The weather has definitely taken a turn for the worst – the rain has come and the sun has gone – but don't despair! We've scoured Wales' finest city to bring you the very best in food, drink and fun – and all with a cheeky Wriggle discount, too – so turn that frown upside down, get out there, and start discovering the best that Cardiff has to offer. 

Walk into Garlands and it’s a bit like going back in time. Hidden away in Duke Street Arcade and a stone’s throw away from the castle, Garlands has been serving coffee, cake – and cawl – for over 65 years. Glamorgan sausages and Welsh rarebit may be firm favourites but local ingredients are also used to create classics with a twist, like pulled-pork pancakes and carrot and orange cake. It’s cosy inside so prepare to queue when it’s busy – but the food is worth the wait and you’re guaranteed service with a smile. There are plenty of veggie dishes and if you ask nicely, they’ll happily rustle up vegan and/or gluten-free choices. Garlands is the perfect place to escape the stresses of modern life – even if it’s just for an hour.

Read more about Delicious Sunday Roasts, Brunches & Pancakes @ Garlands

Step inside Cardiff's very own 1920's Prohibition-style speakeasy bar, resplendent with cocktail maestros who wouldn't look out of place in Peaky Blinders, one of the most fantastic selections of alcoholic creations in the country and a friendly crowd that spreads a viscous, intoxicating atmosphere from the early afternoon to when the caged canary breaks into morning song. The Dead Canary is more than just a back-room bar; it's *the* back-room bar. Away from the madding crowds, they craft premium alcoholic offerings with their own unique stories to tell, inspired and firmly rooted in this part of the world (recent incarnations have taken inspiration from Middle Welsh Oral traditions, myths and legends). The mixologists are top notch; the vibe effortless and the surroundings gritty, Welsh and industrial.

Read more about Quirky Cocktails @ The Dead Canary

The Brass Beetle has stolen a pizza our hearts here at Wriggle HQ. With dreamy interiors of dark wooden tables, richly luxurious brass details and regal green walls, we love nothing more than settling in here for a night of decadent, Gatsby-style indulgence. Peek at the warm, simmering glow of the wood-fired pizza oven in the large open kitchen while you work up an appetite (and perhaps sip on a cocktail or two) – and when you can't resist the rumblings of your tummy anymore: order one of their dreamy, thin and crispy beauties, piping hot out of the oven. As well as some of the most tantalising 12" flavour combinations we've ever had the pleasure of devouring, there's a knockout selection of salads – how does the sound of a pancetta and parmesan 'salad' grab ya?!

Read more about Glorious Wood-Fired Pizzas @ The Brass Beetle

With a brand new location on Whitchurch Road, The Pot are packing as much flavour as possible into their comforting French cookery. All the classics are present and correct, from delicious bowls full of mussels with frites, glorious sausages with comforting bowls full of mash, and amazing hot sandwiches. The Pot’s food pays no lip service to passing fads or trends – it’s exactly what you’d expect from a restaurant serving first-rate classic French cooking.

Read more about Great Quality Speedy Lunches @ The Pot Bistro

There’s a few reasons why Wriggle love the sushi at Cardiff Bay’s Yakitori #1 – their fish is stunningly fresh and someone in the kitchen knows exactly what they’re doing with a knife. Sashimi platters are an exercise in precisely executed simplicity whilst maki rolls are beautifully decorated with bright orange fish roe and seaweed fronds. But, it’s not just the sushi at this modern Japanese canteen which is worth checking out. Soba noodles are loaded with plenty of meat (unlike that well known chain place), vegetable tempura is served in the lightest of batters and golden gyoza are stuffed with fragrant fillings. Go for the bento box to enjoy a little bit of everything.

Read more about Delicious Bento Boxes and Sharing Feasts @ Yakitori #1

Looks can be deceiving, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to Wok-ker Shaker. Located in the shadows of Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, Wok-ker Shaker looks very much like any of the city’s other bog standard takeaways. In fact, however, it serves some of Cardiff’s most exciting Malaysian food with international students travelling across the city to try their cooking. Nasi Lemak is bang on the mark from the coconut fragranced rice to the spicy and sweet chilli paste and crispy anchovies and peanuts. It’s all the better served with an extra order of deeply flavoured chicken rendang (Greg Wallace hasn't had anything to say about this offering, as far as we know). Other classics include kuey teow (stir fried flat rice noodles), hot and sour laksa soup and empanada like curry puffs.

Read more about Magical Malaysian Dishes @ Wok-ker Shaker

Love coffee and really great brunch? Of course you bloody do – who doesn't! Well, fret not, dear Wrigglers, because The Byrd's Nest have got you covered for all your brunchin' needs and more. Peter and Matt head up a lovely team, and are perfectly plonked in the heart of Cathays, poised to provide sustenance in your hour of nutritional need. Here, you'll find them dishing up their egg-quisite breakfasts, brunches and lunches alongside locally roasted coffee, and quite possibly the largest selection of loose tea in Cardiff. There really is a bit of something for everyone here, too; if you're not a brunch-lover (what's wrong with you?), The Byrd's Nest also serve up some fabulously extravagant afternoon and high teas, which are bloody marvellous!

Read more about Perfect Brunches (including Bubbles!) @ The Byrd's Nest

What could be cooler than taking an old, derelict block of toilets on a Victorian city-centre park, and turning into the city's coolest new coffee shop? That's precisely what mother & son business partners Donna and Alex have done, and after an extensive refurbishment that has taken almost six months to complete, they've finally opened their doors to the public. They chose to name their baby with the Welsh spelling of “block” as a nod to the building’s past as a public loo. The cafe's interior is just 90 square metres, so it's a cosy space, but there’s also additional outdoor seating on a small patio which overlooks the park – Bloc is fast becoming our favourite spot for an alfresco latte and a slice of cake.

Read more about Vegan Cakes & Cracking Coffee @ BLOC Coffee

At St. Canna's, it's as much about promoting (and enjoying) great local beer as it is about fostering a welcoming vibe, chilling out and enjoying each other's company. You'll never find mass-produced lager, cheap food, fruit machines or Sky Sports - instead, background music lilts out from a well-loved piano in the corner (and the odd live band), fresh pizza is freshly delivered from Dusty Knuckle (with pop-ups like The Cheese Pantry or Mr Croquewich rocking up every now and then) and a scattering of board games peek out from wall-mounted crates... perfect for those who like a hint of good-natured competition with their conversation.

Read more about Boozy Treats @ St. Canna's Ale House

Society Standard boast a wide-ranging menu of small plates, bistro offerings (poised with a modern twist) and adventurous veggie heavy creations which will have your imagination running wild. Lip-smacking dishes such as salt cod croquettes, or chicken wings in spicy Creole-style sauce, are up there with some of our favourites, and word has it that their Mac 'n' Cheese is one of the best in town. Word indeed. Don't miss out on the cocktails, either – brilliantly boozy and with bold flavours that'll smack you around the chops – these are perfect for warming up to a night with your gang.

Read more about Stunning Steaks, Small Plates & Cocktails @ Society Standard

Published -15th October 2018