From 16-course degustations using some Australia’s most unique indigenous ingredients, to authentic Napoli-style pizzerias, African-inspired diners and fine-dining in historic cellar doors, Adelaide dishes up some incredible restaurants. Sample your way around the city’s best places to eat and drink on a gastronomic safari with our guide to Adelaide’s best restaurants 2021.
1. AFRICOLA, ADELAIDE CBD
One of the hottest tables in town, Africola is best enjoyed when shared. Let the spices of Northern Africa unleash your adventurous spirit to try something wonderfully unfamiliar. Opt for the sumptuous four course chef’s selection or fill your table with plates like golden dahl, sprouted lentils, fried cauliflower, sardine with harissa, falafel and marinated eggplant. With chef Duncan Welgeoed’s raving fans and great value, Africola is one of the best restaurants in Adelaide so make sure you book ahead.
2. SHOBOSHO, ADELAIDE CBD
If your experience of Japanese cuisine is limited to plastic sushi plates rolling around a conveyor belt, then head to Leigh Street’s Shōbōsho and prepare for a flavour revelation. The latest venture from prolific South Australian restauranteur Simon Kardachi and with executive chef Adam Liston at the helm after stints in Shanghai and Melbourne, the Japanese-inspired menu blends smoke, steam and fire – the ancient traditions of Japanese yakitori. Raw, cured, pickled and fermented dishes complement smoky flavours with sashimi, noodles, yakitori, dumplings and bao on the menu. Décor is slick, rich and warm with a distinctly Japanese feel. The kitchen is open all day serving lunch and snacks, then dinner and drinks.
3. MADRE, ADELAIDE CBD
Sea water from the oceans of Puglia, Tipo 00 flour sourced straight from Italy and a little bit of science are the secrets behind Adelaide’s best traditional Napoli-style pizza. The result? A light, airy and down-right delicious pizza base that has rightly earned Madre a place on our list of Adelaide’s best restaurants. It’s little wonder the pizza is so good, Madre is from the same team behind McLaren Vale’s Pizzateca and head pizzaiolo Ettore Bertonati has a PhD in chemistry. Madre’s menu features eight minimally topped but flavour-packed pizzas, calzone and a huge range of sides and salads, and the extensive Italian wine selection is equally exciting. Vegan Mozarella is available too, for your herbivore friends. Can’t decide? Leave it up to the chefs and sample the best bits of the menu with the shared degustation.
4. FISHBANK, ADELAIDE
Whole fish, caviar, oysters, sashimi, prawns, mussels, scallops, lobster, crab, pipis, squid and more; no less than 30 different kinds of seafood are on the menu at Fishbank. And the love of all things ocean doesn’t end at the food. After-dinner cocktails carry on the sea theme. The Dorsal Gin is a favourite with local gin, vermouth bianco, fennel and citrus bitters, or sip the Now You Sashimi – an unlikely blend of vodka, wasabi, yuzu, mandarin and pickled ginger. Taking up residence in a grand former bank on King William Street in the heart of Adelaide, this seafood lover’s paradise is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
5. ITL, ADELAIDE
Italian-born head chef Luca Guiotto complements his traditional, handmade pasta and pizza bases with seasonal local produce at iTL. The open kitchen produces sophisticated but simple Italian food and along with a bar stacked high with local and Italian wines, forms the centre piece for the iTL. One of four restaurants in the new SkyCity development, the 200-seat casual-dining restaurant is perfectly positioned on North Terrace, next to Adelaide Casino and within walking distance of the Festival Centre, Adelaide Oval and the bars of East End, Peel St and Leigh St.
6. FINO VINO, ADELAIDE CBD
One of South Australia’s best regional restaurants – Fino at Seppeltsfield – is now more accessible for hungry city slickers. Fino Vino, an urban interpretation of the iconic Barossa restaurant, is nestled in Adelaide’s Flinders Street. With a philosophy focused on seasonal produce, supporting local producers, growers and vignerons and minimal waste production, the menu is a fresh, tapas-style affair matched by chic, yet rustic interiors. With booths, communal tables, kitchen seating and a bar, it’s the perfect space for after work drinks and a bite to eat.
