Navigate your way through Cardiff’s ever-growing food scene with our handy guide to the districts of Cardiff
Cardiff’s food scene has a strong sense of individuality and a noticeable emphasis on local produce. Whether you’re visiting Cardiff for the first time or a long-term resident still eating your way around the independent cafes on every suburb corner, our guide features the very best which each district of Cardiff has to offer.*
*District guide can be found at the end of this post.
Brunch is the new Lunch
Enjoy avocado on toast, buckwheat pancakes or a proper Welsh fry-up whatever time you fancy – courtesy of Cardiff’s extensive coffee shops and cafes.
Bill’s is the classiest way to start your excursion in the bay – despite being a chain, it doesn’t lose its appeal, and favourite dishes are the blueberry buttermilk pancakes and Eggs Benedict.
Amid the monopoly of takeaways and cafes, Cathays had been crying out for somewhere that does a proper good avocado on toast. Then along came The Early Bird, a stylish artisan bakery with its unmissable yellow decor – where the food and mood are similarly feel-good.
A real hidden gem, Field of Beans is tucked away in a corner near Roath Park – but should in no way be overlooked. Attached to the Fish & Field eatery, the quirky cafe proves friendly staff; consideration for vegetarian and gluten-free fans and a relaxing atmosphere in which to enjoy a coffee and cake are the ingredients to a successful Saturday morning.
We’re huge champions of independent businesses, brunch and local produce, and when you combine all three, you get Penylan Pantry. The deli, with innovative schemes like personalised, minimal-waste veg boxes, is the talk of the town, while the cheese platters and often vegan and gluten-free cakes are also worth shouting about.
The people at Waterloo Tea take brunch so seriously that they cater to every variety under the sun and their honey roasted nectarine on French toast or scrambled tofu with avocado, chilli and spinach are perfect for something more filling.
Whitchurch and Rhiwbina
Rhiwbina has a friendly village feel complimented by opportunities for a delicious brunch. Snails is a charming deli which has served the community for a decade – they’re also pros at Welsh rarebit, homemade soup and coffee and cake. You can soak up the Loungers love all over the UK – but there’s no denying the picturesque village of Whitchurch is the place to cure your hangover. The Fino’s specific brunch menu includes haddock and potato cakes, chorizo hash and of course the famous Lounge Breakfast, not to mention an impressive vegan and gluten-free range.
Pontcanna and Canton
Brød, translating to ‘The Danish Bakery’, is the city’s first taste of Copenhagen and its cosy environment is ideal shelter from that all-too-common Welsh rain. It features an abundance of homemade treats and cultural highlights including the celebration of the Fastelavn carnival. Cafe Brava is well-trained in the business of waking you up, with their banana pancakes, homemade corned beef hash, muffin stacks and brunch burritos which can even be enjoyed with a glass of champagne. Hair of the dog has never tasted so good!
Canna Deli specialises in ‘artisan cheese, award-winning Welsh produce and fine food’, and the menu spans from scrambled egg, avocado and chilli on toast, to tapas and patatas bravas, all to be enjoyed within a lovely space in an already fantastic area. People watching and seasonal Welsh cuisine come together at Chapter, a lively arts and culture venue which features a large cafeteria style social space.
Eclectic World Food
Experience a flavour of the world without leaving Cardiff. From Caribbean spices to the most decadent of French cheese, embark on a culinary tour of the world without leaving this compact city.
The Crispy Duck is Cardiff’s number one Pan- Asian restaurant thanks to its energetic oriental flavours, spanning from Thai to Malaysian, although specialising in Japanese and Chinese. And sometimes chain restaurants are so good they just can’t be ignored. Turtle Bay, the kings of the jerk chicken, have successfully filled the Jamaica-shaped void of recently bygone Cardiff.
City Road is the epicentre of all things international. You won’t be able to resist the Moroccan and Lebanese charms of Mezza Luna and you’ll be joining in with the belly dancers by the time you’ve finished your shish. Troy Meze Bar is always on hand to provide a dose of Turkish sunshine – yes, even in Cardiff! The charcoal grill and mezze bar is an integral part of City Road’s food haven, with each dish prepared on an authentic Ocakbashi grill.
