A Food and Wine Lover's Guide to Adelaide
There's more to Adelaide than just great wine — head south to explore underground bars, laneway restaurants and jam-packed markets.
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Hidden underground bars, award-winning restaurants, dozens of standout laneway cafes and record stores — Adelaide has more than just delicious wine (although it has a lot of that, too). There are so many places to explore and experiences to be had in this history-rich city, you may struggle to fit it all into one weekend — as they say: so little time, so much to eat. But, we're here to help. We've created this comprehensive guide to the SA capital so you can spend more time drinking cocktails, and less time wandering backstreets.
Adelaide is also so much more than just the CBD, too, so if you have the time, immerse yourself in the Fleurieu Peninsula, Clare Valley and the Limestone Coast. There's plenty of wine to be tasted and glamping to be done.
From pristine beaches and bountiful wine regions to alpine hideaways and bustling country towns, Australia has a wealth of places to explore at any time of year. We've partnered with Tourism Australia to help you plan your road trips, weekend detours and summer getaways so that when you're ready to hit the road you can Holiday Here This Year.
Once you've jumped off the plane, your first stop should be Exchange Specialty Coffee. Serving up some of the best coffee in the country, the acclaimed cafe is tucked away behind Rundle Street. Stop here for a brew — a Melbourne-roasted Brazilian with cherry notes, perhaps — and the cafe's take on a reuben sandwich, and you'll be fuelled and ready to tackle the rest of the city. Well, fuelled and prepared to eat more.
While you're on the east side of town — for out-of-towners, that's down near Rundle Street and the aptly named East Terrace — stop by the French-inflected all-day eatery Hey Jupiter for escargots and baked camembert, or to the vibrant Kutchi Deli Parwana, which is located literally next door on Ebenezer Place. The latter serves up Afghani-style street food, such as toasties made with flatbread and stuffed with hummus and lamb kofta, and its signature eggplant curry. If the light begins to fade and you still find yourself east, head to Adelaide's two most-lauded restaurants: Africola and Orana.
Africola, helmed by Duncan Welgemoed, is serving up North African dishes out of its woodfired oven, including peri peri chicken with chakalaka relish, pork neck and fried cauliflower. And, whatever you do, don't forget to order a round of the tea sandwiches made with hot chicken dripping.
A stone's throw away is Restaurant Orana run by acclaimed chef-owner Jock Zonfrillo (yes, the one from MasterChef). Orana has a degustation-only menu, spattered with native ingredients, alongside an impeccable wine list and service — and it's well worth the cash.
On the opposite side of the city, near West Terrace, restaurants are a touch more casual, more snack-driven, and where you want to head before or after drinks. Behind a neon-lit entrance on Leigh Street, you'll find mod-Asian fare cooked over fire at Shōbōsho — and its spin-off, the eight-seater yakitori bar Dr Shō.
Hop one street over to Peel Street and enjoy Southeast Asian street food and natural wine at Gondola Gondola, woodfired burgers, steaks and ribs at the upstairs Bread and Bone and refined yet simple fare made from quality local ingredients at Peel St.
Around the corner, Sunny's Pizza — run by a group of hospitality long-timers — does what it says on the packet: pizza. It serves them topped with traditional and untraditional ingredients — San Marzano tomatoes, pork fennel sausage, lamb and tahini — and alongside creative cocktails. It also has a disco ball, so you can stay and dance till the wee hours.
Adelaide's west end doesn't just have fancy food, either, the number of bars hidden down laneways, in basements and up hard-to-find staircases rivals even Melbourne's busiest inner city streets. We suggest you start at Pink Moon Saloon, a narrow A-frame bar, which has picked up a neat collection of gongs for its drinks and design. It even has a kitchen in the back, if you want to linger over brisket or grilled haloumi.
Underground — and through a hidden door — is art deco bar Maybe Mae. Located in a passage between Peel and Leigh Streets, the bar is lined with green leather banquettes and serves up seasonal cocktails alongside the tastiest complimentary bar snack in the city: curry powder-fried Nutri Grain and peanuts (trust us, it tastes better than it sounds). West end stalwarts Udaberri and Clever Little Tailor mix fun and refined cocktails with finesse, and nearby Leigh Street Wine Room is a chic new wine bar pumping out minimal intervention drops and next-level snacks. Also worth visiting on the western side is sailor-themed Hains & Co, which is lined with plenty of boating paraphernalia — and lots of rum — and Sparkke at the Whitmore, a female-run pub and brewery with a rooftop bar.
Wander back east and Adelaide's seemingly never-ending collection of quality small bars continues. Overlooking Ebenezer Place is the multi-level Mr Goodbar. Its cocktails are strong and its vibe is inspired by the Deep South.
On the opposite side of Rundle Street (well, underneath it) you'll encounter Hellbound. Fortunately, when you walk down its steps you won't enter purgatory — you'll encounter plenty of great wine curated by industry expert Mark Reginato.
When you're ready to resurface, make a beeline for NOLA, a New Orleans-inspired jazz, whiskey and craft beer bar, speckled with banquettes, touches of turquoise and neon. A few metres away is Mother Vine, serving up an impressive selection of local and international wines, tapas and cheeses. It's also opposite Adelaide CBD's best bottle shop (more on that below).
2KW is a must-visit for all Adelaide first- (second- or third-) timers. Located on the eighth storey of a historic building, it has some of the best views across the city. Its drinks and food menu are also hard to pass up — and give you more time to soak up the view.
Plan in a trip to the CBD's best bottle shop, too. If we're to get technical, East End Cellars has a rep as one of the country's best bottle shops — with an impressive range of local, hard-to-find wines, spirits and craft brews. It often hosts free tastings, too, so keep on eye on the website while you're there.
The historic Adelaide Central Markets, established in 1869, is a rite of passage for all visitors to Adelaide. Filled with hawking greengrocers, fishmongers and bratwurst-vendors, the markets are often packed — especially on weekends. Make your way through the crowd to much-loved The Smelly Cheese Shop (yes, they'll let you taste some) and Le Souk for fresh dates and racks upon racks of spices.
If you need a break from eating and drinking, luckily Adelaide has another lesser-known gift hidden up its sleeve — its impressive collection of record stores. Rerun Record & Photography, hidden inside Adelaide's Market Bazaar, stocks a massive collection of retro records, alongside historic Adelaide photos and vintage cameras. Also, Streetlight Adelaide, Wolfies Records and Porthole Records are worth checking out.
When you've finished eating, drinking and packing your bags full of vinyls, you'll want to rest your weary head — and prepare to do it all again tomorrow. If you've got the cash, splash out on the most elegant option, The Mayfair Hotel. The heritage-listed building is home to 170 luxe suites, a gym and its own rooftop bar.
If you're willing to travel a touch out of the city, you can snag an eclectic art-filled room at North Adelaide's Majestic Minima Hotel for around $100 a night.
Whether you're planning to travel for a couple of nights or a couple of weeks, Holiday Here This Year and you'll be supporting Australian businesses while you explore the best of our country's diverse landscapes and attractions.
Top image: Pink Moon Saloon.
Published on May 14, 2020 by Samantha Teague