Pontcanna is one of the most desirable residential areas of Cardiff, and with good reason. Long, tree-lined avenues of grand Victorian townhouses intersect with peaceful terraced streets, whilst cosy cafes and restaurants seem to hide around almost every corner.
United by a strong sense of community, Pontcanna residents share a passion for the local and independent; eating, drinking and shopping within the confines of these leafy streets is a joy - and yet, should you need them, the bright lights of Cardiff city centre are less than a mile away.
Pontcanna’s restaurant scene is well known for its variety of excellent independents; from the well-established Bully’s, who have been serving up a French inspired menu with wine list for more than 20 years; to relative newcomers like Milkwood, whose focus on a small but constantly changing menu of excellent Welsh produce.
On Romilly Crescent, right in the heart of the suburb, fine dining restaurant Arbennig has achieved the highest score in the Waitrose Good Food Guide three years running – and for good reason, whilst next door, their casual ‘food emporium’ offers more casual dining with brunches, coffee and cakes.
Other casual dining options include the slow and low BBQ joint The Smoke House and Indian restaurant The Cinnamon Tree, both situated just a short walk from one another and perfectly positioned for a spontaneous meal with friends.
Pontcanna is an excellent place to while away an afternoon cafe-hopping and people watching. Danish bakery Brod is always a busy stop; one bite of their ‘Spandauer’ - a traditional Danish pastry made with layers of sweet pastry with custard or jam – and you’ll see why.
A few streets away you’ll find Kemis a homely and welcoming café serving up arguably the best salad plates in the city. A few doors down, tucked away in a purpose-built mews sits the appropriately named Canna Deli offering tea, cake and sandwiches alongside an impressive selection of local Welsh produce. If coffee is more your thing, cross the road to find a small alleyway which leads to Lufkin a Scandinavian-esque micro-café with a modern glass frontage, serving specialty grade, green Arabica coffee fit to please even the fussiest coffee connoisseur.
Thanks to its laid-back vibe and village feel, there is only one last-night bar in Pontcanna, and that’s the Cameo Club; sadly, it’s a members-only affair after 11pm on the weekend.
It’s the pub that reigns supreme in this neighbourhood and so, there are plenty to choose from. If good grub is your priority, The Conway is a safe bet; their varied menu of local produce changes with the seasons, ranging from simple fish and chips to hearty lamb shanks with cavolo nero and buttery mash. Nearby, The Brains brewery owned Romilly boasts one of the best beer gardens in Cardiff – perfect for long summer evenings when drinking outside as often as possible becomes a national pastime.
It’s Cathedral Road that boasts the most choice, and on match days, this becomes a ready-made pub crawl route, taking thirsty rugby fans from Llandaff Fields at the top, directly to the international stadium at the bottom, via a pit stop in up to seven or eight different watering holes along the way. The best of the bunch includes The Halfway (with its own bowling alley), Bragdy a Chegin (with its own in-house brewery) and The Cricketers.