Canton is another Cardiff area firmly putting world food on the map, most notably Cowbridge Road East, where Bangkok Cafe provides a diverse and flavoursome taste of Thailand. Whilst ‘noodle and sushi specialists’, Ichiban are also renowned for their Okonomi Yaki, authentic Japanese pancakes with seafood and vegetables marinated in Ichiban’s trademark style.
One of Cardiff’s best American barbeques is the Smoke House. Reasonably priced and with quality to boot, the Buffalo wings and key lime pie are a must. The extensive selection of tapas and wine at La Cuina will leave you more than satisfied, serving a blend of Welsh and Catalan dishes – you can even take home fresh ingredients from the adjacent deli.
Katiwok is at the core of student district Cathays, serving up a storm via vibrant bites such as their speciality Kati-Rolls and multicultural blends in the form of Chicken Mumbai Tikka Pizza. Arguably the highlight of the food central Crwys Road is The Pot. Wholesome fare such as American pancakes and full Welsh breakfasts undergo a more sophisticated makeover by nightfall, in favour of Boeuf Bourguignon and Baked Quail.
The location, the environment, the hospitality, but most of all, the food.
City CentreSleek and stylish Laguna Kitchen & bar’s a la carte menu keeps things local yet impressive – the Chef’s Gourmet Tasting Menu and Signature Sharing Dishes are among Cardiff’s finest catering. Another stand out restaurant among Cardiff’s eating culture is The Potted Pig, with its unique blend of quintessential British fare paired with French and New York influences.
Central brasserie Le Monde’s highlights have to be the oysters and swordfish steak. Meanwhile The Clink offers chic dining in HMS Cardiff, where prisoners serve delicacies such as crab linguine and elderflower panna cotta.
Pontcanna, Llandaff and Canton
Highlights of the suburbs include The AA French Restaurant Bully’s, which enjoys a faultless reputation in the fashionable district of Pontcanna. Over in historic Llandaff, Porro embraces Italian philosophy with modern UK cuisine and is an idyllic venue for a sophisticated dinner, whilst Canton’s Purple Poppadom is one of Cardiff’s most impressive Indian restaurants, imaginatively reinventing meals such as Nawabi Chicken and their signature Raan Akbari.
Located less than five miles out of Cardiff, Pier 64 is a visually stunning wine-bar and steak-house sitting proudly on Penarth Marina. Try the acclaimed Sunday lunch, or you’ll be similarly satisfied with the lighter Terrace Menu. Bringing even more luxury to the charming seaside town is Michelin starred Restaraunt James Sommerin, where wine is selected from the world’s best vineyards and you can even make a night of it in one of the nine recently launched bedrooms.
It’s a Deal, it’s a Steal
Cardiff is one of the most affordable cities to live in and fortunately the food reflects this. Here’s our pick of the restaurants most considerate of families; cash-strapped students; or just those who are deal savvy.
City CentreNowhere does Cardiff food quite like Cardiff Market. A fundamental fixture of the city centre since 1891, amid the hustle and bustle you’ll find butchers, fish-mongers, traditional sweets, fresh fruit, Welsh cakes, Thai and more.
Colourful, cheerful, welcoming, and slap-bang in the middle of Cardiff – that’s Fed. Reasonably priced and very child-friendly, the chefs conjure up everything under the sun from Tex-Mex to sushi. Meanwhile, little gem Cafe Citta is evidence that a restaurant doesn’t need to be huge and high-tech to be a success story. Instead, it can credit its popularity (you often need to book), to its family-run values and undisputed good homemade food.
Grangetown often gets overlooked in terms of Cardiff food, but The Waiting Room is looking to change that. The exciting new cafe/bar is located in the grade II building Tramshed, and serves delights such as customised mac ‘n’ cheese, avocado-based breakfasts and orange and lavender Polenta cake. Plus, dishes come with names such as Tom Jones and Bright Eyes, which is all you need in a meal really.
