Tapas – and Spanish cuisine in general in Cardiff – has come a long, long way in the past couple of years or so. Gone are the days when the Cardiff branch of La Tasca (in the Brewery Quarter – remember?) was the best we had to offer. Instead, we now have a handful of thriving independent Cardiff Spanish restaurants which have a real passion for sourcing excellent produce and creating authentic dishes as good as any you’d find in Barcelona or Bilbao.
Whilst this dreary January weather has me longing for hot days drinking cold wine and eating salty snacks by the sea, for now I can happily settle for a bite to eat in one of these local Cardiff gems.
— Bar 44 Cardiff (@bar44cardiff) November 2, 2016
Bar 44 are my go-to guys for great tapas in the city centre, but they also have outposts in Cowbridge and Penarth. My favourite is the ‘Polpo’ (slow cooked octopus with sobrasada, Pembroke potato, and spring onion), and the cheeseboard is definitely worth a mention, too. The meat they use here is always ‘impeccably, ethically sourced’; from using rare breed pigs for their pork, to 12 yr old, ex-dairy herd cows for their beef. Read my full review of their Cardiff restaurant for Olive Magazine, here.
— Gourmet Gorro (@gourmetgorro) December 10, 2016
This tapas bar recently opened in what used to be a Burger King on Westgate Street – clearly, gentrification is a good thing in some cases! Curado specialises in ‘pinchos’ – small snacks, typically eaten in traditional bars in northern Spain and especially popular in the Basque country. Pull up a stool at the bar and order yourself a glass of their own beer to wash down your snacks, and then head to the deli at the back to pick up a few bottles to take home.
— La Cuina (@LaCuinaCardiff) July 22, 2016
I have just recently discovered the delightful La Cuina, a small Catalan deli and restaurant situated in the middle of Pont-canton, despite them being around for quite some time. It was the view from the pavement which enticed me – it looks so inviting, like someone has packed out their front room for an intimate supper club. The menu is full of tender, slow cooked meat dishes and rich, flavoursome sauces – featuring both big, hearty mains and a seasonal tapas menu. One of my new favourite restaurants.
Asador restaurants are said to be a way of life in Northern Spain, and in 2017 the same team behind Bar 44 brought the concept to Cardiff. The name of the restaurant comes from the Spanish word “asado” meaning “to roast”, and Asador 44‘s offering focuses on grilling and roasting meat, fish and vegetables over charcoal and wood.
The new venture is based where Brains’ Greenwood & Browns Brasserie used to be, and in typical Bar 44 fashion, provenance is paramount – they even source their own rare-breed beef and lamb especially for the restaurant.
Which of these are your favourite Cardiff Spanish restaurants? Let me know in the comments below.