To mark the recent release of this year’s Cardiff Food & Drink Guide, we wanted to take this time to celebrate a few of our favourite fine dining establishments that feature in this year’s edition.
Whether you’re craving a hearty, seasonal three-course feast to warm your spirits this winter, wish to sample some world-class, award-winning wine, or fancy a rejuvenating spa day followed by exquisitely presented and beautifully executed plates of food, Cardiff and the surrounding area won’t let you down with its choice of exceptional establishments in which to part ways with your hard-earned cash – but a few of these places shine a little brighter than the rest.
Read all about our favourite fine dining restaurants and hotels in Cardiff and the surrounding area below, and for a more comprehensive guide to eating out in Cardiff, pick up a FREE copy of our Cardiff Food & Drink Guide 2019 here or read a digital copy of the guide here.
Llanddewi Skirrid, Abergavenny, NP7 8AW
Just a few miles east of Abergavenny on the Old Ross Road, The Walnut Tree has been a famous inn and restaurant for over 40 years and became a beacon of gastronomic excellence in South Wales under the talented Franco and Ann Taruschio, who served up an idiosyncratic and much-loved mix of Italian and international dishes. Now run by talented chef Shaun Hill, who made a name for himself at Gidleigh Park in Devon and then at The Merchant House restaurant in Ludlow, you can expect to find the same original informal atmosphere and unpretentious approach to cooking for which the restaurant is well-known, just with a new and eclectic menu based around personal taste and sound cooking techniques, rather than any particular country’s cuisine.
Comprised around ten dishes at each stage, delight in plates like the monkfish with cucumber and mustard sauce to start, the Welsh lamb with a choice of cheese soufflé or gratin potatoes to follow, and the fig tart with ricotta and honey ice cream to finish. Consistently delivering an unforgettable dining experience that’s difficult to match anywhere across the region, although three courses and a glass of wine will set you back around £50 per person, an evening spent at The Walnut Tree in Abergavenny is more than worth emptying your wallet for.
11 Marine Parade, Penarth, CF64 3BG
If the idea of dining out at a luxurious and modern hotel that boasts a stylish and elegant candle-lit restaurant and a terrace with beautiful sea views appeals to you, the handsome Holm House, set on Marine Parade, won’t disappoint. After being pampered in the hotel’s intimate and rejuvenating boutique spa, float to the restaurant and indulge in exquisitely presented dishes made using the finest seasonal and local produce, with many ingredients sourced from Holm House’s very own kitchen garden.
Begin with the likes of pan-seared scallops served with a cauliflower and vanilla puree, crispy pancetta and black pudding, before treating yourself to a comforting and flavoursome dish like the poached monkfish wrapped in Parma ham and served on a bed of couscous, topped with black onion seeds and tomato salsa, or perhaps opt instead for the vegan pea and asparagus pearl barley risotto. For the perfect finish to an unforgettable feast, choose from desserts like the elegant and fresh pink grapefruit and ginger tart, served with a refreshing lemon sorbet – the perfect, reenergizing dish to complement a relaxing stay at this one-of-a-kind hotel and spa in Penarth.
20 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3DQ
For a charming and characterful setting combined with first-class wine and an elegant menu that takes inspiration from French cuisine, look no further than Park House Restaurant & Wine Bar in Cardiff. Set in a Grade I listed, gothic-style mansion situated in Cardiff city centre, the chefs combine the building’s Welsh heritage with their love of fine dining, using the finest local produce along with speciality ingredients sourced from the Rungis International Market in central Paris to create an à la carte menu that is sure to impress.
With a plush new wine bar on the first floor and a menu that recommends a wine to go with each meal, Park House Restaurant & Wine Bar takes wine very seriously and its exceptional wine list has even won several awards in recent years, including the AA Wine List of the Year and Best Wine by the Glass at the Champagne Tattinger UK Wine List Awards 2018.