And there’s something for everyone at Around The World bar – the rich choice of 150 beers, food stemming from the entirety of the globe, a diverse cocktail menu featuring Germanic influences and a children’s menu to boot.
Calabrisella brings oodles of Italian authenticity to the good people of Canton – doubling as a cafe and bar, however the pizza is undeniably its focal point. Arguably the real winner is the namesake dish, combining nduja sausages with tomato and buffalo mozzarella.
It’s not often you find a restaurant focused entirely on hot-dogs, but independently run Hogwurst manages just fine. The added bonus is their Bring Your Own Booze function and of course the famous Chilli Dog. Say no more.
Cafe Junior is tailored specifically with children in mind – and their long-suffering guardians, of course! This innovative idea markets themselves as ‘feeding little minds’, and their smoothie bar, tapas and family bistro nights certainly do just that.
Magic Wrap know their place in an ever health-conscious world. Revolutionising lunch-breaks all over Cardiff, their wraps play host to a roulette of the world’s flavours from French brie to piri-piri chicken.
Slightly out of town in the welcoming suburb of Rhiwbina, Panmawr Inn is worth making the detour – serving a family friendly menu and best enjoyed on a summer evening. If you’re new to the area, you’ll get the full Welsh experience, and if you’re from Cardiff, you’ll only be expanding on what you already know to be a good thing.
Vegetarian and Vegan
Making the transition to a meat-free lifestyle is on the increase, and luckily, this accommodating city is on hand to make it easier to stick to when eating out. Here’s where the vegans and vegetarians flock to.
Crumbs makes vegetarian fare look the classiest it’s ever been. Homemade soups, impressive salads, and even the drinks and desserts are worth talking about – bamboo coffee or banana/honey smoothies, anyone?!
Cafe Atma is a unique addition against the homogeny of city centre chains. As well as juggling meditation, spirituality and yoga in the name of the Hare Krishna movement, they find the time to take street food inspiration from the world over, including Italian tofu Florentine wraps and Middle Eastern kebab skewers.
Within the dazzling setting of Cardiff Bay, Pure Kitchen serves up a colourful storm which is fresh, healthy and handmade daily. Vanilla protein pancakes and the paleo hash will set you up for the day. Vegetarian Food Studio has won high praise and its success can be credited to its basis in Asian spices, vegetables and herbs, although traditional sweets aren’t forgotten! Beyond the cafe itself, they also cater for events and offer take-out.
Milgi is a strong contender for ruler of Cardiff’s vegetarian scene. The lively venue is ideal whatever time of day – wake up in style with the brioche French toast or cauliflower tempura, before flocking back in the evening to enjoy a chilli daiquiri or lychee mojito in the unique tea-light-adorned yurt. And you should expect big things from Cardiff’s first 100% vegan cafe, Anna Loka. Highlights include the Green Breakfast Frittata, sweet potato gnocchi and namesake Nut Roast.
Pop-Ups and Street Food
Pop-Up culture is somewhat of a paradox. While the industry is expanding by the minute, the stalls themselves remain small but sweet. Many of them come in vans touring the local area, instead of static restaurants, which only adds to their appeal. Cardiff produces the good stuff – Street Food Circus won Best Street Food Festival at last year’s British Street Food Awards. Here’s the best of the bunch.
City CentreWe’re a city of pizza lovers, but there’s something so irresistible about being able to chow it down from a vendor as opposed to a sleek restaurant. And Ffwrnes Pizza won’t judge if you spill a tomato or two! Ffwrnes’ wood-fired pizza is voted among Wales’ top five – so catch them predominantly at St Mary Street Market and Depot.
There’s only one place for a grilled cheese sandwich in Cardiff – and that’s Mr Croquewich. Popping up all over the area, most notably at Street Food Circus, RCMA Markets, Blas and St Mary Street Market, the man with a van is a pro at satisfying cheese lovers – he really is grate.
Again found gracing RCMA Markets, Kimi’s Catering is the home of the famous curry breakfast, news of which has radiated around every corner of Cardiff. Yes, the trailer may be small, but their reputation is anything but. Homemade, healthy Rajasthani cooking makes Kimi’s one to get acquainted with.
