Filed under Culture
Written by Jo Hombsch
South Australia is a state that never really tops those travel lists. However, with global travel on pause and domestic travel back in trend, there is no better time to check it off and discover all that this state has to offer.
If you’re planning to visit, you’ll be spoilt with choice as SA really does check all the boxes, with its appeal found in the diversity and its relaxed laid-back approach to life. Taste your way through some of Australia’s best wine regions, take a dip in postcard-worthy beaches or check out the vibrant arts and dining scene.
No matter the reason for your getaway, be sure to stay a night or two in South Australia’s capital, Adelaide. It has a dining scene that is consistently impressive, dozens of noteworthy bars and a never-ending calendar of markets and events.
Having recently stayed in Adelaide for a very short but sweet 48 hours, here are some of my favourite places to stay, eat, shop and things to do on your getaway down South.
The dining scene in Adelaide, although small in comparison to its East Coast counterpart, is still one that should demand attention in Australia, not to mention internationally for its brimming collection of bars and restaurants.
But, first things first and upon landing down South we know you’ll need caffeine, so head straight to Exchange Specialty Coffee. It’s tucked away in the East end of the city backing onto Rundle Street and is a go-to for a seriously good brew and a tasty bite to eat.
For brunch in the heart of the city situated on Franklin Street, you’ll find Crack Kitchen, serving brunch with an Asian twist. Be sure to order the ‘Shrooms on Toast’ and we promise this will be a brunch you won’t soon forget.
At the top of your reservation list should be Leigh Street Wine Room. Stepping through the door, you’ll notice the 400-odd, hard-to-find, natural-leaning wines. It’s cozy, intimate, and immediately welcoming just the way a European wine bar should be. The menu changes seasonally, however, if the ‘Sheeps Milk Ricotta Dumplings’ are on the menu, order them with a side of the foccacia too.
For the pasta connoisseurs, there is Osteria Oggi. Tucked away on Pirie Street, past its impressive long bar you’ll find a well lit, vine-covered room to fulfil all your Italian dreams. It’s famous for its handcrafted pasta made fresh daily. You’ll also find that this modern Italian restaurant’s menu goes well beyond pasta.
Taking residence in the grand former bank on King Willam Street near North Terrace you’ll find Fish Bank. On the menu, you’ll discover 30 different kinds of seafood everythings from caviar, oysters, mussels, prawns and squid. Heaven on earth for the seafood lovers amongst us.
Continuing down the East end of town and you’ll find Africola. With Chef Duncan Welgemoed at the helm serving up North African inspired dishes, you’ll find open flame-grilled meats and flavour-packed vegetable dishes with lots of kick, all designed to be shared.
Circling back to the West side of town, there is buzzy Asian diner called Shobosho, with a mod-Asian fare. Take a seat at the bar and watch the magic happen.
Just like the food scene, the bar scene (especially the wine) is worth a special mention. Not only do these bars have a killer line up of drinks, but the food, decor and ambience are also on par with their noteworthy drinks menus.
If you’re new to the city, mosey on down Peel and Leigh Street, where you’ll find endless options and more than one that will tantalise the senses. I recommend popping by Leigh Street Room for a vino at the bar or one laneway across at Clever Little Tailor.
If you’re looking to enjoy a rosé or a Margarita in the sun, look no further than 2K.W rooftop bar. It’s perched up high up looking out over the Governor’s garden and onto North Adelaide, making it the perfect venue for new travellers to the city.
For those late-night tipples try art deco bar Maybe Mae. It’s an underground bar with an entrance through a hidden door—intimate with a hint of luxury reminiscent of a 1950’s speakeasy. A stone’s throw away on Leigh Street and you’ll find Udaberri, a cozy San Sebastian-inspired bar, with pintxos and a wine list that will transport you right to Spain.
Back down on the East end is Hellbound, an underground wine bar that’s almost like walking down into your friend’s cellar. It’s low-key, however, their wine list game is strong, serving some of the best wines in the country.
There will come the time when you’ve eaten all you can, consumed all of the wine on offer and now it’s time to get some sleep.
Thankfully there are two new hotels in town, so the hardest decision that you’re going to make is choosing between pure luxury at SkyCity’s new hotel EOS or a being nestled in the vibrant culinary hub of the Adelaide Central Markets at Hotel Indigo.
Or if new isn’t your vibe, take a snooze at The Mayfair Hotel, a heritage-listed building that is home to 170 suites, a gym and its own rooftop bar.
A trip to Adelaide isn’t complete without a visit to the Adelaide Central Markets. It’s a foodies haven filled with over 400 local stores featuring organic vegetables, fresh-baked bread, hot roasted nuts, creamy cheeses and all your charcuterie dreams.
If you need a break from all the eating and drinking, take a stroll down Rundle Street and visit the clothing boutiques, or if you’re there on a weekend hunt down the fashion markets and be sure to put Gilles Street Market on your list.
If shopping is not your thing, head to the beach for the day. Both Brighton and Helney are only a 20min drive from the city centre where you can stay for sunset and grab fish and chips on the beach and enjoy debatably one of the best sunset views in Australia.
More of a day trip type? Go wine tasting among some of Australia’s best wine regions including McLaren Vale, Adealide Hills and the Barossa Valley.
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