Where to eat in Cardiff

While Welsh favourites cawl (soup/stew), Brains beer and rarebit (cheese melted over toast) can be found in the capital city of Cardiff, there's so much more to the food scene here than these traditional Welsh dishes.
Ox cheeks in brown red wine sauce with pumpkin slices and herbs. Photo: hlphoto/Shutterstock
Ox cheeks in brown red wine sauce with pumpkin slices and herbs. Photo: hlphoto/Shutterstock

The burgeoning foodie culture of Cardiff has been growing in reputation and quality over recent years. Sure, you'll find the usual chain restaurant offerings, but there are loads of indie venues, innovative pop-ups and food festivals, too! 

This cosmopolitan city has also been raising its game in terms of high-end dining, quality produce and hip venues.  

Travel writer and host of the Travel Goals podcast, Portia Jones, shares her guide to some of the best eats in Cardiff:

Best for neighbourhood eats

The laid-back, leafy suburbs of Pontcanna have a strong community focus and a range of independent venues to check out. 

Enjoy a relaxed dining experience at Milkwood, a neighbourhood bistro with a focus on quality Welsh produce and an ever-changing menu. Typical offerings include salted cod fritters, Ox cheek fries and locally sourced dry-aged Carmarthenshire beef burgers. 

Looking for pastries and coffee in Pontcanna? Try Danish bakery Brod for a little slice of Denmark in the 'diff. They serve traditional Danish pastries and freshly brewed, aromatic coffees, supplied by Clifton Coffee Roasters.

Coffee enthusiasts should also seek out speciality micro coffee roasters, Lufkin Coffee Roasters, at their Kings Road site. This hidden coffee hole supplies residents of Pontcanna with sublime cups of coffee, using beans roasted at the local roastery in Grangetown.

Sea Bass served with Black Risotto, Herbs and Vegetables. Photo: Ryzhkov Photography/Shutterstock

Best for modern dining

Contemporary dining options are plentiful in the city, with a variety of chic venues dishing up plated perfection.

One name shaking up the Indian dining scene with an innovative twist on Southern Indian dishes is Anand George.

He heads up one of the more sophisticated curry houses in Cardiff, Purple Poppadom. This Canton-based restaurant has an unassuming exterior but is both Good Food Guide listed and in the top 30 Indian restaurants in the UK – so you know you’re in for a foodie treat! 

Moving away from traditional chicken tikkas and bhunas, here you'll find flavourful dishes including tiffin sea bass, nadan kozhi curry and prawn porichathu. 

For swanky waterfront dining and drinking, head over to The Admiral in Cardiff Bay. This upscale restaurant is located inside Cardiff's five-star St David's Hotel. As well as sweeping bay views and nautical chic decor, they serve seasonal Welsh produce and carefully crafted cocktails. Try their 21-day dry-aged flat iron steak, which is grilled to utter perfection, paired with a large glass of Tilia Malbec. 

For a taste of Northern Spain with a Welsh twist, you must visit Asador 44, a Spanish Grill and Wine House in the centre of Cardiff. The menu features prime cuts of Welsh and Galicia meat, cooked over charcoal with flair and precision. Highly recommended are the Castilian milk-fed lamb and Presa Ibérica de bellota (tender-cut Iberian pork).

In addition to high-quality meat, cheese and seafood, Asador 44 also boasts a comprehensive wine cave, stocked with the finest Spanish wine.

Italian cheese ravioli with oven roasted asparagus. Photo: Ezume Images/Shutterstock

Best for casual dining

Society Standard is a hipster paradise with industrial decor and minimalist vibes, located on a burgeoning foodie corridor Whitchurch Road. Sip on freshly brewed coffee and feast upon their brilliant brunch dishes and mains, including Dirty Mac and Cheese, Furikake salad with halloumi and smashed avocado breakfast buns. Their delectable dishes are also plated perfection and will definitely add some foodie chic to your Instagram snaps!

Comfort Italian food can be found at La Dolce Vita, located on uber-trendy Wellfield Road in Roath. This friendly venue excels at Italian neighbourhood dining with authentic Italian classics and buckets of ambience. Feast on their asparagus ravioli drenched in sage butter, or the hand-thrown, Sicilian-style pizza, cooked to perfection in their wood-fired oven. 

