brød on Pontcanna’s Wyndham Crescent, which serves outstanding cinnamon buns and Danish sausage rolls, alongside coffee, several kinds of sourdough and Danish rye loafs. For something unusual, try the carrot and linseed bread.
Shopping, sights, sound, and adventure in and around Cardiff
Exciting historic attractions to explore in Cardiff
Live events in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan