The Best Restaurants In Cardiff

From Matsudai Ramen to Little Kochi, these are the best restaurants in Cardiff. This is where to eat in Cardiff when you're craving some quality cooking.
Best Restaurants In Cardiff
The Best Restaurants In Cardiff. Photograph: Tom Ham.

How are you doing? Feeling a little newynog? For those of you who aren’t fluent in cymraeg, “newynog” means “hungry” in Welsh. If you're reading this right now and feeling a little newynog, we’ve got some great news for you. Especially if you live in (or near) the city of Cardiff. That's right: this is a list we’ve compiled after doing heaps of research (aka eating and drinking) at the best places to eat in Cardiff.

If you’re wondering where to eat in Cardiff for a special occasion like an anniversary or birthday or even just a rogue Wednesday night, these are some of the best spots to hit up. They're the cream of the crop. The pick of the litter. We’ve already done some round-ups of what the dining scenes look and taste like in cities such as Cambridge, Chester, York, Leeds, Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, and Manchester, to name a few. But we figured it was time we give the Welsh capital its day in the spotlight. Because the food in Cardiff is as diverse and likeable as the city itself. In fact, the only difficulty you’ll have when you’re having a meal there is in deciding where exactly to go.

We’ve numbered this rundown of the best restaurants in Cardiff but it’s worth noting there’s no real order of preference. We’re not saying the restaurant listed at number one is the best and all the others have to get in line behind it; every one of these restaurants is applicable for whatever different mood or vibe you’re feeling. You’ll eat well at all of these locations.

15 Of The Best Restaurants In Cardiff

1. Matsudai Ramen

Best Restaurants Cardiff Alex Sedgmond
Matsudai Ramen is one of the best restaurants in Cardiff. Photograph: Alex Sedgmond.

Not only do Matusdai Ramen make some of the best ramen in Cardiff, but they make some of the best ramen in the UK, full stop. From golden and umami shoyu to creamy, chicken-y tori paitan, the range of ramen available at this cult Clare Road spot is second-to-none. The prices are rather friendly, too, with most bowls kicking around the £15 mark. Founder James Chant has created something at Matsudai which is both steeped in tradition and totally unique. It might sound strange to call a simple ramen shop a “destination restaurant” but Matsudai really is just that.

183-185 Clare Road, Cardiff, CF11 6QS

2. Little Kochi

The Best Restaurants In Cardiff Little Kochi
Expect quality from this Cardiff restaurant.

Little Kochi, big flavour. This Keralan restaurant on Albany Road simply does not miss. You won’t find south Indian dishes like pothu roast (slow braised beef in a spicy and coconutty aromatic masala) and nadan chicken curry (tender chicken thighs marinated with classic Keralan spices and wallop of turmeric) anywhere else in Cardiff. Okay, yes, you probably will be able to find them elsewhere, but you might as well just have them at Little Kochi. It's one of the most exciting restaurants in the city.

78 Albany Road, Cardiff, CF24 3RS

3. Bacareto

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Inspired by Venetian bàcari, Bacareto is one of the best restaurants in Cardiff to settle down to some bolshy aperitivos and dainty cicchetti. This is one of the best spots to swing by for a date night or a couple of cheeky after work spritzes. The vibe is laidback, friendly, and the exact sort of atmosphere you’ll want to bathe yourself in for a couple of hours. The sizes of the plates vary – so feel free to graze and order more as you go – but it’d be rude not to leave without at least one order of Bacareto’s tiramisu.

13 Church Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BG

4. Milkwood

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If it’s a cracking breakfast, brunch, or lunch you’re after, then Milkwood on Pontcanna Street should be at the top of your to-eat list. This neighbourhood cafe/restaurant serves everything from homemade fish finger sandwiches with fennel and caper slaw to bacon, cockles, and laverbread on toast. On Fridays and Saturdays, Milkwood opens up for dinner service and you can get stuck into some quality pizzas and thoughtfully composed small plates. Lovely.

83 Pontcanna Street, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9HS

5. Nook

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The folks over at Nook put a great deal of focus on the provenance of the ingredients they use. And it shows. The wine list has been carefully curated with a plucky selection of low-intervention wines making up the bulk of it and the food side of things has been no less thought over. You can grab brunch by day and a range of different bites by night. It’s hard to find fault with fried chicken, fries, and a glass of a chilled red. If that sounds like your sort of bag, get down to Nook ASAP.

587 Cowbridge Road E, Cardiff CF5 1BE

6. Purple Poppadom

Onion Pakora Purple Poppadom
Purple Poppadom is an excellent Indian restaurant.

All good restaurants need to have a slick handling of both their service and their food. Both of those factors have to work in unison to make sure whoever’s made a booking that night has the best possible experience. You can’t have one without the other. Purple Poppadom, which is nestled on Cowbridge Road East, is a hugely popular Indian restaurant where the service and food are always on form. If you want a juicy sheekh kebab – humming with spice and rich with aromatics – or a classic, creamy murgh makhani, there’s no better place to be. Purple Poppadom is the best Indian restaurant in Cardiff. A classic.

