PREMIUM

Top Adelaide restaurants and wine bars

Adelaide offers a creative and vibrant food and drink culture, says David Sly, who recommends his must-visit highlights...

Orana

Chef Jock Zonfrillo’s innovative take on introducing indigenous Australian ingredients to a fine-dining framework has helped to redefine modern Australian cuisine. His 20-course dégustation menu at compact 30-seat restaurant Orana takes the diner on an extraordinary journey of new taste sensations, from the bracing ocean blast of pipis in a briny broth of ruby saltbush berry and crunchy beach succulents, to rare kangaroo loin rested in house kombucha, and roti stuffed with flame-grilled tommy ruff (Australian herring) smeared in a native jerk sauce.

  • Address: Upper Level, 285 Rundle Street
  • Opening hours: Lunch Friday-Sunday, dinner  Tuesday-Saturday


Africola

Part party house, part serious food den, Africola creates a winning vibe through mixing kooky decor and audacious modern art while presenting North African food from an exciting new angle. Vegetables are heroes on the plate, but seafood is also sublime – and a chicken skin and hot chicken dripping ‘tea sandwich’ is an irresistible, sinful treat. Food is prepared and presented with energetic verve, with the big open kitchen and bar areas serving like stages on which the switched-on staff can perform.

  • Address: 4 East TCE
  • Opening hours: Dinner Tuesday-Saturday. Two sittings offered 6pm, 6.30pm or 7.00pm; second sitting 8.15pm, 8.45pm or 9.15pm. BYO available, A$20 per bottle. Closed Mondays & Tuesdays

Hellbound

A narrow stairwell descends from busy Rundle Street to basement bar Hellbound, where Mark Reginato and Louis Schofield have established their ideal wine clubhouse for like-minded vinous explorers. Wine and spirit distributor Reginato, and Schofield, a winemaker working with Taras Ochota, have exotic tastes but certainly aren’t snobs. They pour 20 wines by the glass, starting at A$8, and stock more than 200 bottles, with rarities that can soar to A$2,200.

  • Address: 201 Rundle Street
  • Opening hours: Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday 4pm-12am, Friday-Saturday 4pm-1am, Monday & Tuesday closed

Udaberri

The site that set Adelaide’s small bar movement in motion remains an alluring treat. Rob Dinnan returned to Adelaide from San Sebastián in 2012, determined to capture the Basque spirit in a dimly lit, sexy space, and got the ingredients just right. Exposed bricks and rafters give the interior, mezzanine lounge and rear courtyard a delicious sense of mystery. Pintxos and French-inspired snacks provide the right foil to Mediterranean-influenced wines and a vast range of gins.

  • Address: 11-13 Leigh Street
  • Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 4pm-late, Friday & Saturday 11am-late, Sunday 6pm-late

East End Cellars

It’s a bonus when the city’s best-stocked wine shop is also a bar serving delicious bistro food. Sourcing wines directly from maverick micro-producers through to famous Champagne houses enables East End Cellars’ informed staff to recommend exciting new releases, many at surprisingly modest prices. These can be purchased and poured immediately in the adjacent bar space, The Tasting Room, and enjoyed with fine cheeses, charcuterie and hot dishes.

  • Address: 25 Vardon Ave
  • Opening hours: Monday & Tuesday 9am-7pm, Wednesday & Thursday 9am-9pm, Friday & Saturday 9am-10pm, Sunday 12noon-7pm

Mother Vine

As the sibling bar of East End Cellars – housed in the wine shop’s former premises, located directly across the laneway – Mother Vine has a very different personality. It’s quieter and more low-key than its bustling neighbour, and focuses particularly on international offerings. More than 20 wines are available by the glass, and you can test your knowledge by ordering a themed tasting flight of three masked pours.

  • Address: 22-26 Vardon Avenue
  • Opening hours: Monday-Thurday & Sunday 3pm-late, Friday & Saturday 12pm-1am

Leigh Street Wine Room

Chef Nathan Sasi and his wife Sali have transformed a former dry-cleaning shop into a gorgeous bar devoted to natural and minimal-intervention wines, and have recently taken on Liinaa Berry (formerly at 2KW) as head sommelier. A wall displays more than 400 rare and hard-to-obtain wines, from Jacques Puffeney’s 2014 Arbois, to Valentini, or the house white – an Adelaide Hills field blend from Gareth Belton of Gentle Folk. The food offering carries a strong local accent, from house charcuterie to cubed raw tuna in crème fraîche.

  • Address: 9 Leigh Street
  • Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 4pm-late, Friday & Saturday from 12noon

Adelaide Central Market

This heaving hub for delectable food has 70 food stalls selling a cornucopia of produce – and a few bars have recently been added to the mix too. Start with superior coffee at Lucia’s before shopping for a hamper of edible treats. Stop at KI Stall 17, which stocks Kangaroo Island Spirits, founder of South Australia’s burgeoning modern craft gin movement. Try the Wild Gin (featuring Australian native juniper foraged on Kangaroo Island) with a dash of tonic, or as a cocktail.

  • Address: 44-60 Gouger Street
  • Opening hours: Tuesday 7am-5.30pm, Wednesday & Thursday 9am-5.30pm, Friday 7am-9pm, Saturday 7am-3pm

The Exeter Hotel

As the city’s last great, unadulterated pub, The Ex attracts an exotic menagerie of bohemian writers, politicians, ratbag winemakers and grungy musicians. Boisterous conversations flow as they rub shoulders at the bar, without the intrusion of screens or gambling machines, while the drinks choices range far beyond local Coopers beers on tap to older vintage Adelaide Hills and Barossa beauties, along with ample supplies of Krug.

  • Address: 246 Rundle Street
  • Opening hours: Lunch Sunday-Friday 12noon-2.30pm, dinner Tuesday 6.30pm-8.30pm, Wednesday-Friday 6.30pm-9pm

2KW

A seductive rooftop view drinks in the city’s leafy northern parks and Adelaide Oval, but it’s the diverse and expansive list that compels people to linger in 2KW’s breezy cabanas and outdoor lounges. The carefully curated 700 wines are grouped into Classics – think Chablis, Burgundy, Rhône, Loire Valley, Italian reds and German Riesling – and Progressives, which embrace all manner of orange wines, skin-contact whites and pét-nats.

  • Address: 2 King William Street
  • Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10am-late, Saturday & Sunday 12noon-late