So you’ve arrived at Sŵn, you’ve got your wristband, your programme and your itinerary. You want to see all the shows. There are 24 hours in a day and you want to see 25 hours worth of shows. You’ve whittled it down, you’ve written the bands you want to see on your hand and all up your arm, and then you realise; when and where the hell am I going to eat?
With gig venues spread across the city centre, there are innumerable places to eat on the go and Cardiff is in bloom where eating out is concerned. While many of you might not want to miss music for slap-up meals, the fact that venues are so close to many of the city’s best fooderies means that you won’t have to miss much either way.
Cardiff city centre is awash with places to get a quick bite. Wander through the arcades off St. Mary’s Street and you will find lovely cafes (The Plan and Little Man Coffee battle it out for the best flat white in the city, with Waterloo Tea in Wyndham Arcade coming up the rear), ace sandwich shops (Fresh do a great job if you’re after a quick baguette, with Bombers and New York Deli being a bit more Man vs Food – and totally awesome for it), posh burger joints (go to Grazing Shed for McDonald’s-speed service, but a much higher quality of burger – the Bunga Bunga is the meal of choice in the office whilst we’re working on the festival. Urban Taphouse and 10 Feet Tall also do some wonderful things with a beef patty), great vegetarian delis (Cafe Atma and Crumbs offer a slightly healthier but no less delicious alternative) and super burrito shops (our number one choice is Mission Burrito just off Queen Street).
St. Mary’s St is right at the epicentre of great food in Cardiff, with numerous reasonably fast and reasonably cheap meals. Standard choices including Las Iguanas, The Yard and – every respectable Welsh rugby player’s chicken-choice – Nando’s. You’ll also find Five Guys and Shake Shack (both *great* burger joints) in the vicinity, as well as Bill’s and pretty much anything else you could want or need. There are plenty of Italian options in town as well, with Casanova and Zizi both in the St Mary’s St. area, providing really good and reasonably priced modern fayre. Well loved locally is Cafe Citta, which is a small Italian highly recommended on many food blogs including Gourmet Gorro. With excellent, freshly sourced meat and fish at good prices, enjoyably free of any British-bog-standard imitation Italian options, your only barrier to a great meal here is getting a table. Another office favourite whilst we’re working on Sŵn Festival is Cafe Minuet – great fusion-y Italian dishes served quickly and noisily to please the crowds. For those happy to treat themselves in town, The Potted Pig has a jaw-droppingly tantalizing menu of fresh meat and fish. Its menu is slightly more expensive but there’s a bargainous lunch menu and besides, its steaks in particular are well worth the extra bucks. During the weekend of the festival, 10 Feet Tall offer up delicious, hearty meals to our artists, and festival-goers can get in on some of that action at a reasonable price too. Plus, you’ll probably end up eating next to your new favourite band. Similarly, if you’re watching something great at Buffalo, they do great food and you won’t break the bank.
Out of Town
If you’re full of Sŵn nutrition and want to head out of the centre to get some grub, you will have plenty of options. Heading towards Cathays and Roath, Mecca for students, you will find all sorts of food shacks to meet your needs. Sushi your thing? Head to Tenkaichi for some of the best in Wales. Pub grub more your bag? The Lansdowne in Canton do one of Cardiff’s best Sunday roasts. The Conway, not far away in Pontcanna, also does some proper great pub food.
City Road is awash with world food options, nearly all of which are at great prices. Troy‘s Turkish charms are evident from the open grill that stands at the middle of the restaurant – and with a varied range of more-ish kebabs and unique Turkish food such as grilled quails, it’s a guaranteed winner. Elsewhere, Mina‘s Lebanese food and bedouin-esque decor makes for a refreshingly charismatic feel and it has a lovely menu to back it up. If you have an hour to spare a walk down City Rd will definitely be well spent, with independent restaurants at nearly every turn, all with a menu from somewhere different. Check out this website on the area, as we can’t even touch on the diversity and quality in the space we have here.
If STILL none of this tickles your fancy, perhaps you’d prefer the West of Cardiff; Pontcanna Calling. A bevy of restaurants await. The excellent Fish at 85 sits next to another, different, Smoke House. Both serving excellent cuisine. Just down the road in Canton you have the incredible Bangkok Cafe (their red duck curry is the best spicy thing in the city!), Calabrisella‘s authentic Italian charms, Purple Poppadom‘s high-end Indian cuisine and more Japanese bites courtesy of Ichiban.