By Ellie Philpotts
Cardiff is a melting pot of a range of cultures, and with a range of cultures comes a range of great cuisine. If you’ve moved to Cardiff from another country, you’re more than likely to find easy access to food that’ll remind you of home, and if you’re from round here anyway, it’s the perfect chance to widen your palate… (and your waistline).
Juboraj – Juboraj enjoys a glittering reputation that extends past Cardiff – the group’s city centre branches can be found in Roath; Mill Lane; Cardiff Bay and Rhiwbina, as well as a street food cafe on North Road –and it’s easy to see why they’ve won numerous awards and are among Wales’ oldest Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants. They say variety is the spice of life, and so, it seems, is Juboraj. (Image credit: facebook.com/juborajrhiwbina)
Al Rayan – City Road has somehow managed to envelope the flavours of what feels (and tastes!) like every single country, and fortunately for us students, its location on the Roath-Cathays border means we don’t have very far to waddle home. It’s hard to whittle down one ultimate, but Al Rayan is an impressive contender. Recently opened by a husband and wife duo seeking refuge from Syria, the charming business, which doubles as a takeaway, specialises in Kurdish, Iranian, Afghan and Turkish delicacies.
Irie Shack – Anyone who’s ever walked down Woodville Road (which must be everyone who’s ever picked up a copy of Quench), will have at some point wondered if they’re dreaming upon hearing the unmistakable music of Jamaica, right here on a slightly grey Welsh street. Irie Shack are responsible, and I’m also singling them out for their colourful Caribbean dishes. Cardiff has plenty of restaurants from this corner of the world, including Turtle Bay and Mash Up, but they’re not all right here on one of the most central streets in Cathays are they… (Image credit: twitter.com/irieshack)
Cafe Minuet – We all love Italian, and while the city does a commendable effort at replicating the Med’s sunshine, snacks and style, with everything from chain restaurants to street food, Cafe Minuet is a clear winner in the Italian-in-Cardiff stakes. It’s family-run (since 1986, no less); it’s rustic; and it’s just really delicious. (Image credit: twitter.com/cafeminuet)
As students, we all too often find ourselves thinking even the walk to the light of Cathays Terrace – Tesco Express – is too much. But sometimes it’s nice to eat somewhere that less resembles your floor post-takeaway, or muddled contents of your fridge, and in fact has more in common with a nice restaurant. Because it is a nice restaurant.
Purple Poppadom – While a little further out in the western suburb of Canton, Purple Poppadom is well worth the walk. One of the city’s best Indian eateries, it creatively revamps classic dishes in a modern, vibrant way, while retaining stunning decor, an ambient environment and the distinctive taste of authenticity. (Image credit: twitter.com/purple_poppadom)
The Potted Pig – Alongside its sister branch Porro, found a short train journey (or walk, if you’re feeling ambitious) away in Llandaff, The Potted Pig is reaping the benefits of its positive name around the city. Combining contemporary cuisine with a noticeable nod to all things French and traditional, The Potted Pig is perfect for whatever the reason you’re splashing out, whether the fam are visiting from far and wide or you and the housemates have decided you need something big to commemorate exam season being done. Which may be too optimistic considering it’s only October, but it’s well worth waiting for… (Image credit: twitter.com/thepottedpig)
Bullys – Nestled in the fashionable district of Pontcanna, Bullys has been well-regarded as one of Cardiff’s little gems, satisfying the city’s foodies since 1996. When some of you freshers weren’t even born… Again incorporating French inspiration into dishes, Bullys is a delight come Friday evening, Sunday lunch and all the occasions in-between.
Moksh – While Cardiff Bay has no shortage of places to eat, many of them are chains you can find anywhere, and as Cardiff is such a city of opportunity for independent businesses, it makes sense to support them. Amid these, we’re not alone in thinking Moksh is a standout – it’s won multiple awards and even been regarded the ‘Lady Gaga of Indian restaurants.’ While getting up there and showing off your best Just Dance impression may come only after a few glasses of wine, their vegetarian, a la carte, dessert and tasting menus continually prove Moksh not only has everything, but also does everything seriously impressively. (Image credit: twitter.com/mokshcardiff)