Cardiff Bites Top Spots

When you tell people you write about food, the first thing you'll get asked is where they should go for dinner. It's ok, it's part of the territory. And it's great when they come back to you telling you they had a great meal.

Today was one of those days when not one, not two, but three people asked for dinner tips.

Just seemed rude not to blog!

Relaxed lunch with the girls?

Head to Pica Pica on Westgate Street for great cocktails and nibbles. Its chilled out atmosphere and comfy sofas were made for whiling away the afternoon before hitting the arcades in search of a bargain. Dates in Bacon are my favourite dish and I love the Brandy Alexander as pudding in a martini glass. Scrummy. Check out their website for the menu and keep an eye on the lunchtime offers.

Date with a loved one?

Whether it's a first date you want to impress or a wedding anniversary to celebrate, you can't go wrong with Patagonia in Canton. A classy affair, with a chic interior, this place serves up great, seasonal Welsh produce with a twist. Also the greatest cheese platter that I have tasted in a very long time. The menu is priced per course with a surcharge for some items, and at £31.90 for 4 courses, you can eat well without breaking the bank.

Pre-match munchies?

Escape the town centre and head to the bay. Here you'll find the excellent Garcon, the little brother of the acclaimed Le Gallois on Romilly Crescent. From the excellently priced Bistro lunch menu, which includes everything from a Croque Monsieur (£6.95) to the Petit Moules Frites (£8.75), through to the dinner menu, which includes a Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Tart (£10.95) right up to the Chateaubriand (to serve two people at £44.95). A word of warning, if a side isn't listed then you're not going to find it on your plate, though I doubt you'll go hungry!

Breakfast meeting?

Got a business client that you need to impress? Or just in search of the perfect scrambled eggs.
Then Mimosa in Cardiff Bay is your kind of place. A sleek, modern interior gives way to beautifully cooked, uncomplicated food - and their breakfasts are certainly no different. We dined there two weeks ago and it's not often that I steer away from Eggs Benedict (£4.95), but I couldn't resist their take on Welsh Rarebit (£5.50), with the earthy taste of flat mushrooms and salty pancetta - it was love at first bite! And with all the hot drinks fairtrade (mine's an Earl Grey with plenty of lemon) what's stopping you?

Something fishy?

It's no secret to anyone who reads my stuff with any regularity just how much I love sushi. And you can do far worse than visiting Ichiban on Cowbridge Road East. One of my favourite haunts, this place can get busy, but don't let that put you off. The menu is very reasonable and with a great range of vegetarian and meat dishes, as well as the raw and cooked fish, you will find something to suit all tastes. I just adore their Tekka Don (sashimi tuna served on sushi rice with a side of miso soup), the Ramen (great for big appetites) and the delicacy of the Avacado Maki (creamy avacado and rice rolls, wrapped in seaweed). This is a little gem that never ever lets me down.

The good all-rounder

Got a big party to cater for? Look no further than Seren, also on Cowbridge Road East. If your idea of turkish food is a greasy kebab on chippy lane at 3am on a Sunday morning then prepare to be blown away! Meatlovers are well catered for with the grill menu. My favourites include the Iskender (cooked lamb and bread smothered with a rich tomato sauce and yoghurt dressing, very filling at £11.50) and the Lamb Chops (beautifully succulent and also £11.50). Vegetarians and vegans! Fear not! You will be catered for and how! With a great selection of hot and cold starters which are meat free, to a great main course selection revolving around peppers, aubergines, pulses and other tasty veggies. A vegan friend was highly impressed! They also have a fantastic private dining area that can hold up to 35 people people and is available free of charge!

Turn up the heat

In the town centre, looking for a cheap lunch and fancy something spicy? Then head to Bali on Caroline Street. Yes that's right, Chippy Lane can finally be put firmly on the Cardiff culinary map with this little gem. With a lunch menu priced at only £5.95 for two courses, and the best satay sauce in town, your only excuse is an intolerance to the heat - and even then I'd recommend it! Couple of words of warning - 1. service is very, very relaxed (just sit back and enjoy the wine!) and 2. if it says spicy then it means it's spicy. Point 2 may seem like common sense, but the amount of people I've seen end up disappointed, with red faces and burning mouths, is close to double figures.

Well there it is... my top 7!

Do you have any favourite eateries around our fair city that I've neglected? Let me know!


Helen T said…
Thanks for the heads up on Garcon, love Le Gallois, so worth trying. My husband (Dr T) is an expat Penarth boy here in Leicestershire, and he gets very homesick still, so have to take him back regularly.

For Indian I really like Spice Quarter, but will admit to not having been for a couple of years. I took a colleague who is originally from Amritsar and she rated it very highly, and she's very fussy!

Dr T recommends chips in Caroline Street.

What can you do?
Nate said…
No mention of La Fosse or La Brasserie?
Sadly my budget up until the last few months had been limited, hence not eating at as nearly many places as I want to. Gimme a few months and I'll be visiting a few more places on the "hit list"

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