Eat Here Now


December 22, 2011

By Jeff Miller
All photos (except where noted) courtesy of the South Australia Tourism Commission

While it may not have Sydney’s opera house or Melbourne’s stylish reputation, Adelaide, South Australia is a culinary hidden gem, thanks in no small part to its location: because of its temperate climate and seaside location, the city of 1.2 million’s bustling with fresh fish, farm-to-table veggies, and fine wine from the nearby Barossa and Clare Valleys, each of which is also blessed with a smattering of fine restaurants. Add to that a youthful population (colleges are the lifeblood of the city’s economy), and you’ve got a city that is exploding with an ever-expanding selection of dining destinations, plus a wealth of cultural worth, with museums dedicated to Australia’s unique aboriginal culture and long-standing art scene and old-school architecture that calls to mind the gorgeous facades of classic New Orleans.

Grub wise, in-town, the food scene’s dominated by the massive Central Market, a bustling mix of chef-friendly produce stalls and specialty stores, the success of which has spawned a mini-business of farmers markets selling everything from homemade spice jam to hand-caught fresh scallops.

Photo courtesy of The Grace

Restaurant-wise, modern-looking spots like the American-influenced The Grace – The Establishment (127 The Parade, Norwood; a slick-looking tapas spot stacked with well-heeled ladies and slim-tied men, share space with more traditional dining experiences like the one at Chianti Classico (160 Hutt St;, where a hearty seafood stew reigns supreme. Still, getting into the nearby wine country’s the way to be, with outdoor, among the vines-dining at Skillagolee (email for directions; worth every moment of the drive there.

For even more picks in and around Adelaide and South Australia, we asked three experts:

Photo Courtesy of The Louise

The Restaurateur: Mark McNamara is one of South Australia’s most well-respected chefs; his award-winning restaurant, The Appellation, is located at the beautiful Louise Hotel in the Barossa wine region.

Ferment Asian: “Unlike most Vietnamese restaurants that have the same giant selection cookie cutter menus, “Ferment” has a tiny seasonal card and [the chef] cooks real food. For me it’s like dining with Vietnamese friends – it’s all cooked to order with passion and the flavours burst with freshness.
(90 Murray St, Tanuda) (

Fino: “Simple, honest local ingredients cooked with great skill and passion and more than a little rural Italian influence with a menu that follow the season. The wine list is again short but very sharp with some amazing wines by the glass.” (8 Hill St, Willunga) (

The Wheatsheaf Hotel: “The Wheaty” has become the bar of choice for those that like to drink good beer, wine or whiskey (they have a pretty lineup in gin and rum as well) with at least 10 beers on tap including one on a hand pulled gravity pump.” (39 George St, Thebarton)(

The Hotelier: James Baille is one of the owners of Southern Ocean Lodge, a gorgeous seaside hotel with expansive rooms, a massive wine cellar, and a top-grade restaurant on Kangaroo Island off the coast of Adelaide.

Photo courtesy of Southern Ocean Lodge

The Lane: An upscale Australian bistro serving food that compliments the single-vineyard wines in the Adelaide hills. (Ravenswood Land; Hahndorf) (

Chianti Classico: “An Adelaide institution – Italian based on fresh seasonal SA bounty. It also has the best breakfast in town!” (160 Hutt St) (

The Marquis: A brand-new Parisian restaurant that was the winner of the best wine list in Adelaide, 2011 Food Awards. (13 Gouger St; Adelaide) (

The Bartender: Carlos Alvarez is the beverage director at The Pot, a small-plates, Asian influenced seafood bistro.

Fino: Alvarez says this award-winning provincial spot has, “great food and the freshest produce.” (8 Hill St; Willunga) (

Cork Wine Bar: This quaint cafe has, “awesome atmosphere and a fantastic wine list.” (61a Gouger St; Adelaide) (

Press Food And Wine: Just opened, this sleek spot is “funky, buzzing, and hot.” (40 Waymouth St, Adelaide) (

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1 Comment

  • Alex March 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Definitely a +1 for Cork – it’s got such a fantastic wine list with so many wines available by the glass. They also offer tasting flights, if you really can’t make up your mind.

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