Weekend getaway: Where to eat and drink in Adelaide and the Barossa Valley

Charred pita and dip at Africola. Sit up at the bar and watch the chefs at work.
Charred pita and dip at Africola. Sit up at the bar and watch the chefs at work. Photo: Supplied

A little espresso goes a long way at Lucia's. It is a drink to savour while watching everyone from hipsters to gaggles of tourists trundle past with their eco bags and shopping trolleys. It's here, at Lucia's Pizza & Spaghetti Bar, that marketgoers meet with Adelaide Central Market Tour guide Mark Gleeson, of the Providore Stall. Gleeson has been based at the market for two decades and is well placed to manouevre guests around, spoon-feeding them information while meeting the makers.

"Lucia's is an institution. It is the perfect expression of Adelaide and a great starting point to see where the city's food and scene is at," says Gleeson.

"It doesn't matter who you are – a high-court judge or a two-bob Charlie. People come to Adelaide Central Market to hang out. It's a hub. It's also the place to go for food sourced from all over South Australia – from the Fleurieu Peninsula, to Port Lincoln and the Murray Lands."

Named South Australia's most visited tourist attraction, Adelaide Central Market is a great place to kick-off your visit to 'Radelaide' and meet locals who will happily share insider tips. Here are a few local favourites to add to your hitlist of where to eat and drink in and around Adelaide and the Barossa.

Images supplied by SATC (South Australian Tourism Commission) for Carla Grossetti Good Food Adelaide travel story.

Too early for a meat pie? Try a tart at Bull Creek Bakery. Photo: Supplied

Breakfast

Lucia's was Adelaide's first pizza bar when it opened in 1957 and although it's justifiably famous for its home-style versions of pizza, spaghetti and lasagne, Lucia's is also a magnet for market-goers who like to enjoy a coffee while drinking in the market action. Lucia's daughters Nicci and Maria now run the show and have extended the family business next door to Lucia's Fine Foods, where you can purchase a bottle of passata and Lucia's signature aged white balsamic vinegar.

For an alternative market experience head to the Market Shed on Holland on a Sunday where you can swim against the stream of beanie-clad hipsters queuing for a Sage & Sofia green juice and go for a beef and mushroom pie from Bull Creek Bakery.

Do you like breakfast shaken or stirred? Hey Jupiter is a charming cafe that is perennially packed with hungover hospo types having a hair of the dog (read: champagne breakfast for two). The croque-monsieur is worth a crack, as is the boiled free-range Clare Valley eggs with truffle salt and Meredith goat's feta. My Kingdom For A Horse is where the cool kids go for Mojo Kombucha, shakshuka and shots of house-roasted single origin.

Lucia's Pizza & Spaghetti Bar, stall WRI-2; Providore Stall, stall S66; Adelaide Central Market, 44-60 Gouger Street, Adelaide
Market Shed on Holland, 1 Holland Street, Adelaide
Hey Jupiter, 11 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide
My Kingdom For A Horse, 191 Wright Street, Adelaide

Advertisement
Images supplied by SATC (South Australian Tourism Commission) for Carla Grossetti Good Food Adelaide travel story.

A Vietnamese feast at fermentAsian. Photo: Supplied

Lunch

Head a few blocks east at high noon to find the light-filled Flinders Street Project, where the city's prime movers – from fashion to finance – are trying to bring back the power lunch. Dine like a health nut on coconut poached chicken or Korean beef salad with fried egg, vermicelli, crispy shallots and cucumber.

Whistle & Flute is cockney slang for 'suit' and you will find a lot of corporates tucking into burgers and battered fish during the week. The courtyard, located on the southern edge of the city, is decked out in silver ash and draped in a pretty veil of greenery, and it's a haven for families on weekends.

If you like a little wine with your food, head out of town on a Life is a Cabernet tour to the Barossa Valley for lunch at fermentAsian, where self-taught chef Tuoi Do turns out modern Southeast Asian cuisine that tastes like it's been beamed in from Vietnam. On any given day you will find a boisterous crowd of locals and visitors tucking into delicacies such as Hanoi spring rolls and red curry of roasted duck.

For a DIY picnic hamper visit Maggie Beer's Farm Shop, the Barossa Valley Cheese Co. and the one-stop shop that is the delightful Barossa Farmer's Market.

