Flying interstate over the break? Need some inspiration for things to do in your hometown? Broadsheet’s series of city cheat sheets are here to help. From new players that live up to the hype, to old favourites that continue to deliver, this hit list will have you making the most of every minute in Adelaide.
Pull up to Karma & Crow, conveniently located between the airport and the city, for creative breakfasts in a spacious warehouse. There’s cinnamon granola with orange panna cotta and cherry granita; a toastie with four-cheese macaroni, pancetta and cornichon pickles; and the cafe’s famous hotcakes, currently served with lavender labneh and pistachio macadamia crumb.
Further up the road sits Whistle & Flute, a stunning indoor-outdoor urban jungle serving breakfasts such as Indian-spiced cauliflower with roti, green harissa, poached eggs and chickpeas; and brekkie bowls with hummus, grains, pumpkin, chilli kale and haloumi. It’s also one of Adelaide’s best spots for dog-watching.
On the other side of the city, Masterchef alumnus Jessie Spiby is upping the sustainability game at her cafe My Grandma Ben (inside lofty marketplace, Plant 4). Go for the spelt-pastry pies, and roo bolognaise with fried egg on fluffy house-made crumpets drizzled with harissa and yoghurt. Coffee is filter only (it produces less waste than espresso) and there are no takeaway cups, so bring a reusable option if you want your caffeine to-go. Head there on a Saturday morning when the market is bustling.
Part Time Lover is one of the coolest new additions to the CBD, taking a disused glass-roofed gazebo and turning it into a beautifully designed all-round diner. The food is crowd-pleasing and thoughtful and leans heavily on Asian flavours. A third of the dishes are plant-based, such as sticky, barbeque pulled eggplant and fried corn “ribs”. To drink, there are beers and wines on tap (partly to reduce waste, partly because there’s no storage space) and a concise cocktail list. The place is a hit with the surrounding office workers, so if you want a low-key quiet meal, avoid Friday at lunchtime.
For a quick bite, hit up Parwana Kutchi Deli, the hip, young, city-based sibling of Adelaide’s singular suburban eatery Parwana Afghan Kitchen. Stop in for mantu (steamed dumplings) and Bolani (pan-fried flatbread with lamb mince or potato fillings). Nab a table outside and engage in some people watching.
Next door, Hey Jupiter is one of those rare things in Adelaide: a truly all-day diner. Drop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner – or a snack in between – from 7am to 11pm, all in beautiful Parisian-style surrounds. There’s a fine selection of French treats (steak frites, croque monsieur, baked camembert, escargot) plus breakfast cocktails and a top-notch wine list later in the day. It’s a go-to among local hospo workers for a reason.
Drift from the city to peerless wine bar and restaurant The Summertown Aristologist. With natty winemakers Anton Van Klopper (Lucy Margaux), Jasper Button (Commune of Buttons) and Aaron Fenwick (Chateau Comme Ci Comme Ca) behind it, you can expect some of the world’s top drops (choose from the list or snatch a bottle from the cellar) and an evolving, inspired menu of wholesome, largely plant-based food that’s either self-grown or sourced from ethical producers. In 2020 the restaurant will drop its a la carte option and serve its set menu exclusively – but there are few places where you’re in better hands.
Neighbourhood pasta bar Nido is a top new addition to Adelaide’s dining scene. Joining restaurateur Simon Kardachi’s long portfolio (which also includes Shobosho and Osteria Oggi), it sits in the space formerly occupied by institution The Pot. In a city stuffed to the gills with Italian joints, this one has quickly risen above the rest. Come for the rootello bonnato (a riff on vitello tonnato that subs in kangaroo for veal and bonito-spiked mayo for creamy tuna sauce), and handmade pastas such as cavatelli neri in acqua pazza (crazy water), a lightly herbed broth with poached fish and Goolwa pippis. Don’t go past the gnocco fritto – fried and pillowy, they are a must-do side order.
Head to the west end’s buzzy Asian diner Shobosho, which is serving modern Japanese and Korean dishes baptised by fire. Think charred leek with smoked milk; garfish woodroasted in nori with crab congee and clam xo; and teriyaki chicken with miso corn. Other highlights are salmon tataki with ponzu and wasabi; potsticker dumplings; and the popular katsu sando. Book a seat at the bar to watch the magic happen. For a more intimate experience, pull up at Shobosho’s ground-floor yakitoriya Sho for meats on sticks cooked and served by your own chef.
