Adelaide is the capital of South Australia and a popular spot with almost one million residents. It is divided into North Adelaide and Adelaide, separated by the Torrens River. You can find parks, beaches, cultural wonders, famous museums, and art galleries as well as some of the best cuisine and drinks in Australia. Flying into Adelaide and have an appetite? Find a place to store your luggage and go grab a bite to eat!
The city is known as the festival and wine capital of Australia with dozens of food festivals and wineries to explore and enjoy. From Mediterranean-style dishes to Vietnamese food and the best street food in Adelaide, you can find anything you want here and then some. Adelaide city centre boasts many delicious food truck offerings.
You can dine on fried dumplings stuffed with lamb mince, grilled meats, spring rolls, or wood-fired pizzas or enjoy some of the best wine in the world at a wine bar that also serves delicious cheese platters. Or try some handmade pasta at some of the best Italian restaurants in the country with Italian wines to wash it down with.
Sample great Asian food at Golden Boy, cheap eats at Peel St. Restaurant, and high-class dining at McLaren Vale Herringbone. If you want to try a new restaurant, Long Story Short has finally opened a trendy new eatery just a stone's throw from Ebenezer Place. If you want a main course of seafood, try Paul's on Gouger Street.
There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants in Adelaide as well for those who would rather not eat meat. In fact, some of the best restaurants in Adelaide are vegetarian or vegan. Try crispy eggplant sandwiches and fresh produce at Sarah's Sisters Sustainable Cafe or vegetarian Chinese dishes at Zenhouse Vegetarian Yum Cha.
Adelaide Food: Seafood
King George whiting, Coffin Bay oysters, and king prawns are just a few of the most commonly served seafood in Adelaide. The oysters are typically eaten raw in the half-shell but you can get them grilled or fried as well. Whiting is often served whole as a snack or filleted and fried. King prawns are eaten in many ways from raw to grilled.
All of these varieties of seafood come from local sources like commercial fisheries and even anglers who fish for recreation. Similar to other coastal cities, Adelaide has been eating seafood since they came to Australia, often catching them by hand or net. Eventually, they started using cutters to reach the depths they needed for the best hauls.
If you want to try whiting or prawns, go to Louca's on Pulteney Street. You can get whiting with chips alone or with king prawns and tartare. For the best place to get oysters, try Georges on Waymouth Street. They have won over a dozen awards for excellence and service. The oysters here are served raw with salmoriglio dressing.
Adelaide Food: Green chicken curry pie
Made with chunks of tender white chicken and fresh veggies like green beans, spinach, and pumpkin, the green chicken curry pie is heavenly. It is also stuffed with curry paste, coconut milk, and coriander. You can substitute the green curry with red curry if you like a milder flavor.
One of the top stories of curry pie originated in the United Kingdom although some will claim it is a Mediterranean dish. Probably because of the curry. It is typically served with a variety of fillings and curry gravy in a light and flaky crust. In Australia, this pie is served as a pub meal with chips or as street food. They are made with red, green, and yellow curry.
Green chicken curry pie can be found on street trucks all over the city as well as in many cafes and other eateries. The Bakery on O'Connell is the favorite for many because they serve everything fresh and they never run out. Even if you show up five minutes before closing, they will whip up a chicken pie for you quickly.
Adelaide Food: Adelaide AB
Adelaide Hills is the perfect place to try this scrumptious snack. It has a cult following similar to the Halal snack pack. You will get a huge platter of hot chips smothered in chicken or lamb kebab, garlic, barbecue sauce, and chili. It is popular with university students and at local bars as well as food trucks.
There is a long list of stories on what AB stands for but many of them are not worth mentioning. The ones we like are Absolutely Beautiful or Atomic Bomb. Another uncertain thing is who invented the dish. Some say it was two intoxicated college students who could not decide what they wanted to eat and others say it was one of two eateries on O' Connell Street right near each other.
You can get the delicious dish at North Adelaide Burger Bar. Cafe De Vilis is another place that serves excellent AB. They have two locations. One is on Main North and the other is on Elizabeth Way.
Adelaide Food: Ashak
It may not be one of the traditional dishes in Adelaide, but it may as well be. Ashak, sometimes known as Aushak or Afghan dumplings, is fried dumplings stuffed with meat or veggies and topped with lamb mince. Often it is dressed with garlic yoghurt and garnished with mint and paprika. You can also get these steamed.
These popular dumplings originated in Afghanistan and were often made with leek, which is grown all over the country. When made this way, they are vegetarian but today they are typically made with chicken, lamb, or some other meat. You can also get them steamed, in which case they would be called Mantu. But they are both Khamir Baab (dough-based foods).
