West of the city centre lies in an area with a reputation as one of Cardiff’s most diverse districts: Canton. At just a 20-minute walk from the centre, and thriving with independent spirit, Canton is known as the bohemian cousin to the nearby, affluent suburb of Pontcanna.
Canton offers a little bit of everything; café culture is alive and well here, and there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from, but it has none of the pretension sometimes associated with other, more well-heeled suburbs in the city. It’s this no-nonsense charm that continues to lure people in.
Cowbridge Road runs right through the centre of Canton, and it’s on this busy and traffic-heavy road that some of its best restaurants can be found. For Sushi, Ichiban, though tired-looking, is hard to beat in terms of quality and authenticity – the sashimi is to die for. A few doors down, the critically acclaimed Purple Poppadom is known for serving inspired twists on Indian cuisine; try the whole, spiced and fried soft-shell crab and you’ll see why.
For the days when the morning after the night before renders you unable to consider anything else, Cowbridge Road boasts more traditional ‘greasy spoon’ cafes than you can shake a sausage at. Load up on grease and builders’ tea at one of these and your hangover will soon be a thing of the past.
The cuter cafes in Canton tend to be harder to find; just the way we like them. For balanced meals and healthy shakes, the The Bee and Honey on Clive Road is a cosy one stop shop, or head to Victoria Park to find the Parc Deli , La Creperie de Claudie, and the fabulous Pettigrew Bakery. The former, though not a café per se, has just enough room for two to perch, drink coffee and eat pastries in their coveted bay window seats.
Arguably Canton’s best-known café is the one situated within the Chapter Arts Centre, a multipurpose arts space housing a cinema, café, bar, theatre and events spaces. This where the creative community of Canton comes to work, eat and play.
Canton’s best watering holes are in-keeping with the area; quirky and independent. The aforementioned café-bar within Chapter, with its regular beer festivals, guest ales and covered beer garden, is an excellent place to while away an evening over a few glasses of something alcoholic.
Venturing onto Cardiff Road, you’ll find the Crafty Devil Cellar, a bottle shop and tap room owned by Canton’s very own micro-brewery. Always packed with locals, this the trendy local’s alternative to a night in the pub.
The other drinking den of note is the The Lansdowne. Situated at the end of a quiet residential street, this is everything a great pub should be; cosy and welcoming, with a great variety of local craft beers and a food menu that includes everything from Thai green curry to pie and mash. It’s not hard to see why this place has previously been voted CAMRA’S Welsh pub of the year.