At Broadsheet, we eat a lot in the name of duty. And we have our favourite spots. But where do our top chefs choose to go when they leave the kitchen? We asked some of Adelaide’s best where they eat and what they order – from the city’s biggest hotspots to hole-and-corner neighbourhood joints.
Africola’s owner-chef doesn't have to cast the net far to find some of Adelaide’s – and Australia’s – best food. Beyond his own rollicking and revered restaurant, which houses a checklist of some of the best dishes in the country, lays a smorgasbord of good eating. Conveniently, that includes next-door neighbour, Golden Boy, which “smash[es] out rock’n’roll Thai food”. It’s “loud, busy and delicious AF,” says Welgemoed. Go for the “weapons-grade fried chicken and their Burmese pork-belly curry, which is insane”.
Around the corner is his favourite cafe, French bistro Hey Jupiter, which “always hits the spot”. “My go-to dish is the croque monsier with a fried egg – bon.”
Further down the road is Jasmin Indian Restaurant on Hindmarsh Square, which Welgemoed bestows the title of “best Indian food being served in Australia”. “Over 25 years and still full every night,” he says. His order is the curried chicken livers with roti, paired with a drop from the “wicked” wine list.
When he’s home, his choice is Meze Mazi in Prospect. “The neighbourhood Greek restaurant everyone wants and it’s around the corner from my house! Andrew [Papadakis] is the captain of this ship and reminds us all why Greek hospitality is some of the best in the world. Go for the dips, the grilled lamb chops, the pickled octopus, in fact every dish is pure class.”
Further north you’ll catch him sipping natural wines at the Port Admiral Pub. “There isn’t a better seaside pub in Australia and it has a legit bottle shop,” he says. “Fish and chips are epic, washed down with a coupla’ natchies from the [Basket] Range … maaaaaate.”
When The Pot’s head chef Emma McCaskill has a Sunday morning off, you’ll find her at the Adelaide Farmers’ Market. It’s “great for a walk around breakfast [time]” she says. “Especially the Abbots and Kinney stand for a coffee and pastry.”
Her other favourite pastry stop is Saudade Portuguese Tarts in Torrens Park, which turns out freshly baked tarts from an imported, custom oven (with 400-degrees-Celsius capability). “The custard’s usually warm when you bite into it and the pastry is super crunchy and flaky.”
For something heartier she heads to Black Dog Gallery in Tusmore for “the best ramen in town”. She should know. The star chef has worked at acclaimed Tokyo restaurant Narisawa (she was the first non-Japanese chef to do so) and Sydney’s Japanese fine diner Tetsuya's. “I’m super fussy when it comes ramen. This is the real deal. You can choose the set ramen or make your own style.”
When she’s not at her newly opened cafe, My Grandma Ben, you’ll find chef Jessie Spiby in the Central Market. Specifically, at Asian Gourmet. “I live in the place,” she says. “They even know my order. I eat there sometimes three times a week [and] I try and make it Fridays for Sarawak laksa. I always order it extra spicy, with rice noodles and an additional side of sambal. Thick, spicy broth, the perfect portion size and out in a flash. Delicious.”
Closer to home, her “perfect little local haunt” is Good Pho U in Erindale. “Walk in and you'll see a giant pot of stock bubbling away most hours of the day,” she says. Her go-to is the Bahn Cahn: “Vietnamese drop noodles, succulent chicken, pork and greens complete with crispy-pork-skin cubes. The best bit is they let you grab your own chilli, lime and herbs.”
Adelaide has no shortage of impressive pizza joints, but Spiby has managed to find her favourite: 360 Gradi in Magill, which serves “the most simple and tasty pizza”. She’s not mincing her words. “[It’s] the best pizza in Adelaide. Fact. And no, it’s not just because it's my local joint. I love the semi-dated interior when dining in – if I can get a table – and the stands they pile the pizza on to.” Her pie of choice is the marinara (“just tomato sugo, garlic and oregano”) and the Calabrese (“tomato, mozzarella, garlic and chilli”). “Also, if you pick up for take away, they're ready in 10 to 15 minutes.”
After years fronting suburban dessert joints Devour and Third Time Lucky, Quang Nguyen has opened his first CBD venture, Shibui, on Grote Street. With its close proximity to the Central Market, he’s now a regular at tapas bar Comida Catering Co, where it’s “always tasty food”. “[I] pretty much have an eggplant sandwich and fried chicken every week.”
Away from the city, his haunt is Cam Wah in Woodville Park, where his “go-to meal” is wet dim sims with a side of Chinese pancake and Chinese donut.
From her station at Plant 4, The Lost Loaf’s Emma Shearer turns out some of the best sourdough and French pastries in Adelaide. For her money, the “best coffee in all of Australia” is Sibling on Gilles Street. “And the French toast OMG!”
When she’s not there – or baking in Bowden – it seems you’ll find her in the East End. Her go-tos are Hey Jupiter (“the beef tartare is amazing”), Africola (“the peri peri chicken is always the hero but the vegetarian dishes are so so good”), Golden Boy (“the best Thai! The pork belly with pickled garlic and chilli – yum!”) and Orana (“my favourite dessert ever is the set buttermilk and strawberry gum”).
Ask Shobosho’s executive chef for his food recommendations and you’ll get a rollcall of neighbourhood hideaways. Catch him at Chef Dong in St Peters (“best cheap Chinese that I know of … I’m a sucker for fried rice and kung pow chicken”), Modern China in Goodwood (“the best numbing pepper beef I’ve had outside of China”), Little Canton in Mile End (“chicken feet and heaps of Tsingtao”) and Pho Ba Ria 2 (“awesome soup noodle but love the Vietnamese red pork sausage”) in Woodville Gardens.
In the city, he favours Star House for the “best yum cha in Adelaide”, hospo haunt Chef Lai for “excellent fried chicken” and Ming’s Steamboat for “clean, healthy hot pot” plus Sunny’s for “exceptional pizza dough with really nice chew”. “I love everything about the place. Also [it’s] round the corner from work.”
For more Italian it’s Mercato in Campbelltown “for a thick-style pizza slice [with] potato, cheese and sage”. “It also has the best coffee in the north-east.”
But his top spot in SA is peerless natural wine bar The Summertown Aristologist. “I love the crew, setting, ethos ... the biggest pleasure here is the fact you can eat the entire menu and not feel disgustingly full. The roast chicken with barley and chicken broth is like medicine.”
On the flipside, his “dirty secret” is X Burger. “I only just found out the chain is in service stations, ‘cause I order on Uber Eats. I love it’s in a servo ... the burgers are lit-as.”