The best independent restaurants in Cardiff to satisfy all your food desires

This year, why not ditch your regular Nando’s for these local gems

Like many, I enjoy all things food related and there is nothing that excites me quite like a good date night. But with hospitality taking a massive hit from the pandemic, it is so important to support local independent restaurants to quench your foodie needs.

Beyond ethical reasons in supporting small businesses, I believe these independent restaurants tend to supply fresher sourced and richer tasting selections of food over chain restaurants.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are just a few of my favourite spots in Cardiff that I strongly advise taking a visit to if you are local!

La Pantera, Quay Street

This backstreet Mexican cantina is definitely not one to be missed. Specializing in tacos and mezcal, this hot spot has quickly become one of my favorite places to eat in Cardiff be it for lunch or dinner.

Founded by a group of friends with great hospitality experience in Cardiff city, La Pantera offers an extremely unique combination of casual cocktails, quality tequila and tasty tacos. Having opened their doors just weeks before the pandemic hit in 2020, La Pantera has received overwhelming support from their loyal customers and I can definitely see why.

Their “unauthentic tacos” menu changes weekly but centers around providing predominantly 3 options: one meat taco, one fish taco and one vegan/ veggie taco to satisfy everyone.

Bar 44, Westgate Street

Restaurant Bar 44 is an award-winning taste of Spain supplying the tastiest tapas dishes to be washed down with a great selection of wine, cocktails or sweet sangria. Under arched brick ceilings the atmosphere is buzzing and whether you need a light bite or want an evening of grazing, Bar 44 allows you to order until your appetite is satisfied.

The restaurant accommodates for any dietary requirements and provides vegan and gluten-free options on the menu, making this spot perfect dining for all. I am never disappointed with a trip to Bar 44- the food, service and setting are always seamless.

Asador 44, Quay Street

Cardiff city center is lucky enough to home sister restaurants Bar 44 and Asador 44 within walking distance of each other, Spanish restaurant Asador 44 is equally as delicious as Bar 44 yet offers a more traditional menu of starters, mains, snacks and of course dessert.

Situated down Quay Street, the Michelin plate rewarded restaurant is undeniably home to some great cooking. The elegant setting accompanied by their “La Ventano” menu serving up whole fish, specialty breed meats and seasonal veggies cooked over a wood flame are full of flavour.

Their menu caters to everyone from meat eaters to vegans/ vegetarians, I recommend their set lunchtime “plato del dia” menu as a perfect way to sample the menu.

The Heathcock, Llandaff

Situated just outside of the city center in Llandaff, the Heathcock is a hearty local pub supplying refined home cooked food at a reasonable price. I have only had the pleasure of visiting the Heathcock on a handful of occasions but it has made a lasting great impression and their attained Michelin plate is well deserved.

Their kitchen garden provides homegrown fruit and vegetables accompanied with the best produce Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan has to offer, the Heathcock’s made from scratch menu is certainly worth a try. From rich steak and ale pies to tasty small plates perfect for sharing, they never fail to deliver on flavour, atmosphere and service and I can not recommend this humbly delicious welsh pub enough. 

Pasture, 8-10 High Street

Showcasing local Welsh produce, Pasture is located in the heart of Cardiff and specializes in signature steaks all locally sourced from farms in Wales & the South West, all steaks are dry-aged for a minimum of 35 days and do not fail to impress. Pasture offers a unique dining experience with hung meat on display and an open kitchen to watch your dinner preparation in action, this relatively new restaurant oozes in character.

But even if steak does not take your fancy, we sampled their starters and sides to create our own tapas-style dinner and their small plates certainly satisfied.

Milkwood, Pontcanna St

This neighborhood welsh bistro located just outside the center in Pontcanna offers “simple but sound” cooking supplied by Welsh produce, their menu is constantly changing providing a unique combination of good food you love to eat. Founded and run by local chefs, Milkwood is a long-held dream being fulfilled.

From Bute park leaves to Bara Brith to breakfast bhaji buns, this restaurant experiments with different food cultures to create truly unique and tasty food. You can stop in for coffee and brunch or delve into one of their impressive cuban deli sandwiches and always be satisfied, this small spot provides the best heart warming food.

From Mexican tacos, tasty tapas and hearty pub-grub, any of these delicious independent restaurants will certainly leave you delighted. Their ever-changing menu’s sample the best local produce Cardiff has to offer and alongside the founders’ experience within the industry, the knowledge and love for good food shines through in the flavour and service. It is more important now, than ever, to support small businesses— but these restaurants make it a no brainer.

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