TGI Fridays serves flashy cocktails and a huge assortment of food with impeccable service in fun surroundings.
City Link on Newport Road isn’t the most attractive of venues, nor is it in the centre of town. It is like one big car park. But it’s worth travelling to go inside TGI Fridays and be bombarded by swift service, loud music, and an American-themed good time. TGI Fridays isn’t classy but it doesn’t try to be. The service is kind and conscientious and it’s a great atmosphere for a party. There are big cushy booths for large gatherings and tables sprawled out within the massive two levelled floor plan for couples or smaller groups. Friday’s engages you as soon as you’ve walked through the doors, whether it’s the televisions, the friendly staff or the humungous cocktails. Once you’re seated, you’ll hardly remember the massive car park outside.
TGI Friday’s is a great escape from the outside world. The music is just loud enough to dull the sound of traffic and the televisions are high enough to serve as momentary distractions, while servers are cute enough to pick up on the slightest hand signal. Photographs of American stars and pictures of American heroes are embellished on the walls. At times, the splattering of decorations can make the room feel more like a theme park than a restaurant. But it’s impossible to think this for long considering the cocktail menu offered or the pace at which these excellent cocktails are served. Though the decor is not quintessentially American, the service is. It’s fast, efficient and good humoured, surprisingly refreshing for the middle of a car park on the outskirts of Cardiff.
The food at Fridays is big. Whether you order an appetizer, a main or a dessert, there is lots to choose from. Get it any way you like it, with good servings of sticky sauces. Be careful not to fill up on the starters, it’s hard not to given the portion sizes. If you’re sharing, the Jack Daniel’s Tower (£13.79) is infamously tasty, with a variety of snacks like cajun-battered shrimp and baby pork ribs all on separate plates, stacked on top of each other. As far as single starters go, the boneless wings (£7.99) are tender and topped with a wonderfully spicy hot sauce.
If you can’t choose between steaks, burgers, pastas, salads, seafood, chicken, or southwest dishes, then settle for a grill where you can get the best of many worlds all on one plate. The Chicken and Shrimp grill (£13.99) is a calorific portion of food with cheesy mash and extra sauce for dipping. If you happened to be starving when you pop in to Fridays, try the American Grill (£17.99) which comes with a rib-eye steak, battered shrimp, a chicken breast covered in Jack Daniel’s glaze, onion rings, fresh vegetables, and crispy fries.
A lot of the starters are also available as side orders for flexibility and, if you by chance have room for a dessert, there are multiple treats to choose from. For chocolate lovers, the Dirt Cake (£3.99) is a little bit of the American Dream.
The bar menu is nearly the same size as the food menu. You are literally spoilt for choice. The restaurant offers classic cocktails such as the Cosmopolitan for £5.29 and margaritas for £4.79. You can also order most cocktails in the ultimate size for just a couple pounds extra. Besides their drinks with creative twists like the Beverly Hills Iced Tea (a headache inducing concoction of gin, rum, vodka and a dash of Champagne), there are also TGI Friday’s inventions like the Gremlin which is something akin to a vodka float. Cocktails are divided into five categories, depending on whether you want to unwind or have your dessert and your cocktail all in one. The Barniment Baileys (£4.79) is rich, creamy, and works well as a dessert in itself.
If you’re not in the mood for a cocktail, then there’s a decent-sized wine list as well as several American and European beers to choose from.
The Last Word
Head over to TGI Fridays for massive portions of comfort food and service with a smile.