The French scene in Adelaide may be small but it’s perfectly formed with a smattering of bistros, brassieres and creperies that feature fabulous Gallic-inspired fare.
According to the website, this CBD eatery is “inspired by the lip-smacking, long-lunch-loving, less-is-more cuisine of Provence”– and whether you choose Bocuse-inspired baked soup, duck confit with French lentils or the sensational Provencale fish soup, it’s all as “lip-smacking” as they say. A word to the wise: leave room for dessert.
125 Pirie Street, Adelaide; 08 8232 4671
Cliché Exhibition is brassiere, boulangerie and exhibition space wrapped into one neat package. Come early for croissants or a croque monsieur; in the evening, linger over potted duck pate, fillet de boeuf and poisson du jour in champagne sauce. This North Adelaide establishment comes from Walter Ventura, the man behind the likes of Ruby Red Flamingo, Tony Tomatoes, Hispanic Mechanic, Gin Long Canteen and more. Based on that list, it’s no surprise that Cliché Exhibition is a winner.
26 O’Connell St, North Adelaide; (08) 8267 4083
For over five years, Hey Jupiter has been a beloved French café – but in the last few months, they have expanded, re-emerging as a full brasserie complete with authentic zinc bar and Maison Gatti terrace furniture. The menu has had a thorough revamp too, so while the morning routine of croissants and pain au chocolats is still in force, you can now come here for soupe a l’oignon and steak frites in the evening.
11 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide; 0416 050 721
While the light-filled dining room at this Adelaide Hills pub doesn’t have any particular Gallic feel, the food is unmistakably French-led. Chef Ben Carli’s menu boasts bistro classics like chicken liver pâté, potage parmentier, moules mariniéres and bouillabaisse. Finish with the requisite crème brûlée.
8 Main St, Crafers; (08) 8339 2050
Le Carpe Diem
Djami and Dale Goodes named their French creperie after the Latin saying meaning “seize the day” because the pair sold their home and two cafes in France, bringing their two children to Australia with the goal of opening an Adelaide café with an authentic French feel. Seize the day they have and, since opening Le Carpe Diem five years ago, Adelaideans have embraced them. Crepes are the bulk of the menu but people also travel from far and wide to try their homemade Cannelés de Bordeaux (a traditional rum and vanilla cake pastry). The Goodes have since opened a sister establishment in Glenelg called La Paris Plage.
230-232 Grenfell Street, Adelaide; (08) 8123 7488
Visit at lunchtime and Delicatessen feels more New York than Paris – cheeseburgers, fettuccine carbonara, club sandwiches and Reubens. But when the sun sets, the menu transforms and sitting at the long copper bar, sipping Côtes du Rhône, nibbling on charcuterie and steak tartare or pissaladière and pan-roasted duck with salad Lyonnaise, it’s easy to think you could be in a brassiere in the City of Light.
12 Waymouth Street, Adelaide; (08) 8211 8871
La Buvette Drinkery
A navy-painted entryway, an eclectic tiled floor, moody lighting – everything about this West End bar is très chic. Natural wines are a big focus (both French and local) as are authentic aperitifs and the menu is made for snacking while imbibing: charcuterie, small plates and even chicken liver parfait.
27 Gresham Street, Adelaide; (08) 8410 8170
Top image: La Buvette Drinkery