We're big fans of the award-winning chef, Dave Chang, not only for his wonderful cooking and incredible shows (if you have Netflix, please check out 'Ugly Delicious'), but also for his podcast 'The Dave Chang Show'. While pop culture plays a starring role, the best part of the podcast is when he shines a light on the blood, sweat and tears that goes into being a chef - often trading war stories with other people in the industry. 

Which leads us to the Michelin guide. 

On an episode earlier in the year, Chang detailed the guide from a chef's perspective. And it was illuminating. From being listed in the guide, all the way through being awarded a star, the entire process seems like an exercise in stress - especially at the top of the mountain. For us - the people that get to enjoy these dishes - we look at the guide as a light source in a stormy sea. For the people that create the dishes, it's a piece of their soul on a plate, which then gets dissected by an 'expert'. The more stock people place in the guide, the more stress involved on the creative end. And the cycle continues.

That's not to say the Michelin guide is just a popularity contest - it plays an important role for consumers of food across the world, and provides a certain framework for excellence - but it's worth remembering the kind of work that goes into creating this level of food, regardless of whether you just made the list, or if you managed to grab all three stars.

Before we get started with our 'guide to the guide', it's worth recapping their award system. Essentially it's a three-star system (the more stars the better), followed by the Bib Gourmand (good value for money), then the 'MICHELIN plate' (good, quality food). Cardiff boasts a solitary one-star restaurant, followed by one Bib Gourmand, and a handful of Michelin plates. 

Caught up?  Great. 

Dive into our top picks from the guide below.

If boasting one of the best views in the whole of Cardiff doesn't pique your interest, how about being the only restaurant in Cardiff to have a Michelin star next to its name? Or the fact that only seven restaurants in Wales have that honour? Your eyes are starting to expand, we can tell... Founded by James Sommerin, this self-titled restaurant was always guaranteed a bright future. Sommerin earned his first Michelin star back in 2007 at the Crown at Whitebrook, before starting his own restaurant in 2014. Since then, the stars have continued to align, providing Cardiff with a perennial Michelin-starred restaurant. And given his career trajectory, who'd put it past him to earn a coveted two or even three stars in the future? We're certainly not betting against it. Treat yourself. You deserve it.

Read more about One Star: Restaurant James Sommerin

Along with checking out Cardiff Castle, or taking a boat ride around Cardiff Bay, eating at Purple Poppadom is a definite rite of passage for anyone visiting Cardiff. Founded by local legend, Anand George, Purple Poppadom's mission statement is to put a modern twist on authentic Indian food, while sticking to traditional ingredients and spices. Whether you're looking for a delicious thali, or something smaller - Indian style tapas, for example - this Cowbridge Road mainstay is sure to hit the spot.

Read more about Michelin Plate: Purple Poppadom

Set within a stunning, Grade 1-listed mansion built by the Marquees of Bute in 1874, Park House is an enchanting venue housing a restaurant, wine bar and underground cocktail bar. Embracing modern European cuisine with an emphasis on fresh Welsh produce, the fine dining menus are elegant and appealing. There is an emphasis on game, fish and seafood, alongside a few meat dishes. However, fantastic food isn't all you can expect when you visit Park House; Taittinger Wine Bar is well-known for its wine pairing abilities, and if you venture down to the basement, you'll find a chic cocktail bar by the name of La Cave with its own private entrance, giving it that elite, 'exclusive' feel. Ooh la la!

Read more about Michelin Plate: Park House Restaurant

Created by Brothers Tom and Owen Morgan, Asador 44 is a love letter to Northern Spain and indulgence. From the Pyrenean leg of milk-fed lamb to whole turbot; charred romanesco to 30 different types of cheese, and a wine selection so comprehensive, you'd need a cat amount of lives to get through it all, a booking at Asador 44 comes with a guarantee you'll have a good night's sleep. Sidenote: Asador 44 boasts one of the best restaurant interiors in Cardiff.

Read more about Michelin Plate: Asador 44

The owner of Canton's La Cuina restaurant is a women by the name of Montserrat. She was born and raised on a farm in Catalunya, studied in Barcelona, and taught Spanish at Cardiff and Bristol universities. She's not pretending to be Spanish, while serving a dry paella, she's the real deal. From mountain lamb to garrapinyats, Montserrat has made sure La Cuina stays true to the traditions of her hometown (and region), while building on those foundations. A slice of Catalunya in Cardiff, regardless of the weather.

Read more about Michelin Plate: La Cuina

Interestingly enough, the people behind Pontcanna's Milkwood bistro also had a hand in the success of the following restaurant in this guide (the Potted Pig), but that's a story for another day. At its heart, Milkwood is all about simple food done well. If you're looking for fried snake covered in chalk dust with a side of chocolate-dipped carrots, this isn't the place to go. However, if you're in need of something wholesome but not boring, Milkwood needs to be in your rotation.

Read more about Michelin Plate: Milkwood

When celebrated restaurant critic Jay Rayner described the Potted Pig a “gift to the city”, he wasn't wrong. Situated in a former bank vault near Cardiff Castle, the Potted Pig takes great pride in serving the kind of food they love to cook and eat, rather than focussing on a single theme. The only thing that stays consistent is their relationships with local producers - which seems to be a recurring theme when it comes to the Michelin guide. Our pick? The Welsh lamb loin.

Read more about Michelin Plate: The Potted Pig

The humble curry is perhaps one of the most misunderstood food categories going. For the vast majority of Brits, it's a weekend flip of a coin between a korma at the local curry house, or a chow mein from the nearest Chinese restaurant. That's not to say there isn't a place for that, but the difference between a great curry and an average curry is like night and day. Mint & Mustard is proof of that. This is award-winning, Kerala-style food at its finest.

Read more about Michelin Plate: Mint & Mustard (Penarth)

Based in Pontcanna, the award-winning Bully's might be your go-to spot for unique wine, but it also houses incredible French food, created using seasonal produce from Welsh providers. This powerful combination means you get the French approach to cooking, while being guaranteed freshness. Seems simple, but so many restaurants get it wrong. I suppose that's why they're in the Michelin guide.

Read more about Michelin Plate: Bully’s

Published -10th August 2019