Where to Eat in Cardiff on a Budget

Cardiff is a city that’s big on food. How else does it keep on coming out with Six Nations champions? Here’s a guide on how to eat enough to feed a rugby team, while sticking to a student budget.


he first port of call for any hungry Cardiff student is Kama Lounge. Situated on Woodville Road, this modern cafe-bar serves tasty stir-frys which you can personally piece together from their noodle bar menu for only a fiver. What’s more, the portions are massive making it excellent value for money. It also serves great cocktails which are a steal at two for £5 and are a perfect accompaniment to their live music evenings.

Spice Corner on Salisbury Road is another student favourite due to its friendly service and wonderful set meal deal. This gives you the choice of any starter, main, rice and naan from their extensive menu of Indian and Bangladeshi food and also includes papadoms and chutneys, all for only £9.95.

Ramon’s Cafe is another popular eatery among students, though perhaps not as well known as its American counterpart Cafe 37 across the road. Ramon’s, however, is the cheaper of the two and encapsulates the British greasy spoon with no frills and plenty of calories. The food tastes great, the staff are down to earth and the prices are as low as you can hope for a decent fry up. It even boasts a famous clientel: Robert De Niro is rumoured to have eaten there. I can’t help wondering if the Ramon’s Big Breakfast contributed to the 60 pounds of fat he gained for the later scenes of Raging Bull!

Which brings me to a key tactic for eating out cheaply: food challenges, specifically the ‘eat big and get your money back’ variety. These are essential for any city with a university and Cardiff has its fair share. Ramon’s Big Breakfast is a great example: it claims to be the biggest breakfast in the UK and it might be just that. At 8000 calories it costs you £17 if you don’t manage to finish it within the regulations but, for those few who can, fame awaits in the form of a picture on the wall and your money back.

Fresh Hamburger

Sizzle and Grill offers several similar challenges in its MAN V FOOD range. Most notably, the Challenge Mixed Grill contains a gut-busting 69oz of meat. This one will cost you big-time if your eyes turn out bigger than your stomach: it comes in at £29.95 but is free if you manage to finish it. The price tag is justified by the fact that this isn’t just quantity (though it certainly provides that!), Sizzle and Grill uses high quality ingredients and knows how to cook good meat with respect for the source and the customer.

The big eater’s best friend…

Of course, these food challenges are a gamble; fail to devour them and they can leave you short on the food budget for weeks to come. So don’t forget, there’s always the safer and time-honoured option of the ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet!

A personal favourite is the Red Hot World Buffet in the centre of town simply for the enormity of its array of world foods. Luckily for all you hungry Cardiff residents, they currently have a £10 dinner deal on until the end of March, making it even easier for you to get your money’s worth. But if you need any help getting the most out of your buffet, here are some tips from a veteran of the feasting scene:

  • Order water and sip it. Never let your drinks fill your stomach or empty your wallet in a buffet situation.
  • Starvation is not the way. Eat big the night before, then skip breakfast and go along early to lunch and settle in for the long haul.
  • Don’t fill up on nothing carbs like rice and noodles. Appreciate the meat while you can afford it.
  • Leave room for desert, unless you’re one of the lucky few who seems to have a second stomach for this. It’s a balancing act, but it’s worth it.

Happy eating!

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Charlie Withers

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