The transformation of Cardiff's food scene is in full swing. Propelled by gastronomic gambles and off-beat restaurant openings, Cardiff is now a top dining destination.
After much drooling, copious tastings, and a bit of debating, we've selected the most essential dishes to try in Cardiff.
Eisenstadt Sandwich – Wally’s Delicatessen
Heaped with Black Forest ham, onion-coated salami, and gooseberry and coriander chutney, the ‘Eisenstadt’ takes the crown of sandwich perfection.
Thali – Chai Street
presentation may conjure up memories of school dinners, but rest assured: there
be no lumpy custard here. Instead you have an indulgent feast of curry, lentil
daal, fluffy rice and crunchy poppadoms.
Lahmacun – Saray Restaurant
Head to vibrant City Road to try lahmacun, a Turkish-style pizza topped with spiced minced lamb and parsley. Wash down with Ayran, a salted yogurt drink.
Spinach and pistachio cake – Waterloo Tea
cake this glowing shade of green has got to be healthy for you, right? Debatable,
perhaps, but what’s dead certain is that this well-loved Cardiff establishment
bakes the scrummiest cake in town.
Welsh rarebit – Madame Fromage
on the street is this charming deli in the Castle Arcade serves up the ultimate
Welsh rarebit. The Madame’s secret to the perfect rarebit is simplicity: Thick
crusty bread, béchamel sauce, garlic, mustard and Welsh cheddar, end of.
Lentil daal – Clancy’s @ Cardiff Central Market
in the atmospheric Central Market, Clancy’s don’t only provide scrummy vegetarian
and vegan lunches on the go, they also have an impressive selection of spice mixes
Willy Wonka – Moksh
the most adventurous diner is bound to be taken aback by Stephen Gomes’
fearless cookery. This starter of lamb chops with chilli chocolate candy floss
is just one of the reasons Moksh was crowned best restaurant 2016 by Cardiff
Tacos – Bearded Taco @ Depot
fillings inspired by their extensive travels, Welsh Sian and Californian Jake
regularly rustle up a taco feast at DEPOT, Cardiff’s bustling street food
Linguine Pescatora – Café Citta
family-run Italian eatery is perhaps the most under-rated in Cardiff. Fresh,
vibrant and elegant, the seafood linguine is the pasta dish of your dreams.
The Ultimate Burger – Anna Loka
only 100 % vegan café is famed for its succulent burger, to rival any of its
meaty cousins. And it comes with moreish sweet potato fries.
Spandauer – Brød
classic Spandauer, with a custard or jam filling, is a masterclass in the art of
pastry-making. No wonder the Danes are so happy when they’ve got these to munch
Banana, peanut butter and choco ice cream – Science Cream
said science was boring? Wales’ first and only liquid nitrogen ice cream
parlour has wowed Cardiffians since 2014 with their show-stopping desserts,
which have even made it onto The Times’ Top 10 UK ice cream shops.
Welsh breakfast – Pettigrew Tearooms
where else does breakfast include laverbread scones? Start your day the Welsh
way in the dainty tea parlour by the castle.
Cooked breakfast - Servini’s
Cardiff icon, Servini’s has cooked a mean breakfast for more than 50 years in
their Edwardian arcade kitchen.
Pastel de Nata – Nata & Co
Cardiff’s very own Portuguese bakery has a range of delectable cakes and
sandwiches on offer, their little custard tarts are their claim to fame. Heaven
in a mouthful.
Nasi Lemak - Jalan Malysia
Creamy coconut rice, fiery sambal, boiled egg and Malaysian
curry combine with meat, prawn or tofu to trick you into believing you’re in a
warren of market vendors in Kuala Lumpur. If only.
Polish meat board – Sunflower and I
quirky café/bar/florist is perhaps Cardiff’s best kept secret. Excellent Polish
cakes are bought in from a London bakery, but if you’re after something more substantial
then opt for a decadent meat board.
