Eating out in Cardiff is an experience that combines countless cultures and culinary styles. A hub for contemporary art and a lively student city, the capital of Wales is home to traditional Welsh food, international fusion cuisines and stunning, designer décors.
There has not been a better time to be a student in Cardiff. You can taste all the corners of the world during your time at university, for cheap too! Cardiff is a compact city, which means on your own two feet you can easily find the best places to eat out comfortably as a student.
We explore six of the best cultural restaurants in Cardiff, from charming cafes to an unforgettable taste of the exotic.
Best for: indulgent lunches, first dates, coffee with friends
The Pot is a lovely small cafe come bistro serving tasty homemade food, great coffee and carefully selected wines. The huge windows make this small restaurant seem open and welcoming while the open kitchen adds excitement to your visit.
The internal style and décor are influenced by the café culture of Paris. The result is a comfortable and friendly French bistro, where the light and airy coffee house atmosphere, transforms The Pot into a cosy candlelit retreat.
Situated on Crwys Road, The Pot has been a gathering place for locals and students due to its famous home-made cakes, crème brulee, breakfast burritos as well as stocking a great range of gluten free and vegan products.
This intimate cafe can be your food haven in lunch break or the romantic setting for your time whilst living in Cardiff!
"The Best Pizza"
Best for: cheap eats, socialising with friends
Calabrisella isn’t much of a looker. With its brick effect wallpaper, budget furniture and tatty bits of paper plastered across its windows, you could easily mistake this Canton-based Italian eatery for a greasy spoon caff and give it a miss.
However, if you did that then you’d be depriving yourself of some of the best Italian food in Cardiff.
Their pizzas are stunning, each comprised of a golden crust and a millimetre thin base topped with perky tomato sauce and melted mozzarella. They're also the size of a car tyre.
As a student, you're gonna be ordering a lot of pizzas. You need to cleanse your pizza pallet and try Calabrisella, pizza will never be the same after you've taken a bite.
The Hellenic Eatery
"A little slice of Greece in Cardiff!"
Best for: tasty honest food, large portions, take your parents when they come to visit
If you want a reminder of your holidays to Greece or Cyprus then this is the place.
The Hellenic Eatery is a family-run Greek alternative restaurant located on the popular Crwys Road of Cardiff. It promises an intimate and relaxed dining experience that gives something different to local and foreign patrons and ensures you enjoy a memorable food experience every time. Serving up traditional souvlaki (lots of small tender pieces of flame grilled meat), The Hellenic Eatery is a Mediterranean feeding spot for students in Cardiff. Everything comes from Greece (imported) so you can enjoy the true Hellenic taste.
"Indian cuisine with a (Car)difference"
Best for: special occaions, impressing your girl/boyfriend's parents
If you’re an Indian food-lover, then look no further that the Purple Poppadom. Located in Canton, this is Cardiff's first pop-up restaurant, and as the name suggests the Purple Poppadom offers a unique modern twist on British Indian food.
The chef behind this food revolution, Anand George, was formerly the head chef at a traditional Indian restaurant in Cardiff. He now serves up a diverse 10 course taster menu so you can experience your own food tour of India.
Anand’s menu changes with the seasons and his interpretation of the food ensures that each plate is different from other Indian meals. If you’re looking for a standard curry then please move along – this curry is in a class of its own.
Purple Poppadom is a little more expensive than your average curry house. However it’s easily worth the extra buck to sample Chef George’s creative take on Indian food.
"A veggie good experience"
Best for: light bites, vegans/veggies, health conscious eaters
Describing itself as ‘something distinctly different’, Milgi is a late-night vegetarian restaurant specialising in seasonal world cuisine that looks and tastes great.
This restaurant put the power of the people into play when deciding what food to serve. After a public vote, Milgi become a 100% vegetarian restaurant, bringing healthy, vibrant, vegetarian cuisine to the fore.
Milgi’s Chef, Simon, uses fresh, local ingredients from organic farms, creating all the delicious dishes from scratch. The venue has, over time, become a melting pot of Cardiffian culture, with diners indulging in a magical journey of global music, and local artwork, which proudly adorn the walls of the restaurant.
The prices initially seem standard for restaurants of this class, but the portions are enormous, making Milgi a student staple place to eat.
"Street food social"
Best for: socialising with friends, trying something new, street food
From first opening the shutters in November 2015, DEPOT has since established itself as Cardiff’s most exciting and original venue, and the home of the city’s most creative events. Situated in a former warehouse, DEPOT was the first to offer the people of Cardiff a permanent, indoor street food venue, and the weekly Street Food Social now runs every Saturday all year round.
The team at Street Food Cardiff has brought together a varied guest list of street vendors for their residency at The DEPOT, encompassing everything from burgers to burritos, hot dogs to haute-cuisine. In addition, the guys at DEPOT have arranged draught beers on tap, and bottled beers and cocktails a-plenty from the other bars dotted around the corners of the warehouse. Every week, a different selection of food-trucks will take up residence, meaning there is always a reason to come back and see what’s new.
The best thing about these little food producers is that in most cases, you’re also getting food of a high quality.A far cry from the same old chain bars and restaurants of the city centre, a trip to the DEPOT, Cardiff’s most exciting new venue, will reward you with an experience unlike anything the city has seen before.