Staying in the station area, there are a couple of reasonable places to eat. The best is the oak-beamed, rustic-looking Auvergnat, 27 av de l'Union Soviétique (from €13.72), whose repertoire includes standard Auvergne dishes like truffade. Less expensive and very friendly, with a terrace at the back, is the Hôtel des Commerçants, opposite the station (from €10.50).
In the centre of town, the best of the cheaper places is the ever-popular Crêperie 1513, 3 rue des Chaussetiers, opposite the cathedral, which occupies a superb Renaissance mansion built in 1513 (lunchtime menu at €8.84), while in the same street, at no. 29, Le Bougnat offers local regional cuisine at affordable prices (closed Sun & Mon eve, Tues lunch; from €12). Close by at 36 rue des Gras, there's good pizza and pasta at Le Bistrot Vénitien from €13 (closed Sun). On the other side of the cathedral, you can get first-class Vietnamese cooking for around €40 at the Mai Lan, 41 bd Trudaine (closed Sun & Mon lunch), and a crêpe-menu from €7 at the Pescajoux in the old rue du Port at no. 13. Finally, excellent and cheap North African briques can be had for as little as €3 at La Goulette, 12 rue St-Esprit.
For a more specialized gastronomic experience, there's nothing to beat the refined and inventive cooking of Gérard Anglard at 17 rue Lamartine, off place de Jaude, especially the lunchtime menu at €18 (tel 04.73.93.52.25; closed Sun & first two weeks Aug). Also very well-reputed is the quirky Aux Délices de la Treille (tel 04.73.91.26.90) at 33 rue de la Treille where you can pack into the tiny and flamboyant dining room or eat in the narrow street (€11 at lunchtime, otherwise €15 plus). And, if you don't mind the drive barely 5km southeast off the old N9 Issoire road the Petit Bonneval at Pérignat-lès-Sarliève makes a delicious stop for dinner on a summer evening (tel 04.73.79.11.11; closed Sun eve; menus from €19).
For a daytime drink, Le Suffren, on the corner of place de Jaude, is one of the most popular places to hang out. More unusual is Les Goûters de Justine, a salon de thé, tucked away in old rue Pascal and furnished with antique chairs, old sofas and oriental carpets. At night one of the most fashionable places is studenty Le Dérailleur, 9 av Georges-Clemenceau, while young rockers head for the suburban village of Orcines, beneath the Puy de Dôme, to long-standing Phidias, aka Boudu's, on route de la Baraque (tel 04.73.62.18.34; until 5am; closed Sun & Mon).