Here in Cardiff, we really do love our food and drink. Whether we’re toasting a rugby victory with a pint of local craft beer, tucking into a Sunday roast, enjoying a Welsh cake with an afternoon cuppa or chilling out on the weekend with a big old brunch, everything a foodie could want - or need - can be found right here in this small but perfectly formed capital city.
Here at Wriggle, we’ve made it our mission to bring you the best and most delicious grub this punchy city has to offer; helping you discover the best independent food & drink destinations and events on offer.
Though Cardiff is yet to bag itself a coveted Michelin star, don’t write it off for fine dining just yet - you can still find truly sensational food with the likes of Asador 44 and The Park House in the city centre; as are Arbennig and Bully’s in nearby Pontcanna.
For more casual dining options, Cardiff certainly won’t disappoint - options range from independent burger bars like Time & Beef and the Grazing Shed; to sensational pizzerias like Dusty Knuckle and Calabrisella.
In recent years the demand for decent veggie and vegan offerings has dramatically increased, and Cardiff has risen to the challenge. We’re not talking limp lettuce leaves and a few lentils - oh no, we’ve got hearty vegan roast dinners from the likes of Milgi, casual diner classics from the 100% vegan Anna Loka and beautiful vegan doughnuts from the Blanche Bakery.
Cardiff’s markets are the best places to look for top-notch street food. At the Roath and Riverside farmers markets (which take place every Saturday and Sunday respectively), we always make a beeline for Mr Croquewich’s mammoth grilled cheeses; but keen home-cooks can also pick up organic meat and veg, artisan spirits and handmade chutneys, breads and cakes.
In the city centre, the old Victorian market is where you can find everything from Thai street-food to oozy scotch eggs, as well as veggie ‘wholefood bowls’, Welsh cakes and of course, a good old-fashioned bacon butty. For ad-hoc street food events, it’s worth keeping an eye on @streetfoodCDF’s twitter feed - these are the guys responsible for organising mini-festivals and gatherings of nomadic street food traders every summer.
Cafe culture is alive and kicking in Cardiff. Leading the way are hyper-local mini chains like Waterloo Tea and Milk & Sugar, followed by Barker and the delightful Kin+Ilk.
A few choice arty cafes are Sunflower & I in Cardiff Bay and Corner Coffee in the city centre; you’ll find plenty of indie freelance types gathered over laptops in either of these. If a traditional tea room is more your thing, head to Pettigrew, perched on the edge of the city centre, for china crockery and to-die-for cakes and scones in a picturesque park-side setting.
You’ll never to go thirsty in Cardiff with its eclectic selection of cracking craft beer pubs and local breweries. Award-winning brewers Tiny Rebel, who started life in a garage in Newport, now boast two independent pubs and a stable of award-winning beers. Meanwhile in Canton, the Crafty Devil Brewery are flying the flag for canned beers and the humble taproom concept - a cosy alternative to a traditional pub and one we very much like.
Over in Pontcanna, Pipes are continually honing and expanding their range of vegan craft beers, and serving them to happy locals from their back-alley microbrewery adorned with picture-perfect, festoon lighting. The city also hosts a major international food festival that takes place in Cardiff Bay every summer, as well as the annual Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival.
Though lagging behind recognised creative cities like Bristol and Brighton, grassroots cultural activity is increasing in Cardiff, often with assistance and support from established arts centres like Chapter in Canton or The Gate in Roath. G39 is an artist-run gallery based in an expansive warehouse and their main focus is on experimentation and risk, providing opportunities to showcase contemporary artwork that is more out of the ordinary.
Cardiffians are some of the friendliest people you could find on the planet, with many born and bred here, and the rest drawn in by the city’s top notch universities, huge city parks and high standard of living. They got a taste of the good life, and were convinced to stay forever!
Whether wanting to spend the weekend enjoying international sport in our world class stadiums, eating in our great independent restaurants, bird watching along the river Taff trail, or enjoying critically acclaimed theatre at the Millennium Centre at Cardiff Bay, there is something in this city for just about everyone.