A worldly influence is exploding in Adelaide’s foodie scene. A visit to the produce markets is akin to a gastronomical world tour; it’s a place where the influence of ethnic local farmers is forged with that of chefs and restaurateurs, both passionate about top notch product. Placed within arms-reach of a vibrant and diverse local wine scene, you have the ingredients for the makings of a world-class dining destination.
Over the years Adelaide has seen many waves of immigrants come to settle, bringing with them their food traditions. Recent changes to bar and restaurant licensing in 2012 made it much easier to establish and run small business, which saw an influx of young, vibrant chefs, bartenders, and entrepreneurs come from around the globe to settle in Adelaide and give it a red hot crack. Ethnic eateries servicing all types of immigrant communities in the suburbs have also fortified their popularity by branching into the city dining scene – taking their deliciously authentic fare to the masses.
With so much choice and an ever growing list of hot new digs, here’s a list of what we believe to be some of the best restaurants Adelaide has to offer. Enjoy!
press* – Contemporary International
Think Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, French, and Modern Australian inspired share plate dining, backed up with dry-aged steaks on the wood grill, presented in a warmly-inviting modern space, supported by a locally focussed wine-list which is modern and dynamic. Exceptional.
“At press* we’re unashamedly parochial when it comes to sourcing our food. We work within the season, close at hand with our local suppliers and small-scale farmers. We’ve got an eager eye for provenance. We look at cooking as a skilled craft not as art. We are ‘in-house’ when it comes to curing, pickling, baking, brining, and smoking. Our menu, created by executive chef Andrew Davies & head chef Joshua Lansley, reflects the changing seasons and incredible produce available to us in South Australia. Our custom char-grill is an integral part of the kitchen & is reflected in our menu.”
ADDRESS: 40 Waymouth St, Adelaide SA 5000
PHONE: (08) 8211 8048
Peel St Restaurant – Mediterranean and Asian inspired
Many credit Peel St with spearheading the late-reconnaissance of the West End dining scene, leading the way for others to follow suit. They’ve carried on the tradition with a food and wine offering that never gets tired, dated, or passe. Peel St do not publish a menu yet prefer to focus on seasonality on a day to day basis, highlighted on their ever changing blackboard menu. Set among the heart of the west end’s bustling atmosphere it’s easy to see why this is a favourite go-to for the locals.
“at peel st, we have a really easy formula. our food is simple, fresh and delicious. we want everything we make to be generous, abundant and bursting with robust flavours. chefs jordan and marty draw on their diverse food experiences, use the best ingredients they can get their hands on and most importantly, cook the food they love to eat – for you.”
DINNER WED-SAT + MON 6PM-10PM
ADDRESS: 9 PEEL ST, ADELAIDE, SA
PHONE: (08) 8231 8887
Gondola Gondola – Fun & Fresh Vietnamese
Vietnamese food has to be one of the world’s greatest cuisines and the team at Gondola Gondola have given it a modern touch-up. Much like Thai-food Vietnamese often balances the salty, sweet, sour, spicy tightrope but does so with a bit more crunch and aroma, making things a whole lot lighter. Think salty sweet green mango salad, DIY cold rolls, crispy salt and pepper quail or squid tentacles, or a favourite G.G.’S BÚN CHẢ – crispy pork with rice noodle, mint, crispy shallot, chilli and purple leaves. Highly recommended to order out of your comfort zone and be surprised.
LUNCH TUES-FRI 12–2:30PM
DINNER MON-SAT 6–10PM
ADDRESS: 1 Peel St, Adelaide SA 5000
PHONE: (08) 8123 3877
Osteria Oggi – Italian
CNN named Osteria Oggi as one of the 10 top new restaurants in the world in 2016. In March 2017, World Interiors News awarded Osteria Oggi the best restaurant interior in the world. Don’t let these accolades fool you – the food is unpretentiously honest with a heavy focus on freshness and seasonality. In keeping with the Oggi philosophy of ‘today’, pasta and gnocchi is made in-house daily. The menu traverses appetizers and salumi, through to pasta, wood-smoked slow-roasted meats and fish, distinctively re-interpreted desserts and of course, formaggio presented in its own trolley. Settle in and keep ordering because you won’t want to leave.
MON-SAT 11:30AM – LATE
ADDRESS: 76 Pirie St, Adelaide
PHONE: (08) 8359 2525
Botanic Gardens Restaurant – Contemporary Australian
Nestled in the heart of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens you’ll find a rotunda-glasshouse set among the Moreton Bay figs. Cue the Botanic Gardens Restaurant, quite possibly one of the State’s best kept secrets. With acres up on acres from which to forage, much of the green produce comes from the Gardens themselves, so seasonality is fundamental with Chef Paul Baker carving out his own take on modern Australian food supplemented by a meticulously curated wine list. Satisfaction guaranteed – book early!
