Serving everything from native Australian bush food to Afghani spices, Adelaide’s best restaurants will tantalise your tastebuds from brunch to dinner.
By Marc Llewellyn
Adelaide’s restaurant scene is a vibrant, multicultural mix of good value eateries with explosive flavours and high-class dining rooms where the best local ingredients are matched with fabulous wines.
With bright decor and a bold menu, Adelaide’s Africola shows off the best of North African cuisine. It's located on East Terrace, and offers up an authentic blend of African and Mediterranean influences. Although meat proteins only make up a small portion of the menu, guests can enjoy hearty dinner dishes like charred Peri-Peri chicken and lamb kofta with sesame dressing in addition to vegetables like eggplant with Szechuan oil and falafel with pickled pumpkin. Choose from a selection of share plates before sipping on punchy cocktails or minimal intervention wine.
Native Australian bush food and locally grown produce are the focus at Restaurant Orana, an intimate eatery with just ten wooden tables. Owner and chef Jock Zonfrillo spent years travelling Australia sourcing ingredients, and his creations are artistic, and sometimes extraordinary. His dinner tasting menu includes up to 20 courses and there’s also a shorter lunchtime tasting menu. Dishes include green mango, native bee honey and green ants, or kangaroo with wild garlic and grasses.
Hearty and honest, Osteria Oggi is a pasta bar with an Italian piazza feel in the heart of the city. It’s light and modern with a pergola-style roof over a cobblestone floor. You can eat at long bench tables or inside booths; a long concrete bar serves as another eating area. Dishes include homemade tagliatelle with blue swimmer crab and braised rabbit with kale.
The Peel Street and Leigh Street laneways run parallel to each other, and both are home to plenty of cool bars and eateries. One of them is Gondola Gondola, a small, relaxed restaurant with a Saigon-style food stall feel. Vietnamese food is king here with influences from the wider Asian region. Smaller dishes include salt and pepper eggplant, while bigger servings include pork ribs and pork belly in fresh young coconut juice. Expect a wide variety of Asian beers, exotic cocktails, Japanese sake and South Australian wines.
Take a short taxi ride from the city centre, across the River Torrens and through extensive parklands to little Italy in the form of Ruby Red Flamingo. There are several rooms on the ground floor and a balcony upstairs. Tables and chairs come in various sizes and shapes, blackboards work as menus and the cutlery is mismatched for a bohemian feel. Favourites include the calamari arancini rice balls and the risotto osso bucco.
Press Food and Wine is a fabulous option if you enjoy inventive meals created from local produce. The restaurant spans two levels, with bright yellow tables placed on the pavement downstairs and a loft space with high ceilings upstairs. A wood grill cooks delicious steaks as well as other delectable meals such as honey-roasted sweetbreads, truffled mushroom and taleggio pithivier. South Australian bottles dominate the extensive wine list.
Located around two kilometres (1.2 miles) west of the city centre, Parwana Afghan Kitchen reflects the ethnic diversity that makes up modern Adelaide. This homespun eatery has vintage photos of the owners and their family on the walls and Afghan treasures serve as decorative objects. The food is packed with flavour and is fragrant with spices. Standouts on the small menu include the eggplant curry and the fried dumplings stuffed with chives and topped with mince meat and garlic yoghurt. The homemade ginger and walnut ice-cream is a cracker.
One of Australia’s finest food and wine experiences awaits you in the foothills of the Adelaide Hills, just 15 minutes by road from Adelaide city centre. Magill Estate is owned by Penfolds, arguably Australia’s best-known winery thanks to its outstanding Penfolds Grange Shiraz. The restaurant is a simple yet beautiful glass box with an open kitchen and vineyard views. The eight-course tasting menu is a highlight. You can combine your meal with wine tasting and a tour of the cellars, or opt for a more casual brunch or lunch at Magill Estate Kitchen.