7. NIDO, KING WILLIAM ROAD
Intimate, boutique and constantly evolving, Nido, is one of the best restaurants in Adelaide if you’re in search of an Italian feast. With former Shōbōsho head chef Max Sharrad – named Young Chef of the Year in the 2018 Appetite for Excellence awards – taking the reins, Nido’s menu is underpinned by an Australian interpretation of traditional Italian flavours. The popular Hyde Park haunt serves up some of the best pasta in town, which is made daily on-site. Tucked away on trendy King William Road, Nido, meaning ‘nest’ in Italian, also dishes up artisan cured meats and salumi, plus bar snacks, larger plates including grilled meats and drool-worthy Italian desserts. The gnocco fitto – golden pillows of fried gnocchi bread – is a must. Nido also moonlights as an aperitivo bar, with an impressive wine list exclusively featuring Australian and Italian wines and some of the best cocktails in town.
8. PEEL ST, ADELAIDE CBD
Generous plates of fresh, seasonal food have made Peel St an Adelaide dining scene institution. Here, simple cooking pairs perfectly with big flavours, as plates brimming with fresh produce are pumped out of the kitchen by chefs Martin and Jordan. The menu is heavy on Middle Eastern, South East Asian and Mediterranean style dishes and constantly changes based on what is in season and abundant locally. Tucked among the impressive bar and restaurant offering which lines its namesake, Peel St is ideally positioned for long lunches and after work dinners.
9. OSTERIA OGGI, ADELAIDE CBD
Osteria Oggi is another must-try for pasta aficionados. Tucked on Pirie Street, this local pasta powerhouse is famous for its hand-crafted pasta made fresh daily, but beyond the pasta this modern Italian restaurant has a lot more to offer. The menu traverses appetizers and salumi, through to the pasta, slow-roasted meats and fish, and Italian desserts with a twist. Oggi’s sleek design was also awarded the top gong at the prestigious World Interiors Awards for Restaurant Interiors in 2019. Oh, and there’s a cheese trolley. Need we say more? Mangia Mangia!
10. GAJA BY SASHI, ADELAIDE CBD
MasterChef Australia 2019 winner Sashi Cheliah’s newly opened restaurant is a homage to his Singaporean culture. Dishing up hawker-style food on Pirie Street in the heart of Adelaide, bold flavours are on the menu at Gaja by Sashi. Curries, satays and finger foods are heavy on the garlic, spice and chilli (in the best possible way) with Chinese, Indian and Malaysian influences at play. There’s plenty of vegan and gluten free options too. Supported by a casual party atmosphere with an extensive drinks’ menu, expect the music to be played a notch higher than usual.
11. SUNNY’S PIZZA, ADELAIDE CBD
Retro and wonderfully kitsch, Sunny’s Pizza is a must-visit Adelaide restaurant for authentic Napoli-style pizza, cocktails and party vibes. Opened by five friends and designed by Adelaide’s Studio-Gram (the architects behind Africola and Osteria Oggi), digging into a pizza at Sunny’s feels like a meal at your most eccentric friend’s house, but with the addition of an awesome bar, DJs and, let’s face it, probably much better food.
12. PARWANA, HENLEY BEACH ROAD
Afghan might not be the first cuisine you think of when exploring Adelaide’s food scene, but Parwana is more than just a restaurant. It’s a connection straight into this fascinating culture and Afghanistan’s street-style food, decorative interior, and generous family-run hospitality. Owners Zelmai and Farida Ayubi migrated from Afghanistan with their young family in 1987. With them, they brought generations of culinary knowledge, resulting in some of the best Middle Eastern food in Australia, and one of the best places to eat in Adelaide. Just minutes from the city on Henley Beach Rd, generous plates of delicately flavoured meats, spiced rice and flavour-packed vegetable dishes give curious diners a taste of this mysterious land. If you’re looking for middle eastern city eats, sister restaurant Kutchi Deli Parwana awaits in Ebenezer Place in Adelaide’s east end.
