A mixed bag of cafes rolled out across the city and surrounds this year. Some of our best operators launched second ventures, including a by-the-slice pizza joint; a charcoal-fired brunch spot; and a must-try for vegans. On top of that, a few city staples beefed up their offerings: O’Connell Street’s Cliché opened a patisserie in the space next door; and Hey Jupiter took over its Ebenezer Place neighbour (and tapped into the dinner trade). Here are our picks of the new crop.

Etica: Pizza al Taglio
The taxidermied Friesian x Hereford dairy cow suspended from Etica: Pizza al Taglio’s ceiling was certainly a conversation-starter this year. Ethical food has always been a focus of Etica’s Gilles Street location (its name is literally “ethical” in Italian) and venue number two is no different. The Halifax Street digs were designed to emulate a “slaughterhouse-cross glasshouse”, a transparent reminder of the origin of your food. The all-day diner serves Roman-style pizza al taglio (“by the slice”). It’s cut to order, so you choose the size: a dangerous level of power for those whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs.

Fine and Fettle
Dishes fired by Japanese charcoal aren’t hard to come by at Stepney cafe Fine and Fettle. Split into two sections – breakfast and salad bowls – the menu is “50/50 healthy, and stuff for the everyday diner.” Owner Sam Worrall-Thompson (who also runs the next-door gym) has a health-conscious eye. But he hasn’t lost sight of the need for a leaf-less hangover-cure (try the tonkatsu pork hock brioche). Breakfast ditches smashed avocado for dishes that aren’t as easy to replicate at home. The made-to-order salad bowls, topped with yakitori chicken, kalbi beef and smoked sharwarma lamb, are above the competition.

The Uraidla Republic
Uraidla’s renaissance came last year with a refurb of its historic pub; a pizza joint in a 130-year-old church; and an indefinable not-quite-a-cellar-door, not-quite-a-restaurant down the road in Summertown. This year the pub’s owners turned their attention to an adjacent cafe, bakery and (soon-to-be-operational) brewery. Expect pies, pasties, sausage rolls, thick-cut sandwiches and sourdough loaves. The pastry cabinet is laden with fresh-from-the-oven croissants (plus chocolate, and hazelnut-praline-filled variations); syrupy-centred cinnamon scrolls; and Portuguese tarts.

Seafaring Fools
Alistair Corston (owner of Grenfell Street’s hole-in-the-wall coffee shop Seafaring Fool) grew up in Glenelg South. When a tenancy cropped up in the area (that he’d missed out on before) he couldn’t say no. Add ex-Borsa Pasta Cucina chef Ben Nash and ex-Froth and Fodder barista Joel Materne, and you’ve got Seafaring Fools – plural. South Australian produce takes the lead: you’ll find Adelaide Hills Kanmantoo bacon, Fleurieu Peninsula free-range eggs and Pirate Life-battered onion rings. DeGroot Coffee Roasters provides the stimulants. Beer, wine and spirits are SA-only. A mansion compared with its seatless city sibling, the (almost) seaside cafe is dog and bike friendly.

Salem
Getting your hands on a vegan meal is easier than it once was. Marion Road cafe Salem is doing its part for Adelaide’s south-west. Well acquainted with the plant-based realm, owner Sass Williams previously owned vegetarian diner Two-Bit Villains. Her gourmet sandwiches and desserts are made entirely from scratch. Meals are light, save “meaty” options such as the Fried Seitan Chicken. All sangas come with crisps (instead of fries) and many sit alongside refreshing slaws. Service is quick, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s fast food: some components call for up to 48 hours of preparation, slow-cooking, or even smoking. Save room for a scan of the dessert cabinet.

First Order Coffee
Occupying a former sunscreen laboratory inside co-working space WOTSO Workplace, the bright and airy First Order Coffee boosts the already-growing Flinders Street precinct. Community is in its DNA: owner Anya Sereda’s mum made the ceramics and her partner built the tables and chairs. Visiting coffee production facilities in South America gave Sereda a fresh perspective on just how much a coffee’s worth. Her roaster of choice is Elementary Coffee – only a 15-minute walk away. Born in Russia, Sereda’s Eastern European background and Australian base comes through in the food. Ingredients such as quark, pickles and buckwheat share the menu with quandong, native river mint and finger lime.

Caffiend Coffee Company
Sneaking into the list with a late-2016 opening, this Hahndorf cafe’s contemporary vibe stands out in the otherwise proudly old-fashioned town. In a move that separates it from the surplus of Hills eateries, at Caffiend, coffee comes first. Owner Kostas Trakas takes (and offers) an exploratory approach to coffee, modelled on the cellar doors dotted through the surrounding wine region. Trakas recently started roasting on-site with a seven-kilogram Diedrich coffee roaster (nicknamed “Marlene”). Several single origins are offered daily. Soon, he’ll roast every coffee that’s served or sold at Caffiend.