swansea restaurant food

Rediscovering Swansea’s Food Scene

I was born in Swansea, and have lived here for most of my life. Over the years I have seen some wonderful food establishments come and go, as often it wasn’t the right time, or location despite having really good food.

It’s left me always looking further afield for that special meal, as opposed to staying in Swansea. It always seemed other cities had more to offer, and were more up to date with food trends and quality.

I love a diverse range of food from eating at amazingly fresh middle Eastern restaurants, to a traditional hearty Italian meal, and even in top Michelin starred fine dining institutions. So long as the food is better than I could rustle up at home, then I am happy.

It’s nice to have a fine dining taster menu as a treat, but it’s also nice to have a budget friendly simple, but great quality meal too. It’s all about balance for me, and I get excited by trying new foods, and fresh, home made produce.

For years Swansea has never really quite hit the mark for me at either end.

There were very limited fine dining options within Swansea itself, and those that have opened have had their ups and downs. The places to eat good food, weren’t casual, and were the type of place you felt you had to dress up for; not really what you fancy when you just want to go out for some good food without having to reapply your makeup and put your nice clothes on.

Some of the most reputable restaurants in the city I found to be a little sporadic too, and after having high expectations for the most popular restaurants in the area I would sometimes leave a little disappointed.

They certainly didn’t have the wow factor that other restaurants in different cities seemed to find easy, and the price tag didn’t always reflect the quality.

The issue is, once you have that opinion of the Swansea food scene, it can feel like you’ve been living under a rock when you discover all these wonderful places that have opened in the last few years.

After doing some scouting for my upcoming birthday meal, and attending a VIP evening at The Swigg with fellow blogger Scandinathan I left SO heartened by all the exciting new places to eat in Swansea, so much so I wanted to put them in a post for you to read.

The following restaurants are either ones I’ve eaten at, or ones I’m really excited to eat at after some great reports from friends.

Slice

I am yet to eat here since it re-opened, because I can’t get a reservation for 6 weeks! It is THAT popular!

With a 5 course taster menu to rival top Michelin starred restaurants for just £55 you can tell why. The only fine dining restaurant in Swansea worth talking about until recently. I ate here roughly 4 years ago, and am desperate to go back!

The Beach House

the beach house swansea

The only restaurant in Swansea to be giving Slice a run for it’s money in my opinion.

This for me is the second restaurant to be considered fine dining in the area, and I am so glad it’s come to Swansea.

With extensive experience in running the Grove Narberth and Coast Saundersfoot, The Beach House its the third restaurant to be opened by Neil Kedward and Zoe Agar, with the acclaimed chef and native Welshman Hywel Griffith.

I ate there last Summer, and am set to go again for my Birthday soon. The lunch time menu (3 courses for £23) is phenomenal value, with a superb view that is hard to beat. At the moment this is my  ultimate favourite restaurant in Swansea because it just has it all, and the quality to back it up too.

Finally, some real luxury in Swansea.

 

swansea restaurant dessert

The Cliff Restaurant

Yet to be opened, but I am excited to learn more about this restaurant. The chef has come from the renowned Fairyhill, so I am expecting good things. The location is great too, so it’s set to be a great new addition to Swansea.

The Ship Inn Gower

Another restaurant on my ‘to visit’ list. Their instagram is absolutely drool-worthy, and I have only heard good things about them. Here’s hoping I get to visit soon!

The Swigg

the swigg swansea

A welcome re-opening to the Maritime Quarter in Swansea.

With the chef that has come over from the old Coal House Oxwich (now The Beach House). What I loved about The Swigg was that they have created somewhere different.

It’s not your run of the mill wine bar or restaurant, as it serves Welsh themed, high quality tapas (and also buttery soft fillet steak, and burgers too if you want something more traditional).

Set in the picturesque Marina, it’s somewhere you could spend hours drinking wine and catching up with friends.

the swigg swansea

Bluebell Cafe

Don’t let the name deceive you, although it is a breakfast and lunch cafe, with a glass counter full of the most delicious cakes and treats, with vegan options too, it also doubles up as an incredible restaurant and wine bar in the evening.

I visited just last week, to meet up with a friend over coffee. We were so enamored by the food coming out of the kitchen, that we HAD to order a starter, mains and dessert.

The quality and flavours were incredible, it was all fresh and just good honest produce, with delicious vegan options too.

There is something for everyone and I will most certainly be going back. This would probably be one of my top choices for an impromptu meal out, on a budget but wanting great quality too.

It is about time places like this came to Swansea. Another thing that I loved is that you can have small or large portions for lunch, and all of the starters in the evening menu could easily be eaten as a meal in itself if you wanted something lighter. In fact my friend and I shared all our courses because we couldn’t decide what to have.

It’s an incredibly flexible, great value menu.

