Thursday, 9 January 2014

My favourite places to eat in Swansea (Part One)

Due to my status as a food-blogger, I'm usually asked "where is the best place to eat in Swansea?"

But it's hard to give one place that honour because there are so many different types of cuisine and different moods warrant different answers. Are you looking for Italian or Indian food? French or American? If you're after a hangover quelling fry-up you don't want to be going to a small Japanese restaurant. You get the idea.

So, I'm bringing you a two-part post on my favourite places to go in Swansea. Mind you, I haven't eaten everywhere so there are probably some brilliant places left for me to find, but based on where I have eaten I will share with you some of the best.

(Note: I've not reviewed all the restaurants I mention, but the ones I have are in orange)


Indians


This is a big category because, like the rest of Wales, I love a good curry. Be it a spontaneous meal with family or a post-football 'curry with the boys', an Indian meal satisfies most appetites. And in Swansea we are completely spoiled for choice when it comes to Indian restaurants.

On St Helen's Road - the curry quarter of our fine city - there must be 20 or so in a half-mile stretch. Of these, my favourite is probably The Viceroy (which I've not yet reviewed). There's no real 'wow factor' with The Viceroy, but the food is consistently enjoyable, it's good value for what you get and the service is really friendly.

Away from St Helen's Road, I enjoy the Patti Raj. While the food can be a little slow to come out and the layout can be annoying (I always get put on a table where the sun glares at me as it sets), the food is brilliant. I love the choice of dishes - there's plenty of variety. In particular I recommend trying the Mahashas to start.

Meanwhile a special mention must go to the service in Panshee - quickly becoming my newest first choice curry house in Swansea.

Finally, my overall favourite curry house in Swansea is the Mumbai. It's not that it's just close to my house, but it's generally a great place to enjoy a night out. The menu is varied, the food is always tasty and I rarely have complaints. The service can be friendly unless they are busy and it can be a tad on the cold side, but the Mumbai is very enjoyable.


Pubs


The pub is no longer just a place you go to get hammered (although it's a good place for that too), it's now a vital part of the British eating-out culture. In Swansea we have loads of pubs that serve food, pubs that specialise in food and restaurants that look like pubs.

One pub/restaurant I enjoy is The Dunvant (a Hungry Horse chain in... well, Dunvant of course). It's a bog standard chain pub, but I find the food is plentiful and good value, while the service is always freindly. My family seem to have adopted it as the place to go for celebratory meals and, while it's not a particulary luxurious experience, you can't fault the food.

Another I enjoy regularly is the Hen Dderwen in Sketty (another I've not yet reviewed). It's a Brains pub, so you're guaranteed decent ales and - thankfully for this pub - decent food (I've been to plenty of other Brains pubs which have terrible food!). The Hen Dderwen is a comfortable, family pub with good food on offer. There's a nice selection of specials on the board in addition to the usual choices, and I always find the atmosphere pretty warm.

Finally I really enjoy visiting The Woodman as it's one of my 'locals'. They serve good food in a nice, rustic environment. I feel they peaked about a year ago when they were a pub serving great food at decent prices. However recently they've changed their tactic and turned towards being more of a restaurant which I don't think works as well. The prices have gone up which can be unsettling when you think you are in a pub. However with the price increase the food quality has also increased which isn't a bad thing. I think they are still ironing out some wrinkles with the new menus, but it's definitely worth a try.


Americans


Burgers, hot dogs, fries and hot wings - American food! Now, this category could be dubbed "Chain restaurants" because the majority of American diners in Swansea are chains, but that would be unfair because there are some good quality independent restaurants serving this kind of food. Both chain and independents deserve a mention.

Firstly, I really enjoy the food in Eddie Rockets. It's a brilliantly tacky 50's chain diner which offers some pretty indulgent dishes in a genuine(ish) atmosphere - good fun. And just around the corner on Wind Street we have The Smoke Haus - a restaurant inspired by hit US TV show Man v Food. I've only been twice and, though the second time left me a little underwhelmed - it's certainly worth visiting for the large portions and American-inspired feasts (and, of course, the mental hot wing challenge - not that I'd ever take part myself!).


Coming up in part two: my favourite Eastern restaurants, cafes, and the best places to go for special events!

5 comments:

  1. Nice article. Haven't been to The Dunvant since my student days and never to Eddie Rockets. Agree with your other choices

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  2. Man v Food, my favourite programme after Lizzard Lick Towing! Nice article Chris.

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  3. I need to get back to Eddie Rockets... it's been too long. There go my diet plans for January...

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  4. Just found your wonderful site. I'm an American and I've been to The Smoke Haus. When you bite into a burger and the first thing you taste is salt, you are doing it wrong. We don't salt are patties. I wish the brits would stop this ;) TGI Fridays black angus burger is the closest I've found to an American burger.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Brian, glad you like the site!

      I only had a burger once in the Smoke Haus, but can't quite remember if it was salty or not. However nowhere in the UK seems to do American food quite like the Americans! I'm heading to the USA next month and can't wait to try some good cooking! Cheers, Chris

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