Whether you crave hearty Italian for dinner or flavoursome Vietnamese for lunch, Akash Arora shares his favourite places to eat in Adelaide right now.
Hill of Grace Restaurant
Few restaurants combine good food and good location without charging a fortune, but Hill of Grace Restaurant at the Adelaide Oval is an exception. Named after the iconic Henschke red wine, it offers sweeping views of the beautiful sports venue, thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass windows that bring in the great outdoors. Head here for lunch (Friday only) or an early dinner (Tuesday-Sunday) to make the most of the aspect and chef Dennis Leslie’s menu with distinct Filipino influences. From the entrée section, order sisig – an Asian street-food dish with pork jowl, creamy Dijon custard and crunchy shallots. For the main course, opt for the kangaroo tail, slow-braised in veal stock for up to six hours and served with grilled okra.
Adelaide Oval, North Adelaide; (08) 8205 4777
Hill of Grace by Tony Lewis
Jock Zonfrillo’s award-winning Orana in nearby Rundle Street is indisputably Adelaide’s fine-dining star – but if your heart desires traditional and hearty Italian, you can’t go past Chianti. Set within an old-style dining room with exposed stone and brick walls, the restaurant has affable, informative staff and an expansive menu of Italian favourites – from artisan burrata served over chargrilled black-olive bread to handmade pumpkin and ricotta gnocchi. A dish of smoked mozzarella-stuffed zucchini flowers is a great place to start, while slow-cooked rabbit with pancetta delivers a satisfying main course. The wine list includes both Italian drops and local favourites while the dessert menu brims with offerings such as pistachio pannacotta and hot chocolate pudding that’s baked to order. Delizioso!
160 Hutt Street, Adelaide; (08) 8232 7955
Best vineyard dining experience
Magill Estate Restaurant
Adelaide is surrounded by some of Australia’s most renowned wine regions so a dining experience with views of rolling vineyards is de rigueur. Thankfully, Penfolds Magill Estate is a mere 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre. Make your way to Magill Estate Kitchen, a buzzing casual bistro. If you’re after something more ceremonial, head to the architect-designed Magill Estate Restaurant, where the experience kicks off with a glass of Champagne in the plush lounge area followed by a multi-course soirée in the dining room. Toasted rye is brilliantly juxtaposed with smooth, velvety cubes of tuna in one offering while another plate pairs blue-eye trevalla with the sweetness of corn and the saltiness of nori. However, it’s a glass of Australia’s most famous red wine that brings the house down – the 2010 Grange is complemented by local lamb slathered with a decadent eggplant purée.
72 Penfold Road, Magill; (08) 8301 5551
Best casual bistro
Housed in an early 20th-century building and part of Adelaide Casino, this Vietnamese eatery has a distinct French colonial feel. The interior is dwarfed by a highly detailed, larger-than-life mural of Madame Hanoi by Adelaide artist Emma Hack and the menu offerings range from single-origin Vietnamese coffees to high teas. But, really, the best way to soak up the atmosphere and flavour here is to grab a table with North Terrace views for lunch. Crisp chicken wings are spiked with fish sauce and red chilli while pork belly is served in lettuce cups with a dash of hoisin sauce – both dishes are flavoursome with a capital F.
Adelaide Casino, North Terrace, Adelaide; (08) 8218 4166
PS: For the city’s best coffee, single-origin brews and a good selection of homemade cookies, macarons and pastries, make your way to Please Say Please (50 Grenfell Street, Adelaide). And for sundowners with sweeping city views, you can’t look past 2KW Bar and Restaurant (2 King William Street, Adelaide), which is perched on the eighth floor of a historic building and has a fantastic cocktail menu.
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