185a Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, CF11 9AJ

7. The Heathcock

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We’re big fans of food pubs and The Heatchcock is most definitely a food pub. Sure, you could come for a few pints of bitter and call it a day at that but you’d be silly not to at least look at the menu which Dave Killick has put together. Locality and seasonality are two big words which the kitchen team abides by and what that means for you is the likes of slow cooked Torgelly Farm lamb shoulder and Pembrokeshire oysters on the menu. The room is light and airy and the waiting staff are all clued up on what plates are looking the best and brightest. You’re in safe hands at The Heathcock – and that’s just one of the many reasons why it’s one of the best restaurants in Cardiff.

58-60 Bridge Street, Cardiff, CF5 2EN

8. Heaneys

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Founded in 2018 by Tommy Heaney and his partner Nikki, Heaneys is a place where Cardiff’s beautiful people can be found dining at the weekend. Comprised of a variety of tasting menus which span from a simple two-course lunch to a longer tasting menu shared across the whole table, the food at Heaneys is top drawer stuff. This is fine dining, yes, but don’t expect it to feel stuffy or dusty. The environment is relaxed and it’s not hard to see why getting a table has become so difficult. If you can’t manage to corral a booking then Heaneys’ sister restaurant, Uisce, is right next door. It’s also class.

6-10 Romilly Cres, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9NR

9. Sushi Life

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Anyone that’s ever seen Jiro Dreams Of Sushi (which is one of the best food films ever made, FYI) will know the amount of hard work that goes into making really good sushi. Sushi Life in Cardiff is a restaurant that makes it look easy. It’s not a flash omakase experience that’ll impress businessmen eating on the company card – it’s a casual, consistent eatery where you can find some of the best sushi in town. You’re unlikely to find better value for money than a meal here.

The Globe Centre, 5, Wellfield Road, Cardiff, CF24 3PE

10. Asador 44

Asador 44 is one of the best restaurants in Cardiff.

The ‘44’ part of Asador 44 comes from the fact the restaurant is housed in swish boutique hotel called Parador 44. It could just as easily translate to how good this restaurant is from a scale of 1-50. Because 44 is really close to 50 and Asador 44 is really close to being a perfect restaurant. Expect quality Welsh produce (ex-dairy sirloin, lamb shoulder) to be cooked in traditional Spanish fashion as well as excellent ingredients imported over from Spain. It’s a delicious meeting of worlds and definitely one for the carnivores out there. You won’t find a better steak in Cardiff.

14-15 Quay Street, Cardiff, CF10 1EA

11. Saray

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Saray prides itself on being the best Turkish restaurant in Cardiff and, honestly, it’s pretty hard to argue with them. When it comes to an understanding of how to properly tame smoke and heat, the cooks at Saray are savants. Everthing from the adana kebab (rich, juicy, and essential) to the grilled sea bass is infused with a taste of an open fire. Saray is best enjoyed with a large group who aren’t afraid to order with ambition. You won’t leave hungry.

164-166 City Road, Cardiff, CF24 3JE

12. Kindle

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Combining “fire food” – that’s food which is cooked over an open fire to you and me – and natural wine, Kindle is a unique addition to the Cardiff dining scene. Led by husband and wife team Phill and Deb Lewis, the restaurant’s food changes on a regular basis but nearly all of the dishes showcase what’s great about cooking with fire. Yes, you’ll find chargrilled hispi cabbage on the menu. But you’ll also find things like jerk duck leg and fried chicken with Wye Valley asparagus and mayonnaise kicking about. Kindle is best enjoyed when you’re eating al fresco on a sunny day.

Sophia Gardens, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9SZ

13. Scaramantica Pizzeria

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The best pizza in Cardiff? It’s at Scaramantica. This popular Neapolitan pizzeria is regularly touted as the must-visit place for margheritas and it more than lives up to its reputation. Come for the leopard spotted pizzas, stay for the lethally delicious cocktails.

2 Pen-Y-Lan Road, Cardiff, CF24 3PF

14. Jackson’s Seafood & Wine

Jacksons Seafood Wine
You'll get oysters and so much more at Jackson's.

Nothing says date night like an oyster bar. As the cousin of Cora, one of Cardiff’s most sought-after reservations and another one of the best restaurants in Cardiff, Jackson’s Seafood & Wine opened up to a good deal of buzz in 2023. Thankfully, it’s delivered on the hype. Expertly done versions of seafood moqueca and Cornish mackerel sashimi make regular appearances on the menu alongside a spate of freshly sourced oysters. Grab a seat at the bar and soak up the lively, briny atmosphere.

3-7 Duke Street Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1AZ

15. West Pizza

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West Pizza doles out huge New York-style slices of pizza that are so good they'll have you saying things like “hey! I'm walkin' here!” and "you talkin' to me?" for the next fortnight. Which will, yes, be very annoying for all of your mates but they'll be significantly less annoyed once you take them to this pizza joint and show them what WP's pepperoni pie is all about.

60 Glynne Street, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9N

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