Bites: Pig's trotters, Zen, plaice tempura - Cardiff's eateries are anything but predictable

Le Cassoulet, 5 Romilly Crescent, Canton, Cardiff (01222 221905). Lunch and dinner Tue-Sat. One of the fixtures of Cardiff's restaurant scene, reassuringly flying the flag for rugby-mad south-west France. Very accomplished renditions of the region's robust specialities, cassoulet of course, pig's trotter galette with confit of duck leg are always gratifying. Desserts like prune and Armagnac tart keep up the momentum. pounds 12.50 two- course lunch, pounds 15 three courses; dinner pounds 25 without drink.

Chikako's, 10-11 Mill Lane, Cardiff (01222 665279). Dinner daily. A rather lugubrious basement presided over by Chikako Cameron is a rare opportunity to find Japanese food in Wales. Proof that passing pop stars and actors looking for a den of Zen in a strange country have found it here lies in their signed photographs displayed trattoria-style. pounds 20 a head with drink.

Le Gallois, 6-8 Romilly Crescent, Canton, Cardiff (01222 341264). Lunch and dinner Tue-Sat, lunch Sun. This new star was recently given an award by the Eat Well in Wales Red Book for its extraordinarily good-value lunch. pounds 10.95 might buy a salad of smoked duck breast, black pudding with plum sauce; perfect duck confit with Puy lentils and buttery cabbage, skate with grapefruit, tagliatelle and pesto, or tender kidneys and a memorable banana tarte tatin. Dinner is pounds 20-odd for three courses without drink.

Gilby's, Old Port Road, Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff (01222 670800). Lunch and dinner Tue-Sat , lunch Sun. The strong point here is fish, which has earned Gilby's a commendation from the Red Guide. After starters of scallops on vanilla risotto or plaice tempura with wasabi mayonnaise, there are eight fish main courses on a long, varied menu. Two-course lunch is pounds 7.95, three-course dinner with coffee is pounds 11.95 from 6-7pm, pounds 20 or so otherwise.

Woods, Pilotage Building, Stuart Street, Cardiff Bay (01222 492400). Lunch and dinner Mon-Sat from end April. Martyn and Deb Peters are about to move their award-winning restaurant into a listed building overlooking Cardiff Bay. Salmon fishcakes on spinach with tomato and chive sauce and the risottos will stay on the menu, flexibly priced to suit brasserie- style eating or special occasions. Around pounds 20 a head without drink. Caroline Stacey

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