Chilled out brunch and lunch options are plentiful in Cardiff; one of the favourite haunts of the locals are the KIN+ILK cafés. Okay, so this mini-chain of Cardiff cafés might have a pretty unpronounceable name, but their brunch plates are something special.

Located along the tree-lined suburbs, the KIN+ILK Pontcanna site is a stark and stripped-back slice of Scandi coolness. There's plenty of outdoor seating here, giving this hipster hangout a real European neighbourhood feel. Try the Turkish Eggs slathered in creamy, garlic yoghurt or the Cinnamon Fruit toast, featuring bread from Welsh artisan baker, Alex Gooch. 

Tuna quiche with tomatoes and basil. Photo: Nina Firsova/Shutterstock

Best for budget eats 

Take a trip to Cardiff Market for a budget dining experience in the city. This Victorian-built indoor market houses a variety of traders and food stalls. Here you can shop for fish, fruit and veg and cakes, and treat yourself at the pop-up cafés, pizza stalls and traditional cafés.

Head upstairs to sample local's favourite, Ffwrnes Pizza. They specialise in affordable, homemade Neapolitan pizza with Welsh produce toppings. 

For a taste of Portugal, you can pick up budget-friendly coffee and Pastel de Natas from any one of the three of Nata & Co bakeries located across Cardiff. They also offer a range of incredibly moreish lunch options including wraps, sandwiches and quiche. 

We love a proper good pie here in Cardiff and some of the best, local pies can be found at the family-run Victoria Park Pie Company, which is located by the historic Victoria Park.  

Their deep-filled artisan pies are filled with wholesome ingredients with no added preservatives or flavouring, and are made from 100% British meats. Delicious pie options include lamb and mint, chicken balti and steak and kidney.

Doughnut collection. Photo: hurricanehank/Shutterstock

Best for Vegan and Veggie dining 

The vegan scene has been gaining momentum in the city over the last few years, with meat-free venues and veggie menu options popping up all over the place.

Blanche Bakery can be found in the heart of MacKintosh Place in Roath. They specialise in up ethically sourced cakes and bakes that are also ridiculously photogenic and tasty. You can find soya free and 100% vegan sweet treats, including delicious cupcakes and doughnuts.

For proper lush, 100% vegan junk food in Cardiff, check out the popular Greazy Vegan, located just across the street from Cardiff Castle. Indulge in deliciously naughty-yet-ethical burgers, hotdogs, fries and more at this kooky venue. Their thick, vegan milkshakes come in a variety of flavours, including banoffee, Biscoff and Skittles. 

Vegetarian venue The Atma Lounge shows us that nutritious food doesn't have to be boring. This chilled-out café-lounge is mindfully run by the Hare Krishnas of Cardiff. They offer a colourful and healthy vegetarian and vegan menu that is as pretty as it is wholesome. Feed your body – and soul – with tasty, plant-based meals and self-help classes. 

Cheese Omelet with salad and coffee. Photo: JJava Designs/Shutterstock

Best for Breakfast

There's been a tidal wave of hipster breakfasts in Cardiff of late: think smashed avocado and Full English Breakfasts served in a jar. There are still a few traditional cafés to be found in the city if you prefer your morning meal on an actual plate, though.

Bentleys Café on Wellfield Road is holding its own again against a street full of trendy venues populated by the cool kids. Here you can have a proper cup of tea with tasty paninis, omelettes and filling breakfasts.

Over in Whitchurch Village, Coopers Café also serves no-nonsense fry ups and tea in stainless steel pots. Expect retro decor and hearty breakfasts that won't break the bank.

If you’re in the market for hipster eats and ethical plates, head to Penylan Pantry in Roath. They whip up healthy breakfasts packed with sustainably sourced ingredients in cutesy café surroundings. 

As well as low food-waste breakfasts, Penylan Pantry also has a selection of hampers and deli items that you can purchase, including homemade cakes, cheeses and chutneys. 

Ready to try some food yourself? Take a Food Tasting Walking Tour in Cardiff for the ultimate Welsh cuisine experience.