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. Further east 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 that might come stacked 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, breakfast banh mi and roo bolognaise with fried egg on fluffy house-made crumpets drizzled with harissa and yoghurt. If you want your coffee to-go, bring a reusable option (there are no takeaway cups).
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. A third of the dishes are plant-based, such as twice cooked, sticky 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 10pm (on Fridays and Saturdays) 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 restaurant The Summertown Aristologist. With natty-wine makers 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 June the team opened a cellar-door next door, so you can sample the wine before taking it home with you.
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 handmade pastas such as maccheroni with cacio e pepe or gnocchi with pork ragu and pecorino. Don’t go past the fried and pillowy gnocco fritto – 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 with fermented chilli and noodles, "butter chicken" pumpkin with labneh and pumpkin-seed oil (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 with a menu of hits including braised pork shoulder pancakes; kingfish sashimi with nam jim, coconut cream, kaffir and finger lime; and a selection of curries and noodles.
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).
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 might be the city’s best 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.
Owner-chef Nathan Sasi is turning out some of Adelaide's best dishes, including signature cacio e pepe dumplings; grilled beef tongue with horseradish and green sauce; and fried cubes of pig's head with ribbons of pickles. Don't forget the pasta: cavatelli with pork and fennel sausage and braised silverbeet, say, or spaghetti vongole with dashi butter and fermented chilli.
If a brewpub’s more your style, head to Sparkke at the Whitmore for beers by head brewer Carla Naismith and elevated pub-grub. 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.
In the East End of the city, 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. Further south of the CBD, breezy cafe Sibling turns out consistently great coffee and a smart, compact lunch menu with an emphasis on bagels, pickles and ferments.
Tarnanthi is the Art Gallery of South Australia’s annual celebration of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, and this year it's focusing on the work of First Nations women. The 87-artist exhibition Open Hands spans mediums from painting and photography to animation and sound installation. Among the works are vibrant paintings of life in Mparntwe/Alice Springs that have been transformed into animations by artists from Tangentyere Art Centre. And artist Naomi Hobson’s Adolescent Wonderland, a series of evocative photographic portraits of young people in the Far North Queensland community of Coen.
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.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Tourism Australia. Whether you’re seeking a quick getaway, a lazy holiday or an epic trek, Australia is a land of endless adventures. There’s never been a better or more important time to get out and explore. Take a holiday here this year.