LUNCH TUES-SUN FROM 12 NOON
DINNER FRI + SAT FROM 6:30PM
ADDRESS: Plane Tree Drive – Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, Adelaide
PHONE: (08) 8223 3526
Africola – North African
“For its flavours, its cooking and techniques (lots of charring and smoke), its clever melding of new ideas and staples that have been kicking around the desert for millennia, Africola may well be the hottest restaurant in the country. There was nothing like it before; there still isn’t.”
“It’s like Ottolenghi on steroids, with a sense of humour.”
“In an era of obsessed foodies traversing the globe to seek out the ultimate experience, Africola is influencing itineraries. When dining here, rock stars are humbled, industry counterparts gush (with envy), and the rest of us are just happy to join the party. Welgemoed has learnt from the best, not just from other chefs, but from his ancestors, his trans-continental journeys, and thousands of hours of trial and error in an effort to provide diners with pure unadulterated pleasure. Boom!chakalaka”
ADDRESS: 4 East Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
PHONE: (08) 8223 3885
Golden Boy – Traditional & Contemporary Thai
Thailand is like a second home to me. Having spent much time diving across both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, for my 30th birthday I even curated a three week holiday for friends to join me from across the globe, highlighting what I love most about the vibrant country. Golden Boy successfully captures the vibrancy and heritage of Thailand in a menu that acknowledges traditional food culture, authentically replicating crowd favourites with the depth and complexity a true Thai would expect. Where it really comes into its own is with the boundary pushing dishes that encapsulate all things Thai with serious creativity and a deft touch. Get adventurous by steering clear of the curries and stir-fries, or ask the staff for their current favourites. Order large and share the love.
ADDRESS: 309 North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
PHONE: (08) 8227 0799
Concubine – Contemporary Chinese & beyond
Concubine is a modern Chinese restaurant that fuses flavours of the orient with fresh local produce, showcasing the best of South Australia’s food scene. A Gouger Street favourite, Concubine is a multiple award winner of the Best Chinese Restaurant (South Australia) in the Restaurant and Catering Awards, and a Finalist for Best Chinese Restaurant nationally. You won’t find the usual stodgy deep-fried offerings here, but fresher, vibrant, regional favourites, set in an Old-Shangai style surrounding. Impeccable service, modern food. Just yum.
LUNCH TUES-FRI + SUN 12-2PM
DINNER TUES-SUN 6-10PM
ADDRESS: 132 Gouger St, Adelaide SA 5000
PHONE: (08) 8212 8288
Little NNQ – Traditional Royal Vietnamese
Born in the backstreets of mainly Vietnamese inner-west suburb Mansfield Park, Nghi Ngan Quan (NNQ) has essentially been around for some 30 years. With the rising popularity of Viet cuisine in Adelaide, Little NNQ was a reaction to the hoards of Westerners who continued flood the famed backstreet haunt. And for good reason! Fresh, vibrant, aromatic, lightly spiced, guilt free dining. Although this is quite a reduced offering, you could always venture out to the newly located original to experience the full menu.
ADDRESS: 125 Gouger St, Adelaide SA 5000
PHONE: (08) 8211 8558
Ruby Red Flamingo – Classic Italian
There’s something to be said about the way you are hosted at a venue, and the team at Ruby Red Flamingo really make you feel like family in their converted post-heritage manse. You’ll find everything here from breasola, carpaccio, arancini, mezze, handmade pasta, veal ragu with cheesy polenta, and a variety of meats chargrilled on the bone, to tiramisu, panna cotta, and loads more. Honest and ego-free with an ever changing menu this is the kind of place you bring a bottle or two of wine to, enjoy good company over plate after plate of well-presented authentic Italian food, and roll out happy and contented.
LUNCH WED-FRI 12-2:30PM
DINNER WED-SAT 5:30-LATE
ADDRESS: 142 Tynte St, North Adelaide SA 5006
PHONE: (08) 8267 5769
About the author:
Matthew Kurko is a WSET trained wine lover and passionate tour guide, operating class-leading wine tours in the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and Adelaide Hills wine regions. He owns and operates boutique wine tour business Small Batch Wine Tours.
To visit the regions and find out more about the hidden gems of South Australia’s premier wines why not join a small group wine tour?
Visit www.smallbatchwinetours.com.au for more information.