In the east end, vibing African-ish restaurant Africola is turning out Goolwa pippis in a spicy, buttery, garlicky broth (order extra flatbread to mop it all up), and a famous finger sandwich with crispy chicken skin (served with a side of hot drippings). Next door, contemporary Thai restaurant Golden Boy continues to deliver. Arrive early and enjoy a pre-meal tipple in the newly opened cellar bar.
Still thinking about those dumplings at Kutchi Deli? Double down with dinner at parent restaurant Parwana Afghan Kitchen. The inner-west eatery serves vibrant, home-style Afghan food courtesy of the Ayubi family (matriarch Farida heads the kitchen). BYO booze and opt for the banquet – don’t go past the signature banjan borani (eggplant in tomato sauce drizzled with garlic yoghurt).
Looking to splurge? Head to native-food champion Jock Zonfrillo’s fine diner Orana for a degustation experience like no other.
Enjoy the sunshine over a drop or few at top-notch wine bars Mother Vine and East End Cellars. If it’s cold out, bunker down at west-end boltholes Clever Little Tailor, Proof, La Buvette and Pink Moon Saloon. Saunter down laneways Peel Street, Leigh Street and Gresham Street and you’ll quickly find a bar to suit your needs.
Pre-dinner, post-dinner (and dinner, if need be):
Natural wine bar Leigh Street Wine Room is the city’s hottest new drinking den. The former dry cleaners combines 400-odd bottles of low intervention drops, stunning terrazzo, a lofty arched ceiling and expert service. But if you’re not ordering off the food menu, you’re missing half the point. Chef Nathan Sasi is turning out some of the best dishes in town, from house-made charcuterie and buffalo curd with honeycomb, to crumbed and fried cubes of pig’s-head meat and evolving handmade pastas.
If a brewpub’s more your style, head to Sparkke at the Whitmore for beers by head brewer Agi Gajic and seriously elevated pub-grub by head chef Emma McCaskill (ex- Magill Estate, The Pot). Start with her famous roti with dahl butter, and pork and ginger dumplings in chicken bone broth, before moving onto a curried lentil and beetroot salad, or Black Angus beef rump cap with sweet-and-sour tomatoes. Up at the recently-opened rooftop bar, the food makes use of the woodfire grill.
For expert cocktails go underground to Maybe Mae. Behind a concealed entrance you’ll find a 1950s-style cocktail lounge minded by master mixologists. Head around the corner to Cry Baby for tap beers and jukebox tunes. End the night at Hellbound for first class wines in a low-key basement.
Exchange Specialty Coffee is the go-to for expert brews with service and food to match. Choose from espresso, aeropress or batch brew by Melbourne stalwart Market Lane Coffee. In the south-east end of the city, breezy cafe Sibling turns out consistently great coffee – roasted by Monday’s Coffee – and a smart, compact lunch menu with an emphasis on toasties, pickles and ferments.
Catch the tail end of Tarnanthi, a collection of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, at the Art Gallery of South Australia. It’s the flagship exhibition of the statewide, biannual culture festival. Then, the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art hits a 30-year milestone in 2020. Opening at the gallery in March, it’s the nation’s longest-running curated survey of contemporary Australian art.
No trip to Adelaide is complete without a visit to the Central Market, a grand, undercover haven of organic vegetables, smelly cheeses, native meats, freshly baked bread and locally roasted coffee. You’ll also find home-style pasta, steaming laksa and fresh falafel pockets.
Visitors to Adelaide are usually well-acquainted with outer regions McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills – all of which require 24-hour stays of their own. For the time poor, take a shorter drive down to Port Adelaide, where a flock of new operators has moved into the area. Get traditional tacos made with soft corn tortillas at La Popular Taqueria; try top-notch pub-grub at rejuvenated gastropub The Port Admiral; feast on Texan-style barbeque at Low & Slow American BBQ; and sample a huge selection of beers at Pirate Life’s mammoth new brewery. You could easily spend all your time drinking and eating, but save time for a walk along the waterfront and heritage backstreets.