A GUIDE TO DINING OUT IN ADELAIDE
Victoria and Melbourne are considered Australia’s dining capitals, but there’s another contender vying to be recognised as a gourmet destination. Adelaide is a small, laid back city with green spaces, quiet streets, and a brewing coffee revolution.
Unlike in the bigger cities, eating out here, is affordable. There are small bars in tiny lanes and new restaurants where chefs are doing exciting things with local produce. Pair these with world-class wines from the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills nearby and you have a dining experience to remember.
This is where to whet your appetite for Adelaide.
A modern Asian restaurant with a fire-inspired menu, Shōbōsho is kitchen theatre at its peak. Chefs play with food and fire using a rotisserie, a yakitori pit, a Robata grill, and wooden oven. Japanese and Korean-inspired food is grilled, spit roasted, charred, raw, cured, pickled, and fermented and arrives beautifully plated.
The Salt and Vinegar Korean Seaweed Crisps are salty, speckled with golden brown sesame seeds, and slightly tangy. The highly recommended Leek Roasted in the Fire uses buttermilk to soften the heart of the vegetable, with kelp oil for company. If you have the space, the dry aged Angus Rump is grilled medium rare with shiitake and spinach for flavouring. The coconut-laden Burnt Jasmine Custard is perfect for dessert.
The menu goes very well with saké or Japanese and Korean beers.
Shōbōsho, Leigh Street.
Once neglected, Peel Street is now buzzing with bars and restaurants. The restaurant – named after the lane – is a casual, chic space with an open kitchen, exposed brick, and no menus; Specials are written on a massive chalkboard.
The food is robust, colourful, and big on flavour with a slight Middle-Eastern slant. The Fried Falafel salad is heaped with parsley, fennel shavings, slivers of pistachio, and open falafels. Banana flowers are stuffed with chicken and drizzled with chilli jam, coconut flakes, roasted peanuts, and fried shallots. To finish, a Blue Cheese Ice-cream with pomegranate, slow roasted quince, and walnuts hits the sweet spot.
Peel St, 9 Peel Street, laneway between Hindley + Currie streets.
Lucia’s Pizza & Spaghetti Bar
In 1957, Lucia Rosella set up this iconic eatery within the Adelaide Central Market and introduced locals to pizza and other authentic Italian fare. Today, her children, Nicci and Maria, carry on the tradition using their mother’s original recipes. The menu has remained unchanged, bar a few specials. It is comfort food guaranteed to fill you up.
The most popular dish is the Spaghetti Bolognese, a bowl of homemade pasta cooked al dente with sauce made from locally-sourced tomatoes. There’s also the Pizza Special, decadent with mozzarella, olives, and anchovies. Friday is when they bring out the big guns – their lasagne, 14 layers of pasta sheets piled with meat and parmesan.
Everything is made in-house and you can pick up cold meats, breads, sauces, or pasta at Lucia’s Fine Foods next door.
Lucia's Pizza & Spaghetti Bar, Central Market, Adelaide.
Press* Food and Wine
The restaurant is split over two sections. Downstairs, walk-ins will find communal tables, high seating, suspended bulbs, and the kitchen at the back. Upstairs, the loft-style space features an open bar, a tin roof, and velvet sofas.
Press* is known for its offal menu; wood-grilled ox tongue with potato, pan-fried lamb’s brains with a horseradish crème fraîche, and a mixed-grill with brains, minute steak, ox tongue, sweetbreads, and poached egg. In the ‘smaller’ section, the Wood-grilled Squid stands out – its smokiness enhanced by hummus. Beef Carpaccio, from the ‘raw’ section, comes festooned with parmesan, rocket and aioli. A grilled Black Angus rib eye has capers and almonds providing contrasting tastes and texture. For dessert, pick between the Peanut-butter Parfait with chocolate and the Chocolate Mousse – a decadent treat with dense mousse, a buttery vanilla cream, and acidic blackberries.
Press* Food and Wine, 40 Waymouth Street.
This small café is in Adelaide’s ‘green hippie’ part of town. Their focus on the environment and community is reflected in the interiors and the way they conduct business. They use natural, reclaimed materials and local, sustainable ingredients (like ethically-sourced kangaroo and wild boar and greens foraged from gardens nearby). Coffee is from local roasters De Groot, and teas are from the Barossa Valley. Customers are encouraged to trade fresh produce for a drink.
The food is healthy and high on flavour. The Spiced Pumpkin Stack has sweet roasted pumpkin on toasted sourdough with pickled fennel and housemade dukkah. Brekky Pizza is a spelt flour-base topped with red sauce, mushrooms, San Jose bacon, roast potato, plus melted provoletta cheese and a poached egg. It’s a meal in itself. There’s kombucha, kefir, and dirty chai as thirst quenchers but, on a hot day, the cold brew by local brand Mischief is the best pick.
Café Troppo, 42 Whitmore Square.
All photographs courtesy the restaurants, except Lucia's photograph copyright GMMaira - stock.adobe.com. Peel Street photograph by Vanessa Burton.