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A wooden table in front of a restaurant window loaded with plates of incredible Afghan food
Josie Withers

The 14 best restaurants in Adelaide

Eat your way through South Australia’s coastal capital with our guide to the best restaurants in Adelaide

Written by
Charlie Rawlings-Wray
Meg Worby
Alexis Buxton-Collins

Combining seriously stylish design with access to abundant fresh produce from the surrounding wine regions, Adelaide’s restaurant scene has the best of both city and regional dining. Forward thinking mod oz cuisine is informed by food traditions from across the world, which are also visible in everything from Afghan comfort food to Parisian classics and what might be Australia’s first pizza restaurant.

The accompanying wine lists are just as wide-ranging, encompassing powerful Barossa reds, spritzy natural wines and everything in between, all served by knowledgeable staff. And the best bit? Even the extended degustations sit at a price point that will come as a pleasant surprise to East Coast diners.

Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews restaurants here.

Best restaurants in Adelaide

Why go? Afghan comfort food the New York Times raves about.

Since 2009 the Ayubi family have been introducing diners to fragrant, flavour-packed Afghan staples in Adelaide’s inner west. Despite revealing their secrets in a popular cookbook, no home cook can replicate their legendary jewelled rice or banjaan borani (strips of eggplant simmered in tomato sauce and a potpourri of spices until they’re so soft they fall apart).

Alcohol is BYO only (the owners use the proceeds to feed the homeless) but the atmosphere is convivial and the colourful interior is packed every night of the week. Book ahead, and if you can’t get a table try the city offshoot Kutchi Deli Parwana for lunch.

Price: Mid-range

Why go? Stunning design and a superb wine selection.

In an old dry cleaner's on super-hip Leigh Street, this narrow venue takes design cues from Parisian bistros the owners visited on their honeymoon. Take a seat at the terrazzo bar and gaze up longingly at the enormous wall of natural wines sourced from near and far before sitting down to elegant European-inspired share plates of housemade pasta, delicate seafood and proteins cooked over redgum coals.

Price: High-end


Why go? Industrial-hip Peel St almost singlehandedly reinvented Adelaide city dining.

Peel Street is ground zero for Adelaide’s burgeoning small bar scene. But before all that jazz, Peel St restaurant redefined urban dining in Adelaide with fab industrial décor and super-generous serves of creative modern Australian cuisine displaying Asian and Middle Eastern influences. The food (listed on a constantly changing blackboard menu) is sublime, and the vibe is totally unpretentious: quick-fire, communal and democratic.

Price: Mid-range

Why go? A seriously stylish modern Australian take on Italian food

Worth visiting for the interior alone, Oggi upped the stakes for Adelaide dining when it opened in 2015. At once graceful and modern, the award-winning fit out draws inspiration from a light-filled Italian piazza and is just as enticing.

Grab a seat at the long concrete bar or one of the comfy booths and peruse a highly seasonal menu that melds Italian tradition with the best local produce. Expect plenty of cured meats and seafood as well as pasta that’s made fresh daily (Oggi is Italian for “today”) on the deceptively simple menu that foregrounds fresh produce and bold flavours with an Italian-leaning wine list.

Price: High-end


Why go? Chat to the chef as you feast on flame-licked Japanese food.

Fire rules at this izakaya, where flame-blackened timbers overlook an open kitchen filled with smoke and steam. Watch the action from a seat at the bar and start with delicate, intensely flavoured small bites before moving onto larger share plates that hero proteins from the yakitori grill and wood oven. For an even more intimate experience, grab one of the eight seats at street level Sho for charcoal-grilled skewers and whisky highballs on tap.

Price: High-end

Why go? Come for dinner, stay for a boogie in this kitsch laneway joint.

Somewhere between a restaurant, a bar and a nightclub from your favourite 70s film, Sunny’s was always destined to become a cult classic. And no matter which way you slice it, this buzzing laneway joint slings some of Adelaide’s best pizzas. Fluffy Naples-style pies with just the right amount of chew are the main game while the “not pizza” section of the menu includes wood-roasted veggies and killer fried chicken. Just make sure you’ve got enough energy to hit the dancefloor afterwards.

Price: Mid-range


Why go? Blow the budget at Penfolds’ winery restaurant par excellence.

Though it’s only fifteen minutes from the CBD, Penfolds’ historic Magill Estate vineyard (est. 1844) is far enough into the foothills to offer incredible views back over the city. They’re matched by seriously sophisticated food; chef Scott Huggins works with the finest SA produce in an innovative seven-course tasting menu that can be paired with predictably brilliant wines (go all out and order some Grange – you know you want to).

Price: Blowout

Why go? Old-school Italian just like nonna used to make.

For 150 years Adelaide’s sprawling undercover Central Market has been ground zero for local cooks specialising in every imaginable cuisine so it’s fitting that it housed the first pizzeria in the state (some say the country). Today Lucia’s is better known for the homemade pastas and sauces (Friday is lasagne day), rich, silky espresso and Adelaide’s best parmagiana, while the deli next door makes sandwiches so popular they have their own tea towel.

Price: Budget


Why go? Adelaide’s best Indian restaurant just keeps on keeping on.

Trends may come and go, but this Adelaide institution is a constant. Generations of diners have made the trip into this unassuming basement knowing they can expect a friendly welcome and a menu of simple but consistently good subcontinental hits. Jasmin is big-hearted but still intimate, with just the right amount of flair. And if there’s a better prawn sambal in Adelaide, we want to hear about it.

Price: Mid-range

Why go? Fine dining with a conscience (and an onsite music venue).

Taking sustainability beyond the plate and into the way staff are treated, Aurora promises fine dining with a conscience. In the kitchen, the custom-made braai laden with vegetables, meat and fish hints at produce-driven mod oz with a South African soul food influence. You can go a la carte or lean into an indulgent degustation, and because the profits from the restaurant help to fund onsite arts venues, on any given night there might be jazz, classical or modern dance performances happening throughout the 150 year old building.

Price: High-end


Why go? This busting hotspot will make you look at Thai food in a new light.

A far cry from the suburban Thai joints you’re used to, this elegant spot in a former bar stays busy until late into the night with good reason. Zingy, spice-laden dishes burst with freshness and the hardest part is deciding what to order; opt for the tuk tuk sharing menu and the dishes will keep coming until you say stop (though you’ll still need to choose from an excellent wine list and inventive cocktails).

Price: High-end

Why go? Hearty meats press the right buttons.

Amid the office blocks of Waymouth Street, industrial Press* lets you enjoy steak four ways, but it’s the offal that really stands out; if you only order sweetbreads or fried lamb’s brains once, this is the place to do it. Even the vegetable dishes are hearty though there are a few lighter options available as well. Choose between a seat at the bar, a communal bench or the more formal loft upstairs.

Price: Mid-range


Why go? A plant-based degustation that doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing out.

This small 28-seat restaurant upstairs from Etica pizzeria doesn’t try to replace meat dishes with plant-based alternatives. Instead, every one of the ten dishes on the set menu is designed from the ground up to reflect the season. The result is a sophisticated dining experience that vegans and omnivores can enjoy equally.

Price: High-end

Why go? Cheaper than a trip to Paris.

Behind a beautiful tiled facade that recalls the Metro stations of Paris, this brasserie hits the sweet spot between tradition and innovation. As a result, it’s as popular with boomers enjoying the chic brasserie vibes as it is with hospo staff ducking in before a shift, and the compact menu ranging from breakfast cassoulet to steak frites caters to all comers.

Price: Mid-range

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