Having recently undergone a refurbishment, sit downstairs in the dining area and dig into starters such as mouth-watering roasted scallop served with chickpea, cucumber and a deliciously spiced yoghurt, followed by the likes of Cornish halibut with saffron potatoes, fresh courgette and a lobster bisque for mains and their peach dessert with peach puree and a rich white chocolate sorbet to finish.
Hensol, Pontyclun, CF72 8GG
Nestled in the beautiful Welsh countryside and just a stone’s throw from Cardiff’s bustling city centre, Llanerch Vineyard is a true haven. Boasting an award-winning and must-visit restaurant that overlooks the venue’s picturesque vineyard, expect to find an elegant range of lunch, dinner, and afternoon dishes on seasonally changing menus that really make the most of the freshest and finest Welsh produce available.
If you’re visiting the restaurant in the evening, enjoy the likes of wood pigeon served with bacon, black pudding and glazed-onion salad, soft egg, and honey dressing followed by a hearty dish of braised shin of beef with mushroom puree, pearl barley, glazed onion and chips. The thirty-day-aged cuts of supreme Welsh beef paired with thick mushroom ketchup, confit shallot, hand-cut chips and crispy caperberries are also a highlight. Vegans are also catered to with dishes like the chickpea chaat, served with pomegranate, coriander and spicy Bombay mix.
If you’re after something a little more elegant than steak, afternoon tea at Llanerch Restaurant shouldn’t be overlooked. For an added treat, why not upgrade to include a glass of Cariad sparkling wine as you dive into delights like egg and cress sandwiches, raspberry and almond tarts, and lavender sugar-infused Welsh cakes?
Cwmbran Drive, Cwmbran, NP44 3UW
With its award-winning grounds and beautiful patio garden perfect for al fresco dining, the four-star Parkway Hotel makes the ideal spot for everything from an extravagant special occasion to a pleasant dining experience. Nestled in over seven acres of verdant gardens and boasting a luxurious private leisure club and spa, it was of course the hotel’s two-AA-rosette-awarded restaurant which caught our attention and made us just have to visit.
Boasting a classical dining space that’s both bright and airy and features simple, elegant table settings and modern crockery, we knew we were in for something special before we even perused the restaurant’s winning menu full of a mouth-watering feast of creative, varied, and seasonal dishes. To start, we chose the crab arancini served with brown crab meat, mayonnaise with truffles and Parmesan which we found to be both rich and tasty, offering complex layers of flavour that blended together perfectly. Our main of lamb rump was elegantly presented, perfectly executed, and extremely succulent, and was accompanied by sweet potato gnocchi, chive emulsion, peas and Parmesan, while our dessert of moreish chocolate crémeux with salted caramel, hazelnut sable and praline, was an indulgent delight and wonderfully reminiscent of Ferrero Rocher.
Copthorne Way, Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff, CF5 6DH
Whether you’re craving a tempting evening meal in an elegant restaurant or some hearty comfort food in a cosy bar, the dining options available to you at the four-star Copthorne Hotel in Cardiff, conveniently situated on route to the city’s airport, promise an experience that more than lives up to what you’d expect from a venue that puts comfort and customer satisfaction above all else.
With its bar that boasts lakeside views, a restaurant with a lively yet relaxed atmosphere, and waiting staff that are attentive, kind, and always have a smile on their faces, you’ll immediately feel at home within this spacious, modern, and well-designed hotel.
When we visited the stylish Reglans Restaurant at the hotel, we started with a summery tart, comprised of goat’s cheese, butternut squash, red onion, asparagus, and a light pastry base, before moving onto the hake fillet, which was beautifully flaky and made for the perfect dish to follow the delightful appetiser. To end our meal, we opted to treat ourselves to both the sticky toffee pudding and cheeseboard, which we washed down with a delightfully refreshing elderflower and pomegranate soft drink that perfectly cleansed the palate. If you’re visiting at the weekend, the restaurant’s traditional and hearty Sunday roasts make the perfect excuse to gather all the family for some quality time spent together in a relaxed and warming environment.