13. PENFOLDS MAGILL ESTATE RESTAURANT, MAGILL
Just 15 minutes away from the CBD in Adelaide’s beautiful foothills, Penfolds Magill Estate has long held the title of one of Adelaide’s best restaurants. With breathtaking views over the historic Penfolds vineyards and Adelaide city, the multi award-winning restaurant is one of our favourite spots to settle in for a decadent dinner with head chef Scott Huggins taking inspiration from seasonal produce and Penfold’s wine in his fine-dining restaurant menu. For casual dining, Magill Estate Kitchen is the perfect spot for a long lunch. Magill Estate is the birthplace of Australia’s most prized wine, Penfolds Grange, so you’re guaranteed a great drop to compliment your feast. Afterwards, explore a labyrinth of underground tunnels and bluestone cellars, and learn about the iconic vineyard’s rich wine-making history dating back to 1844.
14. NOI, FULLARTON
When the team behind Shibui, Devour and Third Time Lucky open a new restaurant, you make a reservation, grab your best elasticized pants and make a beeline straight to your table. With a menu inspired by the food owner’s Thy and Quang Nguyen grew up eating, Noi takes Vietnamese dining in Adelaide to a new level. Tucked just five minutes from the Adelaide CBD in the former Chopstix site on Glen Osmond Rd, the building has had a swanky makeover, while veggie patches brimming with South-East Asian herbs and vegetables fill the surrounding sunny glass atrium, providing produce for many of the dishes. The menu is authentic, fresh and packed with flavour, with plenty of options for your gluten free or vegan friends. We can’t go past the crispy eggplant with caramel sauce, the slow-cooked yellow curry beef cheeks and five spice squid. And trust us, you’ll want to order a side of the green beans with garlic butter and fried shallots – the humble bean has never tasted better.
15. VIET NEXT DOOR, PENNINGTON
Speaking of Vietnamese food, you’ll find a wildly different take on the cuisine at Pennington’s Viet Next Door. We’re talking cheeseburger spring rolls, beer battered oysters, fried rice arancini balls and popcorn crème brȗlée, alongside more familiar flavours of rich curries, dumplings and Vietnamese salads. The restaurant’s sleek, neutral-toned interiors are just as impressive and have received a stack of accolades.
16. MELT, HENLEY BEACH
With so many exceptional west-facing beaches so close to the city centre, Adelaide’s sand and surf are virtually inescapable. Pull-up a stool at Melt, Henley Beach, for the best seat in the house. Perched above SeaSalt, Melt’s décor is bright and airy with a retro pastel palette. The pizza menu is as extensive as it is impressive, offering gourmet toppings from Spanish meatballs to scallop and truffle.
17. POLK, GLENELG
Polk dishes up modern Asian fusion food and cocktails by the sea in Glenelg. Just minutes from the city, a bright pink neon light welcomes you to Polk while the interior is a modern mix of pastel and neutral fittings with distinctive coastal vibes. The flavours of chef’s Rigzin Dorji Wangmo (Bhutan) and Daao Chiengsaengthong (Vietnam) home countries are alive in the menu, with dinner available Tuesday to Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on weekends. There are vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, and the extensive drinks list features craft beers, an impressive wine selection and cocktails (the Vietnamese espresso martini is a must).
18. GOLDEN BOY, ADELAIDE
Bountiful plates packed with flavour await at Golden Boy. An energetic atmosphere, authentic but polished Thai menu and impressive cocktail list makes Golden Boy a popular dinner haunt for locals. Feast on favourites including wok-tossed mussels with Thai basil, chilli jam and lime, mushroom stir-fry with sawtooth coriander paste, garlic stem and green chilli and eight-hour beef cheeks with tangerine jus pickled ginger. Make sure to try the roti with pandan custard for dessert. Hungry? Order the Tuk Tuk banquet and sample Golden Boy’s best dishes – the food won’t stop coming until you’re full. Post-dinner head downstairs to the plush basement bar for a nightcap.