Densely populated and made up primarily of Victorian terraced streets, Cathays is one of the most central, inner-city suburbs of Cardiff.
With the city centre and main Cardiff University campus just a short walk away, Cathays is the ideal location for student living and as such, the foodie landscape reflects this. Characterised by vibrant, affordable and predominantly independent restaurants and takeaways, Cathays is an area for eating out that appeals to all budgets and tastes.
In the last few years, Woodville and Crwys Road in particular have established themselves as the frugal foodies’ destinations of choice.
For quick, grab-and-go meals, Falafel Kitchen and Katiwok are hard to beat, the latter serving up creative ‘katirolls’ filled with curried and stir-fried fillings that take inspiration from all over Asia, with nepalese flavours taking centre stage.
Casual yet interesting independent restaurants like Jalan Malaysia, the The Hellenic Eatery and Mowgli’s hold their own against the chain restaurants of the city centre, and they do it with prices that keep the student population of Cathays, and the nearby young professionals of Roath, coming back for more.
Cafe culture is alive and kicking in Cathays; each and every one is packed with students squirrelling away on laptops or taking a break from studying (yes, they do that sometimes) to enjoy a quick coffee and a catch up with friends.
Stag Coffee is the salvation of many, with their hearty fried breakfasts big enough to banish any midweek hangover. Around the corner, The Byrds Nest covers everything from simple eggs on toast to afternoon tea, but the jewel in the Cathays-cafe-crown is The Early bird, a bakery and cafe who roast their own coffee beans on site and make their baked goods from scratch, including their outrageously indulgent, filled doughnuts. Always busy, the cafe also boats a beautiful little patio with extra seating in the back, perfect for brunch al-fresco when the weather warms up.
This is one part of the city where the pubs and bars are guaranteed to be buzzing on any night of the week. Students from the nearby university pack out local pubs like the Woodville and Gassy Jacks (recently given a fancy new makeover), loading up on carb-heavy sharing platters and cheap pints, before heading into town or to the local student union.
The Flora attracts a more varied crowd. A collaborative venture between a local independent bar group (Ten Mill Lane) and Brains, Wales’ largest brewery, this pub caters for more than just the local student population, and have become known for great value Sunday roasts and artisanal G&Ts. Not the raucous boozer you’d expect in this part of town, and definitely worth a visit.