The 27-year-old's future looked to be hanging in the balance after his refusal to play in Newcastle's opening two matches this season after Arsenal failed in their bid to lure the Frenchman to the Emirates this summer.
But Pardew believes Cabaye is playing better than ever and insisted there is more to come from the midfielder once his fitness improves.
"I told him in the changing room that the first half was as good as I have seen in a black and white shirt," the Newcastle manager said.
"He was truly at the top of his game.
"In the second half he worked hard for the team and showed a different side to his performance.
"He is not 100 per cent fit yet, which is nice for us to know. He needs a few more games to be battle hardened. He has got two games for France and I think that is a really good thing."
Pardew also praised winger Hatem Ben Arfa who featured from the bench against Cardiff after being dropped following an abject Newcastle performance against Everton on Monday night.
Ben Arfa started Newcastle's first six matches this season and Pardew hailed the character shown by the 26-year-old in accepting his decision to leave him on the bench for the Premier League visit to the Welsh capital at the weekend.
"Hatem is a great player. His application and acceptance of the decision to leave him out was spot on and he is growing as a person," Pardew said.
"I think some of the things that get said about him are not true.
"He accepted it, he trained very well all week and he got his reward by walking off as part of a winning team."