Every now and again, a restaurant emerges that defines and captures a city’s culinary spirit. These Adelaide eateries have earned their status as mainstays by offering up food that both tastes great and tells a story.
The bustling Adelaide Central Market is a must-visit for fresh produce as far as the eye can see and artisan cured meats. Be sure to sample Balfours Frog Cakes — vanilla sponge cakes shaped like a frog and covered in green fondant icing.
One of Australia’s most famous foods, the pie floater is a hearty meal of a quality meat pie plopped upside down in a bowl of thick pea soup. It’s not just a dish; it’s an Adelaide tradition and a true food icon. It’s also an ideal choice to eat while watching the footy or chatting with your mates.
This classic dish can be found in many local cafes and restaurants, but it’s particularly popular in Adelaide. The city has a long history with pie floaters, dating back to the 1860s when horse-drawn carts would traverse the streets. The number of pie carts peaked in the 1880s with about 13 dotted around the city centre. It’s thought that the pie floater may have originated from northern England, where “pea and pie suppers” were traditional.
The main ingredients are beef, lamb or chicken mince, onions and stock. Then the mixture is placed into a pre-made pie crust, which can be store-bought or made at home. The pie is then topped with a ladle of hot, pea soup. The entire dish is garnished with a few squirts of tomato sauce. The pies can be made from a variety of meats including beef, lamb, pork or chicken. Onion is a must, as it adds flavor to the pies and the soup. You can also use a mixture of ground spices to add flavour, such as garlic or paprika.
If you want to try your hand at making the perfect pie floater, you can find plenty of recipes online. However, if you prefer to let a professional do it for you, head to the King’s Head Pub on King William Road. This popular bar has a great menu that includes the classic pie floater. The chef has given the traditional dish a modern twist with his recipe, which is inspired by the old style pie carts.
Another famous Australian food is poutine, a dish of Quebecois origin that’s traditionally served with gravy and cheese curds. It’s a tasty and filling dish that has even made its way to the United States, where it’s become popular in several cities.
Adelaide’s food-savvy scene has something for everyone, and the city’s many restaurants have gained worldwide recognition. In this foodie capital, you can taste authentic Mediterranean-style dishes, sip fine wines from around the globe, or enjoy street foods like fried dumplings stuffed with lamb mince and spring rolls. The cuisine reflects the rich diversity of the communities that call this Australian city home, and you can experience the best in multicultural dining at the Adelaide Central Market.
The market’s central location in the heart of the CBD means it is easily accessible and offers a variety of delicious dishes. You can shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, try local cheeses and oils, and sample South Australia’s finest produce at the numerous food stalls. In addition, there are a number of specialty shops and restaurants in the building. The market is open on weekdays and Sundays, with the latter being a great day to stroll through Victoria Square to see public art and enjoy fresh food at the bustling indoor market.
Those who love seafood should head to Fishbank, which is led by executive chef Tony Carroll and built into the ground floor of 2 King William Street. The venue has a sophisticated atmosphere, and its designers (Folland Panozzo and Claire Kneebone) have polished up the early-20th century majesty of the space with modern touches. The restaurant officially opened on Friday, 16 October.
If you’re in the mood for Italian food, Osteria Oggi is worth a visit just for its concrete carved arches and long marble bar. The food is excellent, too – diners rave about the delicate handmade pasta and melt-in-your-mouth slow cooked meats. You can also order a glass of the restaurant’s fine selection of Italian wines.
Orana, which is located on O’Connell Street, is one of the most famous restaurants in Adelaide. The restaurant has garnered many accolades, including Gourmet Traveller’s 2018 and 2019 Australian Restaurant of the Year, and has put Adelaide on the culinary map. The name Orana is taken from the Aborigine word for welcome, and this restaurant lives up to its name with its warm environment and welcoming staff.
Bread & Bone
The best restaurants in Adelaide capture the city’s culinary spirit. They might be the first to pioneer a new trend, or they may just offer an undeniably great experience. Either way, these restaurants are a must-visit for anyone traveling to South Australia’s capital.
The city is renowned for its wine and food festivals, so it’s no surprise that its restaurants also reflect the state’s rich bounty. In addition to its top-notch wines, the area boasts some of the country’s finest cuisine, including Italian, French, and Japanese dishes.
In the 1970s, the number of restaurants rose significantly and menus modernised. Fried crumbed frogs’ legs and snails a la mode were common entrees, while main courses included grilled “schnapper cutlets Portugaise” and veal steak Parisienne. A burgeoning discretionary income and relaxation of liquor laws helped, as did the supportive interest from SA premier Don Dunstan.
Today, the city’s dining scene is thriving. From the casual, upscale, and everything in between, there is something to suit every budget.
The capital’s diverse food offerings are highlighted by the likes of Serai, a bustling restaurant serving contemporary Malaysian dishes from chef Ross Magnaye. The space is airy and industrial, with an open kitchen and a huge central bar.
For a distinctly local meal, try the newly opened Parwana. The family-run eatery is the brainchild of Zelmai and Farida Ayubi, who fled their war-torn homeland for a new life in Adelaide. Diners can expect an incredibly intimate experience, with the Ayubi’s love for their culture poured into each dish. Standouts include ashak (fried dumplings stuffed with chives and topped with a lamb mince) and kabil palaw (aged long grain rice topped with caramelised carrots, sultanas, and almonds).
The Adelaide Hills are a stunning region that is worth a visit for its scenery alone. But for an unforgettable culinary adventure, consider staying at one of the region’s boutique hotels or joining a tour operator that offers day trips to the area.
While there’s no shortage of new eateries in Adelaide, the city also boasts a few mainstays that just can’t be knocked off their pedestals. The Greek is one such restaurant, renowned around the country for its modern take on Mediterranean cuisine. Set in a gorgeous heritage building in the heart of downtown, the restaurant is known for its scrumptious spanakopita and octapothi tis skaras (fried dumplings filled with lamb mince and grilled vegetables) as well as its fresh seafood and mouthwatering meat platters.
Another beloved Aussie treat is a pie floater, a dish that combines two iconic Australian foods: the meat pie and pea soup. The pie, usually made with beef mince, is placed on top of (or submerged in) pea soup for a truly scrumptious combination that’s perfect to satisfy a late night craving or just as satisfying any time of day.
When it comes to dining, the best restaurants in Adelaide feature a variety of flavors that are inspired by different cultures from around the world. Africola is a great example, serving up delicious and flavorful African dishes that make it easy to see why they’re a top choice for foodies visiting the city. Try their cauliflower steak covered in tahini sauce and spiced butter, peri peri chicken with crispy eggplant and chilli jam, or cool WA pipis in fermented chilli and garlic. Then end your meal on a sweet note with their checkerboard ice cream, which has pineapple, licorice and star anise flavors.
If you want to explore Adelaide’s food scene, the famous Peel Street is a prime spot for eating and drinking. This laneway has an extensive list of bars and restaurants and is always bustling with activity. One of the most popular restaurants is Africola, which serves up a wide range of delicious and flavorful African dishes like banana blossom salad with shredded chicken, peanuts, chili jam and lime leaf, and grilled octopus with a spicy tahini sauce.
Another must-visit culinary landmark is the Adelaide Central Market, which gives La Boqueria in Barcelona a run for its money. This uber-fresh food hall is packed with everything from cheese samples and cured meats to cute little cafes where you can sit down for a brekkie and enjoy the atmosphere. You’ll find fresh produce as far as the eye can see, a variety of local and international wines to sample, and plenty of tempting baked goods.