Flinders Street Project, 276 Flinders Street, Adelaide
Whistle & Flute, 136 Greenhill Road, Unley
fermentAsian, 90 Murray Street, Tununda
Maggie Beer's Farm Shop, 50 Pheasant Farm Road, Nuriootpa
Barossa Valley Cheese Co., 67b Murray Street, Angaston
Barossa Farmer's Market, corner Nuriootpa and Stockwell roads, Angaston

Images supplied by SATC (South Australian Tourism Commission) for Carla Grossetti Good Food Adelaide travel story.

Pop into NOLA for a po' boy. Photo: Supplied

Dinner

The buzz at Shiki is as memorable as the food, which is prepared in an open kitchen presided over by chef Kenny Trinh. Choose from a string of set menus that include dishes such as Darling Down wagyu beef strip loin with fried garlic or crumbed Clare Valley chicken with tonkatsu sauce.

Dinner and a show are on offer when you're seated at the bar at Africola, the restaurant dubbed the state's top eatery in last year's Australia's Top 100 Restaurant Awards. Watching chef Duncan Welgemoed and his merry brigade slicing, chopping, stirring, tasting and plating is edge-of-your-seat stuff. Here, everything is made better when cooked on the braii (firepit); perhaps blackened cod roe with fried peppers, charred broccoli with roasted garlic and ras el hanout, and peri peri chicken.

Don't miss Scottish chef Jock Zonfrillo's Restaurant Orana where Indigenous ingredients star.

Craft beer and whisky bar NOLA is also a firm favourite in Adelaide for its New Orleans-inspired soul food such as gumbo and po' boys. Clinging to the outskirts of Adelaide is Minestra, an approachable trattoria run by a young Italian chef who turns the bounty of the yonder hills into blackboard specials such as spaghetti with garlic, chilli, rosemary, tomato and olives.

Beyond Adelaide, the Vintners Bar & Grill, is one of the Barossa's best. Order the fried crispy quail and Clare Valley scotch fillet.

Shiki, InterContinental Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide
Africola, 4 East Terrace, Adelaide
Restaurant Orana, 285 Rundle Street (upstairs), Adelaide
NOLA, 28 Vardon Avenue, Adelaide
Minestra, 123 Churchill Road, Prospect
Vintners Bar & Grill, Angaston Road, Angaston

Images supplied by SATC (South Australian Tourism Commission) for Carla Grossetti Good Food Adelaide travel story.

Popular: the pumping Peel Street precinct. Photo: Supplied

Drinks

Enjoy the tinkle of jazz at the Intercontinental's Atrium Lounge over old-school cocktails such as martinis and mojitos for happy hour in the heart of the city. Show up early to snag a seat at 55ml where you can bond with the bearded brigade over a burger and pint. Get more of a glimpse of Adelaide's laneway scene over a club sanga and cocktail at the dinky Pink Moon Saloon or nearby Undaberri Pinxtos Y Vino, where a plate of Coffin Bay oysters and champagne goes down a treat.

Peel Street has a strong pulse as punters ping-pong between small bars such as Gondola Gondola, Clever little Tailor and Maybe Mae.

If you're looking for a bar where you can settle in and watch the night unfold, try BRKLYN and Baddog Bar. You can also test your palate at the Mother Vine, which offers Mediterranean small plates and wine flights. Or if you're after the trifecta of craft beer, share plates and views, 2KW is one of many reasons Adelaide is perhaps now better known as 'Radelaide' rather than the erstwhile 'city of churches'.

55ml, Mill Street, Adelaide
Pink Moon Saloon, 21 Leigh Street, Adelaide
Undaberri Pinxtos Y Vino, 11-13 Leigh Street, Adelaide
Gondola Gondola, 1 Peel Street, Adelaide
Clever little Tailor, 19 Peel Street, Adelaide
Maybe Mae, 15 Peel Street, Adelaide
BRKLYN, 260-262 Rundle Street, Adelaide
Baddog Bar, 63 Hyde Street, Adelaide
Mother Vine, 22-26 Vardon Avenue, Adelaide
2KW, 2 King William Street, Adelaide

Images supplied by SATC (South Australian Tourism Commission) for Carla Grossetti Good Food Adelaide travel story.

Inside the tiny house-shaped Pink Moon Saloon. Photo: Supplied

The writer was a guest at the InterContinental Adelaide and visited South Australia with assistance from the hotel and Visit South Australia.