Cardiff BayDespite its size, Pizza Pronto is serious competition against the glamorous food chains dotted around the perimeter of Cardiff Bay. Having expanded from Penarth (although they’re still there and popular at festivals like Picnic Penarth), the stall balances traditional flavours with unique finds like Berlusconi Soup and posh ‘pudding pizzas’, featuring Nutella and balsamic peaches.
Real Junk Food Project Cathays may be in student territory, but still has that waste-not want-not mentality. This project saves nutritional food from a fate of waste, in serving the community operating a pay-as-you-feel scheme, where you can even volunteer your time as imbursement.
Cardiff really can’t get enough of the good stuff, and Dusty Knuckle also successfully blends Italian cuisine with Welsh. Considered among The Sunday Times’ Top 25 Pizzerias in the UK, they’re so good they’ve expanded from being purely pop-up (RCMA Markets; Street Food Circus), now with a permanent fixture in Canton.
Welsh culture isn’t typically associated with Southern style BBQ, but Hangfire Smoke House are busy changing every preconception you ever had. Classics include 21-hour smoked pulled pork and 8-hour smoked pork belly, with meat local to the Vale of Glamorgan, and it’s so popular that they’ve now opened a proper restaurant in nearby Barry.
Non-StaticCardiff’s suffering with a comparative shortage of Greek delicacies, but Meat and Greek offer some hope in these trying times. With incredible street food fresh off the skewer and the perfect balance of professional yet personal, Meat and Greek would make a welcome addition to any festival.
We may love savoury, but Cardiff’s sweet tooth still makes an appearance – more so when Cup and Cake Bakery is involved. There was a real gap in the market where cronuts (donut/croissant hybrids) are concerned, but the bakery’s made up for it. With everything from the Banksy Cupcake to Chocolate and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies, they make us wonder why society instructs we eat pudding AFTER a meal. No point waiting around when it’s this good.
When the weather gets a little too dreary, Brother Thai’s street food is on hand to transport us to, well, Thailand. Their forward-thinking Sunset Supper Club has been popping up at secret locations throughout Cardiff, while they’re also found at Depot and taking over Brew Dog.
Cardiff is a wonderfully compact and flat city made up of many districts, each within easy distance of the city centre.
Cardiff’s waterfront is fun for all the family, complete with restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and attractions. Only a 20 minute walk from the city centre or hop on the train from Queen Street Station which is every 15 minutes.
Fantastically cosmopolitan, home to Britain’s first mosque and of course Cardiff’s student community. A mere 20 minute walk from the city centre and you’ll be amid Crwys Road, filled with cafes and restaurants with international cuisine.
Every bohemian’s dream – budget shops, art galleries and veggie cafes combined with lush parkland. A 20 minute walk from the city centre via Queen Street and you’ll find yourself on City Road where you can eat your way around the entire world.
A multi-cultural area across the River Taff, featuring pubs, international cuisine, independent shops, parkland and arts centres, Canton is a mere 10 minute walk from Principality Stadium.
A leafy suburb brimming with trendy restaurants and delis. A 10 minute stroll through Bute Park and you’ll arrive on tree-lined Cathedral Road lined with gastro-pubs.
An historic area, home to Llandaff Cathedral and BBC Cymru Wales. A 15 minute bus ride from the city centre will take you to Llandaff High street, filled with quaint shops, restaurants, tearooms and traditional pubs.
A picturesque village, bustling with independent shops, gastro-pubs, restaurants and parkland, Whitchurch is just a 20 minute bus ride from the city centre.
The home of many notable figures in Welsh-language culture, this vibrant community is a 15 minute bus ride from the city centre and has charming vintage shops, bistros and bakeries waiting to be explored.
Across the water from Cardiff Bay is this seaside town, featuring a wonderful pier and charming restaurants. A 15 minute train ride from Cardiff Central or take a water-taxi.
For more details on how to get around Cardiff, check out our getting around guide here.