Adelaide’s dining scene is one of the country’s best. As well as the luxury of quality local produce and internationally renown wine producers on its doorstep, the city’s drink and dining scene hinges on individualistic touches – whether it’s Africola’s striking visual identity (and equally punchy cuisine) to Shobosho’s free-ranging application of Japanese touches.
Like all great bars and restaurants, the best in Adelaide are committed to never standing still. The menus change and adapt, while still maintaining a vision that defines them. With that in mind, here’s five of the most reliable spots to book before you touch down.
Leigh Street Wine Room
Known for its huge, magnificent wall of wine, which stretches out behind the bar like a liquid library, this intimate CBD retreat has more than 400 bottles on the shelf. They’re all natural and minimal-intervention, expertly curated by co-owner and chef Nathan Sasi, who keeps a keen eye on Adelaide Hills produce as well as beyond. His commitment to ensuring quality drops are accessible is in the European-inspired food menu, which leans into fresh seafood and cured meats as well as house-made pasta and desserts.
Focused on North African cuisine following a 2016 retooling, Duncan Welgemoed’s colour-soaked CBD icon wears its quirks proudly on its sleeve, brandishing playful twists on everything from butter chicken and Peri Peri chicken to tea sandwiches and iced chocolate. The small menu evolves with each season, but the constant is sustainably sourced ingredients granted huge flavours, whether fermented or cooked over fire.
The Summertown Aristologist
A 20 minute drive east of the CBD brings you to this comfy restaurant and cellar door with a strong focus on fresh produce from the Adelaide Hills. The Summertown Aristologist pairs natural wines with hyperlocal dishes from chefs Tom Campbell and Ethan Eadie made with spring-ready bounty from an extensive kitchen garden, plus top-shelf coffee and bread to unlock full picnic potential. The light-filled interior and airy outdoor seating reflect the rustic vibe of the menu, down to wines from Basket Range favourites Lucy Margaux and Commune of Buttons.
Chef Adam Liston's fire-powered menu draws predominantly on Japanese and Korean influences. Although the menu changes regularly, staples include teriyaki chicken, potstickers, katsu sandos, and salmon tataki with ponzu and wasabi. If you're after yakitori (skewered chicken grilled over coals) or kushiyaki (anything other than chicken on sticks), consider a meal at Sho the casual eight-seater that sits on the ground floor of the main restaurant.
Parwana Afghan Kitchen
Opened in 2009 by Afghan couple Zelmai and Farida Ayubi and recently yielding a story-rich cookbook, Parwana is notable for its brightly coloured walls, dishware and long tables lending a cosy feel at this Torrensville spot. It’s matched by the family’s generosity, who donate the BYO corkage fees to help feed the homeless. Prepare for flavoursome postcards from the Ayubi’s homeland, be it deconstructed kebabs, perfectly seasoned lamb meatballs or tomato-steeped eggplant. It’s food designed to be shared, so don’t come alone.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with South Australia Tourism Commission. Read more about some of the best restaurants in Adelaide at southaustralia.com.