Parwana on Henley Beach Road is the number one spot in town to get these delightful dumplings. It is one of the best restaurants in Adelaide to get Afghan food and is not far from the city centre. Rumi Palace on Prospect Road is another perfect place for Ashak. Combining ancient traditions with local ingredients, both of these eateries are recommended by locals.
Adelaide Food: Pie floater
Although the name may not sound appetizing, this is a seriously rich and meaty dish hearty enough to sober your stomach after a night of sipping wine. The look of a pie floater is not that appetizing either but you have to taste it to understand. Made from a meat pie in the middle of thick pea soup, sometimes upside down and covered in tomato sauce.
One of Adelaide's most well-known soups, the origin of the dish is not completely clear although it is thought to be a knock-off of the English pea soup with eel and suet dumplings (known as floaters). South Australia has been serving them since 1890 when Shorty Bradley, a bakery owner, decided pie and soup go great together.
One great place to try a pie floater is the Adelaide Central Market on Gouger Street. They actually have just about everything from Pandan custard to live music. The Kings Head Hotel on King William Street is another nice place and they have outdoor seating when the weather is nice. In fact, it is one of the best restaurants in Adelaide.
Adelaide Food: Wine
Located above the historic Penfolds vineyards, Magill Estate Restaurant serves delicious and picture-worthy dishes with wines straight from the vineyard. The most popular wines you can find here include the Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, Grandfather Rare Tawny, and Penfolds Rose Champagne. The tasting menu offers you smoked tuna, lobster, and pasta with wine pairings.
Penfolds has been producing sensational wine since 1844 and has become one of the most respected winemakers in Australia. What started with fortified wines and cherries in 1844 has grown into a famous winery and fine dining establishment. Be sure to explore the underground tunnels and bluestone cellars after a long lunch or dinner.
Whether you are dining at the Magill Estate Kitchen or Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, you will get fresh and delicious food paired perfectly with exquisite wines. The Estate Kitchen serves ala carte with a variety of menu items like oysters and wagyu. The restaurant does a tasting menu that changes by the season. With a world-class wine list, Nido in Hyde Park is the big sister restaurant of Fugazzi and has sensational wines to try.
Adelaide Food: Pizza
You may not expect to see pizza on the list for dinner but Aussies love their pies. You can find them in many different varieties from thick and chewy to thin and crispy, with or without sauce, and some that are just totally unique. However, the "official" Aussie pizza has bacon, eggs, and pineapples.
It was Salvatore Della Bruna who opened the first pizzeria in Australia, which was in Melbourne on Lygon Street. Toto's opened in 1961 and closed in 2020, another victim of COVID. However, you can still get pizza all over Adelaide CBD. We recommend the green chilli verde and mozzarella.
There are three places to go if you want pizza in Adelaide. Tony Tomatoes on O'Connell is the number one favorite by locals. They have everything from high protein to vegan pizzas. Sunny's Pizza on Soloman is a close second with some of the most unique flavors including gabagool and squid ink cacciatore. They also have a dance floor. Melt Henley Beach is another favorite with lamb and pine nuts and roasted duck pizzas.
Adelaide Food: Vanilla slice
The vanilla slice, also known as a custard square, is a square of custard, literally. It is about two or three inches thick and surrounded by puff pastry and chocolate, raspberry, strawberry, or passion fruit icing. The custard is rich and creamy with a crispy pastry and glaze.
The Australian vanilla slice has been around for many years but it is thought to have been a knock-off of the mille-feuille from France. However, the mille-feuille is made with three layers of delicate pastry alternated with pastry cream. Adelaide's vanilla slice is truly unique with a solid block of custard, and no layering. Just remember, you may have to loosen your belt buckle after eating.
One place to go for a slice is Osteria Oggi. The Italian restaurant on Pirie Street is worth visiting just for the interior with its concrete arches and marble bar but their vanilla slice is sublime. With two inches of thick custard under a layer of chocolate, you have to try it while you are in town. Banana Boogie Bakery in Adelaide Hills is another place to go and they have several locations.
What to eat in South Australia
Whether you are looking for South East Asian, Middle Eastern, seasonal produce, or gluten-free options, you can find them in Adelaide.
Whatever you are eating in Adelaide, be sure to try the wine. There are hundreds of wineries surrounding the city and it is considered one of the top 10 mine capitals of the world. Instead of just trying one glass or bottle, we recommend going to a tasting at one of the local cellar doors. After eating all of these delicious dishes, check out some of the best hikes in Adelaide to work it off.