The Ivy Cardiff An OpenTable Review

AD. Recently I was invited to a campaign with OpenTable. To review a restaurant of my choice booked through the OpenTable website. I paid for the meal myself and the restaurant was not aware I was visiting.

In the centre of Cardiff in St David's Centre is The Ivy Cardiff. Part of the popular chain there is now 37 Ivy grills, cafes and brasseries in the UK.

The Ivy Cardiff

The restaurant chain originally started as a celebrity restaurant in London but it has grown through the years. The restaurant in Cardiff is in the Hayes area and well situated being close to major stores like John Lewis. The closest parking is either at John Lewis or in the St David's car park. 

Specials board

The restaurant has a small outdoor seating area and two floors inside. There are lots of plants and flowers outside and when you enter the building the staff warmly greet you and take you to your table. Booking is recommended as it can get very busy inside. I booked for a weekday lunch and there wasn't many tables free downstairs.  


The building itself is open plan and is beautifully decorated in an Art Deco style, from the sign outside to the menu and the blanquette seating. 


The menu has similar dishes all year round which does not change, as well as seasonal specials. You can get a decent steak, as well as classics like fish and chips and shepherd's pie. For the more adventurous among you, there are dishes like aromatic duck curry and lobster linguine. They do also have a vegan and vegetarian menu with dishes such as wild mushroom and truffle linguine, and Keralan sweet potato curry.  It was nice to see more vegetarian and vegan options than an uninspiring vegetable lasagne.

We were also given a set lunch menu with two courses for £17.95 and three for £22.95. This menu had dishes such as tomato and basil soup, steak chips and egg, seabream and sticky toffee pudding. We decided to stick with the main menu but before that the drinks. 


Our server was Marina, she explained the lunch menu, and the specials, which included grilled sea bass fillet and a roast fillet of beef. There was an interesting selection of non alcoholic mocktails so we ordered some.


Pictured above are the drinks we ordered, the Elderflower Garden (£6.95) and the Movie Star Martini (£6.95). The Elderflower Garden was perfect if you want something not too sweet and refreshing. Made from Seedlip Garden 108 (a herbal blend), Acorn dry non-alcoholic aperitif, elderflower cordial, and Fever Tree tonic, it was refreshing and slightly bitter. You could taste the cucumber in it. If you like gin-based cocktails but don't want the alcohol this would be perfect. 

The Movie Star Martini was a delicious mocktail made with pineapple juice, lime, fresh passion fruit and passion fruit syrup. It came with a shot of Fever Tree white grape and apricot soda. The passionfruit really came through with this mocktail. This is the perfect mocktail if you want a fruity cocktail without alcohol. 

For starters, my husband ordered the twice-baked cheese souffle (£8.95) with consisted of gratinated Caerphilly cheese with grated black truffle and a cream sauce. The cheese souffle smelt very cheesy and he was worried it would be too rich, but he did enjoy it and commented it had a good cheese flavour and was very light.

blackened cod

chicken milanese

For mains, I had the blackened cod fillet (£18.95) baked in a banana leaf with soy marinade, citrus-picked fennel, grilled broccoli, chilli and yuzu mayonnaise, with a side accompaniment of jasmine rice (£3.75) with toasted coconut and coriander. My husband the chicken Milanese with a brioche crumbed chicken breast, with a fried egg, parmesan and truffle cream sauce, with a side of truffle and parmesan chips. 

The blackened cod had a sticky sweet marinade that reminded me of a lighter teriyaki sauce with a hint of chilli. I'm not normally a fan of fennel but it wasn't overpowering, the tenderstem broccoli was chargrilled and the Yuzu mayonnaise added some creaminess to the dish. You could really taste the coconut in the fragrant jasmine rice too. Altogether a light dish that any fish lover would enjoy.

The chicken Milanese (£18.50) had a lovely crust that was really tasty and well seasoned.  The fried egg and parmesan truffle sauce added a great richness. Personally, I think the truffle and parmesan chips stood out as they were simply delicious with big truffle shavings on the top. 

Both of these dishes did need the sides we ordered. I think it would be better value if the dishes had come with a side. We were too full to order a dessert but there is a choice from creme brulee to tiramisu and apple tart fine. I've had the apple tart before and would highly recommend it, as it is flambeed at your table with calvados, a brandy made from apples. It is a great show seeing it flambeed at your table and is sweet and delicious.


The Ivy in Cardiff is beautifully decorated and feels like a real occasion restaurant. 


Even the women's toilet is beautiful as seen above. 

Although it's not an independent restaurant it really feels like the Ivy delivers on food and service. Service is efficient, the food was delivered promptly and the dishes were really delicious. If you are visiting for your birthday it is worth mentioning it as it appeared as if you get a complimentary dessert, and reviews on Tripadvisor seem to confirm this. It's not a cheap restaurant but sometimes you get what you pay for. We definitely recommend visiting The Ivy Cardiff when you want a meal in Cardiff city centre.  

Check out some of the other Cardiff restaurants on OpenTable as well as some of the South Wales restaurants. I have always found OpenTable a convenient and easy way to book a restaurant meal. Let me know, have you been the any of The Ivy restaurants? 



  1. I’m booking this now thank you for the recommendation

  2. Both the drinks and food look delicious

  3. I've been to The Ivy in Cardiff a couple of times. It can be a bit over-priced but some of the food I've tried has been pretty good. They are definitely good for special occasions; I took a friend there once for her birthday and they surprised her with a little cake and sang happy birthday to her.

    1. It is a pricey place but worth it for a special occasion. That's good to know about the celebration

  4. I've never thought of eating at The Ivy before, I've only heard of the one in London so I wasn't aware it was now a chain.