The Hot List: 12 Cardiff restaurants you need to try

With its fantastic local produce and diverse food scene, the Welsh capital has a restaurant for every occasion. Whether you fancy tapas, superb steaks, or Indian street food, here are 12 Cardiff restaurants you need to try.

Vivo Latino
Inspired by the colours and flavours of South America, Vivo Latino is the place to go for a laid-back, cocktail-fuelled night out. It’s a stripped back space with reclaimed wood furniture, chrome lighting, and walls covered in graffiti art. With influences from Brazil, Mexico, Cuba and Peru, you’ll find everything from tacos and empanadas to flame-grilled steaks and seafood on the menu.

Mint & Mustard
A Cardiff institution for nearly fifteen years, Mint & Mustard takes traditional Indian dishes to the next level with subtle spicing and fresh, local ingredients. Look beyond the tikka masala and try regional specialties like Keralan tiger prawns, fragrant fish curry, or the fiery Goan vindaloo.

If you’re craving steak, this restaurant beside Cardiff Castle serves some of the best in town. Their beef is sourced from farms in Wales and the South West, then dry aged and butchered in-house. Treat your favourite carnivore to one of their house cuts – Porterhouse, Tomahawk, or Chateaubriand – plus indulgent sides like truffle chips or cabbage with bacon butter.

Santiago’s Tapas
This family-run restaurant brings a little Spanish sunshine to the city centre, even on chilly days. Whatever the weather, their Spanish wines and authentic tapas dishes will give you that feel-good holiday glow. Start with a glass of cava and familiar favourites like crispy calamari, croquetas, tortilla, and padron peppers – watch out for the hot ones! They also do a fantastic paella, cooked to order, and Galician-style octopus, if you’re feeling adventurous.

Chai Street
This buzzy Indian street food joint is owned by the team behind Mint & Mustard, so you know you’re in safe hands. The menu ranges from curry bowls and pizza-naans to classic South Indian dishes like spicy Chicken 65 and a Malabar seafood medley with a creamy coconut curry sauce. If you can’t decide, order one of their famous thalis and try a bit of everything.

The Conway
Nestled in the Cardiff suburb of Pontcanna, this cosy gastropub is the perfect place to unwind over a few drinks or treat the family to a Sunday roast. The blackboard menu offers pub classics alongside seasonal specials like hake with lemon and caper butter or Welsh lamb with minted couscous and ratatouille.

Motel Nights
Just a stone’s throw from Victoria Park in Canton, this neon-lit cafe-bar offers coffee and co-working space through the day and a packed schedule of street food and events by night. Tuck into 50p wings every Wednesday, round up your smartest friends for their Thursday quiz night, or kick start the weekend with cocktails, craft beer, and saucy meatball subs.

The Potted Pig
Situated beneath the city in a former bank vault, The Potted Pig is a modern British restaurant and gin lounge. Their ethos is simple: big flavours, generous portions, and local produce wherever possible. Start with a gin and tonic – there are over 30 gins to choose from – and then tuck into dishes like ham hock terrine, cod in white wine sauce, or pork belly with choucroute and pomme purée.

The Ivy Cardiff
With its glamorous interiors and dragon-topped bar, this British brasserie makes everyday dining feel extra special. The menu covers all bases, from steaks and seafood to Ivy classics like shepherd’s pie and crispy duck salad. If you’re into cocktails, don’t miss locally-inspired tipples like the fresh and fruity Bae Caerdydd or the Dragon’s Fire, garnished with a flaming passion fruit shell.

The Admiral St David
Overlooking Cardiff Bay, The Admiral’s light and airy dining room is the ideal spot for a long lunch or dinner for two. The menu is best described as eclectic, with traditional British dishes sitting alongside lamb shawarma flatbreads and Korean fried chicken burgers. On warm days, you can cool off with their Havana Beach cocktail, a tropical blend of coconut rum, coconut water, pineapple syrup, and lime juice.

With its friendly staff and fresh, affordable food, Yakitori1 is one of the best dining options at Cardiff’s Mermaid Quay. You can pop in for a quick lunch, treat the kids to a katsu curry, or warm up with a steaming bowl of ramen and some crisp prawn tempura. The dining room is bright and modern with an open kitchen and counter seats so you can watch the chefs preparing your sushi and sashimi.

If you can’t make it to San Sebastian this year, you can enjoy a bit of Basque bar culture right here in Cardiff. Like any good pintxo bar, Curado has an impressive range of wines and sherries to accompany its hand-carved jamon and delicious Spanish small plates.

Visit OpenTable to discover more of the best restaurants in Cardiff.