New York Hoagie – New York Deli
Lunchtime in the High Street Arcade sees a queue outside this American joint. It’s all about
the hoagie, a quintessentially New York sub sandwich with mountains of pastrami, Swiss cheese, coleslaw and gherkins.
Sunday roast – Society Standard
Head to Cardiff newcomer Society Standard on Whitchurch Road for your Sunday
comfort food. With all the trimmings, naturally.
Chilli paneer – Vegetarian food studio
cuisine does vegetarian better than Indian, and this authentic South Indian
restaurant goes all out to prove it. Soft cheese covered in a spicy chilli
sauce is so moreish you’ll be wanting seconds.
Gyros – Hellenic eatery
At £4, this fast food beauty has got to be the best bargain in town. Tip: pop
in on a Sunday evening for Greek dancing (and ouzo, of
Pantry Salad Bowl – Penylan Pantry
If you’re after a fresh and healthy lunch option, head to this cute corner shop/deli
in Roath and get stuck into a salad bowl the colour of a rainbow. Did we
mention it’s organic, too?
Gambas – Curado Bar
This brand new addition to the culinary Cardiff family has already generated a buzz around its authentic Northern Spanish tapas, which include smoked sardines and ewe’s cheese, and the best gambas
Potted pig – The Potted Pig
Of course, potted pig is the go-to dish at this modern British restaurant in
the heart of the city. Don’t forget to sample their excellent gin.
Boudin noir toastie – Mr. Croquewich @ Riverside Market
Black pudding, goat’s cheese and apple puree is a winning combo – just ask the
punters at what is without a doubt Cardiff’s most scenic market.
Sushi - Sushi Life
In honour of the Welsh flag and its vibrant colours, the Green Dragon Maki Roll is a double helping of avocado.
Nutella Fitzgerald – The Early Bird
Your Sunday morning prayers have been answered. A French toast tower studded
with Nutella and banana, now that’s what we call brunch.
Mega Mezze – Falafel kitchen
For a Middle Eastern feast on the cheap, Falafel Kitchen on Crwys Road is just
the ticket. Those falafels are to die for – so if you’re on the move, a falafel
pitta is a must.
Pepperoni pizza – Dusty Knuckle
Wafer-thin artisanal pizza, meet award-winning pepperoni from Charcuterie Ltd.
It’s a match made in wood-fired heaven.
Open sandwich and soup - Milgi
The plant-based food at City Road’s Milgi is sure to please the eye as well as the taste buds. Return at night to sip cocktails in their glorious backyard yurt.
Turbot – Fish at 85
melt-in-your-mouth turbot from a stylish fishmonger, in the good company of
cockles, bacon and samphire, is just an example of what to expect. Yum.
Burger – Time & Beef
Time & Beef you are the master of your burger creation: demi brioche – or
potato bun? Halloumi, feta, cheddar cheese – or all of them? Our vote - beef + gauc + halloumi
Bad boy burrito – Mi Tierra @ Parc Deli
Every Thursday evening this deli puts on a Mexican fiesta lasting till Saturday. Grab your
maracas and your bottle of choice (it’s BYOB) and get ready for beauteous
Sunday lunch – Bully’s
Another contender for best roast dinner. Legendary Bully’s has been one of
Cardiff’s favourite fine dining destinations for more than two decades.
Chicken and lamb shawarma – Shaam Nights
Lightyears away from your end-of-the-night greasy takeaway, this elegant kebab house pulls off shawarma worthy of a sultan.
Milho Frito – Amazona’s
Discovered this place yet? The silky smooth cubes of deep fried polenta are worth going for
alone, and sugarcane juice with lime and mint makes the perfect accompaniment.
Glamorgen veggie sausages (with salad feast) – Kemi’s
Kemi’s sumptuous salad bar is so colourful
it is bound to lift your spirits. Combine with locally sourced veggie sausages
and there’s a wholesome lunch if we ever saw one.
Escargot @ Chez Francis
Snails served with true French style, in a restaurant promising to transport you to Paris through taste.
Scallops @ La Cuina
Petite tapas plate with huge flavour. Seared scallops don't come better than when paired with black Catalan sausage.