Bouchon De Rossi

I’m ashamed to say, that I have only ever eaten lunch here, not an evening meal.

Nonetheless the lunches here are very good!

And they offer fantastic lunch time specials, which are always popular with the locals. This is one of the most consistently praised Swansea favourites. It’s been around for years, specialises in French classics and steaks, and is one of the staple Swansea restaurants.

Parmesiana

Another restaurant I am yet to eat at!

I have heard this deli – come restaurant is Swansea’s best hidden gem. An Italian deli by day, Francessca the owner creates a wonderful Italian feast by night. Cosy and homely are two words often used to describe it, as well as being truly authentic Italian food.

Pant Y Gwydr

swansea

Another high quality French restaurant, this is another hidden gem.

Set in the side streets of Swansea, you wouldn’t pass it unless you were looking for it, but the decor and food is wonderful. We ate there just over a year ago and were thoroughly impressed with the traditional French classics.

If you love French food and want to make sure it’s good quality, look no further.

Fairy Hill

fairyhill terrace

This well known Gower restaurant has recently changed hands. It has a very good reputation, and is set in beautiful grounds. The new owners also own Oldwalls wedding venue, and if the food is anywhere near as good as what I’ve tasted at Oldwalls, it will maintain it’s great reputation and more.

Hanson on The Chelsea

Set just off the busy Wind Street, the Hanson on The Chelsea is another restaurant that had evaded me, because it is always booked!

Awarded the Good Food Guide 2015 & 2 AA rosette recommended 2015 as well as AA fish restaurant of the year for Wales 2005, it is a contender for one of Swansea’s true fine dining establishments. Hopefully I will be able to eat there soon to let you know!

Quay 3

Quay 3 cheesecake

Another firm favourite of mine.

Trendy, set in the lovely location of Swansea Marina, with great cocktails and seriously good food.

This is one place I know I can go, when I want something more along the lines of a gastro-pub. Classic burgers, steaks and roasts turned into chic meals with modern twists. They also have a delicious looking afternoon tea! Another venue that’s tricky to book at short notice, we have been numerous times and each time it gets better.

The Favourite Authentic Chinese

If you’re looking for fresh Chinese food look no further.

Always booked up ahead, this restaurant is very popular and rated one of the best Chinese restaurants in Swansea.

We ate there a few months ago and were very impressed with the food, all the dishes were fresh and flavourful. With a lot of thought and explanation for each dish to explain it’s history and the owners passion for her heritage, and making sure we get to try her opinion of true Chinese cuisine. Be sure to go with friends, as there are so many dishes to try, it’s nice to order a few and share.

Zinco/Croeso Lounge

The only chain on the list, but originating from Bristol back in 2002 it is great to see a restaurant become so successful it has chance to branch out in the South West, and beyond.

And it is clear to see why: affordable, great quality food ranging from tapas, burgers and curries.

They have offers on in the week such as Tapas Tuesday (which is now my favourite week time treat) which allows you to have 3 generous tapas and a large glass of wine for just £9.95.

Zinco lounge is based in Swansea city centre, and Croeso Lounge in the New Mumbles development. Croeso lounge even allows dogs downstairs, so it is now one of our firm favourites for an impromptu after work casual meal, with the dog!

Patricks with Rooms

I love restaurants with rooms, they’re my absolute favourite for the perfect night away.

I am yet to eat at Patricks, but it is another one on my ‘to visit’ list. Set one the beautiful Mumbles sea front, with fresh local produce I have only ever heard good things about it.

Panshee

My favourite Indian in Swansea, although there are lots of other great Indians!

Nothing too fancy here, just good quality Indian food at the most reasonable price around. Their Sunday value menu is the best value I have ever seen.

Gilligans

I am so glad this has re-opened.

We ate here years ago, and were sad to see it disappear, but thankfully it has re-opened and appears to be doing really well! Based in Sketty (just opposite Slice in fact), it is another good value, good quality restaurant with bring your own booze.

I look forward to going back and seeing what they’re like since they’ve reopened.

Safi’s

One more to add to the list is Safi’s.

I actually saw it on the way to The Swigg recently and got very excited at the idea of a Lebanese – Middle Eastern restaurant in Swansea. We used to have a fantastic Lebanese restaurant called Kan – Zaman, which made the best Tabouleh I have ever tasted, so I was really sad to hear it had closed down.

I am hoping that Safi’s will offer similar great quality Lebanese food, but am yet to try it!

 

Are there any Swansea restaurants missing from this list that you love? Do let me know! And check back for my list of great Swansea Cafes soon too.

About the Author Lisa

I'm Lisa and this is the Lovely Appetite blog. I’m always experimenting with recipes, hunting through cookbooks for inspiration or trying out new places to eat. Please browse the site and enjoy reading about my findings.

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