There can be few places with as many food outlets as Cardiff, Wales. Boosted by the Cardiff Bay housing and leisure development, its cuisine now stretches around the world, while still finding plenty of space for city’s long term love affair with Italian restaurants.
The port city’s streets has soulless fast food outlets chippies, kebab shop, burger joints, but is a popular destination for national brands chains such as Bill’s and branded Italian outlets including Jamie (Oliver’s) Italian, Pizza Express, Zizzi and ASK, in addition to fine dining restaurants. As a historically important trading port, the city has long been multicultural. Today, people newly arrived from the Horn of Africa, eastern Europe and the Middle East rub shoulders with those descended from previous waves of immigration from Italy, China and many other trading partners. This gives the city food shops an enviable vibrancy and choice of cuisine. Even the giant Tesco supermarket carries an impressive range of culinary exotics.
Although Cardiff doesn’t have a Michelin star to boast about and help with marketing the city as a foodie destination, there are plenty of places to enjoy great food. Independent restaurants such as Entrecote Café, The Potted Pit and Pier 64 and Bully’s, named Wales’ 2014 Restaurant of the Year. The glass and steel Bosphorous Turkish restaurant sits on a spectacular position above the water in Cardiff Bay and offers traditional and modern dishes from Kleftico (knuckle of lamb) and charcoal grilled chicken Beyti.
However, perhaps a Michelin star may not be so far away as previous winner James Sommerin has opened his first (and he promises only) eponymous restaurant on the beach front west of Cardiff Bay in Penarth. James was previously head chef at the Michelin-starred Crown at Whitebrook in Monmouth, south-east Wales. With hand made butter knives and Himalayan salt candles, you know James is aiming to create an impression. While fish dishes are sprinkled across the various menus, they do not dominate. Lobster and spider crab are locally sourced from Carmarthen and Cardigan and other fish is bought from the popular E. Ashton’s fishmongers in Cardiff.
Reports from the city suggest the hip new burger company Five Guys will open a branch by the end of the year, alongside London-based Burger and Lobster (Cardiff locals are hoping) new outlets for ‘Mexican market eating’ Wahaca. The ever popular Wahaca and. For Wahaca, it’s the first time outside its set up shop London – quite a coup for the Welsh capital.