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Cafe Rio opens on Penylan Road

New Roath coffee shop, Cafe Rio, opened its doors this weekend. We called in for a coffee and a chat with Amanda Pritchard who is overseeing the launch.

Cafe Rio outsideCafe Rio sign

This week will be a ‘soft opening’ for the cafe to test everything out, ready to be fully open next week.

Alongside the usual teas and coffees, there’s a wide range of pastries and cakes – including two or three gluten free options made by a local cake-maker. The cupcakes and a dark, deep chocolate cake looked particularly good. Savoury options on the menu include a range of filled baguettes, panini, quiches, pasties, homemade pork pies and a salad bar.

Amanda has brought her experience from working in one of Pontcanna’s delis to Cafe Rio. The deli counter has a good range of pasta, cold meats, locally made breads, coffees, teas and sweet things.

“Wherever possible we’re trying to use local suppliers and there’s a good organic selection. The deli range will grow as we find out from people what they want us to stock – if there’s a demand for different things we’re always willing to give them a try. We hope to be adding Welsh cheeses soon and are on the look out for a local supplier of jams and preserves,” she said.

Cafe Rio deliCafe Rio deli - Ameretti

The launch of the family cafe is being looked after by Amanda on behalf of her dad and his wife, Lucimeia, who have set up the business – her grandfather also owns the building.

Amanda told us: “When the shop that was in this building told us they were closing up, my parents decided that we should open a business here. I’m going to get things up and running and then we’ll look for a manager. I’ve worked with dad on other building projects of his so he also asked me to look after the design of the cafe too.”

It’s a deliberately different design, setting Cafe Rio apart from nearby places like Juno Lounge and Pear Tree. It’s modern – sculptural mesh light fittings, metallic wallpaper and marble tables – but warm and comfortable with a dark wood floor and leather sofas, stools and benches.

Cafe Rio insideCafe Rio counter

The cafe has a colourful kids’ area with chalkboards, toys and books which is separate from the main area but has a few nearby tables for parents to use while keeping an eye on the little ones.

There’s also free wifi available – ask at the counter for the password.

Cafe Rio is on the junction of Penylan Road and Albany Road next to recently opened wine and beer store, The Bottle Shop. It’s open from 8:30 in the morning until 6pm Monday to Saturday.

Cafe Rio cupcakesCafe Rio carrot cake

Let us know what you think.









  1. Eliana Keen says:

    Every Tuesday from 24th April there is Shiva Nata classes http://www.shivanatawales.com

    Soon there’ll be ‘pasteis de nata’

    • chocomum says:

      If you’re lucky you might check out the gorgeous organic chocolat/carrot cake made to Lucimeia’s own special Brasilian recipe soon ..yum… or try the delicious icecreams served up by Alexandros or Adrianne. Here’s a place to meet for fun, for eats and drinks or choose a quiet spot in the cafe to talk business = and lots of parents are popping in with the children as Lucimeia has provided a space of their very own with toys .Don’t know anywhere else like this!

    • Gareth says:

      Went by there today in the early afternoon, but it was closed. Did it shut down ? Not a great location for a place like this in student-land. Not many passers-by.

      • Geraldine says:

        Hi Gareth, thanks for your comment. Yes unfortunately Cafe Rio shut down a while ago. A number of businesses that have existed on that corner over the last few years have suffered because of the lack of passing trade.

  2. John Williams says:

    I thought that this was supposed to be a Brazilian cafe and thus the name ‘Rio’ in the title. Sadly, there are no Pasteis, Coxinhas, Sucos or anything remotely Brazilian inside. It’s a shame as some Brazilians in Cardiff had told me to look out for it. For me, it’s the same as every other cafe – baguettes, cake and coffee – nothing new.

    • Eliana Keen says:

      I would like to congratulate Lucimeia for her spirit and drive. I appreciate it takes time to build a business and make a mark but slowly she is managing to create a little Brazilian corner in Cardiff where not only she now has coxinhas, guarana,kibe etc but also, every month we have Brazilian parties and a lot of fun, joy and samba! Well done Lucimeia!!!

  3. S.Murphy says:

    I visited Cafe Rio a few weekends ago with my husband and daughter, we wanted to give custom to a new venture but was so very disappointed. We walked through the doors to find that every free table had used dishes and plates still on them, we decided to sit by a low table and wait for it to be cleared as the tall tables were wobbly, the guy went to bring over the food we ordered to then spot we had dirty dishes on the table, he placed our untouched food on the counter then placed the dirty dishes next to our dishes, then to my horror plonked our order on our table that was covered in bits of food, he didnt even wipe the table, I regret not complaining there and then and it has played on my mind ever since hence my email to get off my chest. Not a good start, did give them a chance but wont go in again.

  4. Nikki Vivian says:

    Looks lovely. Will have to get down there and have a look.

  5. julie says:

    I’m glad to hear that this week is a practice run as I was confused by the lack of signage. No ‘open’ sign on the door, no opening times or menu. ALso hope there will be a nice smart ramp for wheelchairs etc.

    Have been really looking forward to this cafe opening – have told lots of people – don’t let me down!

    • jaylo says:

      All those problems have now been sorted by the Brazilian owner, Lucemeia who now runs the Cafe Rio herself. Check it out – you find it a warm relaxing and welcoming place to eat and drink, outside in the (hopefully) sunshine, or inside, served by the lovely staff who work there now.
      A Brasilian atomosphere is developing more and more with occasional Carnival days, Brasilian dance classes (as well as new Shiva/Indian dance workshops)- and the ex pat Brasilian Club meets there every month (all nationalities welcome of course).
      Lots of people have left compliments as this is becoming somewhere a bit different from just another cafe in the Roath area.