Considered by many to be the best Chinese restaurant in the city, Happy Gathering is a long-standing fixture on the Cardiff dining scene. Regulars (often from as far away as Bristol) descend on the restaurant, which is located a little way west from the city centre, for the excellent value set lunch menu and speciality dim sum. Happy Gathering can get particularly packed on weekends, so expect to queue if you haven’t booked in advance.
The rest of the Cantonese cooking gets an enthusiastic thumbs up too, particularly the honey-glazed prawns, aromatic duck and spare ribs. As well as its top-quality dim sum, the restaurant is also known for its fresh seafood, so be sure to try the likes of steamed sea bass, fried squid and scallops with ginger and spring onions. Elsewhere, you’ll find all the usual classics including sweet and sour pork, beef satay and kung po chicken. Vegetarians won’t go hungry either, thanks to the many meat and fish-free options. There are plenty of noodle, rice and vegetable dishes containing tofu, aubergine and broccoli as the main stars, making it easy for mixed groups to dine together.
The décor is basic, but cosy – a bit like your grandma’s living room. Squashy suedette banquette seating and covered chairs combine with Chinese lanterns and wall art to give the space a traditional feel that is decidedly homely. Often there’ll be a live pianist serenading guests as they tuck into heaving tables of freshly-cooked food, perhaps from one of the set menus. The restaurant is thoroughly family-friendly, with a separate kids’ menu that costs just £6.95 for three courses and a soft drink.
The drinks offering is small, but includes a selection of beers, spirits and softs. House wine is available by the glass only. Price, service and atmosphere tick all the right boxes, too.